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Preseason Magazines

June 29th

Pac-12 Transfer Portal rankings: CU a “better than expected” 9th

From mikefarrellsports … The transfer portal is always in flux, but at this point we know where most guys are going to be playing this fall. Let’s take a look at the Pac-12 teams who did the best this portal cycle.

1. USC (20)

The skinny: The Trojans have arguably had the most successful portal cycle of any team in the country, so they are obviously tops in the conference. The list of big additions is long, but just a few that stand out are quarterback Caleb Williams (Oklahoma), wide receiver Jordan Addison (Pittsburgh), linebacker Eric Gentry (Arizona State) and running backs Travis Dye (Oregon) and Austin Jones (Stanford).

2. UCLA (12)

The skinny: The Bruins have quietly put together a very good portal group during this cycle, with the majority of the talent coming on the defensive side of the ball. The line was bolstered with five additions while Jaylin Davies (Oregon) and Azizi Hearn (Wyoming) will help the secondary and linebacker Darius Muasau (Hawaii) has already impressed. Offensively, wide receivers Titus Mokiao-Atimalala (UCF) and Jake Bobo (Duke) will make an impact.

9. Colorado (5)

The skinny: Considering the Buffaloes have seen 22 scholarship players enter the portal during this cycle, it is surprising that they have only brought in five players. RJ Sneed (Baylor) has the potential to be the top receiver in Boulder this fall, linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo (West Virginia) adds experience and talent to the position and offensive linemen Tommy Brown (Alabama) and Luke Eckardt (Arizona) add much needed depth.

10. Utah (5)

The skinny: With only a handful of additions during this portal cycle, it will be interesting to see how much of an impact this group can make. Linebacker Mohamoud Diabate (Florida), defensive back Clayton Isbell (Illinois State) and tight end Logan Kendall (Idaho) are three to watch.

Read full story here

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June 25th

Athlon’s CU Projections: 3-9, 2-7; “Outside expectations are low … but there is a quiet confidence”

From Athlon’s preseason magazine

Pac-12 predicted finish: 

North …

  1. Oregon … 9-4; 7-2
  2. Oregon State … 7-5; 5-4
  3. Washington … 7-5; 5-4
  4. Washington State … 6-6; 4-5
  5. California … 6-6; 4-5
  6. Stanford … 4-8; 3-6

South

  1. Utah … 11-2; 7-2
  2. USC … 9-3; 6-3
  3. UCLA … 8-4; 5-4
  4. Arizona … 4-8; 3-6
  5. Arizona State … 5-7; 3-6
  6. Colorado … 3-9; 2-7

Numbers to Know:

  • 23 … Colorado ran 529 plays in 2021, and only 23 of them went for over 20 yards, ranking 129th in the nation;
  • 4.34 … The Buffaloes held their opponents to 4.34 points per quality possession, good enough for 59th in the FBS;
  • 31.7 … Only 31.7 percent of Colorado’s drives resulted in a quality possession (128th in the country).

Final Analysis … Dorrell is in his third year in Boulder, but this is still a rebuilding program. Outside expectations are low, but with a rebuilt staff and young talent, there is a quiet confidence. Dorrell is ready for the challenge: “I do believe by the time we line up and play, we’ll have a good 22 – first and second team – on both sides of the ball that can move and so some good things for us”.

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June 24th

CBS on CU’s 3.5 win total projection: Take the Under

From CBS Sports … With new coaches in at Oregon, USC and Washington, and a bevy of transfer quarterbacks in position to compete for starting jobs, the Pac-12 is getting a makeover for the 2022 season as it seeks to snap a five-year College Football Playoff drought. Among the league’s other changes is a shift in how Pac-12 title game participants are determined, as it will now be the two teams with the best league winning percentage squaring off, regardless of division.

Because of the coaching transitions among the league’s biggest brands, defending Pac-12 champion Utah enters the new season as the most-established team in the league. Head coach Kyle Whittingham will be coaching his 18th season, and he’s got the league’s steadiest QB in Cam Rising. But even with the Utes on solid footing after a Rose Bowl appearance, the Trojans figure to be league’s biggest story in 2022.

With Lincoln Riley arriving at USC from Oklahoma and bringing in a star-studded class of transfers with him, including QB Caleb Williams from Oklahoma and reigning Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison from Pittsburgh, the Trojans are expected to quickly rebound from last season’s 4-8 fiasco. In the North, Oregon and Washington also expect to be competitive immediately under first-year coaches.

The 2022 college football season is right around the corner, and Caesars Sportsbook has released over/under win totals for every Pac-12 team. Here are our summer picks for how each team will fare in relation to the expectations of Las Vegas.

Colorado

Over/under 3.5 wins

  • Wins: at Air Force, Arizona State
  • Losses: TCU, at Minnesota, UCLA, at Arizona, California, at Oregon State, Oregon, at USC, at Washington, Utah

Analysis: Colorado, like Arizona, has no gimme games on its schedule. That makes life tough when you’re a projected bottom-feeder searching for footing early in a coach’s tenure. Colorado isn’t so void of talent that can’t win four games. But with Oregon and Washington both on the schedule from the North, six true road games and no pushover opponents, the under is a safer bet on this Vegas projection. Pick: Under 3.5 wins (-130)

Continue reading story here

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June 21st 

On3 Sports: Transfer Buff linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo one of the top five linebackers in the nation

From On3.com … The On3 Impact 300 ranks the best players in college football entering the 2022 season, with a full release coming in the next few weeks. Prior to the release of the inaugural list – which also factors into the calculation of the On3 NIL Valuation – On3 has revealed the Top 10 returning linebackers.

Clemson stalwart Trenton Simpson leads the way after logging 110 tackles over the past two years. Doubling as an edge rusher, he gives the Tigers a very productive option in the front seven.

These are the 10 most impactful linebackers with less than three months until the 2022 season kicks off.

2. Noah SewellOregon

An absolute tackling machine, Sewell has been a vacuum in the middle of the defense for the Ducks. He racked up 106 tackles in 2021 as a second-year player, becoming a Butkus Award semifinalist and first-team Coaches’ All-Pac-12 selection. The former five-star prospect’s NIL valuation is $645,000.

5. Josh Chandler-SemedoColorado

A transfer from West Virginia, Chandler-Semedo started 31 games for the Mountaineers. He had 260 tackles while at WVU, including 110 as a senior in 2021. Taking advantage of a free year of eligibility thanks to COVID-19, Chandler-Semedo’s current NIL valuation is $177,000.

6. Edefuan UlofoshioWashington

Ulofoshio is coming off an injury that ended his 2021 campaign midway through, but he’s had plenty of production for the Huskies. Statistically, in half a year last season, he had already put together his most productive year, tallying 51 tackles. His current NIL valuation is $176,000.

Read full story here

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June 20th

Seven Buffs named to Athlon and Phil Steele’s All-Pac-12 teams

From CUBuffs.com … Athlon and Phil Steele’s College Football, two popular college football publications, have named their respective preseason All-Pac-12 teams, with the latter becoming public earlier this week.

Athlon named S Isaiah Lewis to its second-team defense while another pair of defenders made the third team in DL Jalen Sami and LB Quinn Perry.  PK Cole Becker was named third-team at place kicker and the team was rounded out by two offensive selections on the fourth team with TE Brady Russell and OL Casey Roddick.

Phil Steele, who’s publication came out earlier this week, with WR R.J. Sneed picking up second-team honors.  Sami was named third team on defense with DL Terrance Lang and Lewis picking up fourth team defensive honors and Russell fourth-team offensive honors.

After missing his first three collegiate field goal attempts, Becker responded and connected on 14-of-17 attempts the rest of the season, including on 3-of-4 from 50-yards or longer.  He also connected on all 25 PAT tries and scored 67 points,  becoming the seventh player to lead the Buffs in scoring as a freshman.

Lang has started 27 of his 40 career games, including 11 of 12 in 2021.  He has 85 career tackles, 35 of which have come at or behind the line of scrimmage including 9.5 sacks.  He also has 27 quarterback hurries and six pass breakups entering his fifth season in 2022.

Lewis led the Buffs in overall tackles with 79 and had a team-best 55 solo stops in 2021.  He closed the 2021 campaign with a career-best 12 tackles (nine solo) against Utah.  He also had seven third down stops and two interceptions in 2021 and has 15 third down stops and eight pass breakups in his career.

Perry stepped in for an injured Nate Landman the second half of 2021 and ended up finishing second on the team with 78 tackles, including 53 solo stops, and 10 tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage. In the double-OT win against Oregon State, he had a career best 11 tackles, nine of which were solo with four at or behind the line of scrimmage including one tackle for loss.

Roddick came back from a hard off season and earned the starting spot at offensive guard two games into the 2021 season and ended up starting the final 10 games.  He had seven perfect blocks on TD plays and four touchdown blocks on running plays, allowing just 2.5 sacks and being flagged three times in 572 overall plays.

Russell led the team in both receptions and yards in 2021, just the 14th time in the 130-year history of the program a tight end accomplished that feat, and just the third this century joining Daniel Graham (2001, Mackey Award Winner) and Riar Geer (2006).  He has 58 career receptions for 646 yards, ranking ninth and 12th, respectively, for tight ends in school history.

Sami continues to improve every season for the Buffs and played a key role in 2021 with 30 tackles, including 23 solo and 10 at or behind the line of scrimmage.  He earned All-Pac-12 honors from the coaches and had 58 career tackles, 19 at or behind the line of scrimmage with 2.5 sacks.

Sneed is a graduate transfer from Baylor and enrolled at Colorado prior to the spring season. He has appeared in 47 collegiate games and has 133 receptions for 1,564 yard and eight touchdowns.  His best game to date was against Kansas when he caught six passes for 128 yards and a touchdown, and he had a career-best eight catches against Texas for 94 yards and a score.

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June 18th

Lindy’s – CU needs an immediate turnaround from a new look offense

From Lindy’s preseason magazine …

Pac-12 … 

North

  • Oregon – No. 11 nationally
  • Oregon State – No. 43
  • Washington – No. 47
  • Cal – No. 51
  • Stanford – No. 65
  • Washington State – No. 70

South 

  • Utah – No. 7 nationally
  • USC – No. 22
  • UCLA – No. 30
  • Arizona State – No. 58
  • Arizona – No. 82
  • Colorado … – No. 83 … Could surprise like in ’20, but last season’s backslide is a bad sign

Pac-12 All-Pac-12 team … Third team … DL Terrance Lang … DL Jalen Sami … DB Isaiah Lewis

Colorado … 

  • Primary strengths … While light on returning starters , the CU defense is not lacking for experience and boasts one of the Pac-12’s most talented defensive lines. Sneed is a big addition after spending five seasons at Baylor, catching 133 passes for 1,564 yards and eight touchdowns.
  • Primary problems … CU needs an immediate turnaround from a new look offense after finishing with one of the nation’s lowest scoring averages a season ago. The non-conference slate is challenging and could quickly curtail any preseason optimism.
  • Overview … Karl Dorrell’s debut season defied expectations with Colorado contending for the Pac-12 South during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign. With a home of returning starters back, including Jarek Broussard, CU had the makings of a dark-horse Pac-12 contender in 2021. But the Buffs’ offensive woes sent them back near the bottom of the league, where CU has typically finished since joining the in 2011. The 2022 campaign could be more of the same if the influx of new offensive players cannot engineer a dramatic turnaround.

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June 14th

Athlon’s Pac-12 South predictions: CU in the basement behind the Arizona schools

From Athlon Sports … Utah won its first Pac-12 title last season, and that’s where the path to the conference championship begins in 2022. The Utes are Athlon’s pick to win the Pac-12 this fall, but USC should be much improved behind new coach Lincoln Riley. Oregon is a clear favorite in the North Division and a good schedule (no USC and Utah at home) gives new coach Dan Lanning a favorable path to a spot in the Pac-12 title game.

UCLA needs to reload along the offensive line and improve its defense to push Utah and USC in the South, but coach Chip Kelly’s team could finish in the top 25 if those areas are resolved. Arizona State faces a significant amount of uncertainty entering coach Herm Edwards’ fifth season, while Arizona and Colorado will look to improve after combining for a 5-19 record last fall. Oregon State, Washington and Washington State aren’t separated by a ton in the North, with California and Stanford rounding out the division. However, the Beavers are trending in the right direction under coach Jonathan Smith and should edge the Huskies for second in the North. There’s intrigue with new coaches at Washington (Kalen DeBoer) and Washington State (Jake Dickert). Cal should have a standout defense but question marks remain on offense. Stanford needs a big year from quarterback Tanner McKee to rebound from last year’s 3-9 mark.

Pac-12 South … 

  • 1. Utah
  • 2. USC
  • 3. UCLA
  • 4. Arizona … Picking the Wildcats fourth in the South may seem like a stretch after a 1-11 mark in coach Jedd Fisch’s debut last fall. However, the Wildcats have upgraded the roster through a solid recruiting haul, and the transfer portal brought impact additions in quarterback Jayden de Laura (Washington State) and receiver Jacob Cowing (UTEP). Also, both Colorado and Arizona State come to Tucson, so the door is open to piece together a couple of wins in Pac-12 play …
  • 5. Arizona State … Uncertainty surrounds Arizona State this year. The Sun Devils lost (but restocked some) players to the portal, underwent a significant staff overhaul, and also remain under NCAA investigation. If the pieces fall into place, there’s potential to return to a bowl and six-plus wins. However, there’s also the potential for the dark clouds hanging over this program to turn into a major distraction …
  • 6. Colorado … After a promising 4-2 finish in coach Karl Dorrell’s first year (2020), the Buffaloes took a major step back last fall. Colorado went 4-8 in ’21 and lost six Pac-12 games by 15 or more points. Also, the offense averaged 20.3 points and just 4.5 yards per play in conference action, while the defense surrendered 6.1 yards per play. The Buffaloes need significant improvement on both sides of the ball to contend for a bowl trip. Dorrell hopes a new coordinator (Mike Sanford Jr.) is what the offense needs to get back on track, but major personnel concerns remain going into ’22. The line struggled mightily (32 sacks allowed) and key playmakers in receiver Brenden Rice and running back Jarek Broussard opted to transfer. Quarterback Brendon Lewis returns after accounting for nearly 1,800 total yards last year, but he will be pushed by JT Shrout for the starting job. Only four starters are back on a defense that ranked near the bottom of the Pac-12 against the run and pass. Linebackers Carson Wells and Nate Landman and cornerbacks Mehki Blackmon and Christian Gonzalez top the list of key departures for coordinator Chris Wilson to address. West Virginia transfer Josh Chandler-Semedo was a key pickup at linebacker. A non-conference slate featuring games versus TCU, Minnesota and Air Force is challenging for a team in rebuild mode.

Read full story here

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June 11th

*The Athletic posts its CU “State of the Program” preview* – “You can see us trending the right direction”

From The Athletic … The Colorado coaching staff knows what everyone thinks about its chances this season.

After a strong first season under head coach Karl Dorrell in 2020, the Buffaloes struggled last year, winning four games. The defense at times played well enough to win — maybe well enough to get to a bowl game — but the offensive issues were a hurdle too high to clear. For the first time since 2016, Colorado had no one selected in the NFL Draft.

Dorrell overhauled his staff, with four of his six new on-field assistants taking offensive roles, including coordinator Mike Sanford Jr., a former head coach at Western Kentucky who spent the last two seasons at Minnesota. Then a transfer wave hit. Colorado lost 23 players, including its leading rusher, two top receivers, both starting cornerbacks and a starting safety. This was in addition to the losses of Nate Landman, a team captain and second-team All-Pac-12 linebacker, and Carson Wells, the program’s top pass rusher.

The staff knows how this looks. “Obviously, on paper we’re supposed to be terrible,” Sanford said. “Everybody’s saying that. But I think internally there’s a different feeling.”

Colorado has hit reset, especially on offense. For five weeks, coaches rebuilt the offense and discussed everything from strategy to terminology. They started with a basic question: Who are we? The answer: “No matter what the stats say, the most physical team in the Pac-12 is going to win the Pac-12,” Sanford said. “That’s what we have to shoot for.”

Same goes on the defensive side. For the first seven seasons of his career, coordinator Chris Wilson worked at smaller schools, places such as Indiana State, Northern Illinois, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and Illinois State, with significant recruiting challenges when it came to top prospects. It made Wilson realize the importance of player development and player identification. Knowing your core guys. Knowing your contributors. Knowing who you are.

Low expectations are nothing new in Boulder. Since the Buffaloes joined the Pac-12 in 2011, conference media have picked them to finish last in the South division seven times. They have garnered just two first-place votes in the preseason media poll. They’ve never been picked to finish higher than fourth, not even after winning the South in 2016. That’s the harsh reality, and it sets up this season’s challenge: to prove everyone wrong.

“This is Year 3 for us in the program,” Wilson said. “You can see the culture shifting. Now we just got to get the results from it. You can see us trending the right direction.”

Opposing scouting reports

A Pac-12 coach mocked the question. “What are your thoughts on this team that changed its offensive coordinator and has a bunch of new personnel?”

Welcome to the transfer era. Rosters change quickly, Colorado’s maybe more than most. At least in terms of producers. Last season, the Buffaloes struggled so much offensively they were not difficult to evaluate.

The program struggles go deeper. “Colorado is a good program, it seems like a nice place to be,” the Pac-12 coach said. “They have had some players that should excel, but there’s just been a lot of (coaching) changes for those kids over the years. They really don’t get a chance to get into a groove. It’s also hard to get into a groove with your recruiting profile when there’s so much change.”

With a new offensive coordinator, Colorado might have an advantage from a game-planning aspect. Reviewing last season’s film is nothing more than “chasing bad information,” the Pac-12 coach said.

Good players can make a difference, especially at quarterback. Brendon Lewis was last season’s starter, but Tennessee transfer J.T. Shrout is expected to challenge him in the fall. The right guy can elevate an entire program.

“It comes down to their quarterback,” the coach said. “Steven Montez a couple years ago gave them a lot of stability, and they just haven’t had a chance to replace that type of production.”

Final assessment

Colorado has a difficult road. The Buffaloes’ nonconference schedule is tough, and the second-half schedule is a nightmare. The portal losses don’t help. It’s hard to see a path to six wins and bowl eligibility. But this is how Colorado is often viewed this time of year.

For the Buffaloes to surprise, they’ll need better quarterback play and better offensive protection. Young players on defense will have to blossom into the game-changers Wilson covets. An important part of success is knowing who you are, and no one would argue that Colorado is trying to be something it’s not. Maybe that means something. Maybe it doesn’t.

“The biggest concern is where you stack up against the rest of the conference,” Sanford said. “I don’t have that context right now. I haven’t been in the conference for quite some time. But I think the unity is there. And the belief is growing.”

Read full (detailed) story here

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June 7th

On3Sports: Three Pac-12 coaches (including Karl Dorrell) on the hot seat this season

From On3Sports … Over the next three weeks, we’ll tell you about coordinators ready to become head coaches, rising-star assistants, the hottest 45-and-under head coaches, support staffers you should know, even up-and-coming strength coaches.

First, though, let’s examine the one thing that gets all those other things moving. Today we’re taking a look at the FBS coaches who are on the hottest seats entering the 2022 season.

Being a FBS coach certainly has its challenges, and one is a lack of job security: The 131 current FBS coaches have been in their jobs for an average of just 3.7 years. A good bet is that a handful of these hot-seat coaches will lose their jobs this season; another good bet is that there will be some who have good seasons and will have the same job next year.

Karl Dorrell, Colorado
The numbers:
 8-10 entering third season
The buzz: Dorrell was a surprise choice after Mel Tucker left for Michigan following his lone season with the Buffs in 2019. Dorrell then led Colorado to a 4-2 mark in the truncated 2020 season and won over some detractors. Alas, the offense was atrocious last season and may not be appreciably better this fall. At some point, Colorado – which has had six coaches this century and five since 2010 – needs some stability. But a losing record this season will cause more than a few people to wonder if Dorrell can provide that stability.

Herm Edwards, Arizona State
The numbers: 25-18 entering fifth season
The buzz: That Edwards is back for a fifth season is somewhat surprising considering the Sun Devils’ situation with the NCAA. Numerous staff changes and a talent drain via the portal means it could be tough to get to .500 this season. That could mean the end for Edwards.

Scott Frost, Nebraska
The numbers: 15-29 entering fifth season
The buzz: Following the 2020 season, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh took a pay cut and shook up his staff; the Wolverines ended the season in the College Football Playoff. Frost took a pay cut and shook up his staff after last season; will it change things? That he is an all-time Huskers hero certainly is a positive for him, but it seems impossible that he will survive another losing season. The Huskers have had five consecutive losing seasons, including one under Frost predecessor Mike Riley. The last Huskers coach to have five consecutive losing seasons was William Jennings (1957-61); he was fired after the ’61 season and replaced by Bob Devaney, who oversaw Nebraska’s rise to national prominence.

Chip Kelly, UCLA
The numbers: 18-25 entering fifth season
The buzz: The Bruins were 8-4 last season for Kelly’s first winning record at UCLA. It was UCLA’s first winning season since 2015, and it looks as if the program has stabilized. But none of the eight wins came against a team that finished with a winning record, and both Arizona State and Utah blasted the Bruins. In short, some questions remain. The schedule isn’t difficult, so it’s hard to imagine the Bruins finishing with a losing record. But if they do, you wonder if Kelly is back for 2023.

Read full story here

Pac-12 has two coaches in The Sporting News list of Top 25 Coaches

From The Sporting News … Nick Saban remains at the top – but for how long?

Sporting News ranks the FBS coaches 1-131 every year, and Saban retained his spot atop the rankings for the seventh straight season. Alabama has reached the College Football Playoff championship game six of the last eight seasons, and Saban has won seven national championships. The only other FBS coach with multiple national championships is Clemson’s Dabo Swinney with two.

Georgia’s Kirby Smart, the latest member of the national championship club, is the other challenger for the top spot. Each of our top nine coaches has reached the College Football Playoff, and that includes two coaches who changed jobs in USC’s Lincoln Riley and LSU’s Brian Kelly.

A total of five active coaches have won national championships, including Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and North Carolina’s Mack Brown. Both made our top 25. The Big Ten and SEC each have seven coaches in our top 25.

From the Pac-12 …

7. Lincoln Riley, USC 

Last year: 3

Record: 55-10 (0-0 at USC)

Lowdown: Riley made the most-talked about move in the coaching carousel when he left the every-year success at Oklahoma for the bright lights of USC. Riley compiled a 37-7 record in Big 12 play with the Sooners, and he led Oklahoma to three straight playoff appearances from 2017-19. Riley worked the transfer portal to put USC in position to have instant success. Given how he left Oklahoma, that will be the expectation.

10. Kyle Whittingham, Utah 

Last year: 19

Record: 144-70

Lowdown: Whittingham made a nine-spot jump up into the top 10. It might come as a surprise that this is his first top-10 appearance, but the Utes have made the jump to a borderline top-10 program under his watch. Utah has the best record in the Pac-12 in the CFP era at 68-31, and Whittingham has developed a steady wave of NFL talent in that stretch. Why isn’t he ranked higher? The top nine coaches all have what he needs next: A CFP appearance.

Read full story here

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June 4th

CBS on Pac-12 championship odds: USC the “worst wager”

From CBS Sports … The Pac-12 made big news in college football last month, when it announced a change to its format for deciding who reaches the league title game. Instead of automatically pitting its two division winners against each other, the conference will instead send the two teams with the highest league winning percentage to the Pac-12 title game.

It’s a significant move that was made quickly after a NCAA Division I Council vote to allow leagues to decide their own criteria for who plays in conference title games. If the rule had been in place last season, it would still have been Utah playing Oregon in the title game. But if it had been in place during the 2018 season, for example, Washington and Washington State would have met in the Pac-12 Championship Game just a week after the in-state rivals from the North Division met to close the regular season in the Apple Cup.

The change adds a layer of intrigue to the Pac-12 title race entering the 2022 season. The title favorites, per odds from Caesars Sportsbook, are Utah and USC, who are both from the South. Two teams with the longest odds to win the league are also from the South, which suggests it’s shaping up as a top-heavy division.

On the other hand, the Pac-12 North teams are mostly lumped together in the middle of the league’s odds sheet, which means there’s a chance the division could cannibalize itself into missing out on a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Between the new rule and the influx of new coaches at some of the league’s top programs, the Pac-12 figures to feel a little fresher in 2022.

As the season draws closer, what are the best wagers to make in the Pac-12? Here’s a look at the odds from Caesars Sportsbook along with a few recommendations to contemplate.

TEAMODDS
USC+200
Utah+200
Oregon+300
UCLA+750
Washington+1800
Arizona State+2500
Oregon State+3500
Washington State+4000
Stanford+6000
California+7500
Colorado+40000
Arizona+50000

Best bet — UCLA (+750): UCLA finally made significant progress in coach Chip Kelly’s fourth season by finishing 8-4 (6-3 Pac-12). With quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson returning for a fifth season and running back Zach Charbonnet back after rushing for 1,137 yards, the Bruins should be able to maintain or improve offensively after last year’s unit ranked 31st nationally and second in the Pac-12 in total offense. The defense is a huge question mark as journeyman NFL and college assistant Bill McGovern enters to replace Jerry Azzinaro as coordinator of an underperforming unit with some holes to fill. But +750 is a great value for an offense that could be the league’s best.

Worst wager — USC (+200): Like UCLA, USC seems likely to field one of the conference’s best offensive units but has a ton of questions to answer defensively. The Trojans ranked 89th nationally in total defense last season, and it’s not as if Lincoln Riley’s Oklahoma teams were known for their prowess on that side of the ball. By avoiding Oregon and Washington out of the Pac-12 North, the Trojans are more likely than UCLA to reach the league title game. But are they almost four times more likely than the Bruins to win the conference, as the odds suggest? That’s a stretch.

Continue reading story here

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June 3rd

Athlon Sports All-Pac-12 teams includes seven Buffs

From Athlon Sports … The 2022 All-Pac-12 team is led by 16 selections from USC, while Utah (12), Washington (12) and Oregon (12) also hit double-digit picks. Oregon State and Stanford each have 11 selections on the Pac-12 All-Conference Team for ’22, while Washington State checks in with 10. The next tier is headlined by Arizona State (nine), California (eight) and UCLA (seven).

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2022. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2022 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year. Also, team strength does not play a role in selections. These are the best individual players at each position in the league for ’22.

First-Team Offense

QB Caleb Williams, USC
RB Zach Charbonnet, UCLA
RB Tavion Thomas, Utah
RB/AP Travis Dye, USC
WR Jordan Addison, USC
WR Jacob Cowing, Arizona
TE Brant Kuithe, Utah
C Alex Forsyth, Oregon
OL T.J. Bass, Oregon
OL Jaxson Kirkland, Washington
OL Braeden Daniels, Utah
OL Andrew Vorhees, USC

First-Team Defense

DL Tuli Tuipulotu, USC
DL Brandon Dorlus, Oregon
DL Ron Stone, Washington State
DL Tuli Letuligasenoa, Washington
LB Zion Tupuola-Fetui, Washington
LB Noah Sewell, Oregon
LB Jackson Sirmon, California
LB Omar Speights, Oregon State
CB Clark Phillips, Utah
CB Kyu Blu Kelly, Stanford
S Cole Bishop, Utah
S Daniel Scott, California

First-Team Specialists

K Dean Janikowski, Washington State
P Kyle Ostendorp, Arizona
KR Kazmeir Allen, UCLA
PR D.J. Taylor, Arizona State

Second-Team Offense

QB Cameron Rising, Utah
RB Xazavian Valladay, Arizona State
RB Byron Cardwell, Oregon
WR Jake Bobo, UCLA
WR De’Zhaun Stribling, Washington State
WR Jalen McMillan, Washington
WR Mario Williams, USC
TE Benjamin Yurosek, Stanford
C Brett Neilon, USC
OL Joshua Gray, Oregon State
OL Jake Levengood, Oregon State
OL LaDarius Henderson, Arizona State
OL Brandon Kipper, Oregon State

Second-Team Defense

DL Van Fillinger, Utah
DL Brennan Jackson, Washington State
DL Kyon Barrs, Arizona
LB Edefuan Ulofoshio, Washington
LB Daiyan Henley, Washington State
LB Darius Muasau, UCLA
LB Merlin Robertson, Arizona State
LB Carson Bruener, Washington
CB Rejzohn Wright, Oregon State
CB Armani Marsh, Washington State
S Jaydon Grant, Oregon State
S Isaiah Lewis, Colorado

Third-Team Offense

QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA
RB Damien Martinez, Oregon State
RB Damien Moore, California
WR Renard Bell, Washington State
WR Michael Wilson, Stanford
WR Gary Bryant, USC
TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah
C Matthew Cindric, California
OL Branson Bragg, Stanford
OL Ben Scott, Arizona State
OL Ben Coleman, California
OL Henry Bainivalu, Washington

Third-Team Defense

DL Jalen Sami, Colorado
DL Popo Aumavae, Oregon
DL Junior Tafuna, Utah
DL Nick Figueroa, USC
DL Brett Johnson, California
LB Karene Reid, Utah
LB Eric Gentry, USC
LB Justin Flowe, Oregon
LB Quinn Perry, Colorado
LB Kyle Soelle, Arizona State
CB Christian Roland-Wallace, Arizona
CB Mekhi Blackmon, USC
S Calen Bullock, USC
S Kendall Williamson, Stanford

Third-Team Specialists

K Cole Becker, Colorado
P Nick Haberer, Washington State
KR Giles Jackson, Washington
PR Giles Jackson, Washington

Fourth-Team Offense

QB Cameron Ward, Washington State
RB Sean Dollars, Oregon
WR Rome Odunze, Washington
WR Brycen Tremayne, Stanford
WR Dont’e Thornton, Oregon
WR Jeremiah Hunter, California
WR Tre’Shaun Harrison, Oregon State
TE Brady Russell, Colorado
TE Luke Musgrave, Oregon State
C Drake Nugent, Stanford
OL Jordan Morgan, Arizona
OL Casey Roddick, Colorado
OL Ryan Walk, Oregon
OL Walter Rouse, Stanford
OL Sam Marrazzo, UCLA
OL Jarrett Kingston, Washington State
OL Keaton Bills, Utah

Total Selections on Athlon’s 2022 All-Pac-12 Team

TeamNumber of Selections
Arizona7
Arizona State9
California8
Colorado7
Oregon12
Oregon State11
Stanford11
UCLA7
USC16
Utah12
Washington12
Washington State10

—–

June 1st

247 Sports Bowl Projections: Eight Pac-12 teams (including a Playoff participant)

… If projections hold, CU will face 10 bowl participants in 2022 (the only exceptions: Arizona and Cal) … 

From 247 Sports … It is fewer than 100 days until the start of college football season, which means a summer update for bowl projections. With spring practice in the rear view and rosters relatively finalized, the top teams start to clarify.

College football’s full 43-game bowl schedule was revealed last week, providing us with game dates, kickoff times and the TV schedule for your viewing pleasure. Next season’s College Football Playoff national championship will be played at SOFI Stadium in Inglewood, California on Jan. 9, 2023. New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday, meaning many of the bowl slates marquee games will be played on Dec. 31, including both playoff semifinal showdowns in the Peach and Fiesta, respectively.

New Mexico Bowl

Projected matchup: San Diego State vs. Oregon State

Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl

First Responder Bowl

Projected matchup: Minnesota vs. TCU  (a matchup of CU non-conference opponents)

Las Vegas Bowl

Projected matchup: LSU vs. Washington

Two teams projected to finish in the middle of the pack in their respective leagues, LSU has the better roster and situation heading into the 2022 season under first-year coach Brian Kelly. The former Notre Dame coach joked expectations are substantially higher than the oddsmakers’ projection of 6.5 wins for the Tigers this fall. Maybe seven wins, maximum eight for LSU? The schedule doesn’t let up.

Alamo Bowl

Projected matchup: Oregon vs. Baylor

Baylor will have to get through Oklahoma, Texas and Oklahoma State again to make a return trip to the Sugar Bowl. That’s a lot to ask of Dave Aranda, who has quickly ascended to top 15 territory as a head coach. Dan Lanning’s task at Oregon is to take out USC and Utah in the Pac-12 with Bo Nix at quarterback and several elite-level players on his defense. Oregon is a unanimous top 15 this summer, but the Ducks getting to the New Year’s Six will be challenging.

Tony The Tiger Bowl

Projected matchup: North Carolina vs. Washington State (not a CU opponent in 2022)

Holiday Bowl

Projected matchup: UCLA vs. Wake Forest

Rose Bowl 

Projected matchup: Michigan vs. USC

Big Ten runner-up vs. Pac-12 champion? This could certainly happen to finish out the 2022 season, but USC is the obvious optimistic pick here. Also, USC is the lower-ranked of two Pac-12 teams potentially in the New Year’s Six — more on that in a moment. The Trojans, under first-year coach Lincoln Riley, could be nationally relevant quickly with Caleb Williams at quarterback. Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards should be able to maintain Michigan’s rushing prowess despite losing Hassan Haskins, and, if Michigan’s spring game was any indication, there are several breakout possibilities along the defensive front.

Peach Bowl

Projected matchup: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Utah

In this projection, the two highest seeds — Alabama and Ohio State as potential unbeatens — should be satisfied with their respective destinations. The Crimson Tide get the preferred pick as the top seed in their second home (Atlanta) while the Buckeyes head West to the Fiesta. Go ahead and Sharpie the Crimson Tide as a Playoff team with Bryce Young and Will Anderson back. As always, projected the No. 4 seed this time of year is always the most difficult. Utah, USC, Notre Dame, N.C. State or Clemson — those are the programs that will likely be vying for that final bid.

Read full story here

—–

May 30th

Athlon’s 100 Things to Know About the 2022 Season

From Athlon Sports … The arrival of May 19 on the calendar officially marked 100 days until the start of the 2022 college football season. To celebrate, Athlon Sports is taking a look at 100 things to know for the upcoming year. Whether it’s a player on the rise, teams with major question marks, stats to know, a small preview on a team, position battles, or just key units to watch, we’ve covered everything you need to get prepped for the upcoming year.

… Notations involving Pac-12 teams and CU non-conference opponents …

Air Force’s (96) Haaziq Daniels didn’t qualify for the national leaderboard, but the quarterback would’ve ranked second in FBS by averaging 11.4 yards per attempt last season. Also, of Daniels’ 51 completions, 12 went for 30-plus yards. The senior is a big reason why the Falcons can win the Mountain West title in ’22.

California (92) has ranked no higher than eighth in the Pac-12 in scoring offense under coach Justin Wilcox. The Golden Bears should be stingy on defense again, but the offense lost starting quarterback Chase Garbers, leading rusher Christopher Brooks, three of the team’s top four statistical receivers, and returns only two starters up front.

UCLA (85) went 8-0 in 2021 when it rushed for 200 or more yards in a game. Replicating last year’s success could be challenging with three starters (including both tackles) gone from the offensive line. Running back Zach Charbonnet and quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson are back, however.

Washington State (71) quarterback Cameron Ward is one of the Pac-12’s top x-factors for ’22. He accounted for 4,648 yards and 47 passing scores at FCS Incarnate Word last year and is working under Eric Morris – his former head coach at UIW that was hired to coordinate the Cougars’ attack – which should ease his transition period to the FBS level.

Colorado (64) scored 20 or fewer points in eight of its 12 games last year. Adding to the challenge of a turnaround for new coordinator Mike Sanford was the departure of running back Jarek Broussard (Michigan State) and receiver Brenden Rice (USC) to transfer.

TCU’s (63) defense allowed 7.2 yards per play and 34.9 points a game last season. Both of those totals were the highest for the team since joining the Big 12 in 2012.

A healthy Zion Tupuola-Fetui at edge rusher should have a huge impact on Washington’s (53) pass rush (20 sacks last year). Tupuola-Fetui had seven sacks in the abbreviated ’20 season but was limited to one after missing the first half of the year due to an offseason Achilles tear.

Transfers are needed in a big way to keep Arizona State (49) competitive in the Pac-12 this fall. Coach Herm Edwards’ team lost all four starters in the secondary, three starting defensive linemen, quarterback Jayden Daniels, three starting offensive linemen, leading rusher Rachaad White, and the top two statistical receivers (Ricky Pearsall and LV Bunkley-Shelton) from ’21.

Don’t be surprised if Stanford’s Tanner McKee (40) has a breakout year in 2022. The path for the Cardinal to rebound after last season’s disappointing 3-9 mark rests on his right arm. McKee threw for 2,327 yards and 15 scores last year and is surrounded by one of the Pac-12’s top receiving corps and five returning starters along the offensive line.

Oregon State (35) quietly boasted one of the Pac-12’s top offensive lines last season and should rank near the top of the conference once again. Both left tackle Joshua Gray and guard/center Jake Levengood should be in the mix for first-team all-conference honors in’22.

Oregon (30) already returns one of the nation’s top linebackers in Noah Sewell, but the defense has an x-factor at that position in Justin Flowe. The former five-star recruit has played in just two games over the last two years due to injury. A healthy season from Flowe would be a huge boost for new coach Dan Lanning.

The return of Kirk Ciarrocca should be good news for Minnesota’s (23) offense and quarterback Tanner Morgan. The Golden Gophers averaged only 25.5 points a game and 5.5 yards per play last year. In 2019 under Ciarrocca’s watch, Minnesota ranked second in the Big Ten in yards per play (6.4) and tied for third in scoring (34.1 a game).

Scoring points won’t be a problem for USC (21) under new coach Lincoln Riley and quarterback Caleb Williams, but the defense is likely to decide just how high the Trojans can climb in the national landscape. Last year’s unit gave up 31.8 points a game (the highest mark in school history) and surrendered 175.4 rushing yards and 6.6 yards per play in Pac-12 games.

Utah (6) has won the Pac-12 South title in three out of the last four years and is likely to be the preseason favorite in the division once again. Next step CFB Playoff? Coach Kyle Whittingham’s squad returns 13 starters, with key voids to fill at linebacker (Devin Lloyd), offensive line (Nick Ford) and receiver (Britain Covey). A tough non-conference game against Florida is on tap, and the Utes have to play at Oregon. But if they can split those games and knock off USC in Salt Lake City, there’s a path for a trip to the CFB Playoff.

Read full story here

—–

May 26th

Patience at Oregon State: A Template for CU?

From The Athletic … How much has changed at Oregon State since Jonathan Smith returned to coach his alma mater in 2018?

“It’d be easier to point to the things that haven’t changed,” said sixth-year offensive lineman Brandon Kipper, who transferred from Hawaii as part of Smith’s first recruiting class in February 2018.

“This place has been completely overhauled from the top to bottom. I’ve been fortunate enough to see it all from the beginning, to be a part of it. The way our locker room operates, the way we go through lifts, practice, the focus, the work ethic on the team, the camaraderie on the team. Everything. It’s just a completely different culture.”

Expectations have changed, too, and few are better positioned than Smith to hold the Beavers to a higher standard. Once a walk-on quarterback, he left OSU in 2001 with school records for career passing yards and touchdown passes. As a junior in 2000, he helped OSU to an 11-1 record under coach Dennis Erickson, a magical season capped by a 41-9 demolition of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Ken Simonton, OSU’s star running back, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s college football preview the following August. Suddenly, the Beavs were on the map.

They fell off a bit that year, finishing 5-6, but a page had been turned, regardless: The Beavers played in bowl games in seven of the following eight seasons. Prior to Smith’s sophomore season in 1999, OSU hadn’t played in the postseason since a Rose Bowl trip under Tommy Prothro in 1964.

Mike Riley oversaw most of that run and settled in as the dean of conference coaches, but his departure for Nebraska after the 2014 the season precipitated a spiral that echoed the woebegone decades. When Smith arrived in 2018, the Beavers had won seven games in three seasons and finished two of those years with a winless conference record.

So when Smith spoke with players like Kipper, he made no promises of grandeur. There was talk only of process and details and immediate tweaks and changes. It didn’t feel like a sales pitch.

“I’m all about the day by day, the small steps,” Kipper said. “So it was a perfect fit.”

Those small steps added up last season to OSU’s first winning record (7-6) and bowl appearance since 2013. There were markers of significant progress along the way, namely the Beavers’ 45-27 victory at USC, where they had not won since 1960 and have won only three times, ever (and no, the fact the Trojans finished 4-8 does not materially diminish the significance).

It was the kind of win that caused Smith to remark afterward, in the locker room, to much acclaim: “You guys earned this, but hear this: We ain’t done yet.”

It’s what any coach should remind his team after a big win, but maybe it meant a little more coming from a guy who knows precisely what it feels like when Oregon State is capable of more than a novel victory or two.

Do the Beavers have that kind of team in 2022? Key contributors return and the offensive line should again be a strength, though there is talent to replace at the skill positions and defensive questions remain. Remember, last year still didn’t end the way the Beavers wanted, slipping to 7-6 from 5-2 after a win over eventual conference champion Utah. They lost the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl, 24-13, to Utah State. Smith even fired defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar midseason and promoted linebackers coach Trent Bray to replace him.

The Beavers got better, yes, but they’ve been taught to believe their best lies ahead.

“I feel like there’s no reason why we cannot accomplish a Pac-12 championship here,” Alex Austin, a fourth-year sophomore cornerback, said. “So that’s what we’re aiming for, and we’re not settling for anything less.”

Continue reading story here

Athlon releases its Preseason Top 25 – Three Pac-12 teams in the Top Ten

From Athlon Sports … The 2022 college football season is scheduled to officially begin on Saturday, Aug. 27, but it’s never too early to start thinking about top 25 rankings and projecting what might transpire this fall. The list of contenders for the national championship features the usual teams: Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State. And there’s a lot of intrigue among those top three, along with a group of teams battling to be No. 4 in preseason predictions.

Alabama is Athlon Sports’ projected national champion, with Ohio State at No. 2, followed by Georgia at No. 3. Clemson, Michigan, Utah, USC, Notre Dame, and Texas A&M were all considered for the No. 4 spot, with the Tigers edging the others in a close call. The 2022 season concludes with the national championship on Jan. 9 in SoFi Stadium in the greater Los Angeles area.

The Athlon Sports 2022 preview magazines are scheduled to be available on newsstands nationwide on June 7 and feature in-depth predictions, previews, rankings and insightful stories to prepare for the upcoming year.

An important note on Athlon’s top 25 for 2022: This is not a preseason ranking of teams going into the season. Instead, this ranking takes into account where we project teams to finish after the national championship in January. Here are Athlon’s projected top 25 teams in college football for 2022.

8. Utah

Returning Starters: Offense-8, Defense-5
Key Incoming Transfers: 
WR Landon Morris, TE Logan Kendall, LB Gabe Reid, LB Mohamoud Diabate, S Clayton Isbell

Everything is in place for Utah to make a run at a playoff spot in ’22. Coach Kyle Whittingham’s team has won three out of the last four Pac-12 South titles and crushed Oregon in the conference title game last year. The Utes got off to a slow start (1-2) in ’21, but the emergence of quarterback Cameron Rising (2,493 yards and 20 TDs) helped the offense get on track and lead the Pac-12 in yards per play (6.6 in conference-only games). Rising returns as one of the Pac-12’s top signal-callers, with Tavion Thomas (1,108 yards and 21 TDs) back among the nation’s top running backs in ’22. Tight ends Dalton Kincaid and Brant Kuithe are the go-to targets in the passing game, while the Utes need more out of their returning receivers with Britain Covey off to the NFL. Left tackle Bam Olaseni and center Nick Ford leave big shoes to fill in the trenches. On the other side of the ball, although linebacker Devin Lloyd and end Mika Tafua will be missed, it’s hard to worry too much about the Sack Lake City defense. Utah allowed the fewest points (19.2) and tied in yards per play (5.03) in conference-only matchups last fall. The next wave of stars features cornerback Clark Phillips III, safety Cole Bishop, end Van Fillinger and linebacker Karene Reid. With USC visiting Salt Lake City this fall, the path to a spot in the Pac-12 title game runs through Utah once again.
Key Games: at Florida, San Diego State, at UCLA, USC, at Washington State, at Oregon

—–

May 25th

Alex Fontenot rated as one of the Pac-12’s best running backs

From stayaliveinpower5.com … The league will boast some young talent in the backfield this fall.

There are a plethora of rushers who’ll be looking to make a name for themselves. Some are veterans, while others are inexperience, but they all share a common goal, which is doing whatever it takes to make their respective teams better.

They come in all shapes and sizes too. From big bruisers, to sideline speedsters and most of them provide mismatches out of the backfield with their hands. These 14 individuals are poised to carry out all of the duties required of a No. 1 rusher in 2022. Rather it’s running the ball or blocking, taking pressure off the quarterback and protecting the football, running backs are the most trusted individuals on offense.

8. Alex Fontenot, Colorado: The former three-star prospect led the Buffaloes in rushing touchdowns last season. Fontenot accomplished that feat despite serving as Jarek Broussard’s backup. He rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown in the opener against Northern Colorado. The Texas native also had a rushing score at Arizona State, where he carried the ball 14 times for 65 yards, which were both season-highs. Fontenot displayed his soft hands in the victory over Arizona and hauled in a 43-yard pass. The six-foot, 200-pounder generated a rushing score and caught a touchdown pass at Oregon. Fontenot had another season-high, with two rushing scores at UCLA. Although the senior was sidelined with an injury in spring ball, Deion Smith stepped up and made the most out of his carries during Fontenot’s absence.

Read full story here

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May 24th 

ESPN Pac-12 South Preview: CU given a 2% chance of earning a bowl bid

From ESPN … The college football world is changing in quite a few overdue ways. The NIL saga has been made as sloppy and dramatic as possible, in part because of a complete lack of regulation at the NCAA level, but it still represents a huge step forward for the rights of athletes. The expansion of the College Football Playoff … well … I’m going to assume that it still happens at some point even if the process for expanding it has turned out every bit as messy as NIL. (It’s almost like there’s no one in charge of college football or something!)

There are plenty more fights to come when it comes to reshaping the sport’s future, but in the meantime we’ve at least decided to check an easy box. Last week, the NCAA announced it would allow conferences with championship games to ditch divisions and allow its top two teams to play in said title game; within minutes, the Pac-12 announced it would be doing just that and starting in 2022. This year’s Pac-12 championship game participants will be the two teams with the best conference record.

2022 projections

(For extra context, Oregon is the only Pac-12 North team with a projected conference win total higher than 5.0, so the South should indeed produce at least one of the teams in the Pac-12 championship game. And it’s more likely than the North to produce both teams.)

SP+ projects UCLA and Arizona State in a limbo of sorts. UCLA might replicate last year’s performance unless its defense improves, and ASU has seen such dramatic roster turnover in key areas that the Sun Devils are rather impossible to project at the moment. (Arizona and Colorado: easier to project.)

Was last year a low point for Arizona and Colorado (or does it get lower)? We call this a trend:

Arizona, 2012-14: 0.650 win percentage, 39.0 average SP+ ranking

Arizona, 2015-18: 0.440 win percentage, 65.8 average SP+ ranking

Arizona, 2019-21: 0.172 win percentage, 103.0 average SP+ ranking

The Wildcats have won one game since the start of the abbreviated 2020 season. The defense hasn’t ranked in the top 60 since 2014, and after a sustained run of quality, the offense plummeted to 119th last year. Second-year head coach Jedd Fisch didn’t inherit much and didn’t do much with what he inherited.

Meanwhile, since coming out of nowhere to win 10 games and a South title in 2016, Colorado has won either four or five games every year since. Granted, that includes a 4-2 record in 2020, but even that was a bit on the fortunate side — the Buffaloes were outscored by 19 points and ranked just 67th in SP+ that year.

After a long run of mediocre play, the bottom dropped out in 2021. The Buffs plummeted to 104th in SP+. The defense was occasionally decent, but the offense averaged 15.6 points per game against opponents who weren’t Arizona or from FCS. Experience levels are solid this year, but almost no returnee stood out statistically, and from the perspective of pure recruiting rankings, this is barely a power-conference roster. In Karl Dorrell’s third season in charge, Colorado is not a projected favorite in a single game.

Arizona doesn’t have much more from a talent perspective, but the transfer portal brings hope. Washington State transfer Jayden de Laura was at least an average quarterback last season, and former UTEP receiver Jacob Cowing is one of the best deep threats in the country. New defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen doesn’t inherit much, but the secondary is experienced and aggressive.

Hope is relative, however. Neither team is projected to win more than 3.3 games on average. There’s a long way back to competitiveness here.

Read full story here

—–

May 23rd 

247 Sports Top 100 Games for 2022 (Pac-12 teams in three top ten games)

From 247 Sports … The 2022 college football season is not that far away. We’re much closer today to kickoff (96 days) than we are to the day Georgia won the national championship in January (132 days), and with the transfer portal finally slowing to a crawl, rosters are taking shape and the act of dissecting matchups — even before preseason camps begin — isn’t as fruitless today as it was just a few weeks ago.

Simply put, you should feel more confident picking games in May than you should in the NCAA properly handling a rules investigation, winning a high-profile case in the Supreme Court or writing NIL guidelines.

While we wait for talking season to begin at conference media days later this summer, perhaps it’s time to at least provide framework for the biggest games of the 2022 season. Some games are always mainstays — The Game, The Iron Bowl and practically any game involving Alabama — but not every big-time game features big-name programs. Games outside the national championship picture still have a huge impact on the sport, and even those games on the periphery can indirectly set the course for others later in the season.

15. Notre Dame at USC, Nov. 26

25. Utah at Florida, Sept. 3

28. USC at UCLA, Nov 19

50. San Diego State at Utah, Sept. 17

64. Oregon at Oregon State, Nov. 25

68. UCLA at Oregon, Oct. 22

71. Washington at UCLA, Sept. 30

72. Oregon at Washington State, Sept. 24

77. USC at Oregon State, Sept. 24

88. BYU at Oregon, Sept. 17

91. Utah at Washington State, Oct. 27

96. Washington at Oregon, Nov. 12

Pac-12 mentions, by school … Oregon: 7; Utah: 5; USC: 4; UCLA: 3; Washington State: 2;  Oregon State: 2; Washington: 2; Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Stanford: all 0.

Read full story here

—–

May 22nd

ESPN’s updated preseason Top 25: Two Pac-12 teams in the top six?!?

… And ye$, it’$ hard not to notice that three former Buff$ are mentioned a$ $ignificant addition$ to the Pac-12’$ national title contender$. Any gue$$e$ a$ to why CU i$ not being con$idered a$ a competitive team thi$ year? … 

From ESPN … While college football’s spring practices are over, the transfer portal never stops churning.

And with Thursday’s addition of Biletnikoff-winning receiver Jordan Addison, USC continues to move all the way up to No. 4 in our rankings. An offseason that already featured the arrival of former Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley and QB Caleb Williams, somehow got even better. The Trojans have completed an offensive makeover that should make them instant Pac-12 title contenders — and possibly more.

4. USC Trojans

Previous ranking: 12
2021 record: 4-8 (3-6 Pac-12)
Returning starters: 6 offense, 5 defense, 1 special teams
Key departures: WR Drake London, LB Drake Jackson, LB Kana’i Mauga, CB Chris Steele, CB Isaac Taylor-Stuart, TE Erik Krommenhoek, OT Jalen McKenzie, G Liam Jimmons
Key additions: WR Jordan Addison, QB Caleb Williams, RB Travis Dye, WR Mario Williams, WR Brenden Rice, WR Terrell Bynum, OL Bobby Haskins, LB Romello Height, LB Shane Lee, CB Mekhi Blackmon
Spring update: Former Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley’s face-lift of USC’s roster includes the addition of 14 players through the transfer portal, highlighted by the addition of Pitt WR Jordan Addison, to a group that included former Sooners starting quarterback Caleb Williams and Oregon star tailback Dye. Even before Addison’s arrival, Riley had vastly upgraded the wide receiver corps by bringing in Mario Williams, Rice and Bynum. Haskins, who started 20 games at Virginia, might get plugged in at left tackle. USC’s defense seems to need more work, although former Alabama linebacker Lee and ex-Colorado cornerback Blackmon should help. The Trojans won’t play Oregon or Washington during the regular season, and they’ll hit the road for games with Stanford, Utah and UCLA.

6. Utah Utes

Previous ranking: 4
2021 record: 10-4 (8-1 Pac-12)
Returning starters: 6 offense, 6 defense, 2 special teams
Key departures: LB Devin Lloyd, LB Nephi Sewell, DE Mika Tafua, WR Britain Covey, RB TJ Pledger, C Nick Ford, OT Bamidele Olaseni, S Vonte Davis
Key additions: LB Mohamoud Diabate, QB Nathan Johnson, LB Lander Barton, S Elijah Davis, LB Justin Medlock, WR Landon Morris, TE Logan Kendall, DE Gabe Reid
Spring update: If the Utes are going to repeat as Pac-12 champions, they’re going to have to rebuild a defense that lost many of its top playmakers, including All-American linebacker Lloyd. Barton, an early enrollee and younger brother of NFL players Cody and Jackson Barton, has made quite an impression on coach Kyle Whittingham this spring. Diabate, a Florida transfer, couldn’t do much this spring after having surgery for a torn labrum. After injuries decimated the secondary a year ago, the Utes are trying to build depth, especially after Davis and safety Brandon McKinney left.

16. Oregon Ducks

Previous ranking: 12
2021 record: 10-4 (7-2 Pac-12)
Returning starters: 6 offense, 7 defense, 2 special teams
Key departures: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, CB Mykael Wright, CB DJ James, QB Anthony Brown, WR Devon Williams, G George Moore, S Verone McKinley III, RB Travis Dye
Key additions: QB Bo Nix, DL Sam Taimani, CB Christian Gonzalez, WR Chase Cota, DL Jordon Riley, LB Devon Jackson, ATH Jalil Tucker, DE Gracen Halton, S Trejon Williams, OL Josh Conerly Jr.
Spring update: New Ducks coach Dan Lanning, a former defensive coordinator at Georgia, has spent the spring installing new schemes on both sides of the ball. Nix, who started three seasons at Auburn, has been working with the No. 1 offense. He will continue to battle Ty Thompson and Jay Butterfield for the starting quarterback job. Dye transferred to Southern California, so sophomores Byron Cardwell, Seven McGee and Sean Dollars are competing for carries. The Ducks added some beef up front on defense in Taimani (6-foot-2, 330 pounds) and Riley (6-foot-6, 310 pounds). Gonzalez, a two-year starter at Colorado, should help in the secondary, where three of four starters departed.

Read full story here

—–

May 20th

The Athletic: Can offensive coordinator Mike Sanford revive the Buffs’ offense? 

From The Athletic … The Pac-12 has wrapped up its spring practice calendar, and aside from a few spots here and there across the conference, the transfer market has slowed down.  The offseason has seen many accomplished players join the conference, most notably at USC with some key additions at Oregon, UCLA and Arizona as well. Other Pac-12 teams have watched some important players leave — looking at you, Arizona State and Colorado. And we’ve learned a little more about each roster over the past two months.

Now that all 12 teams are entering a new phase of the offseason, The Athletic’s Pac-12 writers Antonio Morales, Christian Caple and Doug Haller look at the most pressing post-spring questions for each conference program. We’ll start with the South Division, then head to the North.

Arizona (2021 record: 1-11)

Are the Wildcats ready to make a move?

Not so much as a contender but as a program on the rise. Jedd Fisch has changed the energy around the program. It can be felt within the fan base. More importantly, it can be seen in recruiting. Arizona’s 2022 class, ranked 25th in the 247Sports Composite, was the best in school history. That’s not a guarantee of immediate success, but it’s a start. The Wildcats have finished last in the Pac-12 South the last three seasons. It’s time to see if they can jump a couple of spots. Former Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura and UTEP receiver Jacob Cowing should boost an offense that last season ranked among the worst in the country, and Arizona returns the bulk of a defense that performed better than expected. The Wildcats still have a long way to go, but this fall feels like the time to show progress. — Doug Haller

Colorado (2021 record: 4-8)

Can Mike Sanford revive the Buffs’ offense?

Colorado scored 30 or more points just three times in 2021, one of which came against FCS program Northern Colorado in the season opener. The Buffaloes averaged 18.8 points and ranked 129th out of 130 FBS teams in total offense. There’s a lot of work to be done here. Complicating matters, Colorado lost leading rusher Jarek Broussard (Michigan State), as well as top receivers Brenden Rice (USC) and Dimitri Stanley (Iowa State) to the transfer portal.

Sanford spent the last two seasons at Minnesota leading a run-heavy offense. He also has had coaching stops at Notre Dame, Utah State, Boise State, Stanford and Western Kentucky, where he was head coach. He has a returning quarterback in Brendon Lewis, who played much of last season under pressure. Transfer R.J. Sneed, who had 133 catches for 1,564 yards during his time at Baylor, gives Colorado a threat at receiver. Seasoned running back Alex Fontenot led the Buffs in rushing in 2019, but overall, this group needs to make major strides. — Haller

Read full story here

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May 19th

College Football News CU Preview: “This might be a better team without the great record to show for it”

From The College Football News … Is this going to be one of those years when everyone blows off Colorado and then something big happens?

2020 was weird in every way for the Pac-12, but the Buffaloes still managed to push through for a 4-2 season with a bowl appearance.

The 2016 team wasn’t expected to do anything coming off a four-win season, and then came the 10-win run on the way to a Pac-12 Championship appearance.

That might be a little extreme, and it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing thing with the 2022 Buffaloes. Just being good enough to go bowling would be enough.

There might be a ton of key losses through the transfer portal, and this isn’t going to be one of the spotlight teams in the Pac-12 South, but there are more than enough good parts and improvements among the starting 22 to be better than most will likely expect.

It’ll take a big change, though. It wasn’t just that Colorado went 4-8, it’s that it wasn’t all that close in most of the losses and struggled WAY too much on …

Colorado Buffaloes Preview 2022: Offense

The O couldn’t keep things moving. The Buffs had the second-worst offense in college football averaging just 257 yards per game, the 18.8 points per game doesn’t tell the whole story with the consistency, and there wasn’t any semblance of a decent passing attack to get back in games when things weren’t working.

So yes, there are some personnel losses and changes from last year, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It starts with …

The offensive line has to give everyone more time to work. There’s some shuffling, getting tackle Tommy Brown from Alabama should help, and the starting five might quietly grow into a positive with a little bit of time. Now the pass protection and ground attack have to follow.

Colorado Buffaloes Preview 2022: Defense

The defense didn’t get any help from the offense, but it also didn’t do enough to help the cause. The run D struggled, there weren’t enough takeaways, and the pass rush was lacking. That last part was addressed this offseason, and if that starts to kick in, the D that finished last in the Pac-12 in sacks and next-to-last in total defense should rise up fast. That starts with …

The pass rush – it has to show up. Terrance Lang is a big end who fits more in a 3-4 system, but he has to get behind the line more. The tackles are 300+ pounders in.a rotation that should be fine, the outside linebackers have to help with more pressure.

Colorado Buffaloes: Key To The 2022 Offense

Just get the chains moving.

The running game didn’t go anywhere, the passing attack couldn’t convert on third downs, and the steady production wasn’t there. On the plus side, the offense didn’t turn the ball over enough to matter, but it’ll have to take a few more chances and risks to open it all up a bit more.

Converting on third down will change everything.

Colorado Buffaloes: Key To The 2022 Defense

Yeah, the pass rush.

Again – from earlier in this – the pass rush has been addressed this offseason as a main focus in spring ball, and it should be better. At least that’s the hope.

Colorado came up with three sacks in the opener against Northern Colorado, and it came up with three late in the year against Washington. It also came up with two against a hapless Arizona offensive line. It only generated five in the other nine games.

Colorado Key Game To The 2022 Season

TCU, Sept. 2
The Horned Frogs are undergoing an overhaul with a new head coach, a bigger passing offense, and a new energy as they’ll be looking at the season opener as a way to jumpstart the program. But it’s a home game for Colorado, and it’s a big one.

Lose this, and with road games at Air Force and Minnesota to follow, this might be a rocky start to the season before diving into Pac-12 play against UCLA. Beating TCU doesn’t mean Colorado will win the tough games coming up, but lose, and the pressure will be ramped up to a whole other level.

Colorado Buffaloes Season Prediction, What Will Happen

Seriously, Colorado? You couldn’t schedule a Cream Puff A&M or Cupcake State somewhere on the slate?

For a team that’s undergoing a bit of an overhaul and could and should be good with a little bit of warm-up time, there’s no break whatsoever on the slate.

Colorado will be better than the 2021 version, and it’s always dangerous to assume there isn’t going to be a surprise somehow or a collapse somewhere else to make it all work out just fine, but where’s the 100% sure-thing win?

The Arizona game – the Wildcats should be far stronger – is on the road. There’s no Stanford or Washington State from the North, which leaves, what?

Cal? This is a good Bear team that should be solid. Arizona State? Maybe. At Oregon State?

SET THE COLORADO BUFFALOES REGULAR SEASON WIN TOTAL AT … 4.5

But let’s not get too much into the doom and gloom. Colorado should have the talent to get by Air Force on the road, it can beat TCU if the offense is strong right away, and there will be a few games when everything works and the Pac-12 team on the other side doesn’t have it.

Again, the problem is the schedule – there’s no base of certain wins to count on.

Now, beat TCU and Air Force to kick things off, and everything changes and Colorado will project to be a bowl-bound team. But until then, considering all the 50/50 games – and worse – this might be a better team without the great record to show for it.

Read full story here

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May 18th

CBS rates 65 Power Five coaches: Six Pac-12 coaches in the Bottom 15

From CBS Sports … The first college football game ever played took place on Nov. 6, 1869, between New Jersey (to become Princeton) and Rutgers on a field in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Rutgers won 6-4. It was a thriller, but it wasn’t as thrilling as what was happening across the Atlantic Ocean in Europe. That’s where Swiss chemist Friedrich Miescher made a startling discovery that would change what we knew about life on Earth.

Miescher discovered something within the nuclei of white blood cells in humans that he called “nuclein.” The term would change over the years until it became what we now refer to as DNA: the building block of all life. While Miescher couldn’t view DNA down to its blockchain at the time, if he were able to look at the DNA of that first college football game between New Jersey and Rutgers, he’d have discovered something else.

Inherent in college football’s DNA are rankings. Yes, Rutgers won the game 6-4, but who cares? Which team would we have ranked higher afterward? That’s the question. Sure, Rutgers won, but maybe it didn’t deserve to? Maybe if the coach hadn’t wasted that timeout in the second quarter, New Jersey would have held on, so New Jersey should be ranked ahead of Rutgers. If we’re ranking the coaches, though, Rutgers’ coach should be ranked ahead of the one who led New Jersey.

College football has changed a lot since that first game, but the same DNA remains today. The powers change, the names change,  the conferences change, but the rankings remain.

As we’ve done annually, CBS Sports is back ranking the college football coaches of the Power Five conferences (and Notre Dame) ahead of the upcoming season. A panel of our experts turn in their ballots with a simple mission: rank the 65 Power Five coaches from best to worst. There are no parameters for how they should be ranked. One could rank strictly on records or accomplishments. Another could rank on what they think these coaches will accomplish or how they have lived up to expectations. There are no rules, only rankings.

Let’s begin our latest presentation of these rankings by examining the 40 coaches who finished outside the top 25. These rankings are final and irrefutable … until the season begins. (Also, if you don’t like where a particular coach is ranked, remember this: I agree with you. It’s all my fellow voters who are wrong.)

No. 63 … Jake Dickert, Washington State: I had Dickert ranked ahead of the other first-time head coaches on my ballot because he has a track record. He coached the Cougars for six games last season after Nick Rolovich was let go and went 3-3, including a 3-1 mark in the Pac-12. Considering the difficult situation he inherited, that’s a promising start. 2021 rank: n/a

No. 61 … Jedd Fisch, Arizona: The second-year coach inherited an Arizona program that was a shambles last season, and it showed in the team’s record. The Wildcats went 1-11 in Fisch’s debut, and even though he moves up three spots in the rankings, it’s only because he has experience now. Even so, he’s still ranked behind other coaches yet to coach a game. 2021 rank: 64 (+3)

No. 59 … Karl Dorrell, Colorado: After finishing 4-2 as one of the bigger surprises of a strange 2020 season altered by COVID-19, Dorrell’s Buffaloes fell to 4-8 in 2021, placing fifth in the Pac-12 South ahead of only Arizona. It’s no surprise to see Dorrell fall a bit in the ranking because of it. 2021 rank: 54 (-5)

No. 55 … Herm Edwards, Arizona State: No coach fell further in the rankings this year than Edwards. Herm was ranked in the top 25 last season following a shortened 2020 season that saw the Sun Devils go 2-2. While ASU went 8-5 in 2021, this ranking has far more to do with what’s happening off the field. The program is dealing with NCAA problems, and multiple players hit the transfer portal, including starting QB Jayden Daniels. There’s an impending sense of doom surrounding the program, and it has affected how Herm was viewed by our panel. 2021 rank: 21 (-34)

No. 54 … Dan Lanning, Oregon: Clearly, some of our voters hold Lanning in high esteem, as he’s ranked highly for a coach yet to be in charge of a program. It certainly isn’t indefensible. After all, Lanning just played a part in Georgia’s national title win, coordinating what might’ve been the best college football defense we’ve ever seen. He also brings the same kind of recruiting acumen that Mario Cristobal possessed. Lanning seems ready to hit the ground running in Eugene. 2021 rank: n/a

No. 53 … Scott Frost, Nebraska: When Frost came to Nebraska fresh off a 13-0 mark at UCF, he was ranked highly because of it. He’s fallen every season since. After going 3-9 last year, Frost has been at Nebraska four seasons and hasn’t reached a bowl game. He’s only 15-29 overall and 10-25 in the Big Ten. He took a pay cut to get another season in Lincoln, but this fairytale won’t have a happy ending if things don’t turn around soon. 2021 rank: 47 (-6)

No. 51 … Kalen DeBoer, Washington: While DeBoer doesn’t have head-coaching experience at the Power Five level, he went 12-6 in two seasons at Fresno State and won three NAIA national titles at Sioux Falls, where he went 67-3 (!!!) in five seasons. There’s plenty of optimism among the Washington faithful that he’ll bring some life to a program that offered little excitement under Jimmy Lake. 2021 rank: n/a

No. 44 … Justin Wilcox, Cal: I admit this doesn’t make sense, but I also firmly attest it makes perfect sense. Wilcox is a perfectly rated coach but always seems slightly underrated. While the 2020 season was tough on coaches across the Pac-12, there’s a strong argument that no coach had it worse than Wilcox, and it showed with a 1-3 record. He followed it up with a 5-7 mark last season, meaning the Bears have missed out on bowl games each of the last two seasons after going 15-11 over the 2018 and 2019 seasons. 2021 rank: 38 (-6)

No. 37 … Jonathan Smith, Oregon State: CBS Sports voters have always been big fans of Smith, and that certainly wasn’t going to change after he led the Beavers to their first bowl game since 2013. It’s been a slow and steady climb for Smith, and his program recovered well from a step back during 2020 to get to a bowl and finish with a winning record in the Pac-12. It’s the first time the Beavers have done that since 2012. 2021 rank: 56 (+19)

No. 29 … David Shaw, Stanford: Shaw has seen a steady decline in our rankings over the last few years. A coach once planted inside the top 10 has fallen out of the top 25. Shaw was still at No. 15 as recently as our 2020 rankings, but the Cardinal are only 11-19 since the start of the 2019 season. The good news is the Cardinal just put together a top-20 recruiting class after falling outside the top 40 last season. Hopefully, that’s the start of a recovery in Palo Alto. 2021 rank: 24 (-5)

No. 28 … Chip Kelly, UCLA: It took longer than most expected or hoped, but Kelly is coming off his best season at UCLA since returning in 2018. Last year, the Bruins went 8-4 and contended with Utah for a division title. They’ve since followed that up with one of the strongest transfer hauls in the country, but we’ll see how expectations change now that Lincoln Riley is at USC. 2021 rank: 39 (+11)

No. 8 … Kyle Whittingham, Utah: Whittingham cracks the top 10 for the first time, and while some of it has to do with coaches no longer here, it’s hard to argue that he hasn’t always deserved consideration. Leading Utah to a Pac-12 title and Rose Bowl berth only solidified the job he’s done with the program. After a mediocre first three seasons in the Pac-12, Utah has gone 68-31 with four division titles and a Pac-12 titles in the last eight. Nobody has bette taken advantage of USC’s struggles than Whittingham and the Utes, but I wouldn’t recommend counting the Utes out now that Lincoln Riley is at USC. This program is simply too solid to slink into anybody’s shadow. 2021 rank: 14 (+6)

No. 4 … Lincoln Riley, USC: Ever since Riley left Oklahoma for USC, Sooners fans have been talking about how they’re fine with it because the program had been slipping recently anyway. While I think that’s mostly the shock talking, it’s proven true in our rankings! Riley drops a spot from No. 3 to No. 4, but even that drop has more to do with Kirby Smart than Riley. After five seasons at Oklahoma, 2021 was the first time Riley failed to win the Big 12. He’s gone 55-10 and reached the College Football Playoff three times. Few coaches in the sport can claim the same accomplishments, so there are few coaches ranked ahead of him here. 2021 rank: 3 (-1)

Read full story here

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May 17th 

Week One Pac-12 Lines – Pac-12 teams underdogs in every game listed to date (including CU)

From Fan Duel … Three Pac-12 week one games have lines posted. In each game, the Pac-12 team is listed as an underdog. Not to worry, though, as the Pac-12 has plenty of cupcake games – Northern Arizona at Arizona State; Rice at USC; Idaho at Washington State; Kent State at Washington; Colgate at Stanford; Bowling Green at UCLA; and UC-Davis at Cal – to pad the win total for the Conference of Champions …

Friday, September 2nd

  • TCU at Colorado … Colorado a 9.0-point underdog at home … (listed as having a 5:00 p.m., MT, kickoff, though that time is not listed on the CUBuffs.com website)

Saturday, September 3rd

  • Utah at Florida … Utah a 1.5-point underdog on the road …
  • Oregon v. Georgia … Oregon a 16.5-point underdog on the road … (technically a neutral site game in Atlanta)

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May 16th 

College Football News Pac-12 Win Total Projections (Another 4-8 season for Colorado)

From the College Football News

Pac-12 College Football Win Total Projections: Spring 2022

Pac-12 North

Cal Golden Bears

CFN 2022 Win Total Projection, Spring: 6
CFN 2021 Win Total Projection: 6
BetMGM 2021 Win Total Line: 6
2021 Final Regular Season Win Total: 5
2022 Schedule

Oregon Ducks

CFN 2022 Win Total Projection, Spring: 9.5
CFN 2021 Win Total Projection: 10
BetMGM 2021 Win Total Line: 9
2021 Final Regular Season Win Total: 10
2022 Schedule

Oregon State Beavers

CFN 2022 Win Total Projection, Spring: 6
CFN 2021 Win Total Projection: 4.5
BetMGM 2021 Win Total Line: 4.5
2021 Final Regular Season Win Total: 7
2022 Schedule

Stanford Cardinal

CFN 2022 Win Total Projection, Spring: 5
CFN 2021 Win Total Projection: 6.5
BetMGM 2021 Win Total Line: 4
2021 Final Regular Season Win Total: 3
2022 Schedule

Washington Huskies

CFN 2022 Win Total Projection, Spring: 7.5
CFN 2021 Win Total Projection: 8.5
BetMGM 2021 Win Total Line: 9
2021 Final Regular Season Win Total: 4
2022 Schedule

Washington State Cougars

CFN 2022 Win Total Projection, Spring: 6
CFN 2021 Win Total Projection: 6
BetMGM 2021 Win Total Line: 6
2021 Final Regular Season Win Total: 7
2022 Schedule

Pac-12 South

Arizona Wildcats

CFN 2022 Win Total Projection, Spring: 4
CFN 2021 Win Total Projection: 3
BetMGM 2021 Win Total Line: 2.5
2021 Final Regular Season Win Total: 1
2022 Schedule

Arizona State Sun Devils

CFN 2022 Win Total Projection, Spring: 6
CFN 2021 Win Total Projection: 8.5
BetMGM 2021 Win Total Line: 9
2021 Final Regular Season Win Total: 8
2022 Schedule

Colorado Buffaloes

CFN 2022 Win Total Projection, Spring: 4
CFN 2021 Win Total Projection: 5.5
BetMGM 2021 Win Total Line: 4.5
2021 Final Regular Season Win Total: 4
2022 Schedule

UCLA Bruins

CFN 2022 Win Total Projection, Spring: 9
CFN 2021 Win Total Projection: 6.5
BetMGM 2021 Win Total Line: 7
2021 Final Regular Season Win Total: 8
2022 Schedule

USC Trojans

CFN 2022 Win Total Projection, Spring: 9
CFN 2021 Win Total Projection: 9
BetMGM 2021 Win Total Line: 8.5
2021 Final Regular Season Win Total: 4
2022 Schedule

Utah Utes

CFN 2022 Win Total Projection, Spring: 8
CFN 2021 Win Total Projection: 9
BetMGM 2021 Win Total Line: NA
2021 Final Regular Season Win Total: 9
2022 Schedule

Read remaining story here

Ranking Pac-12 quarterback depth (CU ranked about where you’d expect)

From the San Jose Mercury News … Welcome to our post-spring assessment of Pac-12 quarterback depth in 2022.

For some teams, the situation has evolved since the initial Quarterback Comfort Quotient (QBCQ) rankings were published in February. For others, the depth chart remains as it was, but the team’s relative position in the conference has changed.

To determine the QBCQ, we consider the caliber of the starter and the reliability of the backups, because you never know when the former will falter (or get injured) and the entire season will depend on the latter.

Case in point: The 2021 Utah Utes, whose Pac-12 championship-winning quarterback, Cam Rising, began the season on the bench.

Please note:

— Not all backups are listed below, only those we believe are relevant for 2022.

— If the projected starter is a newcomer — and that’s the case for most of the conference — his previous school has been listed.

— The Hotline will publish our third and final QBCQ of ’22 at the conclusion of training camp.

1. UCLA
Previous ranking: 1
Projected starter: Dorian Thompson-Robinson
Backups: Ethan Garbers, Chase Griffin, Justyn Martin
Comment: We continue to rate UCLA’s quarterback depth chart as the best in the conference after all the comings-and-goings through the spring. Thompson-Robinson was an all-Pac-12 selection last year and should play at a high level again, but what separates the Bruins is their bench: If an unexpected event forced Garbers to take command on a permanent basis, UCLA would be in solid shape. Even Griffin has proven capable when called upon.

11. Arizona State
Previous: 9
Projected starter: Emory Jones (Florida)
Backups: Trenton Bourget, Paul Tyson, Daylin McLemore
Comment: The Sun Devils are better positioned than they were before Jones arrived but worse off than before Jayden Daniels left for LSU in February. Jones has plenty of SEC starting experience, but the results were mixed. Remove his six-touchdown performance against Samford, and he finished the 2021 season with 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His mobility and savvy will serve ASU well, but we prefer the wait-and-see mode.

12. Colorado
Previous: 12
Projected starter: Brendon Lewis
Backups: J.T. Shrout, Maddox Kopp, Drew Carter
Comment: The clear pick for the QBCQ cellar until we have full clarity with the pecking order and evidence of improvement. Lewis was erratic last season (albeit behind a substandard line). Will his efficiency reach a respectable level under a new coordinator (Mike Sanford)? And how seriously will Shrout contend for the starting job in training camp, assuming his rebuilt knee is cleared for full contact? CU needs someone to push Lewis.

Read full story here

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May 15th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Ranking Pac-12 Coaches (Karl Dorrell higher than you might think)

From stayaliveinpower5.com … Great football is played on the west coast.

After the sun goes down for half of the country, is when the Pac-12 takes over. It’s a conference that’s been forgotten about because of a five-year Playoff drought. However, Commissioner George Kliavkoff’s influence is starting to take hold on the league.

With the departure of Mario Cristobal and the addition of Lincoln Riley, the Pac-12 is making big moves. These 12 coaches consist of a few veterans, plus a couple of newbies, but from the top to bottom, the Pac-12 has a solid collection of individuals, that are poised to take the league to new heights this fall.

  • 12. Jedd Fisch, Arizona
  • 11. Kalen DeBoer, Washington
  • 10. Jake Dickert, Washington State
  • 9. Justin Wilcox, California
  • 8. Dan Lanning, Oregon
  • 7. Jonathan Smith, Oregon State
  • 6. Karl Dorrell, Colorado: The Californian has spent time in the conference as a player, an assistant and a head coach. Dorrell is a former UCLA wideout, who’s been named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year in two different decades. Dorrell had a five-year tenure with the Bruins, and led his alma mater to a 35-27 record during that span, including five-straight bowls. The 59-year old gained notoriety for the monumental upset over USC in 2006, which kept Pete Carroll out of the National Championship Game. Dorrell landed back at Colorado in 2020, and won five of his first seven games with the program. Since then he has gone 3-8 over his last 11 games. Dorrell is 8-10 overall with the Buffaloes, including 6-7 in Pac-12 play. A decent aerial attack is what will be the difference from Colorado winning three or seven games in 2022.
  • 5. Chip Kelly, UCLA
  • 4. David Shaw, Stanford
  • 3. Herm Edwards, Arizona State
  • 2. Lincoln Riley, USC
  • 1. Kyle Whittingham, Utah: He’s one of the Power Five’s longest-tenured coaches, who’s been leading the Utes since 2005. Whittingham is the winningest coach in school history. Not to mention he has a jaw-dropping, 11 bowl victories. The 62-year old led the Utes to a Mountain West Championship in 2008, plus their first-ever Pac-12 Title and Rose Bowl appearance last season. Whittingham has recorded a 54-43 mark against Pac-12 opponents since 2011. The Californian continues to do more with less, and develops his players into All-Pac-12 performers. The numbers don’t lie, and over the past six years, Utah has had 22 players selected in the NFL Draft. With Mario Cristobal at Miami, Whittingham appears to be the new king of the league. Several pieces also return to a team that won 10 games in 2021.

Read full story here

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33 Replies to “Preseason Magazines”

  1. ranking every QB in the country was bad enough
    now evaluating a player”s NIL take?
    college football media is out of control

  2. Great research on the coaches hot seat article… Wow, after commenting on how bad the Buff’s offense was last year, the writer didn’t even mention the change of OC and other coaches, he just assumes to offense will be the same.

    He doesn’t mentioned or probably doesn’t know that last year was the first season that UCLA had a full roster of 85 scholarship, they were so far behind at a max of adding 25 scollies per year it took him 3-4 years to get up to 85, that’s a challenge. Between last year’s improvement to 8 wins, a returning roster of starters, and a favorable schedule, Chip would have to implode or be hit by many injuries not to get to 8 plus wins. He’s seat may be warm, but the insiders at UCLA knows what’s up and gave him the time to improve. This year is important for him, but with ALL of the information, I don’t see his seat getting hot this year.

    GREAT WRITING.

    1. He lost me at MMT going to Michigan. Proofread your bad writing at least. I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean the State of Michigan.

  3. Wellllllllllllllllll
    did I miss a couple of hot shot cu transfers out that didn’t even make a 4th team

    Sheesh What happened to those “Stars” that their leaving was gonna hurt the Buffs.

    Ahaaaaaaaaaaa The truth

    Buffs a gogo

      1. Well you know who the “star transfers from cu were ”

        only Mekhi Blackmon, USC made a team 3rd team defense

        So

  4. Not sure that ranking Fontenot 8 out of 12 Pac12 running backs put him amoung the “Best Pac12 Running backs”

  5. screw ESPN
    if Vegas will give me 1 in 50 odds of CU getting to a bowl I would certainly be willing to “waste” some money there.

      1. $50?
        sheesh
        that was the minimum back in the late 60’s when I was betting with the Smaldones.
        and no
        Its a lose lose for me. Even if I win I have to make some kind of further connection with you to collect. I value my privacy much much more than that. Thats about as politely as I can put it.
        Your constant “GoBuffs prove me wrong” has lost any sincerity it may have ever had and you are sounding like a subtle troll.

          1. So wait, I want to clarify. You are willing to give me 50 to 1 odds on 50 dollars that the buffs go to a bowl. So I bet 50 you are putting up 2500? I know I am good for the 50 but are you sure you are good for the 2500? What are the terms, as soon as the buffs win 6 you will pay me?

          2. I am not sure if bookies are legal in Montana yet but even if they are I’m sure they have to be licensed. Right Stuart?

          3. Sure Rob. I’ll take that bet. But, I’m not the house that Vegas is, so I guess that’ll be the only one, and doesn’t sound like EP’s interested. Just in case my Buffs prove me wrong. That could get expensive, quickly.

            Go Buffs

          4. I like the consortium idea. And if you don’t want direct contact, to either pay me or me pay you directly, I’m sure we can sort that out.

            I realized after responding to Rob, this does force me into my first ever bet against my Buffs, but? So be it. I’d still rather see the upside surprise. I don’t think I will though, which is why I put my money where my mouth is.

            Plus, it’ll be fun, and may help keep the season interesting.

            Go Buffs

          5. Yo earache consider your bet taken. (Document this Stuart)

            The consortium will figure out who you have to pay how much

            OOPs there it is.

            Bowl game.

          6. I love it! And, thank you for confirming. For the consortium, conglomerate or cartel – whatever we want to call it – maybe it’s a dollar from like the 50 chronic posters here. Then just donate the funds – if you win – to Stu for more NIL interviews? But, I’ll let you sort that out. I’ll keep the $50 I’m likely to win, as that may buy me lunch somewhere.

            Go Buffs

          7. Isn’t it just like a banker telling us what we should do with “our 2500”

            Regardless earache this bet is on.

            If you want in the consortium
            Email me at The VKBerlin@gmail.com

            bowl game Pay day

  6. I have a hard time calling those 2 $tooge$ “significant” additions to those teams.

    ESPN calls them “Key” additions. Same as “Significant”?

    I think not. They even go all in
    Earache
    With
    “Should help”

    Hmmmm

    Go Buffs

  7. interesting in how the puntards are giving AU all this optimism compared to their picture of the stuck in the mud Buffs. Could it be because of the country’s 5th largest population base in the Phoenix Tucson area? If so would this be classified as grifting?

  8. I’m surprised none of you guys jumped on it yet. But WTF does Scott Frost have any business still being a coach ranked in the 50s?! (CBS article) The WSU guy nobody has heard of won as many games as Frost did during the last half of the season, as in interim, and is ranked lower than Frost. Geez you’d think it can’t get any more silly.

    Oh, and c’mon CBS, Chip Kelley has lost his luster, and is just another mid-level coach with a big pot-belly pacing the sidelines.

    1. pandering to the fan support in the corn crib?
      maybe Frost slipped a little money under the table to do so.

  9. I wonder if Howell or Munstetieger helped with the Coolege football news article. It is actually pretty balanced. It points out the opportunity with improvement in a couple of areas to go bowling, but a rough schedule with a lot of winnable games but no guaranteed wins. I agree it probably comes down to TCU. If CU cannot beat TCU at home it is going to likely be a sub 6 win year. Beat TCU (and not through a fluke but by improvement in offensive production and the defense performing) then all of a sudden Airforce, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State And Cal look better. I truly believe coaching matters. Does anyone really think that if we had Saban here with the exact same personnel we would have the same record? Dorrell is not Saban. But I really believe he has built a staff that is better than we have had for 2 decades. Our talent is less than it was in 2016 so I don’t expect that sort of run. But if, a huge if, we stay healthy I could see us getting to a bowl game…

  10. Ahhh the off season ranking and rating frenzy. “Too early” this and “way to early” that. What a paradox. If it was way too early and you were being honest….why bother?

    Gobsmacked there is an appetite for this crap. Lets face it, the people who are fans of Alabama and Ohio state dont need it. They know they will be right up at the top. Maybe they get some sort of arrogant pleasure to read about the less fortunate.

    Such is the obsession with college football…for now…until it manages to kill itself.

    Here is an idea for someone with too much time on their hands like the pundolt prognosticators. Do a ranking of how all these way to early jokers did after the season. Shouldnt be too hard. Just save all the bs articles like this one on your computer and match em up with the team etc records. Someone might actually pay you for it.
    I will predict (based on past history of course) if wliner isnt flat on the basement floor he will be on his knees.

  11. I really am hoping that with all that is bad going on with college football, that Karl is just putting together a solid team (both players and staff), with “as a whole” some of the best coaches CU has seen in a long time. Hopefully a case where the group of coaches are better “as a whole” than they add up to individually. Especially if they are right combination and are connecting & working together as well as reported.

    Utah has a great HC that proves what good consistent coaching can bring… And KW has been bring it along nicely.

    It’s still the time of year where we want to believe the changes made will positively effect the Buffs more than the outside world knows!

    Take the good from last year, and hope the right coaches and players are in place to correct the problems.

    Fact is, CU’s offense was bad last year and many responsible, the OC/WR & O-line coaches, plus a few others are gone and replaced with guys that seem to have a certain synergy and we hope to see major improvement.

    With the bad O-line play and not enough time to make his reads, Lewis still only threw 2 interceptions, so build on that with twice production and there you go, something to build on!

    Add a better running game and there you go.

    I hope KD is putting together a better “team”, staff AND team!

    1. I agree with your sentiments. More than anything, the program as a whole needs some stability and continuity. We cannot have players on their 6th position coach. If CU’s program can get stable and incrementally get back to winning, I’ll be much more optimistic. I’ll feel we are close to or over the hump, when we put together 2 back-to-back winning seasons with bowl appearances. Then the excitement will be rev’d up. Until then, we just have to continue enduring the slog. I hope and have my fingers crossed that HCKD and his staff are the guys to do it.

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