Preseason Magazines

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Preseason Magazines

 

July 30th

College Football News: CU not a safe bet to go bowling

From the College Football News … he win totals are out from the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. The projected totals are based on regular season games only, and not conference championships or bowl appearances.

The rankings are based on projected safest and most confident investment calls and predictions to the least confident.

1. USC 8.5

CFN Preseason Win Projection: 10
The Trojans will be undervalued because of the losses in the offensive backfield. The defense will take care of things on the way to a ten-win run, but that includes a projected win at Texas.

2. Arizona 7.5

CFN Preseason Win Projection: 9
The Wildcats have to own Tucson, but they’ll have too much explosion not to blow past the 7.5.

8. Colorado 5

CFN Preseason Win Projection: 5
It’ll all come down to the finishing kick against Utah and at Cal to go over. The Buffs will lose both.

12. Arizona State 4.5

CFN Preseason Win Projection: 4
Yuck … stay away from this one. The Sun Devils have road games at San Diego State, Washington, USC, Oregon and Arizona, and home dates against Michigan State, Stanford, Utah and UCLA. There’s too much risk with the 4.5.

Read full list of projections here

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July 25th

Both CU kickers earn national award “Watch List” status

From Lou Groza Award … Looking to become just the second repeat winner in history, Utah senior Matt Gay headlines the thirty-player Watch List for the 2018 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, as announced by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.

Gay won the 2017 Groza with 30 field goals, just the fourth time a kicker has reached the total in FBS history. If he defends his title, he would join former Florida State kicker Sebastian Janikowski (1998 & 1999) as the only players to win multiple Grozas. He is joined on the Watch List by Utah State junior Dominik Eberle, who was a finalist for the award, as well as 14 other past semifinalists.

Among the players on the Watch List are all nine returning FBS kickers who made at least 19 field goals last season: Gay (30), Toledo senior Jameson Vest (25), Oklahoma State junior Matt Ammendola (23), Stanford junior Jet Toner (21), Georgia junior Rodrigo Blankenship (20), Baylor junior Connor Martin (20), UTSA sophomore Jared Sackett (19), Michigan junior Quinn Nordin (19), and Arizona State sophomore Brandon Ruiz (19).

Among returning kickers who attempted double-digit field goals, only 10 connected at a rate of at least 85%, and all of them found their way to the Watch List: Wisconsin senior Rafael Gaglianone (88.9), Gay (88.2), Missouri junior Tucker McCann (88.2), Blankenship (87.0), Sackett (86.4), Florida State junior Ricky Aguayo (85.7), Texas A&M senior Daniel LaCamera (85.7), Mississippi State sophomore Jace Christmann (85.7), Louisville junior Blanton Creque (85.0), and Southern Miss senior Parker Shaunfield (85.0).

Combining accuracy and distance, the Watch List also encompasses the only 14 returning kickers who made more than 10 field goals from at least 30 yards out while still connecting at a 75% clip: Gay (18, 88.2), Ammendola (15, 79.3), Colorado sophomore James Stefanou (15, 77.3), Toner (14, 80.8), Aguayo (13, 85.7), Creque (13, 85.0), Martin (13, 83.3), Vest (13, 83.3), Nordin (13, 79.2), Blankenship (12, 87.0), Ohio junior Louie Zervos (12, 83.3), Georgia Southern junior Tyler Bass (12, 78.9), UCLA junior JJ Molson (11, 81.0), and Oklahoma senior Austin Seibert (11, 81.0).

From the Ray Guy Award … The Augusta Sports Council has announced the pre-season watch list for the 2018 Ray Guy Award, which honors the nation’s top collegiate punter.

The 27 candidates on the list incorporate a broad spectrum of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) punters. 2017 finalist Mitch Wishnowsky (Utah) – has returned to the list. Returning semifinalists include Cody Grace (Arkansas State), Corey Fatony (Mizzou) and Drue Chrisman (Ohio State).

The number of eligible candidates for this season will grow when the award opens nominations next week. The complete list of candidates will be released on November 5th. In mid-November, the Ray Guy Award committee will meet to select the ten semifinalists, who will be announced on November 15th. A national body of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) sports information directors, media representatives and previous Ray Guy Award winners will then vote for the top three finalists to be announced on November 20th. After the finalists are named, the voting body will cast ballots again to select the nation’s top punter. The winner will be announced live during The Home Depot College Football Awards airing on ESPN on Thursday, December 6, 2018.

2018 Ray Guy Award Pre-Season Watch List:

  • Adam Nunez, TCU
  • A.J. Cole,III, NC State
  • Alex Kinney, Colorado
  • Anthony Lotti, Wisconsin
  • Austin Seibert, Oklahoma
  • Bailey Cate, Old Dominion
  • Blake Gillikin, Penn State
  • Caleb Lightbourn, Nebraska
  • Cody Grace, Arkansas State
  • Corey Fatony, Missouri
  • Corliss Waitman, South Alabama
  • Dane Roy, Houston
  • Derek Adams, Kent State
  • Drue Chrisman, Ohio State
  • Jake Bailey, Stanford
  • Jake Hartbarger, Michigan State
  • Jamie Sackville, SMU
  • Joe Schopper, Purdue
  • Logan Tyler, Florida State
  • Matt Bonadies, Middle Tennessee
  • Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah
  • Oscar Bradburn, Virginia Tech
  • Pressley Harvin III, Georgia Tech
  • Ryan Stonehouse, Colorado State
  • Stefan Flintoft, UCLA
  • Sterling Hofrichter, Syracuse
  • Wade Lees, Maryland

About the Ray Guy Award
The Augusta Sports Council created the Ray Guy Award in 2000 to honor Thomson, Georgia native and College and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Ray Guy. Among the statistics used to identify the winner is net punting average, number of times punt is downed or kicked out of bounds inside the opponents 20-yard line, total yardage punted, average returned yardage and percentage of punts not returned with particular emphasis placed on net punting average. The winner must display team leadership, self-discipline and have a positive impact on the team’s success.

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July 24th

Washington quarterback Jake Browning’s task: “Fight the Boredom”

From The Athletic … The​ words are right​ there on​ the board, or at​ least Jake Browning​ says​ they are, as​ he is​ sitting​​ in the Washington quarterbacks meeting room and describing them over the phone. Fight the Boredom.

It’s the pet mantra of his position coach, Bush Hamdan, one of those credos repeated constantly to affect every conscious and subconscious action of those who hear it. Essentially, it means to take what’s there for you, as reflexive and unexciting as it might feel, because that is regularly the best way forward. It is one of Browning’s guiding principles as he approaches the final season of his college football career. It is also decent advice for anyone watching it.

He will not play quarterback for Washington forever. It might seem like this is the case. It is not. He is only months away from giving way to a well-versed backup or a big-name transfer or a hotshot youngster. If there is a sneering undercurrent of conjecture regarding how much better the Huskies could be if this happened sooner than later, that sounds a lot like people being bored and taking stuff for granted, permitting shiny things to captivate them beyond rational thought. They lose sight of the most reliable way to get what they want. They don’t understand that Browning playing now is arguably the best way to prepare for him being gone.

Continue reading story here

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July 22nd

Ahtlon: Why Washington will or will not make the College Football Playoffs

From Athlon … Off the pristine shore of Lake Washington sits Husky Stadium, the home of a powerhouse Don James built in his tenure as Washington Huskies football coach. Dubbed Dawgfather, James oversaw an unparalleled era of prosperity from 1975-92, the culmination of which came with a national championship in 1991.

If the late Don James was Washington football’s Vito Corleone, then Chris Petersenis fast establishing himself as Michael. The Huskies’ empire seems to be on the return in Petersen’s fifth season at the helm, coming off two consecutive double-digit-win seasons. That has not happened in Montlake since James’ 1990 and ’91 campaigns.

The 2016 campaign marked an especially significant milestone, with Washington winning its first conference championship since the 2000 season, and reaching the College Football Playoff. A return trip to football’s final four eluded the Huskies in 2017, but this season’s team has the chops to get back there. Washington will go to the mattresses this season with arguably the most talented team in Petersen’s tenure.

Continue reading story here

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July 18th

Jon Wilner posts his Pac-12 picks

From the San Jose Mercury News … Ballots for the 2018 preseason media poll are due this week … Thursday, actually … and in the ongoing push for full disclosure, my submission is available below for approval or, um, ridicule.

(The official poll will be released July 25, in connection with Pac-12 media day in Los Angeles.)

Key point on the poll in general:

Only once, in 2011, the first year of the 12-team conference, has the media correctly picked both division winners (Oregon and USC).

As for my ballot, please know that I strongly considered experience at quarterback and on the lines of scrimmage, because stretch-run survival, especially on the road, starts up front.

I also paid close attention to the conference schedule in general and the crossover rotation in particular. It very well could impact the order-of-finish, particularly in the South.

The disparity between the best and worst teams appears to be far greater in the North, where Washington, Oregon and Stanford look to be markedly better than Washington State and, especially, Oregon State (with Cal in the middle).

Pac-12 North:

1. Washington

2. Oregon

3. Stanford

4. Cal

5. Washington State

6. Oregon State

Pac-12 South:

1. USC

2. Arizona

3. Utah

4. UCLA

5. Colorado: Will we see the Buffs of 2016 (upside surprise) or the Buffs of 2017 (major disappointment)? The rotation sure helps — they miss Stanford and Oregon — and the roster turnover just might be a positive.

6. Arizona State

Phil Steele’s CU projections

From Phil Steele … The Buffs had 23 scholarship seniors in 2016 and were the most experienced team in the Pac-12 (eight losses in conference play in 2014-’15 by seven or less). They went from 2-25 in conference play in MacIntyre’s first three years to Pac-12 South champions and 10-4. Naturally the losses were heavy last year (No. 88 on experience chart), and they rated a -7.0 on my SMI with most of their winnable Pac-12 games coming on the road. They did come up just one game short of a bowl, but dropped back to the Pac-12 South basement at 2-7 in Pac-12 play. They went from a +108 yards/game to -87 yards/game. They year they go from 12 returning starters to ten, but I feel they are stronger team despite being No. 107 on my experience chart. Colorado does avoid Stanford and Oregon in cross-over games. With nearly all of my power ratings calling for a bowl (nine different sets), the Buffaloes earn a spot on my Most Improved List in 2018.

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July 15th

Bruce Feldman’s 2018 “Freaks List” includes two Buffs

From Bruce Feldman at The Athletic … Over​ the past 15​ years or​ so, we’ve tried to​ spotlight the biggest​ Freaks​ in college football​ around this​ time​​ of year. The idea is to showcase guys who generate buzz inside their programs by displaying the type of rare physical abilities that wow even those folks who are used to observing gifted athletes every day.

Last year’s No. 1 guy was Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. The year before that it was Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett. One year it was track star-turned-kick-blocking-standout D-lineman Margus Hunt of SMU.

My Freaks list is compiled with the help of many coaches, players and sports information directors around the nation. This year, we’re doing a top 50 ranking. The list:

5. Porter Gustin, USC, OLB-DE

8. Jaelan Phillips, UCLA, DE-OLB

18. Bryce Love, Stanford, RB

19. Renell Wren, Arizona State, DL

22. Davion Taylor, Colorado, LB

The Buffaloes amped up the speed of their defense quite a bit when they landed Taylor over the winter, the No. 1 outside linebacker junior college prospect (and No. 8 overall JUCO prospect) in the country. He completed spring football in February and March and went right to the track, where he raced in the 100 and 200 meters and was on the 4×100 relay team. The 6-3, 220-pounder was CU’s fastest sprinter, and he finished sixth in the 100 at the Pac-12 Championships. His top 100 time this year was 10.51 in the prelims of the Pac-12s.

A Mississippi native, Taylor did not play football in high school because of religious beliefs. His mother is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that is distinguished by its observance of Saturday, and he did not participate in sporting activities from Friday night until Sunday morning. (He did compete in basketball and track.) After high school, he talked it over with his mother and got her blessing to play sports on Saturdays.

32. Drew Lewis, Colorado, LB

The Buffaloes’ leading tackler last season (119), the 6-2, 225-pound senior tied for the Colorado team best in the power clean with 355. He squats 515. Lewis also broad jumped 10-6 and posted a 1.50 time in the 10-yard sprint (second best among the Buffs). He also comes from quite the football pipeline. His father, Will, played cornerback in the NFL and CFL and is a former director of pro scouting for the Kansas City Chiefs. His uncle, Tim, was a standout defensive back at Pittsburgh who was a first-round pick of the Green Bay Packers. His older brother, Ryan, played cornerback at Pitt. He also has three cousins who played football at Pitt, including former NFL defensive back-turned-front-office-exec-turned-ESPN analyst Louis Riddick.

 

Phil Steele shows some love for the Buffs

From Phil Steele …

Pac-12 North:

1. Washington … I think they have the talent and schedule to run the table and get back to the playoffs.

2. Stanford … While a Pac-12 title is achievable for 2018, a trip to the playoffs is also within reach

3. Oregon … Hosting both Stanford and Washington, Oregon is a legitimate Pac-12 title contender

4. California … This group is more talented with some of 2017’s returning starters losing their jobs.

5. Washington State … The Cougars have plenty of personnel questions, but are 16-4 at home the last three years and have five Pac-12 home games.

6. Oregon State … There is some talent on hand, but the team is not deep, and there are more questions than answers.

Pac-12 South: 

1. USC … USC has one of the nation’s best defenses  and avoids both Washington and Oregon out of the North. USC is my pick to win the South, and is my No. 6 Surprise team.

2. Utah … With the South wide open, they have a great shot at their first-ever Pac-12 title game.

3. Arizona … The Wildcats are the only original Pac-10 team that has not been to the Rose Bowl, but with a wide open Pac-12 South, Arizona has the tools to make a run at it in 2018.

4. Colorado … I was amazed at what coach Mike MacIntyre did at San Jose State. Following his success with the Spartans, he took a Buffs team pegged for last in the South to the Pac-12 title game in 2016. Last year was a rebuilding year, but CU was one win away from a bowl. This year they are just #107 on my experience chart, but I like the talent. The Buffs make my Most Improved list and get back to a bowl, so don’t discount their South chances.

5. Arizona State … ASU draws the top three teams out of the North, and has my 7th-toughest schedule overall.

6. UCLA … Chip Kelly is changing the schemes on both sides of the ball, and has just my #118 team in terms of experience.

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July 13th

The Sporting News picks the Pac-12

From The Sporting News

Pac-12 North predictions

1. Washington
2. Stanford
3. Oregon
4. Washington State
5. Cal
6. Oregon State

We’ve flip-flopped on this all season, and we might change our mind again given the similarities between Washington and Stanford. The Huskies, however, are given the slight edge with the experience at quarterback in Jake Browning and a defense that should be a top-10 unit nationally. The game is at Husky Stadium, too.

Pac-12 North X-Factor: Stanford’s September slate

Stanford plays San Diego State, USC and UC-Davis at home before road trips to Oregon and Notre Dame. All that happens before October. You hate the pressure on the quarterback, but K.J. Costello could be the difference-maker during that early-season grind. Love will get his, but these games will determine where Stanford ends up in the Pac-12 North.

Pac-12 South predictions

1. USC
2. Utah
3. Arizona
4. UCLA
5. Colorado
6. Arizona State

The Trojans must replace quarterback Sam Darnold, but Clay Helton has remodeled the program into the most consistent winner within the division. The quarterback battle between Matt Fink and JT Daniels at that position will make headlines, and the September schedule is brutal — but we like USC to defend as Pac-12 South champs.

Pac-12 South X-Factor: UCLA’s QBs

We know Kelly’s system works at the college level. We have no idea who the quarterback will be. Devon Modster, Matt Lynch and Austin Burton took the snaps in the spring game, but freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Michigan transfer Wilton Speight will be in the mix. That will be the key in a first year that should have ups and downs.

Pac-12 champion: Washington

The Huskies should challenge for the College Football Playoff for the second time in three seasons, but there’s a lot riding on the opener against Auburn in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. A win there would erase the memory of last year’s bowl season and put Chris Petersen in position to lead another championship run.

Read full story here

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July 12th

Easiest – and most difficult – Pac-12 schedules

From fbschedules.com … Scheduling inequality in the FBS ranks of college football exists at every level: nationally, across the Power 5/Group of 5 leagues and even within conferences and divisions.

So, while two programs might play in the same league, they won’t necessarily have the same level of difficulty to win that league.

The biggest variables are inconsistencies in non-conference scheduling (where some programs opt to exceed standards, while others ignore them), and in cross-division play, where one program can be playing Georgia, while the other gets Vanderbilt.

Utilizing the schedule strength rankings in Phil Steele’s 2018 College Football Preview magazine, here’s the worst and best-case scenario in each of the ten FBS conferences.

PAC-12

Most Difficult: UCLA (No. 1 in the FBS)

Easiest: Oregon (No. 70 in the FBS)

Gap in Difficulty: 69

The owner of the toughest schedule in the FBS in 2018, UCLA’s challenges start early, with a road trip to top-ranked Oklahoma in Week 2. Though the remainder of its non-conference slate isn’t ridiculous (Cincinnati and Fresno State), its cross-division schedule is. The Bruins draw Washington, Stanford, Oregon and Cal from the North – also the top four teams in the division. Yikes.

Compare that to Oregon, who, like Oklahoma State, is among the only six Power programs that won’t play a Power opponent in non-conference play in 2018. The Ducks have Bowling Green, FCS Portland State and San Jose State slated in non-Pac-12 play. From the South division, they get Arizona, UCLA, Utah and Arizona State. That means they avoid top-dog USC altogether.

Read full list here

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July 11th

CU preview: “The Gekko Files: Previewing Colorado Buffaloes Football in 2018”

… Overall, a pretty fair analyis, with good detail. A worthwhile read … 

From uwdawgpound.com

If it feels like Colorado is completely rebuilding on offense in 2018 it is because they are. The graduation of their top three receivers, their four-year starting running back, and the entire left side of their offensive line have co-offensive coordinators Darrin Chiaverini and Klayton Adams scrambling to identify new contributors to fill out the offense.

Montez is a good starting point. He remains a great-looking prospect with quick feet and a strong arm. At 6’5, 225, he’s got all of the physical tools that a college coach could wish for and that an NFL scout would drool for.

But those tools have to translate into production starting now …

… While not quite as onerous as the offensive rebuild, Colorado has a lot of work ahead of them in restocking the defense.

That work will have to build around the nucleus of the Colorado linebacking unit. Former Husky Drew Lewis emerged last season as the leader of the Buff D after posting a strong season from his ILB position. He led the team in tackles (94), tackles for loss (6), and tackles success rate. He is joined on the inside by another quality senior in Rick Gamboa (90 tackles). Together, they form a very quick and sure-tackling inside duo who racked up a ridiculous 1700+ total defensive snaps a year ago. If they ever need a breather, young Nate Landman is a star in the making ready to take on some of the burden.

… You may get the sense that I’m not too bullish on Colorado this year. That is probably true. However, I must admit that I’m operating a bit on intuition here given the relative unfamiliarity I have with all of the players that will be contributors. The good news is that there are options and depth at most positions. The bad news is that almost all of it is inexperienced.

I’m a bit more optimistic about the offense than the defense. The key will be big plays. The inconsistency of the line and the inexperience of the rushing attack will make it hard for Colorado to operate as a highly efficient offense. They are going to need Montez and Winfree to become one of the premier big-play combos in the league if they are going to put points on the board.

… The schedule isn’t brutal, but it’s not all that helpful either. The out-of-conference features two road contests (@ Colorado State, @ Nebraska) to start. The in-conference is front-loaded with their hardest contests coming in their first four games. That stretch includes both LA schools and a road trip to UW. If they can come out of the first half of the season with three wins out of their first seven, they will have a shot at getting bowl-eligible.

The way things are lining up for Colorado, that might be the best they can hope for. But, hey, nobody saw Colorado coming the last time. If MacIntyre is as good at stocking up and waiting for talent to develop as we think he is, they may surprise again. If not, well…we might be bearing witness to the end of the Mac Attack era in Boulder.

Read full story here

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July 7th

Phil Steele names Colorado among “most improved teams in 2018”

Phil Steele has listed CU on his list of “Most Improved Teams in 2018”:

“The Buffs were not far from a bowl last year at 5-7 with three and four point losses. I have great respect for coach MacIntyre and I feel he will get the most out of this squad. Quarterback Steven Montez will be much improved. Despite losing their top three wide receivers, I still rate them in my top receiving units. The defense goes from three returning starters to six, and both the linebackers and defensive backs are in my top units. The Buffs also have my No. 13 special team (overall ranking).” – Phil Steele on CU Football in 2018

Colorado was ranked behind Florida, Utah State and North Carolina as the top four teams on Steele’s list.

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Oregonian – Ten things to know about Colorado

From the Oregonian

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July 3rd

College Football News – CU’s bowl fate comes down to UCLA game

From the College Football News

PAC-12 SOUTH

1. USC
2. Arizona
3. Utah
4. UCLA
T5. Arizona State
T5. Colorado

– Schedules are a tough, tough beat. That’s why these are different than the Pac-12 Preseason Team Rankings. Arizona gets a not-that-bad non-conference slate, and Arizona State faces Michigan State and has to go to San Diego State. And go to Washington, and go to USC, and Oregon … and Arizona. There’s your differences for two new head coaches.

– Utah should be a key power player, getting Washington, USC, Arizona and Oregon at home. Win three of those four, and the Utes might finally get to the Pac-12 Championship.

– Chip Kelly and UCLA will need to fight and claw to six wins and a bowl game. The winner of the Bruins’ date at Colorado will likely get the 13th game, and the loser should end up with a losing campaign.

2018 Colorado Football Schedule

2018 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2018 Preseason Pac-12 Prediction: 3-6
– Preview 2018: Get It Back Fast, Or Else

Aug. 31 at Colorado State (in Denver) W
Sept. 8 at Nebraska L
Sept. 15 New Hampshire W
Sept. 22 OPEN DATE
Sept. 28 UCLA L
Oct. 6 Arizona State W
Oct. 13 at USC L
Oct. 20 at Washington L
Oct. 27 Oregon State W
Nov. 2 at Arizona L
Nov. 10 Washington State W
Nov. 17 Utah L
Nov. 24 at California L

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June 27th

Stewart Mandel on CU and Mike MacIntyre: “I’d expect Colorado to return the postseason either this year or next”

From The Athletic

What are your thoughts on Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre? Buffs fans seem to be somewhat divided on him. It was a steady rise to 10 wins in 2016, but it all came crashing down last year when the Buffs failed to make a bowl. Some like to give credit to defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt for 2016 and blame his departure for the underwhelming showing in 2017. If MacIntyre can string together a couple of solid bowl appearances, is he someone that the SEC would be interested in? 

Andrew, Los Angeles

I had a feeling Colorado would return to earth last season. Not because I thought the Buffs’ remarkable run to the Pac-12 title game the year before was fluky — it most certainly wasn’t — but because it was built so heavily on the backs of a bunch of seniors. CU’s top-20 defense in 2016 relied on eight senior starters, many of them three- and four-year starters, half of them eventual NFL Draft picks. MacIntyre was unavoidably going to have some rebuilding to do the next season, and then losing his renowned DC on top of that certainly did not help matters.

The Buffs weren’t particularly great at anything last season and wound up reverting from 8-1 in the Pac-12 one year to 2-7 the next. It was a pretty sizeable step backward. Heck, the only part of their season I even remember was their unwitting role on the wrong side of Arizona QB Khalil Tate’s coming-out party.

Having seen MacIntyre pull of miraculous turnarounds now at both San Jose State and Colorado, it would be foolish to assume that one great year was the last we’ll see of the Buffs. It’s not like he’s starting from complete scratch this time. For one thing, QB Steven Montez has 15 career starts under his belt and has thrown for nearly 4,000 yards. Linebackers Rick Gamboa and Drew Lewis and safety Evan Worthington have a lot of experience, too.

This is also team trying to replace the school’s No. 2 all-time rusher, Phillip Lindsay, and its top three receivers. On paper, there aren’t necessarily obvious reasons why this Buffs squad will be better. But MacIntyre has been busy plugging holes. He’s added seven JUCO transfers since December, with several of them — DE Mustafa Johnson, OLB Davion Taylor, S Aaron Maddox and CB Delrick Abrams — expected to compete for starting jobs on the defense. Plus, Virginia Tech grand transfer Travon McMillian could be Lindsay’s replacement at running back.

I’d expect Colorado to return the postseason either this year or next and reaffirm that MacIntyre does indeed know a thing or two about coaching. But it may take another nine- or 10-win type season for him to garner “SEC interest.”

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June 25th

Athlon rates the nation’s 130 coaches

From Athlon.com … Ranking all 130 college football head coaches is an impossible task. However, as Athlon Sports has done for each of the last seven seasons leading up to the start of the upcoming year, we set out to sort out every FBS head coach from No. 1 to the bottom.

And as expected, for the seventh straight year, Alabama’s Nick Saban takes the top spot. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney are next, followed by Washington’s Chris Petersen and TCU’s Gary Patterson to round out the top five.

When evaluating and ranking all 130 coaches, we established a simple criteria: Everything is considered. This is not simply a list of coaches ranked by accomplishment or wins. While those aspects are important, it doesn’t provide a complete picture of how successful coaches are. Winning 10 games at Alabama is different than winning 10 games at Kentucky. Also, every program has a different amount of resources available. Hierarchy in college football also plays a vital role in how successful programs are. It’s always easier for programs with more built-in advantages to contend for a national title on a more consistent basis.

Success with any college football team starts with coaching. Even if a program doesn’t have the resources of the nation’s elite jobs, a good coach can elevate a program into national title contention. However, similar to any position on the field, statistics may not tell the full story when judging a coaching tenure.

The Pac-12 …

105. Jonathan Smith, Oregon State

104. Herm Edwards, Arizona State

85. Mike Bobo, Colorado State

80. Mario Cristobal, Oregon

75. Justin Wilcox, California

57. Mike MacIntyre, Colorado

A year after winning the Pac-12 South, Colorado (as expected) took a step back in the win column. The Buffaloes finished 5-7 overall, just missing out on a bowl game due to two losses by four points or less. The five-win season dropped MacIntyre’s overall record to 25-38 overall in Boulder. While MacIntyre has just one bowl trip in five years, the program has made progress under his watch and should improve off last season’s record. Prior to Colorado, MacIntyre spent three years as San Jose State’s head coach. The Spartans went 6-19 in his first two seasons before showing marked progress in Year 3, finishing 10-2 in the regular season. He also has stops on his resume as an assistant from Duke, Ole Miss, Temple and in the NFL with the Cowboys and Jets.

42. Kevin Sumlin, Arizona

38. Clay Helton, USC

31. Mike Leach, Washington State

23. Scott Frost, Nebraska

19. Kyle Whittingham, Utah

12. Chip Kelly, UCLA

11. David Shaw, Stanford

4. Chris Petersen, Washington

Read full story here

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The Athletic: USC now has the depth on defense to make a title run

From The Athletic … With five new coaches in the Pac-12 — some bringing obvious offensive identities (cough, Chip Kelly) and others arriving as slight unknowns (Herm Edwards, anybody?) — USC coach Clay Helton went into this spring knowing that building depth on defense was going to be crucial as the Trojans seek to solidify their position atop the South division with a new quarterback.

“I thought the challenge was to raise up our freshmen and sophomores to where they can help us win college football games and contribute without there being a lack of production,” Helton said. “Finally having the number of scholarships that we have and the depth that we have, we’re going to be able to play a lot of players. I think that’s really important when you’re talking about our league and all the tempo teams, and even more now with Coach Kelly at UCLA and Coach (Kevin) Sumlin at Arizona. You’re going to have to be able to play a lot of players to be able to be fresh in the fourth quarter.”

Of the Trojans’ 12 opponents this season, eight ranked in the top half of the FBS in plays per game, including two teams — Texas in Week 3 and Washington State in Week 4 — that ranked in the top 10. Nine opponents likely will have an offense run by at least a second-year starting quarterback.

And though USC’s defense had bright spots a season ago, leading the nation with 46 sacks and ranking fourth in red zone defense, overall it was a middle-of-the-road scoring defense and gave up too many big plays (ranking 106th nationally in 30-plus-yard plays).

With seven returning starters, Helton and defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast knew they could use spring practice as a springboard, pushing the veterans to bring their games to a new level while those players in turn pushed the young, inexperienced players to elevate their games.

The result? The Trojans, according to Helton, are almost at a point in which they have a true two-deep across the board, and that’s giving Pendergast an opportunity to reach into the defensive bag of tricks.

Continue reading story here

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June 24th

Add CBS to the list of preseason predictions which have little faith in Colorado 

From CBS Sports … Of all the storylines that will dominate the conversation in the Pac-12 this fall, the one that has resonated the most nationally during the offseason has been whether or not its time to add Chris Petersen’s Washington program to the list of annual playoff contenders.

In the four years of the College Football Playoff era, we’ve been able to identify the programs to beat by the ones with multiple playoff appearances. If Washington can win the Pac-12 and get back to the playoff, it joins an elite and prestigious group at the top of college football that heading into 2018 only includes Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma.

The Huskies have the highest projected win total according to South Point Casino at 10.5, and they sit two wins clear of the rest of Pac-12 on the board. Division rivals Oregon (8.5) and Stanford (8) are in that next group, along with USC (8) and Arizona (7.5) from the Pac-12 South. In the eyes of the oddsmakers, Washington is on an elite tier with no peers.

For those uninitiated on “prices,” minus-odds of -120 mean you’d have to wager $120 to win $100, while plus-odds (+120) means wagering $100 would win you $120. An “EVEN” price would result in a $100 payout for a $100 wager.

Colorado …. 4 wins: This is a good number for Colorado. At 3.5, I’d feel real good about going over, but there’s not a lot to suggest that the Buffs have the personnel to leap back into the Pac-12 South title race. If anything, the success of 2016 speaks to the multiple-year process it takes for a program to truly go worst-to-first in its conference. There’s only one or two games on the 2018 schedule where you can feel confident in a Colorado win, so asking for an investment in a five-win outcome is too much for me. — Over -110, Under -110

Read full list of Pac-12 predictions here

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June 21st

CSU, USC among teams with most difficult opening schedules

From fbschedules.com … A handful of teams which kickoff 2018 with a three, or in some cases four-opponent combination that could land them on the wrong side of .500.

While these teams won’t absolutely start 0-3, they may go 1-2 or 1-3. And that means if they begin to string together wins in late September/October, when their schedule strength evens out, they’ll be labeled as teams that “turned things around” or “improved after a rough start.”

Remember friends, all schedules are not created equally.

COLORADO STATE

First three: Hawaii (Aug. 25), Colorado (Aug. 31; in Denver), and Arkansas (Sept. 8)

Next up: at Florida (Sept. 15)

Colorado State is one of six FBS programs that will start the season a week early with a game on Saturday, August 25. Though they’ve won seven-straight over Hawaii, the Rams have lost three consecutive and 11 of the last 15 to Colorado.

CSU is 2-13 all-time vs. the SEC, but has only beat a program that was a member at game time once. That was 26-years ago, in 1992, when it edged LSU 17-14 in Baton Rouge. The other win came vs. Missouri (still a Big 12 program at the time) in the 1997 Holiday Bowl.

The Rams haven’t played three consecutive Power opponents since 2004, when they opened with losses at Colorado, at (1) USC and vs. (22) Minnesota. That team went 4-4 down the stretch and finished 4-7.
USC

First three: UNLV (Sept. 1), at Stanford (Sept. 8), and at Texas (Sept. 15)

Even though USC is 1-0 all-time vs. UNLV and 30-1-1 vs. the current Mountain West, it’s got perhaps the toughest Week 2 and Week 3 in all of college football.

First up, the Trojans head to Stanford, which is No. 14 in ESPN’s rankings and No. 15 in Phil Steele’s. They’ve only won one road game vs. the Cardinal in the last four tries. Then it’s on to Austin to face a Texas team that’s No. 22 according to ESPN and a lofty No. 10 in Steele’s estimation. Though they edged the Longhorns 27-24 last season, that was a home game against an unranked opponent. 2018 is a totally different situation.

The last time USC played two ranked opponents on the road during the first three weeks of the season was in 2016. That team opened with a blowout loss to (1) Alabama in Arlington, Texas, beat Utah State handily in Week 2, and then lost 27-10 at (10) Stanford in Week 3. The Trojans lost the next week at (24) Utah and then strung together seven consecutive wins and a Rose Bowl victory over (5) Penn State to finish 10-3 and No. 3 in the final AP.

Read full list here

College Football News likes Arizona

From College Football News … There might be problems and concerns – offensive line depth, proven defensive production – but Kevin Sumlin’s first season is going to be a terrific one.

As long as the O line can hold up and be merely okay early on, Khalil Tate and the running game will do the rest. The receiving corps is going to grow into a positive, and the coaching staff will know how to help the Cats keep up in Pac-12 shootouts.

The defense might not be fantastic, but at least it’s experienced. The line will be good at getting into the backfield, and the linebacking corps will be a whole lot stronger not that Colin Schooler and Tony Fields are sophomores. The veteran defensive backs have to be stronger on third downs, but they’ll hold their own.

With a little bit of luck – including keeping Tate healthy all year – Arizona should be in the mix for the Pac-12 South title until the end. But there will be just enough misfires along the way to come up short.

Guessing The Preseason Regular Season Win Total Will Be Set At … 7.5

Arizona will kick things off with a bang, beating BYU to start the season and slipping by a good Houston team on the road. 4-0 before hosting USC, the Wildcats will come up just short against the defending Pac-12 champs, but they’ll get past Cal to follow.

They’ll split the road dates at Utah and UCLA, outgun Oregon in a wild shootout, and they’ll close strong with a win over Arizona State.

Expect one strange loss along the way – watch out for a letdown against Colorado, or at Washington State – but a nine-win regular season will be a nice debut for the new guy.

Read full preview here

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June 20th

Ranking Pac-12 offensive backfields

From PacificTakes.com … (CU’s ranking not that bad … considering that transfer running back Travon McMillian wasn’t factored into the equation)

1. Washington

2. Stanford

3. Arizona

4. Utah

5. Oregon

6. UCLA

7. USC

8. Colorado (QB Steven Montez Jr. RB Beau Bisharat Jr. RB Kyle Evans Sr.) … Montez will a year better as a big dual threat playmaker and blue chip recruit Bisharat feels ready for a breakout.

9. Cal

10. Arizona State

11. Washington State

12. Oregon State

Stewart Mandel mailbag: Will Arizona or Oregon have a better season?

From The Athletic

Relative to expectations, who has a better season, Oregon or Arizona? I feel like both are dark horses to win their respective divisions due to weak-ish schedules.

Wess, Springfield, Mo.

It feels like ever since I started going with our Discussion Topics feature to solicit questions, you guys have been asking me a lot of either-ors. Does it really have to be one or the other? What if I like them both? What if I think they’ll both win their divisions? What if I’m like Chidi from The Good Placewhen it comes to choosing between two things?

OK, fine. I’ll go with Arizona, because expectations are presumably higher to begin with at Oregon, and because the Wildcats don’t have Washington and Stanford sitting in their division. In fact, the Pac-12 South seems like it’s completely up for grabs among any of the five teams not named Colorado. (Poor Buffs, 2016 already seems so long ago.)

I happened to attend last year’s Arizona-Purdue Foster Farms Bowl, and while the Boilers came out on top 38-35, I liked a lot of what I saw from the Wildcats. First and foremost, QB Khalil Tate is exceptional, but of course you already knew that. In that game in particular, he led Arizona back from a 31-14 deficit to take a 35-31 lead, and he did it primarily with his arm, finishing with five touchdown throws. He’s got pretty much all his top receivers and his top running back from 2017 returning. I can’t wait to see what Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone can do with a talent like Tate.

To be clear, the Wildcats’ defense was atrocious in that bowl and throughout most of the season, but at least it could use youth as an excuse. Five freshman starters from last season are now sophomores. That unit should improve under coordinator Marcel Yates, whom Sumlin retained from Rich Rodriguez’s staff.

Now, all that being said, I still have more confidence in Oregon with its own first-year coach, Mario Cristobal, and its own star quarterback, Justin Herbert. But I assume most people are already expecting the Ducks to win at least nine games, and their ceiling probably isn’t that much higher, if at all. Whereas Arizona more likely will be a 7-5-type preseason pick that could exceed those expectations by two or three wins if Sumlin’s transition goes smoothly and if, as I expect, the rest of its division proves underwhelming.

Read full list of mailbag questions here

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June 19th

Athlon’s Pac-12 Top 10 Storylines for 2018

From Athlon Sports … The 2017 season was a down year for the Pac-12. However, the league’s fortunes could change quickly in 2018. Washington is a contender for the College Football Playoff, Stanford returns a Heisman candidate in running back Bryce Love, and new coaches are set to take over at Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA. In addition to the intrigue in the coaching ranks, the Pac-12 South features a wide-open battle between USC, Utah and Arizona.

What are the 10 biggest storylines surrounding the Pac-12 for 2018? Bryan Fischer examines Chip Kelly’s return, new coaches at Arizona, Bryce Love’s unfinished business, Washington’s CFB Playoff hopes and more:

Pac-12’s Top 10 Storylines to Watch in 2018

Continue reading story here (but if you are looking for any mention of Oregon State … or Colorado, you’ll be disappointed) …

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June 17th

ESPN: Four Pac-12 teams on list of top ten most difficult non-conference schedules

From ESPN … It’s worth noting that two of the four teams that made the College Football Playoff last season, Clemson and Georgia, each played two nonconference games against Power 5 opponents.

In fact, Clemson played Auburn and South Carolina, both of which were ranked in the CFP selection committee’s rankings going into the final week of the regular season, and Georgia played both of its games on the road — at Notre Dame and at Georgia Tech. And CFP participant Oklahoma played at Ohio State and won handily.

So maybe challenging nonconference schedules do matter.

With that in mind, we’ve ranked the 10 toughest nonconference schedules for Power 5 teams in 2018, and we haven’t completely forgotten about the Group of 5 teams. A big shoutout to Florida Atlantic, Louisiana and SMU. Lane Kiffin’s Owls play at Oklahoma and at UCF. Billy Napier’s Ragin’ Cajuns play at Alabama and at Mississippi State, and Sonny Dykes’ Mustangs play TCU at home and then at Michigan in back-to-back weeks.

But as far as the 10 toughest Power 5 nonconference schedules, only three of the five leagues are represented. The Big Ten and SEC are noticeably absent. The ACC leads the way with four of the top five toughest slates out of conference and five of the top 10. The Pac-12 is right on the ACC’s heels with four of the 10, and Texas is the lone Big 12 representative.

2. USC

Sept. 1 vs. UNLV, Sept. 15 at Texas, Nov. 24 vs. Notre Dame

Just like a year ago, the Trojans take on two of college football’s most storied programs out of conference. They travel to No. 22 Texas the third week of the season, coming on the heels of the Pac-12 opener on the road at Stanford. Talk about a grueling two-game road trip. USC then ends the regular season with a home date against No. 12 Notre Dame, which thrashed the Trojans 49-14 last season in South Bend.

6. Arizona State

Sept. 1 vs. UTSA, Sept. 8 vs. Michigan State, Sept. 15 at San Diego State

There wasn’t a lot of difference in some of the Pac-12’s toughest nonconference schedules, but Arizona State claimed one of the top spots thanks to its home matchup with No. 9 Michigan State the second week of the season and then a road game the very next week against San Diego State. Rocky Long’s Aztecs have won 10-plus games for three straight seasons, and even though Rashaad Penny is no longer around, junior running back Juwan Washington presents his own set of problems for ASU.

7. Stanford

Aug. 31 vs. San Diego State, Sept. 15 vs. UC Davis, Sept. 29 at Notre Dame

The Cardinal open the season against San Diego State, but it helps that the game is at home. It’s a Friday contest, and then the next week, Stanford gets USC at home. So David Shaw’s club will need to be sharp early. There won’t be anything easy about the month of September for Stanford, which lost to both San Diego State and USC a year ago to start 1-2. The Cardinal close out September with a road game at No. 12 Notre Dame after playing at No. 24 Oregon the week before.

No. 10 – UCLA

Sept. 1 vs. Cincinnati, Sept. 8 at Oklahoma, Sept. 15 vs. Fresno State

The Chip Kelly era in Westwood kicks off with what should be an interesting first few weeks of the season. Looming large is that trip to No. 5 Oklahoma the second week of the season. The Bruins open against Cincinnati at home. But right after tangling with the Sooners on the road, UCLA returns home to face Fresno State, which won 10 games a year ago in Jeff Tedford’s first season and should again be a player in the Mountain West Conference. The Bruins also play at Colorado and then are home against No. 6 Washington in their first five games.

Read full list here

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June 15th

ESPN: Two Pac-12 teams have easy none-conference schedules

From ESPN … Granted, what appears to be a challenging or soft nonconference schedule in June can change dramatically come November or December. Case in point: Alabama played Florida State to kick off last season in a No. 1 vs. No. 3 matchup that at the time was hailed as one of the greatest season openers in history.

Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois suffered a season-ending injury late in that game, and the Seminoles wound up struggling to even make a bowl game.

We were especially hard on those teams not playing any Power 5 opponents in their nonconference slate as well as those teams padding their schedule with FCS foes and/or not playing any true road games.

Of note, there are three Big Ten teams and three SEC teams on this list, including the two teams — Alabama and Georgia — that played in the national championship game a year ago.

So let’s look closer at our ranking of the cushiest nonconference schedules for the 2018 season.

1. Oregon

Sept. 1 vs. Bowling Green, Sept. 8 vs. Portland State, Sept. 15 vs. San Jose State

Just as Pittsburgh was an easy choice for having the toughest Power 5 nonconference schedule, Oregon is the runaway winner for having the softest nonconference schedule.

Not only do the Ducks have three home games, none of which are against Power 5 opponents, but one of those is against FCS foe Portland State.

7. Washington State

Sept. 1 at Wyoming, Sept. 8 vs. San Jose State, Sept. 15 vs. Eastern Washington

For the third straight season, the Cougars don’t face a Power 5 team outside the conference in the regular season. Then again, they lost to both Eastern Washington and Boise State in 2016.

Wyoming takes the place of Boise State on the 2018 schedule, and Washington State has to travel to Laramie. Even without Josh Allen, the Cowboys won’t be an easy out. Nonetheless, it’s a nonconference schedule a lot of teams would take in a heartbeat.

Read full list here

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June 14th

Lindy’s – Five reasons to be concerned about college football

From Lindy’s …

5. Major-college football suffered its biggest per-game attendance drop in 34 years, and second-biggest ever;

4. The average of 42,203 was the lowest since 1997;

3. The – gulp! – S-E-freakin’-C experienced its largest attendance drop since 1992 – 2,433 fans per game;

2. Bowl game attendance has dropped 23 percent since 2010; and

1. It’s free to plop into a barcolounger, grab a beer (or three), and watch every game available via phone, tablet, smarTV, stupid TV, and another phone for 12 hours every Saturday.

Lindy’s non-quarterback transfers who will make a difference (including Travon McMillian)

From Lindy’s …

Here are a dozen non-quarterback transfers set to rock their new uniforms this fall:

From the Pac-12 … 

5. Dylan Klumph, P, Arizona … The Wildcats were so shankerficially bad at punting last season that they ranked last in the nation in net yardage and grew so frustrated that it twice used a tight end to boot the ball. Nice work by new coach Kevin Sumlin, solving a problem by bringing in Klumph, a grad transfer from Cal. Klumph averaged 43.0 yards a punt last season.

6. Casey Tucker, OT, Arizona State … Every coach should be so lucky to pull in a grad transfer left tackle from offensive line factory Stanford. And then new coach Herm Edwards paired Tucker with potential starting left guard Ron Hemsley, a former backup at USC who has two seasons of eligibility with the Sun Devils.

8. Travon McMillian, RB, Colorado … He’s a former 1,000-yard rusher at Virginia Tech, where decreasing playing time led him to a plug-and-play situation in Colorado, which lost productive, speedy back Phillip Lindsay.

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June 13th

The Athletic: “Colorado football trying to recapture magic of 2016”

From The Athletic … It’s kind of hard to believe that one year ago Colorado was coming off a Pac-12 South title, having gone 8-1 in conference play in the regular season, with the lone loss coming to USC by four points.

In 2017, Colorado followed up that division title by finishing 2-7 in conference play, its sixth last-place finish in seven seasons as a member of the conference. Five of the Buffaloes’ seven Pac-12 losses came to teams they had beaten the previous season. They went from playing a top-25 team in the Alamo Bowl in 2016 to a three-loss November that prevented them from going to a bowl game, the ninth time in 10 years that they’ve stayed home for the postseason.

When the Buffs went through practice this spring, head coach Mike MacIntyre said he saw a renewed focus and commitment from a group that was eager to prove it was better than its 2017 record.

How so?

“Their attitude in the weight room, their attitude in the workouts, their attitude at spring practice. Their intensity,” he said. “The way they’ve been handling themselves off the field. Their team camaraderie. I see them hanging out with each other. Leadership by certain guys on our team and an understanding of taking ownership of what each of them is doing on and off the field. Preparing on the field. Their work ethic. Their intensity in practice was better this spring than it was the spring before.”

Even if MacIntyre is truly seeing progress in even half of those places, it’s a good sign for a team that took big steps backward last season, making 2016 look like an anomaly. But perhaps the best sign for Colorado this offseason is that this spring’s intensity was better than the spring when the Buffs were coming off the Pac-12 South title, according to the coaching staff.

“I feel like the guys are hungry,” co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini said. “I feel like coming out of spring ball there are a lot of players with chips on their shoulders who are excited to show that we are a good football team. Guys are excited to get back on the field to show that we’re better than what we did last year.”

Final assessment

The offense is inexperienced beyond Montez at quarterback, and though the defense should take a step forward after dealing with significant attrition last season, this still feels like another rebuilding season in Boulder in which the goal should be to get to six wins and bowl eligibility. The Buffs might not have the talent and consistent depth needed to put together a genuine run at the Pac-12 South title, but they could play spoiler in a wide-open division.

Read full story here

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June 12th

The Sporting News rates Pac-12 Over/Under picks

From The Sporting News

College football win totals for the 2018 season are out, and it’s time to place your bets.

Las Vegas’ South Point Casino released those totals on 129 of 130 college football teams over the weekend. That list starts with traditional powers such as Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma, Sporting News’ picks to make the 2018 College Football Playoff.

Sporting News broke down those totals with picks from each Power 5 conference. We took a look at the top, a team to take over, a team to take under and a risky proposition.

The Pac-12 … 

At the top: Washington (10.5)

The Huskies are the prohibitive Pac-12 favorite, but this means they have to win that opener against Auburn and avoid Pac-12 potholes on the road at Utah, UCLA, Oregon and Washington State. This feels like an under unless you believe the Huskies are an 11-win, College Football Playoff team.

Over: UCLA (5)

Chip Kelly didn’t come back to college football to lose seven games, did he? We know the transition will have speed bumps all over the place, and a road trip to Oklahoma will provide that perspective. It might come down to beating either Utah or Oregon, and that visit to Autzen Stadium should be fun. We think Kelly gets to a bowl game.

Under: Arizona State (5)

Patience will be required with Herm Edwards, especially in September against Michigan State, San Diego State and Washington. UTSA isn’t a pushover, and a crossover trip to Oregon isn’t easy either. The Sun Devils also travel to Tucson in the regular-season finale.

Risky business: Arizona (7.5)

Arizona can get to eight wins if they take care of business the first two weeks against BYU and Houston, where Kevin Sumlin’s coaching career took off. With Khalil Tate at quarterback, that’s possible. They’ll have to win one of the road games out of Utah, UCLA and Washington State to clinch it, but we’ll stick with the Pac-12 sleeper for eight wins.

Read full story here

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June 9th

Eight Group of Five Team who could make the College Football Playoffs

From YardBarker.com … The College Football Playoff has been around for four seasons, and so far, it has only included teams from the Power 5 conferences. What will it take for a Group of Five team to crash the College Football Playoff? It will probably require a perfect storm of circumstances.

Power conference teams will have to have unconvincing seasons and leave an opening. Someone will doubtlessly have to go unbeaten. National hype and high-profile names, be they in coaching or playing, would probably help, even though it shouldn’t matter. It will take a lot, but the dream is there every year. UCF certainly came close in 2017, ultimately having to settle for their own definition of a championship.

Here are eight Group of Five teams who have the talent to at least ask some questions of the selection committee in 2018.

3. Boise State

The Broncos won the MWC last season and return a very experienced squad, led by senior quarterback Brett Rypien, nephew of Mark. Rypien will be a four-year starter and comes into his final year of eligibility with a 28-9 record in games he’s played in, giving him the opportunity to cap his career on a very high note. Their non-conference schedule is on the forgiving side, which could hurt their playoff hopes but help their chances of going unbeaten during the regular season, so it’s a double-edged sword.

6. Fresno State

Jeff Tedford’s squad won ten games in 2017 and returns the majority of its starters, which should ensure they’re a factor in the Mountain West next season. They lost just one conference regular season game and were three points away from beating Boise State to the MWC title. All that indicates that the Bulldogs, led by quarterback Marcus McMaryion and a talented group of offensive players, aren’t particularly far off.

7. San Diego State

The loss of running back Rashaad Penny will certainly hurt the Aztecs, but this team returns plenty of talent in other places and has been able to absorb high-profile losses before. They lost just three games last season, one of them a bowl game, so they weren’t that far off from bracketing themselves as one of the elite Group of Five teams. If they beat Fresno State and Boise State — two of the teams who bested them last year — all bets are off.

Read full list here

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June 8th

Lindy’s take on Pac-12’s new coaches

From Lindy’s …

ArizonaKevin Sumlin … Sumlin isn’t from Pac-12 country. Yet there’s reason to suspect the league will be a better fit for him than the high-strung SEC was. Sure, it helps – a lot – to inherit a quarterback as talented as Kahlil Tate, but Sumlin could build a formidable offense anywhere. And he can still recruit the heck out of the state of Texas.

Arizona State … Herm Edwards … Good luck finding anyone who will argue that ASU outdid rival Arizona on the hiring trail. Edwards is essentially an NFL lifer – and hasn’t even coached at that level in a decade – so what, exactly, has prepared him to step into the muck and mire of a middling college program? Maybe athletic director Ray Anderson will laugh last at the sea of doubters, but this is one of those have-to-see-it-to-believe-it scenarios.

Oregon … Mario Cristobal … If Cristobal lifts the Ducks into regular contention for Pac-12 titles, no one will care that he grew up in Miami, played at the U, and couldn’t have possibly see this opportunity coming when he was toiling on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama from 2013-16. It’s an odd fit, but Cristobal came with Willie Taggart and stayed to finish the job – gotta admire, or at least appreciate, that. Cristobal is an outstanding recruiter who will have to work extra-hard thousands of miles from where most of his key connections are.

Oregon State … Jonathan Smith … This isn’t your run-of-the-mill first-time head coach. Not only is Smith an OSU alum, but he quarterbacked the best team in school history to a Fiesta Bowl victory in 2000. That doesn’t mean this will be a rousing success story (witness, for example, Kliff Klingsbury ongoing struggles to hit it big at Texas Tech), but it’s a pretty cool story. By the way, Smith was born in Pasadena, California. How sweet would it be for him to coach a team to a bowl game there someday?

UCLA … Chip Kelly … Rick Neuheisel was going to be the answer. Then Jim Mora was going to be the answer. Now Kelly is going to be the answer, but there’s no doubt what makes the confidence in him ring particularly true: his previous enormous success not only at the college level, but specifically in the Pac-12. Bruins fans will have a heaping helping of that Oregon-style success, please (hold the controversy). If it looks like a can’t-miss, swims like a can’t-miss, and quacks like a can’t-miss, then in probably is a can’t-miss.

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June 7th

Athlon Predictions:

From Athlon Sports

Washington is the Clear Pick to Win the Pac-12 in 2018

Washington is the clear No. 1 team in the Pac-12 for 2018 and represents the Pac-12’s best shot at a playoff team. Coach Chris Petersen’s squad returns 16 starters, including senior quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin. The line is anchored by the senior duo of Trey Adams and Kaleb McGary at tackle and is among the best in college football. The strength of Washington’s 2018 squad will be its defense. The Huskies held opponents to 16.1 points a game last season and return arguably the best secondary in college football. Petersen’s team has few concerns, but the receiving corps and big plays in the passing game remain an issue. True freshman Marquis Spiker could provide some much-needed playmaking ability on the outside for Browning. Washington opens the year with a huge showdown against Auburn in Atlanta. If the Huskies lose to the Tigers, can they afford another defeat in Pac-12 play and still stay alive in the playoff mix? It’s hard to see a two-loss team getting into the playoff this season, which is why Washington won’t have much margin for error if it loses the opener.

USC, Utah or Arizona at No. 1 in the South?

The Pac-12 South might be the toughest prediction of any division in a Power 5 league this year. USC eventually emerged as Athlon’s pick, but coach Clay Helton’s team is far from secure at No. 1. The question marks for the Trojans start under center. Will true freshman JT Daniels edge Matt Fink and Jack Sears to replace Sam Darnold at quarterback? Until a signal-caller emerges, USC can rely on its offensive line and ground game to win. Sophomore Stephen Carr is a breakout candidate at running back. Also, the defense should be among the league’s best with six returning starters, including standout linebacker Cameron Smith. Arizona has the easiest path to the top of the South, as new coach Kevin Sumlin’s team won’t play Washington or Stanford in the regular season. Additionally, USC visits Tucson in late September. The Wildcats shouldn’t have much trouble scoring points behind dynamic quarterback Khalil Tate, and the defense will continue to improve with nine starters back. Utah edged Arizona in Athlon’s Pac-12 predictions for the second spot in the South, but coach Kyle Whittingham’s team has a tough schedule in 2018. The Utes host Arizona and USC but catch Stanford, Washington and Oregon in crossover play. Junior quarterback Tyler Huntley is poised for a breakout year, and even though only four starters are back, Whittingham’s defense will be solid once again. There’s not much separation between USC, Utah and Arizona. The Trojans have the best overall roster talent and the most upside, which helped to edge the pick at No. 1 to Helton’s team.

Washington State and Mike Leach Facing a Rebuilding Year in 2018

Washington State has won 26 games over the last three years, but coach Mike Leach’s team is in rebuild mode for 2018. The Cougars enter the season without a quarterback that has taken a snap in a Washington State uniform. East Carolina graduate transfer Gardner Minshew will compete with Anthony Gordon and Trey Tinsley for the starting job this fall. Leach’s offensive acumen will keep this unit from falling off too far, but the Cougars lost two starters up front and top two receivers from 2017. In addition to the new faces on offense, the defense has a new coordinator (Tracy Claeys) and must find a replacement for standout tackle Hercules Mata’afa. Despite the turnover, Washington State should go 3-0 in non-conference play and plays five Pac-12 home games. The Cougars will get better over the course of the season, as the offense should find its rhythm in time to guide this team to a bowl game for the fourth straight year.

Read other predictions here

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June 6th 

Stewart Mandel: What’s going on with Colorado State?

From the Athletic … What’s going on at Colorado State? It seemed like years ago they were right there with the Boise States and TCUs as an up-and-coming powerhouse, but now the Rams are just a middle-of-the-pack Mountain West team. What happened? And how can CSU get back to being a scary non-Power 5 team?

Christopher P., Norman, Okla.

Colorado State was an established program before Boise State and TCU started transforming themselves into nationally recognized forces. But that was a looong time ago. Sonny Lubick had a nice run there from 1994 to 2002, regularly winning 10-plus games. Who can forget the great Bradlee Van Pelt era?

But the Rams fell off over his last five seasons, bottoming out at 3-9 in his last year in 2007. Not for nothing, that period coincided with TCU’s arrival in the Mountain West and with league peers Utah (under Urban Meyer and Kyle Whittingham) and BYU (under Bronco Mendenhall) upgrading considerably.

Lubick’s successor, Steve Fairchild, was a train wreck, but the Rams started improving again under Jim McElwain (10-3 in his last season in 2014) and have remained an annual bowl team under Mike Bobo. However, despite the presence of offensive standouts like quarterback Nick Stevens and wide receiver Michael Gallup, Bobo’s teams have been stuck at the 7-6 mark for three consecutive seasons. They’ve yet to beat Boise State since the Broncos joined the conference in 2011, and Bobo is 1-5 against in-state foes Colorado and Air Force.

Colorado State suffers from the same problem as a lot of Group of 5 programs: It can recruit a good quarterback and skill players and score a bunch of points, but it’s yet to figure out how to field a competitive defense. It has not finished higher than the 80s nationally in yards per play allowed since 2012.

Bobo has recruited well since arriving, so maybe that starts to change this season. The Rams did lose Stevens and Gallup on offense, but Washington graduate transfer quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels is an intriguing addition, and they have other talented receivers. But the Mountain West won’t get any easier this season. Last year’s division champs, Boise State and Fresno State, are still loaded, and San Diego State isn’t going anywhere. Colorado State is just trying to get to eight wins.

Read the complete Stewart Mandel mailbag here

—–

June 5th

Bill Connelly: Colorado a “Tier 3” team with bowl aspirations

From SB Nation

Bill C’s Pac-12 power rankings

Here’s a link to every team’s data, and each team’s name below is linked to its preview.

Tier 1

1. Washington
2. USC
3. Stanford
4. Oregon

From an S&P+ perspective, Washington almost deserves a tier of its own. The Huskies are projected fourth overall and are favored by double-digits in every regular season conference game. (They would be 9.9-point favorites against USC on a neutral field, too.)

I’m high on UW, but I don’t think I’m quite that high. Or maybe I’m just higher on teams like USC and Oregon.

Either way, I’m thinking of these four teams as by far the most likely to succeed in the conference. Oregon might be a bit of a surprise — it appears I’m higher on Mario Cristobal’s Ducks than most — but they were outstanding when Justin Herbert was healthy, and I expect that to continue.

Tier 2

5. Utah
6. Arizona
7. UCLA

Also known as the three teams that will challenge USC in the South. Utah’s easily got the highest floor of the three, but Arizona’s got Khalil Tate, and UCLA’s got Chip Kelly and remnants from plenty of strong recruiting classes. They’ve therefore got higher upside. All three of these teams have top-25 potential, and I figure one will reach it.

Tier 3

8. California
9. Washington State
10. Colorado
11. Arizona State

For this foursome, it’s all about getting back to a bowl. I thought Justin Wilcox did a nice job at Cal last year, and his two-deep has outstanding continuity, so I trust the Bears the most here. Meanwhile, Wazzu has easily been the most steadily successful team in recent years, but there are a lot of off-the-field issues for Mike Leach.

Tier 4

12. Oregon State

I have talked myself into the Jonathan Smith hire. But he doesn’t have much to work with just yet.

Continue reading rankings story here

—–

June 3rd

Lindy’s – Five Predictions that might come true

From Lindy’s …

5. Boise State goes undefeated, claiming a Mountain West title, a New Year’s Six Bowl … but, ahem, not a national championship.

4. Nick Saban keeps his entire staff intact after the season.

3. Oregon’s Justin Herbert is the No. 1 quarterback taken in the 2019 draft.

2. Mike Leach returns to the Big 12.

1. Bill Snyder retires on the morning of September 1st to ensure that his son Sean gets the job at Kansas State.

Ten Comeback players includes four players from the Pac-12

From Lindy’s …

Here are some guys notable for missing all or most of last season due to injury … or who have otherwise just been missing:

10. Jake Luton, QB, Oregon State … He was the Beavers’ starter last season when he suffered a thoracic spine fracture. We’re not WebMD, but we don’t love the way that sounds, so it was great to see him back at spring practice. That’s when the 6’7″ senior looks like a snug fit for new coach Jonathan Smith’s pro-style quarterback.

7. Britain Covey, WR, Utah … Freshman All-American in 2015 returned from a two-year church mission to find the Utes had gone spread, too, with coordinator Troy Taylor.

5. Peyton Pelluer, LB, Washington State … A two-time leading tackler comes back for a sixth season after suffering a foot injury early last season.

3. Caleb Wilson, TE, UCLA … He only played five games last season. Thing is, it only took him five games to catch 38 passes for 490 yards (including six for 65 yards in UCLA’s 27-23 win over Colorado).

—–

June 2nd

Lindy’s rates CU’s strengths and weaknesses

From Lindy’s …

Primary Strengths … The faces may be relatively new, but Colorado’s receiving corps is brimming with talent. Steven Montez will have ample opportunity to improve his passing input … if the line play holds up.

Primary Weaknesses … Colorado’s rush defense was dreadful in 2017, allowing opponents 5.2 yards per attempt. Javier Edwards is a solid anchor on the line, but the Buffs face uncertainty in improving their defense against the run. Conversely, the loss of tackle Jeromy Irwin from a line that surrendered more sacks than all but eight other FBS programs underscores the challenges facing the offense.

Overview … Colorado’s run to the 2016 Pac-12 Championship Game marked a high point the program had not reached in over a decade. After winning ten games for the first time since 2001, the Buffs regressed to their 11th sub-.500 finish in the past 12 campaigns.

Opening the 2018 season with two games away from Folsom Field – the traditional neutral-site meeting with longtime rival Colorado State and first meeting against former Big 8/12 rival Nebraska – will be telling when it comes to the trajectory of the 2018 season.

Mike MacIntyre quote on his veteran players … “I think a lot of those guys are taking the bull by the horns with the younger guys, saying, ‘Hey, you have to know how to do this’ “.

—–

May 30th

Dr. Saturday ranks Pac-12 quarterback situations

From Yahoo.com Sports … With spring practice in the books and preseason camp still weeks away, we’re really in the doldrums of the college football offseason.

But it’s never too early to look ahead to next season, don’t you think? Quarterback is the most important position on the field, so let’s see how things are stacking up at the position across the country.

We’ll continue with the quarterback situations for each Pac-12 team.

12. Oregon State

11. Washington State

10. UCLA

9. USC

8. Colorado – Steven Montez

With Sefo Liufau often injured, Steven Montez got plenty of playing time during Colorado’s march to the Pac-12 South title in 2016. The Buffs took a few steps back in 2017, going 5-7, but Montez had a pretty solid season on the whole. He threw for 2,975 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 338 yards and three scores, but was pretty inconsistent, especially as Pac-12 play progressed. Colorado needs Montez to progress (and cut down on turnovers) as a junior to get back into contention, but he’ll be forced to do that with a bunch of unproven faces at receiver and running back.

7. California

6. Stanford

5. Utah

4. Arizona State

3. Oregon

2. Arizona

1. Washington

Read the full story here

—–

May 29th

Win totals for Pac-12 teams

From College Football News … The South Point Hotel and Casino has released the win totals for all 130 teams. Here they are, along with last season’s record for each team. One note: win totals are only for the regular season – they don’t include championship games or bowls.

The Pac-12 … 

PAC-12 NORTH

Cal Golden Bears

Early Win Total: 5.5
2017 Record: 5-7
– Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

Oregon Ducks

Early Win Total: 8.5
2017 Record: 7-6
– Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

Oregon State Beavers

Early Win Total: 2.5
2017 Record: 1-11
– Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

Stanford Cardinal

Early Win Total: 8
2017 Record: 9-5
– Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

Washington Huskies

Early Win Total: 10.5
2017 Record: 10-3
– Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

Washington State Cougars

Early Win Total: 6.5
2017 Record: 9-4
– Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

PAC-12 SOUTH

Arizona Wildcats

Early Win Total: 7.5
2017 Record: 7-6
– Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

Arizona State Sun Devils

Early Win Total: 5
2017 Record: 7-6
– Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

Colorado Buffaloes

Early Win Total: 4
2017 Record: 5-7
– Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

UCLA Bruins

Early Win Total: 5
2017 Record: 6-7
– Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

USC Trojans

Early Win Total: 8.5
2017 Record: 11-3
– Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

Utah Utes

Early Win Total: XX
2017 Record: 7-6
– Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

 

—–

May 28th

Street and Smith’s view of CU’s defense – “solid depth and experience” in the secondary

From Street and Smith’s … Colorado’s defense might deserve a lot of the blame for last season’s regression, allowing 208 yards rushing per game and recording just 22 sacks last season. But the arrival of big, athletic juco transfer Mustafa Johnson to the line helps considerably, while returning starters Drew Lewis and Rick Gamboa will be rejoined by Nu’umotu Falo, Jr., who was dismissed last season for off-field issues. Davion Taylor gives CU a hybrid linebacker/defensive back option, too.

Even though the secondary has to replace standouts Isaiah Oliver, who declared early for the NFL draft, there’s solid depth and experience there. Overall, CU actually has less transition than last season, when the Buffs had to replace eight defensive starters, and no off-field controversy. That could translate into a step or two back in the right direction.

Trap games for Pac-12 title contenders

From The Sporting News … Admiral Ackbar may be gone, but he isn’t forgotten, as long as one of our favorite Sporting News college football traditions continues.

The iconic Star Wars character was needlessly killed off in “The Last Jedi,” but his timeless warning stands as a tradition for every season. How will we remember Ackbar? How else? “It’s a trap!”

Several college football teams fell victim to trap games in 2017, most notably when Iowa snuck up on Ohio State in a 55-24 rout that kept the Buckeyes out of the College Football Playoff. A trap game could be a sandwich game, an untimely visit to unfriendly confines or a simple spoiler that comes at the worst time. Trap games can be sprung at any time, even if we’re always looking for them.

Pac-12 contenders … 

USC … Trap: at Arizona (Sept. 29)

It’s a similar trap-door setup as last September, when USC had to get through Stanford, Texas and Cal before a Friday night game they lost at Washington State. This year, the Trojans play at Stanford, at Texas and at home against Washington State before a trip to Tuscon, where Khalil Tate should be settled in with first-year coach Kevin Sumlin.

Stanford … Trap: vs. Utah (Oct. 6)

The Cardinal have a front-loaded September schedule that opens with a revenge game against San Diego State before a Pac-12 championship rematch against USC and consecutive road trips to Oregon and Notre Dame. The first week of October features Utah, which will be looking for revenge after losing 30-0 to the Cardinal last season. It’s a dangerous spot.

Washington … Trap: at UCLA (Oct. 6)

The Huskies also play at Utah and Oregon in the first half of the season, but the trip to the Rose Bowl could be dangerous, given Chip Kelly’s offense should be on the right track and UCLA will already have had a big game at Oklahoma under its belt. It’s also worth knowing Washington hasn’t won at UCLA since 1995.

—–

May 27th

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

From Lindy’s …

No 8 … Washington

No. 13 … Stanford

No. 19 … USC

No. 22 … Oregon

No. 32 … Utah

No. 34 … Arizona

No. 44 … UCLA

No. 50 … Arizona State

No. 52 … California

No. 55 … Washington State

No. 73 … Colorado

No. 91 … Oregon State

—–

May 26th

Street and Smith’s view of CU’s offense – “Colorado’s offensive line is promising”

From Street and Smith’s … While Mike MacIntyre enjoyed an off-season of stability this time, there are plenty of issues on the field. Among the challenges: replacing rusher Phillip Lindsay, who had a school-record 301 carries last season, and getting more consistency from quarterback Steven Montez.

The good news is that Montez has six capable receiving targets, including MacIntyre’s son, Jay, along with seniors Kabion Ento and Juwann Winfree, sophomore K.D. Nixon and deep threat Laviska Shenault Jr.  Colorado’s offensive line is promising, especially if the highly regarded Jacob Moretti can shake off the leg injuries that sidelined him last season.

While redshirt freshman Alex Fontenot improved considerably at running back in the spring, he’ll have to fight off Virginia Tech grad transfer Travon McMillian, a quick and powerful back who rushed for 2,153 yards and 16 touchdowns over three seasons with the Hokies.

—–

May 25th

Stewart Mandel’s Top 25 college football coaches

From The Athletic … Recently I got a Mailbag question from John in Boston asking where I’d rank Utah’s Kyle Whittingham among active coaches. I initially planned on addressing it in Wednesday’s column, but to do so I would have to actually sit down and actually rank all those coaches (at least until I got to Whitt).

So I figured, why not just publish the list on its own?

I’ve done this many times, most recently in 2016, and the biggest challenge is not letting the previous season cloud your larger perception of each guy. Most have much longer track records, and there are inevitable up-and-down seasons along the way.

But to be clear, recent performance (the past three seasons or so) is unquestionably the biggest factor. This is not a career achievement ranking, it’s a list of who I think are the best coaches right now.

4. Chris Petersen, Washington

Whereas the first three on this list primarily mold bands of four- and five-stars into finished products, Petersen — 37-17 at Washington after a remarkable 92-12 run at Boise State — has turned 14 two- or three-star recruits into first- or second-round draft picks.

8. David Shaw, Stanford

Shaw became the winningest coach in program history (73-22) after just seven seasons. He’s established a highly successful program (three Pac-12 titles and three Heisman Trophy runners-up) despite a limited pool of recruits that can even qualify to Stanford academically.

9. Chip Kelly, UCLA

To be honest, I have no idea where to rank a guy who was top three at the time of his dominant four-year run at Oregon (46-7) but will be coaching college ball for the first time in six years. He and Shaw were running neck-and-neck in the Pac-12 by the end, so I put Kelly here.

21. Kyle Whittingham, Utah

Before last year’s 7-6 down season, Utah finished in the top 25 for three consecutive seasons. Whittingham’s teams can be counted on to play physical up front on both sides of the ball. He also owns a crazy 11-1 bowl record. Now he just needs to get to that first Pac-12 title game.

24. Mike Leach, Washington State

After a complete rebuild, Leach has Wazzu doing much the same thing as he did at Texas Tech, winning eight or nine games a year and throwing a whole lot of passes to do it. His system works. Unfortunately for Leach, he’s also gotten crushed by rival Washington.

25. Scott Frost, Nebraska

Remember I said at the top not to read too much into one season? If I did, I’d have Frost in the top 10 given his UCF team’s remarkable undefeated season last year, just two years removed from going winless. Check back in 2020 to see how far he’s climbed.

Read full list here

—–

May 24th

Athlon’s analysis of of Colorado

From Athlon … National forecast: 67 … Pac-12 South prediction: 5th … Projected record: 6-6, 4-5 in Pac-12 …

An opposing Pac-12 assistant coach“You look at Colorado and see a program that made a great run in 2016, but might not be able to sustain that. There’s still questions about how they fit into the conference in terms of identity”. 

Stat corner … -1.33 … CU’s average points per trip inside the 40 decreased by 0.65 on offense and 0.68 on defense. That’s a minus-1.33 swing – not good.

Final analysis … After a South Division title in 2016, Colorado entered last season eager to prove it was more than a one-hit wonder. Instead, the Buffs settled into their familiar spot at the bottom of the division. MacIntyre is only one year removed from winning National Coach of the Year honors and signed a contract extension (through 2021), but there’s pressure to get the Buffs back to the postseason. There’s enough talent and hunger to get them there, but not much margin for error.

Street and Smith’s – Pac-12 Trends 

From Street and Smith’s … Three Trending Stories to Watch

1. Chip Kelly’s return … If anyone can shake the Bruins from years of underachievement, it the former Oregon offensive whiz. He just needs time to rework the roster.

2. Desert contrast … The differing hires of Arizona and Arizona State will be compared for years, with Arizona attached to the laid-back Kevin Sumlin and Arizona State going with the energetic Herm Edwards.

3. Football, elevated … With USC replacing quarterback Sam Darnold and three other South division teams breaking in new coaches, maybe this is the year that Utah breaks through for an outright division title.

Jon Wilner: CU’s skill position lineup worst in the Pac-12 South

From the San Jose Mercury News … Please note that I haven’t included every rotation player at each skill position; those named below could be considered the best bets to make a consistent impact.

In coming weeks, we’ll dive deep into other positions and examine impact newcomers — not only the graduate transfers but true freshmen and assistant coaches, as well.

6. Colorado
QB: Steven Montez
TBs: Travon McMillian, Beau Bisharat
WRs: Juwann Winfree, Laviska Shinault, Jay MacIntyre, K.D. Nixon
TEs: Chris Bounds
Comment: The case for a higher placement requires a leap of faith that’s not easy to make, even in Boulder’s thin air. The Buffs will trot out a quarterback coming off a mediocre season who’s without his top playmaker (Philip Lindsey) and a trio of receivers that combined for 150+ catches last season — a daunting situation all around. McMillian, the Virginia Tech transfer with 2,000 career rushing yards, provides a source of hope, and the receivers just might exceed the modest expectations. Unless Montez becomes markedly more efficient, the Buffs will struggle.

Read full article here

—–

78 Responses to “Preseason Magazines”

  1. VKBerlin

    Welp the Forever Buffs Scholarhip Golf Outing, was a big success. Played at Boulder Country Club. Nice course. Lots of optimism about all sports.

    So the pundits continue to post with an aspheric understanding of what is really happening in boulder. Now the Homeric herd will continue the charge into the valley………..rode the 600……… but that is predictable and even though there is a lot of masseteric action going on there is a clear dysenteric explosion happening. The valley??

    Anyway, I demand the Buffs make a bowl and win it. That is all.

    Up the Buffalo

    Note: 6th year. Make or break baby. COY is over. The suit has been dropped. NO MORE FRIGGING EXCUSES…….I REALLY MEAN THAT I REALLY DO..

    Note 2: No more flim-flam-man krappola. If it is a no bowl season, then 2 coaches gotta go……(The only originals left)

  2. VK Berlin

    So about the Captains.

    Interesting the 4th year junior starting QB didn’t get elected by his teammates.

    Buffalo Up……Bowl Game

    • I bet we all wondered about that.

      Sure hoping he steps up to the level we think he’s capable. If not? At least it seems there are some potential dudes behind him who can. I still think he’ll get there. He’s got the physical tools. Does he have the mental make up?

      We’ll find out soon enough.

      Go Buffs.

  3. ep

    Wilner just fell off whatever perch he has been squatting on. He doesnt seem to know anything that is going on with the team this year.
    Huntley who had a dismal season last year is going to be better than Montez?
    Modest expectations from the receivers?
    No mention of Fontent?
    no mention of the new air raid trained OC?
    After wallowing in the campus VIP treatment at UCLA and USC he must not have had enough time to bother with that team even further out in the sticks than Utah

  4. VKBerlin

    So the defense.

    Last year the pundits of earache babbled about the loss of so many starters on defense hence the poor performance.

    So from last year the defense lost 2 starters and have experienced backups.

    Therefore the DC of 2018 (along with the HC) should have a similar 2016 Leavitt defense from a statistical and number of win standpoint don’y ya know?

    Well they should.

    I hope they do.

    Up the Buffalo.

    Note: But can they?

    Note 2: The offense is gonna be way better…..OL seniors (non-leaders) gone. And from an OC standpoint………..Addition from subtraction……….and that is a solid winner.

    • Hello LaVark,

      Hey, you made it like half a week before tossing me into your posts. Good effort.

      As to the experience on defense? Yeah, the defense will be much better.

      But, golly gee willekers, I wonder if the experience that Leavitt had (with what, Tupou and then Carrell making it to the NFL from the Dline, not to mention three DB’s in the same defense) had anything at all to do with their performance.

      Yes, experience matters. But, I kinda think it helps to have experience, along w/ NFL talent. Maybe.

      Not sure this year’s D has any NFL guys on the d-line, just yet. Linebackers probably, and some future NFL guys in the secondary, but… not as many as that vaunted Leavitt D (none of whom he recruited).

      Go Buffs.

      • ep

        He didnt have to recruit them to coach them. Ducks D made big strides his first year there with players he didnt recruit. Coaching the D is tougher than coaching the O. (which makes your buddy Lindgren look even worse.) Not only does the coach have to engage the opposing O coordinator in a chess match, every player on the D has to be taught to react. Aside from the QB, and maybe WRs adjusting routes in play, they are the only players on O who have to react from a strategic point of view.
        I didnt like the Eliot hire when it was made. I have contacts with fans back in KY who were glad to get rid of him. I hope he wasnt brought on board mostly because of his SEC “experience.”
        Hope he does well in the coming year but I’m not putting any money on it.

        • EP, I’ve always been one to credit Leavitt for “helping” the 2016 defense. There’s no doubt the dude is a good coach.

          However, I’m not in the camp that gives him all the credit for that season’s defensive results, nor that of the team as a whole.

          Leavitt walked into a great situation, with a roster that put two DL’s, a linebacker and three DB’s in the NFL. And, per Witherspoon’s Dad – who I met randomly the summer prior to the 2016 season, pretty funny story, really – Mac saw those kids developing a mile away, and that was a big reason Leavitt came on board.

          As to Eliot? Yeah, the jury’s still out on him as the guy to run the defense. Was it all the relationship w/ Mac? Was it his ability to recruit in SEC country? Was it that he’s actually a good defensive coordinator (not all good coaches win all the time, and not all bad coaches lose all the time – how ’bout Erickson as a great testament to the latter)?

          We’ll know a lot more about the entire coaching staff, and players, as we see this season unfold. I’m thinking they’ll bounce back strong, on both sides of the ball. The season will largely hinge upon Montez’ development. Maybe I’m in the minority in that thinking. Or, just the less vocal majority.

          Either way, the countdown has begun, and it’ll be fun to watch unfold – vs. some terrible tragedy…

          Go Buffs.

          • VKBerlin

            We’ll know a lot more about the entire coaching staff, and players, as we see this season unfold. I’m thinking they’ll bounce back strong

            You said the same thing last year. Thinking?? Really>

            Into the valley rode the 600

          • What?

            LaVark, you say the same thing, pretty much every time you post something here.

            And, we only get to see like half of them, b/c thankfully, Stu filters the other half of your ramblings.

            Go Buffs.

          • VK Berlin

            10%.

            Buffs

            Note: Living in the Enteric world is so self containing

      • VK

        No I didn’t. Oh wait I see it now!

        Facts and truth always slide into my posts.

        Wonder how good the Leavitt defense will be this year.

        Your logic says the Buff defense should have been good last year and will even be better this year.

        Buffs

        • Huh? Another swing and a miss, buddy.

          Yes, the defense will be better this year. I guess you missed the part about the 2016 defense having put half of its starters in the NFL? So, not only were they experienced, but they had NFL talent.

          I don’t believe last year’s defense put half their starters in the NFL. Nor do I believe this year’s defense will. I do believe they’ll be better than the 2017 version though.

          You need to try some different spin there, bradda.

          Go Buffs.

          • VK Berlin

            Half? Oh ok and they are all still on a team? Hmmm. That is really good news.

            Lucky they got two years of great coaching.

            Buffs?

            Note: Climacteric is a tough time. Good luck

            Note: And don’t forget MickeyMac was COY as well. What a great year eh?

        • Witherspoon, Thompson, awuzie, Gilbert, tupou, Carroll. Last time I checked, 6 is more than half of 11. As to not all of them still being or playing in the nfl? Is your point that kids who get a contract, even on a practice squad, are not as good as kids who don’t? That seems like the point you are making. Good one.

          Go Buffs.

  5. Oregon Buff

    It’s that time of year again where the anxiety of last season has lead to my unrealistic optimism for the upcoming season. Where I wanted everyone’s head last December, I am now again drinking the kook-aid any am predicting great things…

    So, trying to be more realistic this season, I am asking for (heck, begging for) the following: A sense of urgency from both offense and defense and coaches for 60 full minutes; a coaching plan that makes proper halftime adjustments; an effective and innovative offensive plan on game day; an aggressive defense; a head coach that doesn’t lose his head on the sideline; did I say innovative offensive play calling; a team that looks like they are enjoying themselves on the field; a coaching plan that keeps the “peddle down” when we are ahead; and finally a well deserved bowl appearance!

    Is this too much to ask?

    GO BUFFS!

  6. VKBerlin

    What the heck to these pundit writers know anyway? They have a minimal clue as to how good the Mighty Buffs are gonna be dang nab it. Course most picked the right results for last year but they totally missed 2016 so there.

    Why it will be better:
    Lindgren is gone (Sing Kool and the gang song)
    Roper is here (Sing second verse)
    Mac2 appears to being back from celebrating as COY and the Tumpkin disaster.
    The oline seniors last year were a problem. There may be less experience this year but there is more talent and attitude for sure.
    The Dline has more talent than last year and depth. (Gotta wait and see though)
    Lb and DB are gonna be better than last year. Even with losing a couple of DB’s
    Tight End? Didnt know the Buffs even knew what that was. Thought it was the 6th oline guy.
    Running back? No clue.
    QB. If he ain’t better after 4 games, time to move on.

    Go Buffs.

    Note: BOWL GAME OR BUST

    Note 2: 7 and 5 (2-1) (5-4) I wrote in down…………….In pencil

  7. VKBerlin

    Please TunaMac have a 10 win season. Please

    Buffalo up

  8. buffnaustin

    R.I.P. Vader.

  9. VKBerlin

    Pacific takes. What the hell is happening out there?

    Ranked #8? Okay. But the comments suggest they wrote this last year.

    Of all the writings (other than “UEOE”) this group is the most out of touch. And that is hard to do based on all the “non-researched”,non-understanding and irrelevant writings flooding us this time of year.

    I am fixing to think about getting ready to say 6 and 6 is possible. Welp I already said “Bowl game or Be-gone” so I guess that is it. 2-1 and 4-5. I gotta say winning 4 conference games appears a bit daunting. I mean 12 wins (2.4 py.) over 5 years and 8 of them in 1 year leaves ya kinda wondering.

    And I must say and will say that this time last year the euphoria of 2016 was still strong in the hearts and the minds of Mighty Buff supporters. Skepticism was not allowed as the sheep Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaed and Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaed about the Coach of the Year…..

    The smoke coming from the Champions center did not indicate that it actually could be a dumpster fire (White smoke…Hope…,Black smoke…..nope)…and it kinda maybe was eh? The local media jumped on the COY and rode along with him into the ground yelping all the way…”So close” blah baa ba ba blah……SO CLOSE”

    So this time this year, it feels the same but different. I am hoping for the different. Mac grew up. Lindy left. Roper showed up. Chev is ready. Defense is back. Go Buffs.

    1. Did you buy the brick yet? You ain’t got one you need to get one.

    2. UEOE…(UNINFORMED ESSAYS OF EARACHE)

  10. ep

    whoa
    Bryce Love alone ought to put
    Stanford first

  11. VKBerlin

    Athlons Top Ten Story lines. Seen in section 8 The cradle of quarterbacks

    “…….Colorado’s Steven Montez both have starting experience and have shown flashes but will also be pushed by younger players……”

    What the heck. The Mighty Buffs are afterthoughts. Season ticket sales are down. The Buffzone is pumping out happy pills and Neil is right there with them. Ain’t the national rags reading this stuff. Come onnnnnnnnnn The Mighty Buffs are on the way back up. Last year, like 4 of the last 5, was an anomaly. 16 was the real Mighty Buffs. Mac said so.

    And speaking of coaches, here are the coaches mentioned in the same article.

    Chip Kelley
    Kevin Sumlin
    Herm Edwards
    Clay Helton
    Kyle Whittingham
    David Shaw
    Chris Peterson
    Mario Cristobal
    Mike Leach
    Jonathan Smith

    Not Mentioned?
    Justin Wilcox
    Mike Macintrye
    These writers across the nation must be following the Tuna edict of “you are what your record says you are”

    The Mighty Buffs are being disrespected everywhere. Okay Steele says 6 and 6 and a bowl. Good Guy.

    And a final quote from the…………
    the Pac-12 South features a wide-open battle between USC, Utah and Arizona.”

    Go You Mighty Buffs.

    Notes: The 6th year is a mighty big year and a mighty big year it is.

    Behind Mr. Sneelock’s ramshackle store, there’s an empty lot. Little Morris McGurk is convinced that if he could just clear out the rusty cans, the dead tree, and the old cars, nothing would prevent him from using the lot for the amazing, world-beating, Circus McGurkus. The more elaborate Morris’ dreams about the circus become, the more they depend on the sleepy-looking and innocent Sneelock, who stands outside his ramshackle store sucking on a pipe, oblivious to the fate that awaits him in the depths of Morris’s imagination. He doesn’t yet know that he’ll have to dispense 500 gallons of lemonade, be lassoed by a Wily Walloo, wrestle a Grizzly-Ghastly, and ski down a slope dotted with giant cacti. But if his performance is up to McGurkian expectations, then “Why, ladies and gentlemen, youngsters and oldsters, your heads will quite likely spin right off your shouldsters!”

  12. VKBerlin

    Okay then hurry up season.

    So Howell says and Stu repeats that Jay is going into his senior season.

    Hmmmmm

    He just graduated in May.

    How can that be.

    So He ain’t a senior.

    He ain’t a fifth year senior

    He is a:

    “Graduate Un-Transfer” student athlete.

    Interesting ain’t it?

    Buffs.

    • AZBuff

      Sooooo? What’s the big problem, VK? You really do have a problem with Jay and I can’t understand why. Just because you have lost faith in the Dad as HC doesn’t mean that Jay is chopped liver. Get over it, and if and when Jay makes some more of those critical 1st down catches this coming year, at least let up on the snarky comments.

      • VKBerlin

        Hey ye ol purveyor of “words from the desert”, king of all the windmills in the land, killer of millions of worm families, baron of the “whackers in the rough”, worshiper of Psamathe, and devotee of Rule 14-5.

        Nah he is a good kid. So Brian sad he walked in graduation cause he is close but will graduate in December. He said the did this cause they don’t have a walk in December. I think he’s frigging me. Protecting his dad and the kid.

        Anyway I hope he gets to play some this year. But not from a selfish standpoint.

        Buffs

        • KevinMac

          Plenty of kids playing their senior year of college ball after receiving their diploma – some working on a graduate degree. Don’t remember if Mac2 redshirted, but that usually accounts for the degree before playing eligibility is exhausted. Most folks tend to praise this sort of behavior, not critique it. And I walked in December, but it wasn’t nearly the experience of Folsom Field in May.

          • VKBerlin

            Yup he did redshirt.

            Fine young man.

            Just wondering how many is “Plenty”???

            He sure has put his time in.

            4 years of school
            3 summer schools.
            I guess that should be 4 summer schools cause he his probably going this summer cause according to Brian, he is close but not quite. (Hmmm that sounds familiar)

            well anyway he is a fine young man, gonna be a coach and deserves everything he gets.

            Go Buffs

          • BuffinLA

            Everything but your criticism 😉
            I walked with my class before I had technically completed. It wasn’t an issue for me.
            That said, your rhymes and rants are always entertaining, no doubt.

  13. buffnaustin

    I watched Canadian Football last night. And I liked it.

    • That is friggin’ HI larious.

      I actually saw CFL on the guide, and didn’t have the courage to watch… I think I clicked to a South Park rerun, instead.

      Go Buffs.

      • buffnaustin

        It is kind of hard to follow, not knowing all of the rules, but it is football filler. I will watch it every week from now until NFL preseason just o get a taste.

      • buffnaustin

        Don’t get me wrong I didn’t watch the whole game but enough to whet my appetite.

  14. VKBerlin

    Did I hear/read/dream that Phil Steele predicted the Buffs are going to the Vegas bowl?

    Did I?

    Stu??????

  15. VKBerlin

    So when does the season start? From Today 6-12-18

    14 weeks or so?

    Damn, as it gets closer the anxieties/expectations/desires continue to be positively impacted by……EVERYTHING. Reality be damned. Negativity get outta here. Sheep, get in a “column of ducks” and lets go.

    5-0 Win every conference home game. (Which is entirely possible)
    2-2 Split the conference road games. (Which is also entirely possible)

    Mein Gott…………….Bring on the alcohol……….I gotta get sober.

    Up the Buffs.

    Note: Kelly needs to be welcomed back to the pac 12 correctly. This has to happen. He and his brewns need to be whipped up front and whipped hard.
    Buffs get that chance.

    Other Note: Lotta pressure on the Buffs. Lotta pressure.

  16. VKBerlin

    Earach,

    The Title says “Complete Pac-12 Preview”

    So like you tell your clients “Don’t read the fine print, just sign the papers. Trust me I’m a loan officer”

    In the Complete Preview,

    They predicted The Mighty Buffs

    Conference 4-5
    Overall 6-6

    Well there ya go.( Best one yet)

    Buffs.

    Note: Two martini loan officer lunch at 9:30. Nap at noon. Nice!

    • Oh silly LaVar, your lack of knowledge and insight about my business is only surpassed by your lack of knowledge about football.

      My point wasn’t that CU wasn’t in their chart, it was that they omitted them from their narrative, when there are several story lines they could have touched upon about CU.

      Just another of your posts that includes more babbling about me than anything else. Sigh.

      Go Buffs.

  17. That’s awesome. Did I just not see it, or does Athlon think so much of CU’s football program that they didn’t even get mentioned in their Pac 12 preview?

    Wow. The off season continues setting up for the Buffs to surprise everyone again this year.

    Go Buffs.

    • VKBerlin

      And there is this from Athlon Complete Pac 12 Preview:

      Top Newcomer
      Steven Lassan..Tabari Hines WR, Oregon
      Braden Gall.. Travon McMillian RB, Colorado
      Mitch Light.. Travon McMillian RB, Colorado
      Mark Ross.. Travon McMillian RB, Colorado

      Up the Buffalo

  18. VKBerlin

    The Mighty Buffs are a Tier 3 Pac-12 team?

    The Mighty Buffs are still a Tier 3 team after 5 years going on 6?

    The Mighty Buffs were a tier 3 team when TunaMac arrived.

    What the hell is going on out there?

    Well okay then.

    Beat CSU
    Beat that other team
    Beat the other 3 tier 3 teams.
    Beat one tier 2 team (At least one)

    And Bowl game.

    Buffalo up

    • VKBerlin

      Wow CU is a “tier 3” and CSU is “middle of the pack”

      Perspective?

      Whup them middle of the pack type wam a lamma ding dongs.

      Buffs.

  19. ep

    Speaking of Vegas, the BZ just alerted us that legalized sport gambling is coming on everything and everywhere. As if the players didnt have enough distractions. Everything is going to hell (except the Vegas hockey team) and I may just retire to California Baja Sud….ceviche and cerveza everyday

  20. VKBerlin

    Wow Vegas. I ain’t rooting for your hockey team any more. And I already hate your football team. Yur a stinky lil town dang nab it.

    Guess ya gotta pay for the details cause there ain’t much there as to why. Sheesh everything in Vegas used to be free………..if you gambled.

    Win 4 games eh?
    So that would be 2 and 7 in the PAC 12????
    (So in The Pac 12, TunaMac would then be 14 and 40 after 6 years?..Holy smelly fish. That some deep sheet right there.)

    CSU?
    New Hampshire
    OSU
    ?

    4-8 and 2 and 7 TunaMac should just resign.

    Oh No Buffalo

    • ep

      It is a stinky town but the hockey team aint stinky. I am still watching and rooting for Vegas. These guys are castoffs from other teams and none of them take even 2 seconds off during a shift. Hockey may be getting better but it has always been a good ol boy system and these vegas players are blowing that out of the water.

      Y’all know, of course, they could win the cup in their first year of existence

  21. Four wins is the over/under? Wow. I’m not much of a gambler, but I may have to figure out how to place a bet for the over on that one.

    Go Buffs.

  22. Rob Thompson

    Hell, this team has at least seven wins this year. Last year was a fluke, there is way more talent on this team than 2016.

    • VKBerlin

      I truly want you to be right.
      I truly do.

      Even though it would mean TunaMac would be here another year, I just want the Buffs to win.

      Please oh Big White Buffalo have mercy on our hoofs.

  23. ep

    I have nothing but derision for most of these preseason predictions but when I see Vegas betting CU will only win 4 games that sets off an alarm.
    When you are only expected to win 4 what difference does a trap game make?

    • VKBerlin

      Hey maybe when they talk about CU trap games they mean they are trap games for the team the Mighty Buffs are playing.

      Ya that’s it. I believe that I really do.

      Ye ol reverse trap game theory.

      Wow

  24. VKberlin

    Trap games?

    Guess the Mighty Buffs didn’t make the list of Pac 12 contenders with trap games!

    Buffalo Up.

    Note: TunaMac…………..every game is a trap game for you. Take a memo.

  25. VKberlin

    Lindy’s 73?

    What? What the hell do they know?
    The buffalo coach has a losing record. This is his sixth year as the Buff Head Coach and his ninth head coaching season overall. What?

    I guess you cannot discount that.

    Oh Well

    Year number 6 here we go.

    buffs

    Get a Bowl please.

  26. VKberlin

    Golfing done.
    Watching the Indy and golf. NBA game 7 Nice.

    Great Sunday.

    Golf tomorrow. Grilling and chilling. The 600. NBA game 7 Nice

    Happy Memorial Weekend

    The Go Buffs 2018

    Positives:

    A real qb coach.
    No Lindgren offense
    New co-oc’s
    Good QB
    Good receivers
    New DLine coach
    Additional DB coach
    Best athletes on defense (Old and new)

    Negatives: NONE

    Question Marks:
    Oline
    Running back
    DC
    HC

    Buffalo Up

  27. VKberlin

    Ye ol Crossroads, other roads, no roads, any road.

    the intersection of a line and a line, can be a line, a point, or the empty set.

    Which intersection is it for the Buffs?

    The continuing line?
    The endpoint?
    The abyss?

    go buffs

  28. ep

    An opposing Pac-12 assistant coach … “There’s still questions about how they fit into the conference in terms of identity”.

    Too bad Athlon didnt ID that assistant coach. It was a down year for the entire conference and this arrogant nimrod says this? Was it someone from high and mighty University of spoiled children? Was it someone from Utah trying to separate themselves from their fellow newcomer? Or was it actually from someone from another insecure bottom feeder trying to make themselves feel better by stepping on someone else. Maybe even sour grapes from Lingering?

    The Buffs did win the South 2 years ago. thats a fact jack

    • ep

      one more thing for that “astute” assistant coach…CU’s APR. How does that fit into the conference ID, sparky?

    • EP you know as well as anyone, after a decade of futility, it takes more than closing the blowout gap and one magical year to gain much, really any, respect.

      The team, including coaches, knew they had something to prove last year. They didn’t prove much on the positive side.

      The good news? I am betting that turns into fuel on the fire this year. Montez steps up hugely. The defense gains some composure in the trenches, and they again surprise the “experts “.

      Go Buffs.

  29. VKBerlin

    I want the Mighty Buffs to show it all in the first game. Show em so much that the kornkobs and the rest of the Pac can see what they are up against. A

    A MONSTER

    Non of this hold back krap. Show em it all and let em get prepared for that eh?

    Screw those closed practices and whimpy game plans and ‘TunaMac’ like “playing not to lose”

    Dang nab it time to play some 1990 Colorado kick arse football.

    It just sucks….Well it does….it really does.

    TunaMac take all your awards, put em in the garage. You ain’t shown nothing yet.

    You got anything to show? Six years baby Six years.

    Sheesh Buffs

    • Old Codger

      Sheesh! TunaMac has more wins and more awards after his sixth year that the original Mac did! And just about the same number of assistants replaced (up-graded) !!!

      Love it how AC QB VK Shnitzle bemoans the quality of assistants, then turns around immediately and bemoans the upgraded replacements for those same-said assistants (judgement withheld on Elliot; no DC is going to lose 13 impact players, eight of whom were starters, off his team without feeling it).

      • VKBerlin

        Well first off, up you meds, cause TunaMac has only coached here 5 years, and has coached 4 more games cause they increased the schedule.

        And Mac has more wins in conference while only playing in the first 5 years 35 conference games will TunaMac has played 45

        Conference games is where it is at. And don’t make me dig up who Mac played out of conference vs TunaMac.

        Coaching tree of TunaMac
        Kent Baer, previously defensive coordinator at San Jose State under MacIntyre, was interim head coach for San Jose State for the 2012 Military Bowl after MacIntyre resigned to take the head coaching position at Colorado.
        Tim Landis, MacIntyre’s first offensive coordinator and tight ends coach at San Jose State, became head coach at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2011. Before joining MacIntyre’s staff at San Jose State, Landis was a head coach at Davidson, Saint Mary’s, and Bucknell.

        Coaching tree of Mac
        Assistants to McCartney who became college or pro head coaches:

        Gary Barnett: Northwestern (1992–1998), Colorado (1999–2005)
        Jim Caldwell: Wake Forest (1993–2000), Indianapolis Colts (2009–2011), Detroit Lions (2014–2017)
        Ron Dickerson: Temple (1993–1997), Alabama State (1998–1999), Lambuth (2010)
        Gerry DiNardo: Vanderbilt (1991–1994), LSU (1995–1999), Birmingham Thunderbolts (2001), Indiana (2002–2004)
        Jon Embree: Colorado (2011–2012)
        Mike Hankwitz: Arizona (2003), Colorado (2005)
        Steve Logan: East Carolina (1992–2002)
        Les Miles: Oklahoma State (2001–2004), LSU (2005–2016)
        Rick Neuheisel: Colorado (1995–1998), Washington (1999–2002), UCLA (2008–2011)
        Bob Simmons: Oklahoma State (1995–2000)
        Lou Tepper: Illinois (1991–1996), Edinboro (2006–2010), IUP (2012–2014)
        Ron Vanderlinden: Maryland (1997–2000)
        Scott Wachenheim: VMI (2015–present)

        I am hoping the TunaTeam can live up to the awards that the DC got for him.

        Buffs

  30. ep

    Buffs shouldn’t finish worse than 4th in the South. I will be extremely disappointed if they dont at least come in 3rd. USC should wind up 1st. With 3 new coaches trying to get their programs back up the loss of Darnold wont make much difference with all the other 5 stars on their roster. The Buffs will have to beat out either Utah or UCLA for the third spot. I think Kelly is going to do more than people think ….but hey, maybe the Buffs wind up at 2. Keys being improvement on the O and D and the D not giving up any complete breakdowns like Tate last year.

  31. I figure if we see Montez improve as he should with his leadership, touch on the ball and most importantly, reading and reacting so he’s making better decisions more quickly, and the defense goes from abysmal in run defense to at least not sieve-like, they’ll get 7-8 wins and a decent bowl game.

    But, that’s a pretty short pre-season dead zone story, so… they gotta find something to write about, and it sure ain’t our Buffs.

    99 days of no football on TV, 99 days of… oh never mind.

    Go Buffs.

  32. I’ll say it again. This season will hinge upon two key factors for our Buffs. Nothing earth shattering. The offense will go as Montez goes. If he progresses like I think and hope he can? They’ll do just fine.

    If the defense can step up their run defense, that’ll be huge.

    Pretty basic stuff. If they can do those two key things, they’ll win 8 games.

    You can’t fill the pre-season dead zone with stories like that, though.

    Go Buffs.

  33. ep

    Pretty shallow analysis by Wilner focusing only on the skill positions. Doesn’t he know Defense plays half the role and wins championships?

    Aside from all the 5 stars perennially on the USC squad South is a mystery. Here is my humble prediction. USC, of course, will be on top due to all the rebuilding else where. Any other year missing Darnold might have mattered. I’m not going to count Chip Kelly out even if this is his first year….or Utah. Their coaching is the most consistently successful in the South. Back to the Buffs. I dont see them finishing any lower than 4th and I would consider that disappointing. If the D and O lines show marked improvement 2nd is entirely possible. If Eliot and the D can prevent a complete breakdown like Tate last year that will be another key on where the Buffs finish

  34. VKBerlin

    Et Tu Wilner? Sheesharama there is no respect for the Mighty Buffs.

    So the skill position analysis puts the Mighty Buffs 6th in the south?

    ————————-

    Huntley’s uneven ’17 performance and the loss of the top-two-receivers ….. are reasons to disregard the Utes’ skill talent. That would be a mistake. Huntley should be more efficient in his second year in Troy Taylor’s system, …..”

    ……………..vs………..

    The Buffs will trot out a quarterback coming off a mediocre season who’s without his top playmaker and a trio of receivers that combined ……a daunting situation all around…….. Unless Montez becomes markedly more efficient, the Buffs will struggle.

    So Huntley will flourish under the coaching staff and Montez will struggle under the coaching staff.?????

    Well okay then.

    There ya have it.

    Buffalo up

    Notes:
    a. 2016 the fluke year
    b. Talent level is low. Coaches can’t coach em up.
    c. 6 years with lots of assistant coach changes. Only common is Same HC
    d. Same HC = Same Results
    e. Everybody loves TunaMac. Parents, kids, sheep.
    f. Nice guys finish last.

  35. VKBerlin

    Love those preseason Mags.

    So I figure:

    Beat the two you are better than
    Beat the two you are equal too.
    Beat on of the 3 just above you. Okay maybe 2
    Upset one of the two top tier.

    And volia……….Nice season.

    It can be done It shall be done.

  36. VKBerlin

    Yup Stuart it looks like a fair assessment. (Interesting no “lil Mac” mentioned in the receiver section? Maybe he is moving on.)

    Not sure Eliots hire was curious. After dealing with Leavitt, TunaMac was looking for someone he could manage. Oh well, I am pretty dang sure Eliots defense will be much different/better this year. New DL coach, additional DBack coach. Talent increase. Gut feeling. But if it ain’t good eliot needs to move on.

    This offense will be different. Don’t let em fool ya. Plays are similar (as are all football plays) but with a different flair. The game plans and play calling and adjustments will be so much better There will be not predictability like the last 5 years. They have a real qb coach. A real one. Ok I still have a wait and see on Roper and the interaction with the Co-Oc’s but indications are this is gonna work. What a great day. No more Lindy Offense. Gawd that is so great. (Funny to see TunaMac get rid of his ‘longtime OC’)

    Man I just wanna see a victory in a bowl game. Don’t care which one. Just a victory in a bowl game.

    I am rooting hard here.
    Go Buffs

    • Old Codger

      Never mind that Roper bears the Manning Family stamp of approval, WE here all have to wait for the No. 1 Arm Chair QB, VK’s stamp of approval!

      Meanwhile, those “executive par 3” courses’ deep roughs continues to thrive upon VK’s “errant” (if by “errant” you’re thinking “regular,” you are correct!) shots!

      • VKBerlin

        You are great. You never miss a chance to display the ol age loss of brain cells

        And yes you will wait for my stamp of approval. He is doing well with the QB’s (good info) but it has yet to be seen how he acts/reacts under pressure when dealing with the Co-Oc’s

        Buffs.

        Note: So he coached Eli and that is the family stamp of approval? Ha

        And…….he could be like the DC (not that I believe that) but nothing more than a discarded SEC Coordinator.

        gots to perform boy.

      • ep

        The manning stamp of approval didnt seem to matter much to Muschamp

  37. 57MAB

    I think offense will be the X-factor. Unlike the author of the piece, I think Chiaverini as a coordinator will be far less predictable as Lindgren was. I also think the addition of a tested QB coach like Roper holds huge potential to make Montez and the others better decision makers. In the run game I’m thankful for the grad transfer McMillian so that a guy with huge potential like Fontenot is developed into the lineup by coach Hagan….After all, it was when Hagan became RB coach that we got to see Lindsay elevate his game. I think the receivers will be fine from an experience and depth standpoint…BUT finally, the O-line nucleus needs to stay healthy so that promising young guys like Polley, Sherman, Moretti, Kanan Ray, and the newest guy Kutsch can be brought along and not thrown in to the wolves. Gee, I hope I don’t sound like another one of the mostly useless preseason mags.

  38. ep

    I dont think I have ever bought one of these preseason rags….or during and post season either. Who does buy them? the Tide, Buckeye, Texas and Trojan fans who cant get enough massaging?

    • WarBuff

      They print whatever, and no one cares after the second game of the season. Just a way to get magazines sold.

  39. cjbuffco

    I never put much stock into preseason magazines. The one I like the most is Phil Steele. IMO, Athlon seems to extrapolate from the past year and goes with popularity as opposed to more quantitative measures. 2017 remains a disappointment to me as it seemed that the team was not prepared to play for most of the contests. If nothing else, I want to see some passion from the 2018 Buffs. Overall, I hope (and optimistically expect) for a 7-5 or 8-4 season. If Macintyre can’t figure out a way to get CU to a bowl this year with the talent that is now on the team, he needs to move on. I’m not pro-Mac or anti-Mac, he just needs to get it done. No coach has ever won a national coach of the year and then not had a winning season the following year. Mac is the first in that regard. Sustainability has always been my question mark surrounding Mac. I am glad that we have a change at O coordinator with hopefully some more aggressive, creative play calling. Also nice to see the non-conference schedules for the next few years, some fun matchups. Go Buffs!!!

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