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BTD’s 2020 Pac-12 Football Season Preview Roundtable

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Our thoughts on what the 2020 Pac-12 season may contain.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 02 Oregon at USC Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who Plays Who In The Conference Title Game?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 27 Holiday Bowl - USC v Iowa
The pressure is on Kedon Slovis and USC to reach the Pac-12 title game.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The_Coach: USC and Oregon - Pending some crazy things happening (which they very well can), I’m going with USC 31, Oregon 21 and the Trojans roll to a Pac-12 title. Clay Helton saves himself.

John Severs: I’m also going with USC and Oregon, but I don’t think Clay Helton has it in him to not screw this up somehow, so I’m regrettably giving the Ducks the win in the title game.

Marcus Russell: Oregon and ASU.

Travis Johannes: Cal and Utah. No one is going to watch.

Ross Parker: I agree USC will find it’s way there. I’m a little hesitant to trust Oregon after losing Herbert. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll be among the top teams in the conference. I just think Washington gets back into the championship game this season. USC and Washington in the title game with the Trojans winning it all.


Does The Pac-12 Make The College Football Playoff in 2020?

The_Coach: Yes - I love the idea of USC having a bounce-back season. Their loss of a non-conference schedule may really help them in terms of not picking up that tough out-of-league loss. If the College Football Playoff still looks the same, it could be an undefeated Trojans team fighting for their shot.

John Severs: No - This is still a conference built to eat itself alive. I think 2 losses is the best someone gets out of the season with, and that’s not going to be enough for the playoff.

MR: NO.

TJ: Nope! Cause there will be no playoff.

Ross: Negative, Ghost Rider.


Best Player In The League Nobody Is Talking About

The_Coach: Christopher Brown Jr, RB (California) - I’m usually filled with indifference about California’s program in general, but Brown Jr. is the league’s top returning rusher besides Oregon’s CJ Verdell. He tallied 914 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground in 2019, while also adding 22 catches and 4 more scores in the passing game. He’s an extremely versatile, play-making back who deserves more love than he gets.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 23 Utah at Arizona Photo by Chris Coduto/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

John Severs: Edefuan Ulofoshio, LB (Washington) - Ulofoshio immediately made Washington’s linebacker unit better when he became a starter late in the season. He was rewarded with a scholship, and should have a larger role on the Huskies defense next season.

MR: Brant Kuithe Jr., TE (Utah).

Ross: Max Borghi, RB (Wazzu) - So we think of Wazzu and it’s air-raid offense and often overlook any production from a running back. Well during this past season, Borghi racked 817 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on just 127 carries as well as 597 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns. Borghi’s production last year earned him a spot on the Doak Walker Award Watch List for this upcoming season. He’s a versatile back and is a legit dual-threat in any situation.


If You Could Take One Pac-12 Player And Put Them On OSU’s Roster, Who Would It Be?

The_Coach: Kedon Slovis, QB (USC) - This may be an easy pick here, but the Beavers could use a big-arm talent like Slovis to spearhead an offense that has a legitimate backfield rusher like Jermar Jefferson.

Northwestern v Stanford Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

John Severs: Paulson Adebo, CB (Stanford) - I feel pretty good about Oregon State’s defense going into next season, but I think adding a big playmaker in the secondary would make a huge impact, and Adebo might be the best in the conference.

MR: Penei Sewell, LT (Oregon) - I know he’s from Oregon, but he’s a monster. Very likely to be a top-3 pick in next years NFL draft and would be massively helpful to Oregon State as they try to replace Blake Brandel.

Ross Parker: Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE (Oregon) - I was thinking Adebo too, but John stole my pick. So while I absolutely hate taking a Duck, there is no question that Thibodeaux is going to be a star in CFB and probably in the NFL too. The Beavs defense is solid but you can never have enough guys that can rush the QB, especially when you can pressure from inside as well as Thibodeaux.

Travis Johannes: Isn’t there a guy with the last name Beavers?? I want him. Cause I got some real good tweets lined up.


Most Underrated Position Unit In The League

The_Coach: Oregon State’s Linebackers - Everyone is talking about Hamilcar Rashed Jr. and rightfully so, but the rest of this group is really talented as well. Inside backers Avery Roberts led the team with 83 tackles and tagged on 6.5 tackles for loss in 2019, while Omar Speights was a Freshman All-American across the board, who finished second on the team with 73 tackles (3rd most by freshman nationally) and 7.5 tackles for loss. John McCartan and former Oklahoma transfer Addison Gumbs are both hybrid edge rushers who can have bigger impacts, as can Andrzej Hughes-Murray, a returning team captain who was hurt last season.

John Severs: Utah’s Receivers - Utah’s been knocked down the Pac-12 power rankings due to the loss of their starting QB and RB, but the receiving unit still looks excellent. Brant Kuithe is one of the best pass catching Tight Ends in the conference, and if Britain Covey can make a successful return from injury they’ll also have one of the best slot receivers in the conference. Solomon Ennis also gives the Utes a great downfield threat. There’s a lot of questions about Utah’s offense, but the pass catchers should still be able to pull off some big plays.

Ross: Stanford Offensive Line - So I know this is a bit of a cheeky answer. We all know Stanford can recruit o-linemen. Duh. However, I think with how bad Stanford was at times last year, we forgot how talented this team was at the start of the year. Especially this unit group. We all have heard about Walker Little, who could be a first round pick in next year’s NFL Draft. We can’t forget about some of the other guys on this line, too. Center Drew Dalmon earned a spot on the Second Team All Pac-12 last year, while the tackle spot opposite of Little is manned by Foster Sarell who started only 11 games last year but earned his way onto the Honorable Mentions All Pac-12 Team. Stanford could bounce back big time if their O-line plays up to potential.

Travis: Coach stole my answer...


Dark Horse Team for the Conference Title Game?

Ross: I’m going with the Arizona State Sun Devils. After a strong finish to last season, ASU is seriously on the rise. The offense is losing a couple of it’s big position players including Brandon Aiyuk and Eno Benjamin. But that could be negated by Jayden Daniels’ development. Daniels is a budding star and has the potential to become one of the best QB’s in the conference next season. In addition, the defense is returning eight of it’s 11 starters from a year ago. This unit has seen a steady improvement over Herm’s first two seasons and have bolstered the coaching staff with new co-defensive coordinators Antonio Pierce and Marvin Lewis (yes, THAT Marvin Lewis). With Utah returning only two starters total from their defense a year ago, the Sun Devils have a realistic shot of having the best defense in the Pac-12 South.

The_Coach: Washington - The Huskies would have to get past Oregon, which is a task in it’s own right, but if the Ducks offense doesn’t assimilate like it should, maybe things fall apart and an opening arises. The reason I love Washington is because their defense is absolutely loaded and can probably take some of the pressure off their rebuilding offense. Jimmy Lake as a first-year head coach brings momentum to the mix. You never know what fun things might occur.

John: Utah - I’m just going with the team I think is third best in the conference, and honestly I think there’s more of a chance for USC to screw up this season than the Ducks.

Travis: Cal- If they can get some decent play at QB they will be a force to deal with.