Pac 12 is here and looks to shake up this unorthodox college football season. Here are my predictions for every team and more!
1. California (6-1)- Cal enters this season as one of the most underrated teams in the country. If quarterback Chase Garbers can perform like he did at the end of last season, this team will beat Oregon. They return their two main contributors in Christopher Brown Jr and Nikko Remigio. I expect the Bears offense to take a big leap this season and for Garbers to prove himself as one of the best QBs in the pac 12 under new coordinator Bill Musgrave. The defense returns plenty of starters but will be without their best three from last season. Evan Weaver the tackle machine has left along with Ashtyn Davis and Jaylinn Hawkins. Head Coach, Justin Wilcox is a defensive mastermind however, so I don’t think they will have much of a problem retooling. The front seven returns plenty of experience in Luc Bequette and Zeandae Johnson as they both received 6th years of eligibility. Despite the loss of Evan Weaver, this is one of the best linebacking units in the country as Kuony Duong had 119 tackles last year and alongside him is Cameron Goode who had 9.5 sacks last season good enough for 3rd in the pac 12. Even the secondary who loses Hawkins and Davis will still be one of the best secondaries in the conference as they return corners Cameron Bynum and Elijah Hicks. A team that returns eighteen starters should not be getting slept on this much especially after ending last season 4-1. I think their experience is what sets them apart from Oregon and wins them the North.
2. Oregon (5-1)- Coming off a huge 2019 season where they won the Pac 12 and the Rose Bowl, the Ducks look to prove they are a force to be reckoned with. Justin Herbert leaves as one of the best Oregon Qbs ever and now enters Sophomore Tyler Shough. Shough appeared in 4 games last season and for his small sample size he did very well, I expect him to have a solid season but nothing special whatsoever. They return running back CJ Verdell who had a great season last year but there is no doubt in my mind he will regress due to Oregon losing all 5 of their offensive lineman including Penei Sewell, arguably the greatest offensive lineman of this decade. Their receiving corps is very scary as well, they return their 2 leading receivers, Johnny Johnson III and Jaylon Redd and expect Mycah Pittman and Devon Williams to break out. The receiving corps is the highlight of this offense but Shough’s inexperience and a new offensive coordinator will hold them back. As for the defense, if you asked me before Covid, i’d say Oregon's defense is the best in the country, but not anymore. 3 key players in the secondary, Javon Holland, Deommodore Lenoir and Thomas Graham, all opted out in order to focus on the NFL draft. Oregon recruits very well so they will still be solid but nowhere near as good as they were expected to be. Expect Brady Breeze to have a huge season as he really stepped up in the Pac 12 championship game and Rose Bowl. The Ducks also sport one of the most promising linebacker duos in Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe, a couple of 5 star recruits who have potential to be NFL stars. Coordinator Andy Avalos knows what he is doing so I expect Oregon's defense to be very good, but not as elite as some people believe. This team is pretty overrated and they lack senior experience which will hold them back from a Pac 12 Championship appearance.
3. Oregon State (3-3)- If you have followed the Pac 12, you know how bad Oregon State was a few years ago and how well Jonothan Smith has done since taking over this program. The record is not there but if you actually watch the games the improvement is impossible to miss. This year, they lose quarterback Jake Luton who was solid but not great and they replace him with Nebraska transfer Tristan Gebbia. Gebbia started for the Beavers in their loss to Oregon last year but had a solid game posting an 80.5 QBR. They return one of the most underrated running backs in the country, Jermar Jefferson who had over 1500 all purpose yards in 2018 but was riddled by injuries in 2019, if he can stay healthy expect him to have a huge year as wide receiver Isiah Hodgins declared early for the NFL draft. Trevon Bradford looks to fill his shoes, in 2018 he had over 600 yards but did not play in 2019 due to injury. This offense really just needs to stay healthy and if they can they will be one of the better offenses in the conference. On defense, they return another extremely underrated player in Hamiclar Rashed who is coming off a 14 sack, 22 TFL 2019. Alongside Rashed will be sophomore Omar Speights who had 73 tackles as a freshman. They also return Avery Roberts who led the team with 83 tackles last year. A very deep linebacking crew is the highlight of the defense. The secondary is also solid as they return a lot of experience such as Nashon Wright who led the team with 3 interceptions last year and David Morris who has 14 starts at safety. This team is criminally underrated and Jonothan Smith is turning this program around tremendously. It's a bit of a stretch but I think they beat Washington in week 2 as they will benefit playing their freshman Qb, inexperienced offensive and defensive line early in the season.