The Saturday Edge participated in a PAC-12 football roundtable this week at the always informative blog College Football Zealots. We were joined by several of the Zealots, Dale Newton from the Oregon blog The Duck Stops Here and Kyle Kensing of Saturday Blitz and Arizona Desert Swarm.
The Q & A style discussion consisted of three questions. Below is how The Saturday Edge answered each question. If you would like to read the complete Q & A sessions and see how everyone else responded, the links are at the bottom of the page.
The Saturday Edge: QB Jeff Tuel could have a monster season in Mike Leach’s offense. Tuel was actually WSU’s starting QB at the start of last season, but he broke his clavicle in game # 1, so a lot of people have forgotten about him. He’s 6-3, 220 pounds and is on some NFL watch lists. He also has some excellent weapons to work with; most notably All-Conference WR Marquess Wilson who caught 82 passes last year.
The other can’t miss breakout star will be the Oregon QB. Either Bryan Bennett, who started a few games last season, or spring game star Marcus Mariota. Both bring skills to the Duck run-first scheme that Darron Thomas did not possess, and with weapons like De’Anthony Thomas and Kenyon Barner drawing most of the defensive attention, either QB should thrive.
The Saturday Edge: I think I’ll be keeping an eye on Stanford this season. I believe the perception from a lot of non-PAC 12 fans and pundits is that the Cardinal, having lost four players selected in the first 42 picks of the draft, will take a step back. The loss of Luck will certainly be difficult to replace, but this team is loaded at just about every other position. They have one of the better defenses in the PAC 12, led by All-American candidates Chase Thomas and Shayne Skov at linebacker. They have some good RBs and TEs, and they continue to recruit top level OL and DL talent. They will stick to their formula and play physical, smash mouth football.
The Saturday Edge: It is tough to imagine any team outside of USC or Oregon winning the PAC-12 this season. Those two appear to be fringe National Championship contenders and at a level above everyone in the conference. However, of the next best teams in the league (CAL, Utah & UW), I believe Utah has the best chance to surprise. They return Jordan Wynn at QB and John White could be the best RB in the conference. They have arguably the league’s best defensive line and 7 starters returning to last years # 1 scoring PAC-12 defense. More importantly they have an extremely favorable schedule. They get USC and Cal at home, they don’t play Oregon or Stanford from the North and their road games are against ASU, UCLA, Oregon State, Washington and Colorado – 5 teams with a combined record of 25-40 and 0-3 in bowl games last year.
Below are the links to the complete Q & A sessions:
Who do you think are some of the possible breakout stars in the PAC-12 this year? What team do you think will surprise this season? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks – Pez.