rssBlog EntriesComments


Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

PAC-12 South Preview

Last year it appeared the PAC-12 South was loaded for bear, but then things kind-of, you know, fell flat. Somebody let the air out of the tires. Except for Utah, they came from the bottom of the South and surprised everyone, but even they didn’t fulfill the potential everyone thought they had. The Utes should have won the South but when it came time to step up and beat the big boys, they fell to USC, UCLA and Arizona. UCLA just missed becoming something other than a feel good story. USC had a drunk coach at the start of the season. Now that Pat Hayden isn’t the AD, and no longer on THE COMMITTEE, perhaps the future looks brighter for the Trojans. There’s that date with last year’s National Champions to start the season off, and it doesn’t get easier, but USC has won big games in the past. Arizona State had great potential last year but never recovered from getting beat by A&M. Arizona seemed to have it together, but really didn’t. Colorado, however, made vast improvements. It didn’t show in the Won/Lost column but if other coaches don’t take notice of the Buffs now, they’re going to be in for a surprise!

055UCLA– The other school in LA is going to be the top pick for the South division. QB Josh Rosen has a year under his belt, and the game should start to slow down for him. Coach Mora and the offensive gurus that walk the sidelines are also modifying the offense so the Rosen will be able to make quicker decisions and get the ball out faster. “Chosen Rosen” took the West Coast by storm last year, throwing for an average of 282 yards per game. He should do even better this year, once they get the offensive line together. They should provide enough protection for “Chosen Rosen” to pick teams apart. Starting off the season AT Texas A&M with issues in the offensive line is not ideal. If they escape College Station with a win (the Daughter will be very upset) look for the Bruins to do very well. If they lose to A&M (the Daughter will be very happy) they don’t have time to lick their wounds with UNLV and BYU in the following weeks. So, getting the offensive line settled must be their top priority. The defense is much more stable and will allow UCLA to go far into the conference, possibly leading them to the championship game. No matter how it goes for the Bruins, it’ll be interesting to watch

USC– most, if not everyone, is picking the men of Troy to win the PAC-12 South, so why not here? Because their schedule is much tougher, with431 playing northern opponents, At Stanford, AT Washington and hosting Oregon. Not only that, but they start the season against Ala!-Bama! (Roll Tide!) and they are going to lose that opening game. How they recover from their SEC beating will show how far this team can go in the season. They get Utah State and Stanford the following 2 weeks so they better recover fast. The Trojans have to break in a new QB, Running backs, and their defensive line. On the plus side, they have late season starters coming back to form a solid O-line. On the offensive side of the ball they have speed and talent but most of the key players will be untested. The defense is going to be stressed to the max right out of the gate. Biggest concern is the defensive line. All positions must be replaced, the players they have are untested and have not played together. Coach Helton took over this team last year and saved them from what could have been a disaster. Now he has the job, with talent. Can he get that talent to come together really, really fast? If he doesn’t, the Trojans will not have a good season. IF they do come together, they’ll have a good season, but they have a tough row to hoe and a lot questions. Beating Bama would be a great start

UTAH– Last year the PAC-12 appeared to be the Utes’ oyster. They started off by beating the fresh new upstart Michigan with their new head coach, Harbaugh, might not have heard his name much this past year, but he’s the Head Coach at Michigan (that is total SARCASM). Then a couple of games later they destroyed the Oregon Ducks, shot the Cal Bears, and shaded the Sun Devils. Then they lost to USC and it wasn’t even close. Ok, all they had to do was to beat Arizona and/or UCLA and a trip to the PAC-12 championship game was theirs! They lost both. What might have been. Now the Utes have to replace their entire offensive backfield. They have a pretty good QB in Troy Williams, who couldn’t get along with Coach Peterson up at Washington. That is not a really good sign, to tell the truth. Williams went to a Jr. College last year and did darn good. So he’s the leader for the position. They need to find a few receivers to replace the ones that have graduated. On the plus side they have a stellar returning offensive line! They’re going to need it. The defensive front is returning and last year they led the West Coast in allowing only 108.6 rushing yards per game, and giving up only 22.3 points per game. Not bad for west coast players. Utah is not going to take anyone by surprise, like they did last year. The schedule is about the same degree of difficulty only they added BYU. The Holy War is Back! The Utes need to win the big games. When they learn to handle the big game pressure-cooker atmosphere, they’ll be a much better team and make it to the Championship game.

Arizona State– The Sun Devils disappointed me last year. I thought they were loaded for bear and were going to run through the conference and into the Rose Bowl. Nope, they collapsed into a heap of sand and sagebrush. Not sure if it was their opening loss to Texas A&M or what, but they never got it together. They beat Arizona, and a couple of other games they should have won, but it should have been a better season. Now they have to replace seven starters on offense, including the back field and four lineman. The receiving corps appears to be fine. They have a new Offensive Coordinator who wants to change the entire offensive scheme. Oh Boy! The defense looks great, though. They had the highest sack total of the conference. However, when they didn’t get to the QB, the opposing offense would torch the Sun Devil’s inexperienced secondary. Hopefully all those wounds have healed and the young D-backs have learned from their mistakes and will be WHOLE lot better this year. ASU doesn’t get tested until the fourth game, so they should have some questions answered by then. If the offense can move the ball and score points, the defense should hold their own and they “should” have a winning record and go bowling.

Colorado– I’m not so sure the Buffaloes are going to end up here near the bottom. This team is going to surprise a few teams this year. This has been a long rebuilding project and its not Coach Macintyre’s fault, he knew rebuilding this program was going to take a long time. This year efforts are going to begin bearing. 18 starters are returning and this team showed a lot of improvement last year. They have new offensive coordinator in Darrin Chiaverini, who comes from Texas Tech, which fits perfectly with the no-huddle fast-paced tempo they have been working on. They have to replace the QB but they appear to have plenty of options. They courted TT transfer Webb in the spring, but he chickened out and went to Cal when he learned Liufau was coming back from injury and going to be available in the spring. The Buffaloes’ defense has to improve against the run, they were very tough against the pass, but struggled against the ground game. Look for this team to start bringing respect and wins back to Boulder, Colorado.

134Arizona – The Wildcats did so badly last year that Coach Rodriguez interviewed for the South Carolina opening. He didn’t get it, so he’s back in Tucson, AZ. The Cats should have done better, they really should have. They got bit by the injury bug, and lost the heart and soul of the team in linebacker Scooby Wright, but still, it should have been better. This year they have a new Defensive coordinator, Marcel Yates, from Boise State, but they are not letting anyone know what type of defense they’re going to use. Also in spring training they mainly worked on fundamentals and had no spring game. Don’t know if it’s because they were avoiding the injury bug, or Rodriguez was just plain mad and wanted to make the spring practices down right miserable. Either way, they team better improve. QB Solomon needs to show that he still has some magic left, or he’s going to be out of a job. The defense is the biggest question mark. They’ve lost their star power player, can they come together as a team and stop people? They start the season off with BYU, certainly not a “gimmee”, so they had better buckle their chinstraps tie their cleats on real tight, or they’ll find themselves at the bottom of conference. (where I have picked them, actually)

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.