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Oregon Football

5 Bold Predictions: Pac-12 Conference

August 19, 2019
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On Monday morning the Associated Press released the first college football top 25 of the season. Which kicks off this Saturday when Miami takes on Florida at 4PM on ESPN.

YES FOLKS, COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS BACK!

One of my good friends told me each Saturday during the college football season is a treasure. We only get a handful of college football Saturday’s so take advantage of them. And he’s right. Sure the NFL is great, but college football has the lose and you’re out type feel to it. The NFL doesn’t have that. In fact, nobody does until the playoffs or a tournament. Which is why March Madness is so special. 

That threat of the loss spoiling your enitre season (potentially) raises the stakes. In turn it just makes it that much more exciting. Now maybe not when Alabama beats up on Louisiana Tech Southern A&M (not a real school) but there’s always a key game on every weekend worth your time. Even if it isn’t Oregon.

The AP top 25 is out and the Pac-12 is well represented. Not necessarily in the top ten, but within striking range with Oregon leading the charge at 11. I’ve always felt you don’t need to be ranked in the top ten to end up there, but it definitely helps if you’re in the top 25 to start. 

Five teams from the Pac-12 made today’s top 25, so with that here are five bold predictions on this season from me for the conference.

1. USC Will Lose Six Games

Not exactly a major reach here but let’s go with it. USC faces Stanford, Utah, Washington and Notre Dame in the first six weeks. And two of them are on the road. (UW, ND) That is brutal. Their other two games in that six week stretch are Fresno State and BYU, both are not guaranteed wins by any means.

And yes if you look at the rest of the schedule past the first six weeks, you still have Oregon and I’m not so sure they can beat Chip Kelly and UCLA either. 

Offensively I think USC will score some points with the air-raid attack. In Saturday’s scrimmage, USC ran for 17 yards on 15 attempts. So get ready for them to air it out and take advantage of the team’s strength, its wide receivers. Defensively they are young and vulnerable and I believe a lot of their games this year will be shootouts. A few select teams have been able to win occasionally with no run game and marginal defense. However that means we’re expecting Clay Helton to make up that gap.

2. Utah Wins the South

Easy call here. Easy call. But hang with me for a minute.

Not only will Utah win the Pac-12 South, I think they’ll end up ranked just behind Oregon. They debuted at No. 14 today but I think they’ll end up in the top ten along with Oregon. Which will be a big key for the Pac-12 hoping to make a statement this season that it remains among the elite conferences nationally.

3. Washington Loses Four Games

UW is really, really hard to nail down this season. They have a lack of depth similar to Oregon last season. Which means even just an injury or two changes the dynamic of this team. They are not as good defensively and they lost a ton of talent on offense including its quarterback. Now I’m not a Jake Browning fan, but he knew the system and ran it well.

I’m not sold on UW’s new OC along with the loss of a very somewhat under-rated back in Myles Gaskin. (Nationally)

It may surprise some of you but I see UW losing to USC early, followed by losses to Oregon, Utah and Washington State. I just don’t think this defense is as good as its been, particularly up front and I do think the air-raid attack of USC and WSU will force them to become one dimensional on offense. 

Call me a homer or a hater, but it’s my prediction story so get off my lawn. 

4. Arizona Finishes Ahead of ASU

It won’t be pretty but I think Zona finishes ahead of ASU in the South. Not by much and neither finish in the top two in my opinion. However I’m not buying what everyone else is buying on ASU. I like Herm Edwards, I like some of the things he’s said and done, but I’m not sold he can lead this sqaud as a contender. 

The Sundevils have two real tough road tests in Michigan State and Utah. However Wazzu, USC and Oregon all make stops in Tempe this season.

Not that Arizona’s schedule is all that much easier, I just think they’ll carve out an extra win or two more than ASU and surprise some folks.

5. Ducks Win the Conference

Yep, I’ve done it, I’ve gone full homer. 

I think the Ducks will face the Utes in the conference championship. And I do think that will be a battle of top ten teams at that time. 

The Utes should walk through a very weak Pac-12 South this season. Oregon meanwhile will have to work for it a little bit although I think a number of Pac-12 North teams fall out of the top 25 this season. Namely UW and Wazzu if I’m getting specific. Stanford will hover just around the top 25 for most of the season in my opinion. A good team but not elite. 

Of course I shouldn’t have to say this, but Oregon has to have Herbert stay healthy. They also need some receivers to recover and produce. But we know they’ll be able to run the ball and if the offensive line stays healthy they’ll be strong in the trenches. 

The Andy Avalos-led defense will be slightly improved from last season, which is enough for Oregon to compete. I guess that means I’m putting my confidence in Herbert and Arroyo to take this team to the next level. 

Hop on the hype train if you want to.

 

Tags: Football, Oregon
 
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