2016 Predictions Revisited

Flashback: Summer of 2016.

Colorado was coming off of a 4-9 (1-8) campaign in 2015, the program’s tenth consecutive losing season.

Mike MacIntyre’s overall record in his first three years at Colorado: 10-27.

CU’s five-year record in Pac-12 conference play: 5-40.

With that backdrop, it was not surprising to see the preseason magazines predict Colorado to finish last in the Pac-12 South. After all, the Buffs had finished in the basement every year since joining the league, and had won all of two conference games since Mike MacIntyre moved to Boulder from San Jose.

Still, when Buff fans are perturbed that Colorado is not getting much love from the 2017 preseason magazines, it may give some solace to look back at what was being said about CU … before the Buffs went from worst-to-first in the Pac-12 South, winning ten games (you also might get a grin or two checking out the predictions for Oregon and UCLA … before they stumbled to 4-8 campaigns).

Stassen compiles consensus from preseason magazines for the Pac-12 standings

From Stassen … Not a surprise, but Colorado is once again the consensus pick to finish last in the Pac-12 South. The Buffs are getting closer to 5th, or, better stated, the consensus is that Arizona is getting closer to the bottom.

There is no consensus as to the winner of the Pac-12 South, with USC and UCLA tied for first. In the Pac-12 North, Washington is the pick to unseat Stanford. Oregon, meanwhile, is picked to finish third this fall.

In the national race, Alabama is the choice to collect another national title, with Clemson and Oklahoma tied for second. Stanford and Washington were in a three-way tie for the No. 10 team in the nation (along with Baylor … pre-melt-down). USC was picked to be the No. 17 team in the country, with UCLA coming in at No. 19 and Oregon at No. 24.

Pacific 12

RankTeamTotal
Points
AthlonMcIllece
Sports
TSNLindyESPNPhil
Steele
North
1Washington8112211
2Stanford11231122
3Oregon17323333
4Washington State24444444
5California31565555
6Oregon State35656666
South
1tSouthern Cal9221112
1tUCLA9112221
3Utah20½34334
4Arizona State23½43445
5Arizona28½55553
6Colorado35½66666

Notes:

  • Phil Steele predicted a tie between Arizona State and Utah for 3rd-4th in the Pac-12 South.
  • Phil Steele predicted a tie between Arizona and Colorado for 5th-6th in the Pac-12 South.

Lindy’s Top 25 includes five teams from the Pac-12

1. Alabama … 2. Clemson … 3. Oklahoma … 4. Ohio State … 5. Baylor

6. Tennessee … 7. Michigan … 8. Florida State … 9. LSU

10. Stanford … Stanford is the most stable and trustworthy of the league contenders, but the balanced Pac-12 is the least likely of the Power-Five conferences to send a team to the College Football Playoff

11. Notre Dame … 12. Houston … 13. Ole Miss … 14. Louisville … 15. Iowa … 16. Oklahoma State

17. USC … We’ll trust that the Trojans have moved past all the coaching turmoil and a six-loss season in which they still managed to win the Pac-12 South

18. Georgia … 19. San Diego State … 20. TCU

21. Washington … No one has ever doubted Coach Pete’s coaching chops, and he has a chance to put together the Huskies’ best team and season since they won 11 games and went to the Rose Bowl under Rick Neuheisel in 2000

22. Michigan State

23. UCLA … The Bruins have the raw materials to be a perennial Top 25 team and needs to act like it. Beat USC and these gutty littles can take the South.

24. Oregon … The Ducks have the skill to thrive and win the North, but the safer course of action here is to put the Ducks’ D in prove-it mode.

25. North Carolina

The rest of the Pac-12:

26. Washington State

32. Utah

45. Arizona State

47. Arizona

64. California

71. Colorado

76. Oregon State

Athlon – The Verdict

2016 Projection: 4-8, 2-7 Pac-12

Colorado is making progress under Mike MacIntyre, but the pressure is building on the fourth-year coach after he’s recorded only two Pac-12 wins in three seasons. However, the Buffaloes could be on the verge of a breakthrough after losing five games by eight points or fewer last year. Taking the next step in the win column will require improvement on both sides of the ball, but the offense is a bigger concern after averaging only 24.6 points per game in 2015. MacIntyre is hoping staff changes improve an offensive line that gave up 40 sacks last season. Colorado’s first bowl game since 2007 is within reach, but the schedule – the Buffs play at Stanford and Oregon from the North – could be too much to overcome.

Rising Star … Wide receiver Kabion Ento is a junior college transfer who showed an ability to stretch the field in the spring, which should complement Shay Fields’ speed on the opposite side of the slot. Ento is expected to compete for a starting job.

Key Buffaloes 

– Sefo Liufau, QB … Few teams in the nation will have as much experience under center if Liufau is able to overcome his foot injury and play this fall.

– Chidobe Awuzie, CB … He can play any spot in the secondary and is the leader of the Buffs’ defense.

– Tedric Thompson, S … One of the most experienced safeties in the nation has recorded six interceptions over the past two seasons.

Sporting News Pac-12 rankings

Pac-12 North

No. 11 – Washington – It’s been sixteen years since Washington’s last conference championship and an additional nine years since the Huskies won their only national title. An entire generation might not believe that there was a time that Washington – not Stanford, Oregon, or USC – was the premier program out west. Since Washington’s 2000 Rose Bowl season, the Huskies have had five coaches. One coach went 1-10 in his final season. Another went 0-12. At one point, Washington went seven years without going to a bowl game.

The Huskies, however, appear to be on the verge of returning to relevance, both in the league and nationally. Washington returns 17 starters from a young team that made easy work of the lesser opponents in 2015 and held its own in most of its losses.

No. 12 – Stanford – The Cardinal finished 8-5 in 2014, and the clock on the program’s reign as a national power seemed to be ticking in 2015. Stanford’s momentum changed as quickly as Christian McCaffrey could flip a field. The Cardinal shook off a season-opening loss to Northwestern and rounded into form as a College Football Playoff contender. A two-point loss to Oregon on November 14th prevented Stanford from earning that coveted postseason spot, but Stanford often looked like one of the four best teams in the country.

This will be a top-25 team again, but the new quarterback will have to be a quick study against a very difficult schedule.

No. 24 – Oregon – The Ducks are one season removed from winning the Pac-12, playing for the national championship and producing a Heisman winner. And yet Oregon seems to be a something of a crossroads. The Ducks went 9-4 last season, the first time since 2007 the program didn’t win ten games or more. A collapse in the Alamo Bowl prevented the Ducks from getting to the 10-win plateau, but also highlighted Oregon’s problems. The Ducks couldn’t hold a 31-point halftime lead against TCU as the Horned Frogs scored at will, winning 47-41 in overtime.

Unless the defense – which ranked 117th in the nation last season – shows significant improvement, Oregon could lose more ground in the tough Pac-12 North.

No. 30 – Washington State

No. 49 – California

No. 90 – Oregon State

Pac-12 South

No. 15 – UCLA – Gone are the days when the Bruins should be satisfied with a decent bowl game. Jim Mora has won 37 games in his first four seasons as UCLA’s head coach. No other Bruins coach has won more than 29 games in his first four seasons. The Bruins have been ranked in the top 10 at least a week in each of the last three seasons, and reached the Pac-12 title game in the two seasons before that. UCLA has also been one of the more volatile teams in the country; it lost its final two games last season, by 19 to USC and by eight to 5-7 Nebraska in a bowl game.

Four consecutive top-20 recruiting classes – all in the top three in the Pac-12 – have closed the gap between UCLA and the rest of the league. It’s time for the Bruins to shine.

No. 23 – USC – Promoting Clay Helton from interim coach might not have been the splashy move some USC fans wanted, but his hire is a departure from Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian. Like Kiffin and Sarkisian, Helton is a former offensive coordinator with plenty of familiarity with the USC landscape. Unlike his two predecessors, Helton has no direct ties to the Pete Carroll era, and lacks their California swagger … though he may not need it.

USC is hoping Helton will create some stability … With a brutal schedule, Helton may quickly learn that being the full-time coach isn’t as forgiving as being the interim guy.

No. 32 – Utah

No. 45 – Arizona State

No. 50 – Arizona

No. 61 – Colorado

Associated Press preseason Top 25

The 2016 preseason AP Top 25 (first-place votes in parenthesis):

  1. Alabama (33)
  2. Clemson (16)
  3. Oklahoma (4)
  4. Florida State (5)
  5. LSU (1)
  6. Ohio State (1)
  7. Michigan (1)
  8. Stanford
  9. Tennessee
  10. Notre Dame
  11. Ole Miss
  12. Michigan State
  13. TCU
  14. Washington
  15. Houston
  16. UCLA
  17. Iowa
  18. Georgia
  19. Louisville
  20. USC
  21. Oklahoma State
  22. North Carolina
  23. Baylor
  24. Oregon
  25. Florida

Others receiving votes: Miami, Texas A&M, Utah, Washington State, Boise State, San Diego State, Wisconsin, Auburn, Pittsburgh, Arkansas, Texas,Nebraska, Navy, Northwestern, Western Kentucky, South Florida, Toledo

The Final 2016 Associated Press poll

1Clemson (60)150014-13
2Alabama144014-11
3Southern California129210-39
4Washington127712-24
5Oklahoma125211-27
6Ohio State124011-22
7Penn State113011-35
8Florida State110510-310
9Wisconsin103211-38
10Michigan100110-36
11Oklahoma State92010-313
12Stanford73010-316
13LSU6518-419
14Florida6409-420
15Western Michigan61913-112
16Virginia Tech61010-418
17Colorado58510-411
18West Virginia36810-314
19South Florida35811-225
20Miami (Fla.)3389-4NR
21Louisville2779-415
22Tennessee2539-4NR
23Utah2229-4NR
24Auburn2068-517
25San Diego State11311-3NR

Others receiving votes: Kansas St. 83, Georgia Tech 47, Nebraska 38, W. Kentucky 32, Air Force 30, Pittsburgh 21, Boise St. 19, Iowa 14, Minnesota 12, Tulsa 10, BYU 9, Temple 8, Houston 8, North Carolina 8, Navy 1, Washington St. 1.

 

 

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2 Replies to “2016 Predictions Revisited”

  1. So this is based on the only practice I have been able to see but I believe you should bet the over. Here are my reasons for optimism:

    1. The defense will be better than expected. Much better than feared. I was a big time fan of Leavitt and I was really fearful of what his loss will do. After seeing the defense in the fall scrimmage I believe the drop off will be less. It will be hard to see if the new coaches will be able to match Leavitt’s ability t game plan and adjust but from an emotional perspective, from a training perspective I think this group is in good shape.
    2. Losing two corners like we did is going to hurt. I think that we will see a drop off there a bit but I expect the safety play to average out a little bit better.
    3. I think the d line and linebacker play is going to stay roughly the same.
    4. If Montez or Lindsey can replace Sefo’s leadership then I agree that the O is going to be in good shape.
    5. Montez definitely has speed that Sefo never did. If a play breaks down Montez will be able to pick up some big chunks.
    5. Still worried about the kicker position. Can it get any worse? Probably not so I will cross my fingers. I will say Chris Graham looked better than the Aussie.
    6. One more thing on the defense. They did a really good job running people in and out during the scrimmage and adjusting to formations. I am not sure how scripted the scrimmage was and if the substitutions were helped but they were constantly running people in and out and getting people in position. I will also say that the d players understand the defense and are all talking to each other constantly and getting each other into position.

    The PAC 12 will not be as weak as it was last year so 10 wins may be out but I would bet the over at 8-9 and if things gel the USC game could be real fun here in our house.

  2. Well ain’t the “flashback world” fun? Hey a lot of Buff fans right there with the experts don’t ya know.

    So this year most of those “people types” have them projected somewhere in the middle and some even saying the Buffs are gonna make a bowl

    Meet or exceed real or perceived “anal-ysts” expectations and your stock goes up. Even if just a little.

    But be less than the “anal-ysts” projections and you headed down hard.

    Hey I think the current projections are fair. Also think they are totally beatable and this is the situation you want to be in at the start of the season.

    They meet em and I am happy. They beat em and no question THE RISE IS REAL

    They don’t get to that middle spot then Fairy tales don’t come true

    Buffs

    Note: The 4 million dollar man and unanimous coach of the year and his staff gotta exceed the “anal-ysts” expectations.

    Note 2: Love the Buffs and expecting The Rise to Continue

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