6 Preseason Pac-12 Takes Compared with the Midseason Reality – By Lee Wakefield

Prior to the season commencing, I did my preseason preview for the Pac-12 and in that were preview were many takes, some good and some bad. Here at the Full 10 Yards, we don’t delete tweets of bad takes, we’re accountable. We look at ourselves and we can self assess, we can look at ourselves in the mirror and we can sleep soundly at night because we can point the finger at ourselves and say, “man, you are an IDIOT”.

Not all the time though… you know, we do get some stuff right.

A couple of weeks ago, Tom took up this exercise and reviewed his takes for the SEC, an article you can get here, and I thought I’d do the same. Today I’m warming you guys up for the day of college football including the Red River Rivalry and next week I’ll be doing the same exercise for my Big XII preview (keep your eyes peeled for that one).

Anyway, here goes.

Take 1 – The conference will beat itself up 

I’ll give myself an easy layup to begin with, ease myself in.

Everybody knows the Pac-12 is probably the most evenly matched conference in the whole of college football. Everybody can and does beat everybody else.

This was an easy prediction to make and it’s certainly come true. I have already been on the podcast a couple of times this season, bemoaning the chances of a Pac-12 representative in the College Football Playoff since everyone keeps dropping silly games. Arizona lost their opener to Hawai’i, Utah lost to USC, Washington have already lost to California and Stanford, Cal have then lost to Oregon… Oregon have so far looked the strongest team – I originally lamented their loss to Auburn in week 1 but they’ve been strong ever since and I feel like having 1 loss may not be terminal depending on results elsewhere – However, they play Washington next Saturday and wouldn’t it just be the most Pac-12 thing is the Huskies won?

Take score – 9/10

Take 2 – Oregon can better their 9-4 record from last year

Again, not the most ballsy of takes in this one. Oregon do, for the moment, perhaps, don’t say it too much or too loudly or otherwise it’ll crumble, maybe look like they are the best team in the conference at the moment and by virtue of last night’s excellent win against Colorado, have a 5-1 overall record and are 3-0 in conference play.

Justin Herbert is playing well and is actually flying  under the radar a little bit considering he’s a consensus top 2 QB in this draft class. One of the question marks I had was whether Herbert would cope without Dillon Mitchell, who was his go-to guy and the Ducks’ leading receiver a year ago.

In my view, this has been the whole team adapting as opposed to one receiver completely stepping into the void.

Tight end, Jacob Breeland is currently the team’s leading receiver and has certainly made a leap from last year. Johnny Johnson III has also taken steps forward, whilst Jaylon Redd is at a similar statistical level to that of last year.

Although, as I said, this has been a team effort and we can certainly say that the running game has gotten better – CJ Verdell and Travis Dye are having better years and look better players than 2018 but the largest leap forward in that the Oregon defense has been playing at a very high level.

Aside from Auburn, the Ducks have held every opponent to single figures in scoring and have only conceded one touchdown since the opener – in the first quarter vs. Cal.

Pretty confident that this team is finishing better than 9-4.

Take score – 9/10

Take 3 – Amon-Ra St. Brown is one to watch

I’ll call this one a draw.

I thought that St. Brown was a candidate to really make a big leap in production in 2019 after a solid freshman season where he took 60 balls and turned them into 750 yards and 3 touchdowns.

St. Brown already has 3 TD’s this year for the Trojans but his yards to catch is down and he’s not eve on pace to match his numbers from last year.

However, when watching the tape, you can still see the talent is there but I feel the reasons for the dampened season are the injuries both to himself (he’s currently dealing with foot and shoulder ailments) and to QB, J.T Daniels who is done for the year.

St. Brown is still a Sophomore so he’s still got time to rectify a down year but I just called this one a little early.

Take score 6/10

Take 4 – Washington State drop down a notch

I’ve nailed this one so far. Washington State lost the most famous mustache in the NFL and also their star left tackle, Andre Dillard and these were two key losses that I didn’t feel they could overcome.

The Cougars have only beaten New Mexico State, Northern Colorado and Houston so far this season and have conference losses against UCLA and Utah which give them a mountain to climb in the Pac-12 and it doesn’t get any easier this weekend as they come up against #18, Arizona State today.

Take score – 8/10

Take 5 – Arizona is going to get back to running all over everybody 

Preseason, I really wanted Khalil Tate and the Wildcats to get back to their 2017 model of absolutely steamrollering everybody in sight with their running game, headed up by Tate and running back, J.J Taylor.

Week 1 vs. Hawai’i gave me some hope on this score; Tate lead the team with 108 yards; Taylor had 67 yards and a score; it’s a shame the Wildcats lost – their only loss to date but it certainly whetted my appetite in terms of seeing that running game return.

However since then, Arizona have beaten Northern Arizona handily – with Taylor turning in a good performance but Tate didn’t really run the ball (only rushing twice for 1 yard, although he did score). Next versus Texas Tech, Tate ran the ball well but Taylor didn’t and since then Tate has missed the game against UCLA and turned in a performance where he actually threw the ball exceptionally against Colorado (31/41, 404 yards, 3 TD’s, 1 INT (what did they say about not wanting Tate to try to be Payton Manning)) and in neither of those games has J.J Taylor played especially well.

So all in all, as good as Arizona have been as a team, they aren’t exactly going about it in the way I’d hoped or imagined.

Take score – 5/10

Take 6 – UCLA and Oregon State are going to be bringing up the rear

I’ll have to call this one a draw too I think.

The Chip Kelly experience is one that some UCLA fans want to be over and to never have to recall again – It’s simply not worked for Chip in L.A… What could have been with Scott Frost?

Dorian Thompson-Robinson isn’t as far along with his development as was first imagined and he’s also been pretty disappointing…

I know the Bruins have had their injury issues but then again, this is football, who hasn’t?

So I’d say I called this one correctly – UCLA are at the foot of the Pac-12 South and have the worst record in the entire conference at 1-5, oddly their only win being that insane game against Washington State which finished 63-67 (not a typo).

On the flip-side, Oregon State, the team who I did have pegged as potentially the worst in the conference have been better than expected. I’m not suggesting they’re pulling up any trees by any stretch of the imagination but they’re 2-3 having beaten UCLA and Cal Poly and they’ve also given Stanford a run for their money.

This is of course being fueled by Isaiah Hodgins, who I wrote about earlier this week and it will continue to be fueled by Isaiah Hodgins because if we’re completely honest, the defense isn’t up to much and he doesn’t have much help elsewhere.

I’m not saying these Beavers are great but I reckon they’ll sting another team or two before the year is out.

Take score – 6/10


Follow Full 10 Yards College Football on Twitter @Full10YardsCFB

Follow Lee on Twitter @Wakefield90

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