Pac-12 Football: Week 2 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Football Power Rankings Week 2

Week one for college football is in the books, and it’s time to see where everybody lands in the Pac-12 Football Week 2 Power Rankings. Overall the conference had a good week except for loses by Washington and Arizona. I know the Pac-12 wants more national television games, but these 7:45 pm PT kicks aren’t helping anybody. I live on the west coast, and I fell asleep before the BYU vs. Arizona game was over. So, there is no way old College Football Playoffs voters are watching the game in its entirety. The conference has to find a way to get SEC and ACC teams to come west, and nationally televised games are a way to get it done.

The results from week one still leave all the Unafraid Show Pac-12 Preseason picks alive. Here are the week two rankings:

12. Oregon State (0-1)

(L) Ohio State 77-31

You ordinarily don’t have much positive to say about a 77-31 loss, but there were quite a few positives for the Beavers. Oregon State played practically the entire game with their backup quarterback Connor Blount after Jake Luton was injured and scored 31 points against a top 5 team. The Beavers rushing attack was impressed as they rushed for 197 yards on 39 carries. Oregon State is clearly a much-improved team under Jonathan Smith. By the time Pac-12 play starts the Beavers will no longer be a gimme game.

11. UCLA (0-1)

(L) Cincinnati 26-17

This was not the game anybody expected in Chip Kelly’s debut. We all expected UCLA to struggle at times this season, but an anemic offense against Cincinnati was unexpected. By the end of the game, it was obvious why Kelly chose to start Wilson Speight at quarterback over Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Thompson-Robinson was pressed into action when Speight was knocked out of the game with an injury. The freshman showed flashes in relief but he’s not quite ready for the primetime. UCLA also has problems with their rushing defense and offensive line. Unless Chip Kelly can pull a rabbit out of his hat 2018 is going to be a rough season for the Bruins.

10. Arizona (0-1)

(L) BYU 28-23

I was absolutely confused watching the Arizona offense. Their greatest weapon is Khalil Tate’s legs and they didn’t unleash him at all. He finished with only 8 rushing attempts. It is almost like Kevin Sumlin wanted to make sure Tate’s passing ability was showcased. He finished the game 17/34 with 197yds 1 TD. Arizona will have to employ a lot more run-pass option to maximize Tate’s skill set and make their offense explosive. My preseason prediction for Pac-12 South winner looked super suspect.

9. Colorado (1-0)

(W) Colorado State 45-13

I was not sure how this game would go after the Buffaloes only won 17-3 last year and were shutout in the second half. Mike MacIntyre’s team dominated Colorado State from cover to cover. The key to Colorado’s success this year will be great play from junior quarterback Steven Montez. He lit up the scoreboard in week one to the tune of 338 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. He looks to have made significant progress since last season. If Montez can continue to play at a high-level Colorado will be strong in conference play, particularly at home.

8. Washington St (1-0)

(W) 41-19 Wyoming

I couldn’t be any more happy for the Washington State Cougars. After offseason tragedy, they were playing with heavy hearts but came out and got a win. Per the usual, Mike Leach found a way to get his  ‘Air Raid’ offense to score a lot of points. The Cougars defense was impressive in only giving up 209 total yards. The Cougars should cruise to 3-0 to start the season.

7. Arizona St (1-0)

(W) UTSA 49-7

It is so hard to judge teams when they play “Nobody State” in week one. However, a win is a win despite it not being very impressive. Manny Wilkins to N’Keal Harry is a deadly combination for the Sun Devils offense. Harry is a mismatch 1-on-1 for most cornerbacks so teams have to give safety help over the top which opens up the running game. Benjamin and Floyd were the beneficiaries in week one. Remember when I said I believed Arizona would win the Pac-12 South? I may have meant Arizona State.

6. Cal (1-0)

(W) North Carolina 24-17

The most impressive thing about Cal’s win over North Carolina was their defense. They forced 4 turnovers and held on even with mixed results from their quarterbacks. In just his second season Justin Willcox has turned 2016’s worst defense in the country into a respectable defense. The Golden Bears weakness is the quarterback position. Bowers, Garbers, and McIlwain all saw time under center, but neither of them was particularly impressive. It won’t matter how good Cal’s defense is if they don’t get better play from the QB position.

5. Washington (0-1)

(L) Auburn 21-16

What a horrendous loss to Auburn. The Huskies had every opportunity to win that road game masquerading as a neutral site game. The good news is that Washington showed they could bring their B game and compete with anybody. The bad news is that I was right about Jake Browning in the Pac-12 preseason rankings. I told ya’ll he would be the Achilles heel for this team after the media picked the Huskies to win the conference. Browning is a senior so we expected smart play but his game was marred with bad decision after bad decision. I was impressed with the Washington defense. They largely help Auburn’s tricky offense in check. The front seven dominated the game and showed it will be tough for Pac-12 teams to run the football against them.

Pac-12 Power Rankings Oregon

4. Utah (1-0)

(W) Weber State 41-10

After starting off down 10-0, Utah did exactly what they were supposed to do. They demolished a team with inferior talent. However, they must stop fumbling. The Utes fumbled three times during the game. If Tyler Hundley can stay healthy continue to play at this level the Utes will be a serious threat to win the Pac-12. He finished with over 250 yards passing and 4 TDs. Their defense looked tough. There seems to be a different feel to Kyle Whittingham’s team this year. Utah will be looking to finally get over the hump in the Pac-12 South.

3. Oregon (1-0)

(W) Bowling Green 58-24

The Ducks started the game extremely flat offensively and defensively. After they settled down, the game was a runaway. Justin Herbert was as good as advertised passing the ball. The running game featured 6 different running backs touch the football. Jim Leavitt’s defense looks to be even better and more physical than last year. I am so happy to see the pillow fights stop. The Ducks have no competition in their first three games. So the focus over the next three weeks will be keeping everyone healthy and being sharp for their week 4 matchup against Stanford.

2. USC (1-0)

(W) UNLV 43-21

Ordinarily, I would be critical of USC struggling with the likes of UNLV. But, the Trojans got the win with a freshman quarterback, new #1 running back and wide receiver. Those young guys will be walking into the fire this week. The Trojans travel to the farm to play Stanford. JT Daniels will have to grow up quick if USC wants to compete for the Pac-12 crown. USC needs to beat Stanford to calm the Clay Helton naysayers

1. Stanford (1-0)

(W) San Diego State 31-10

Stanford started extremely slow against San Diego State, but they put the pedal to the metal in the second half. Bryce Love was held to just 29 yards on 18 carries, but K.J. Costello showed up big time. Costello answered any questions about his ability to carry the load as a passer by finishing with 332 yards and 4 TDs. My one question about the Cardinal team surrounds the run defense. San Diego State’s Juwan Washington ran for 158 yards. If Stanford can sure up their run defense, they have a legit shot to win the Pac-12.

Blind Resumes: Who is the Most Dominant Pac-12 Team?

Most Dominant Pac-12 Team

Who Runs the Pac-12?

College football fans love debating other college football fans about hypothetical events. Most fans rely on emotions and feelings instead of stats and facts to drive their arguments and opinions. Conversations are always heated when Pac-12 fans debate the most dominate Pac-12 team. Unafraid Show has indisputable stats to solve these debates thanks to our friend @SportsPac12. We will use the blind resumes of the four most dominant Pac-12 teams over last two decades to determine who runs the Pac-12.

If we were judging, historically USC will always win this debate because they had such a headstart on everyone else in the conference except UCLA. So, we will focus on recent history to determine who runs the Pac-12. Anybody can have an outlier season and win a conference championship, but it is extremely difficult to maintain success longterm. Take an objective look at the blind resumes to determine who currently runs the Pac:

Most Dominant Pac-12 Team

Leave a comment to submit your vote for the Pac-12 Most Dominant Team!

Can you name the teams without google help?

No matter who your favorite team is, the future is extremely bright for the Pac-12 conference. The conference has the best coaching it has ever had from top to bottom. There are multiple national championships in store for the conference over the next decade.

Check out the Pac-12 preseason rankings and predictions for who is the most dominant Pac-12 team and who will win the conference.

Team A: Stanford Team B: USC Team C: Oregon Team D:Washington

For more thoughts on who is the most dominant Pac-12 team as well as more fresh, creative, powerful content for sports fans, check out my UnafradShow podcast.

Pac-12 Preseason Rankings: Who Will Win The Conference in 2018?

The 2018 season is just days away, so it is time for the Pac-12 Preseason Rankings. I think we can all agree that it is time for the “Conference of Champions” to finally see another championship in football. This year, the conference has at least three legitimate threats to hoist the national championship trophy. The conference has the best cast of coaches from top to bottom in the history of the conference. The question is which one of them will be the first to get to the promised land? The Pac-12 Champion will likely have to be undefeated to make the College Football Playoffs because we have learned the BCS and now the playoff rankings favor the SEC and ACC.

South Division

Per the usual, the South division is up for grabs. There has been a different winner every year since 2013 with only one team winning it twice. The media loves USC to win the South but I disagree. I believe the division will have one of it’s best races since 2014. The division has added Herm Edwards, Chip Kelly, and Kevin Sumlin as coaches so you know the next few years will be intense.

1.Arizona (10-2)

Potential Losses: USC, Utah, Oregon,

I know I am in the minority here, but the door is wide open for the Wildcats to win the Pac-12 South. They avoid Washington and Stanford on the schedule. USC is breaking in a new quarterback, top running back, and wide receiver. Every other game in the south is winnable when Khalil Tate is your quarterback. If Kevin Sumlin can muster something that even resembles a good defense the Wildcats will win the South.

2. USC (10-2) 

Potential Losses: Texas, Stanford, Arizona, Notre Dame

USC is one of those rare places where a coach can go 21-6 in his first two full seasons and the jury still be out on him as a coach. Welp, that’s the reality when you get absolutely housed by Alabama, Notre Dame, and Ohio State in the process. The Trojans have a lot of turnover at key starter offensive positions (QB, RB, WR). Clay Helton will need to do his best coaching job yet to get all those 5* players to get him 10+ wins again.

3. Utah (7-5)

Potential Losses: Washington, Stanford, Arizona, USC, UCLA, ASU, Oregon

Do not be surprised if Utah either wins the South or finishes second. Since USC is vulnerable the Utes will have a “Why not us” mentality heading into every game. Last season Tyler Hunley showed he is a real difference-maker at the quarterback position. Utah is always one of the toughest teams in the Pac-12 and 2018 will be no different. Kyle Whittingham has been extremely close to getting his team “over the hump”. Could this be the year?

4. UCLA (6-6)

Potential Losses: Oklahoma, Washington, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, ASU, USC, Stanford

The Bruins are predicted by most to miss a bowl game and finish 4-5th in the division. I’d agree that Chip Kelly is short on the players to run his system, but he’s still Chip Kelly college football juggernaut. Do not be surprised by any “outlier” results from this team. All eyes will be on their week 2 matchup at Oklahoma. If UCLA wins that game… scary. I do believe that teams like Arizona, Utah, and Arizona State better seize the opportunity to get a Pac-12 championship this season. It will get a lot more difficult as UCLA gets this thing rolling.

5. Arizona State (6-6)

Potential Losses: Everyone except UTSA, Oregon State, Colorado

I have no idea how Herm Edwards will do record-wise as the head coach of the Sun Devils, but I do know they won’t be winning the South this season. He hasn’t coached in ten years and hasn’t been a college coach in three decades. I do know that he will develop his young men into high character men and his team will play hard. Arizona State is one of those rare places that is not a powerhouse but could be. Arizona is a state with a good amount of high school talent, and close enough to California and Texas to get some of their most talented players.

6. Colorado (4-8)

Potential Losses: Everyone except New Hampshire

With the exception of their 10-4 season in 2016, the Buffaloes have had little success since joining the Pac-12. The good news is that Colorado has Junior quarterback Steven Montez back under center. Their best chance to steal a couple of games are against Oregon State, Washington State, and Cal.

North Division

The Pac-12 North Division is one of the toughest divisions in all of college football. Whenever you have three teams that can win a division, you know it’s tough. The king of the castle for the last two years has been the Washington Huskies. There will be a dogfight this season between Washington, Stanford, and Oregon. The media showed a lot of confidence that Washington will win the conference in the preseason poll. However, I firmly disagree.Cal, Washington State, and Oregon State do not have a chance to win the division, but there will be no SEC November cupcakes when they are on the schedule.

1. Stanford (11-1)

Potential Losses: Oregon, Washington

Stanford is consistent and coached by the best coach in the Pac-12. The difference between last year’s Stanford team and this year is the quarterback position. If K. J. Costello can stay healthy, the combination of him throwing the ball and Bryce Love rushing could prove too much for the Pac-12 and may earn them a spot in the CFB Playoff top 4.

2. Oregon ( 10-2) 

Potential Losses: Stanford, Washington, Arizona

There is no team that has a wider variance for the number of wins than the Oregon Ducks. They have a new head coach, a potential #1 NFL draft pick at QB, a much-improved defense, but are coming off back to back disappointing seasons. The Ducks entire season hinges on two things: keeping Justin Herbert healthy and beating Stanford week 4. If Oregon beats Stanford, Washington will be on upset alert.

3. Washington (10-2) 

Potential Losses: Auburn, Stanford, Oregon

It is hard to pick against Washington because they are talented and well coached. I love Chris Peterson’s defense, but their Achilles heel this year will be the quarterback. Jake Browning is a quality college quarterback, but Stanford and Oregon field much better options at the position. If Jake Browning raises his level of play against top-tier opponents the Huskies can win the Pac-12 and National Championship. But, I have a little sneaky suspicion there will be chaos in the North.

4. Cal (7-5)

Potential Losses: Oregon, Arizona, Washington, USC, Stanford

I really like the improvement that Cal made last season. The Golden Bears will be even better in Justin Wilcox’s second season. However, their schedule is rough and they don’t quite have the horses to compete with the top 3 teams. I would not be surprised if Cal sneaks a win against one of their “losses”.

5. Washington State ( 5-7 )

Potential Losses: USC, Utah, Oregon, Stanford, Cal, Arizona, Washington

Washington State is in a tough position. Mike Leach runs the ‘Air-Raid’ offense, but they are without their expected starter Tyler Hilinski at quarterback. His suicide sent shockwaves through all of college football. We all have Cougar nation in our thoughts and prayers this season. If you ever need help or are considering suicide please call 800-273-Talk.

6. Oregon State (3-9)

Potential Losses: Everyone except Southern Utah

There is nowhere to go but up for the Beavers as they only managed a single win last year. New coach Jonathan Smith will have the team more competitive, but they still have a long way to go. Their only opportunities for conference wins this year are Cal and Colorado. The goal should be getting one of those.

Championship Game

Arizona vs Stanford

STANFORD WINS!

Schedules Make it Easy For the SEC to Make the College Football Playoff

College Football Playoffs Schedule Scam

Schedules are the biggest scam in college football. The College Football Playoff Ponzi scheme, and the SEC is Bernie Madoff, same as the BCS was. All the Power 5 conferences do the work, but the SEC collects the rewards. The SEC (Bama in particular) deserves credit for winning the tournament, but often as a whole conference is severely overrated. When the CFB Playoff was formed we were told teams would be ranked based upon schedule quality and quality of wins over being undefeated. This has not been true. The curtain has to be lifted so fans can watch the season with open eyes. Isn’t it time that fans get the games we want to see and the undeniable four best teams in the playoff games? We are all being had by ridiculous schedules that manipulate who makes it to the playoff. Teams only get 12 guaranteed games per season. So why on earth should teams be rewarded for playing 3 non-competitive non-conference games per year?? Nobody really wants to pay to leave games at halftime. In 2018, Alabama and Georgia are were top 5 teams but were in the top 10 for easiest non-conference schedules. As fans, we spend our time, hard earned money, and devote our Fall lives to college football. We should we never waste an entire Saturday watching bad games!

College Football Committee Can’t Do Its Job Properly

The notion that the College Football Playoff Committee can accurately and fairly decipher who the top four teams in the country are is outrageous. How can they, when these schedules give us so few quality common opponents between conferences? This is the committee’s fault though. We will NEVER see schedules get better until the committee punishes teams that don’t win their conference or play competitive non-conference games. As a college football fan, you should absolutely be frustrated with the quality of the games we get. I’m assuming that all of you are like me and love college football and enjoy watching good games and debating other fans. If that’s the case, there is no way to be ok with a team that didn’t win their conference and played a bad non-conference schedule to be in the top 4.

The committee has essentially said that it is acceptable to lose your conference, play eight conference games while playing three non-power 5 teams, including an FCS team and get into the playoffs. Do not give me the “everybody does it” line. Clemson, Georgia, Florida, Notre Dame, USC, Miami, Cal, and others managed to schedule at least 2 power five non-conference games. That means everyone else can do it as well.

I’ve long said that college football schedules are consistently manipulated by the SEC and ACC, who have an advantage. Pac-12, Big XII, and Big 10 teams have a significantly smaller margin for error when trying to compete for championships. Let me explain how this works by using this table:

College Football Playoffs Ponzi Scheme

You can clearly see why the ACC and SEC have a win-loss advantage. Notice that there is a seven-loss difference between the ACC/SEC, and Big 10 which all have 14 teams. Seven more losses mean an additional game for each team in the BIG 10 against a team that could beat you. Imagine how easy the path to the championship would be if Ohio State could sub out that Iowa game for Mercer. Now, let’s compare those numbers to the Pac-12, which has 12 teams and 54 total conference losses. That is only two losses less than the ACC and SEC, despite having two more teams.

If that was too complicated, an easier way to explain all this is by looking at the average number of losses per team in each conference. SEC and ACC teams will lose a half-game less than all other conferences.

In theory, all this would not be a big deal if the conferences made up for that conference game with a competitive non-conference game. However, in most cases that is NOT what happens.

One of the biggest conversations when comparing teams is comparing how many losses each team has. However, all wins are not created equal. I’ve heard the argument that the Big XII, Big 10, and Pac-12 “play themselves out” of the playoffs by losing too much in-conference. The reality is playing 8 conference games instead of 9 conference games creates a systematic advantage for the SEC and ACC.

Now that we are all on the same page regarding wins and losses, I’ll explain the manipulation of the committee rankings. The current formula to manipulate your way into the playoffs is: play eight conference games, one mandated power 5 team, two non-competitive FBS games, and 1 FCS team. That FCS game often presents itself in November. It is commonly referred to as a “November Cupcake,” which is a glorified bye week against teams like Mercer, Citadel, or Wofford. The “November Cupcake” is an important component for highly regarded SEC teams to move up in the playoffs because of timing. When other conferences have ranked matchups in November, SEC teams play “November Cupcakes.” This gives them an opportunity to move up the rankings without playing a competitive game, and one of the teams from the other conference has to lose. This is the formula how you consistently end up with top 10 matchups amongst SEC teams late in the season, which makes the conference appear stronger.

Even Nick Saban (Alabama’s Head Coach) agrees with me when asked about college schedules and teams being deserving of playoff bids:

“I think it’s subjective to some degree because we don’t all play each other. I could get into my theory on this. I personally want to play all Power 5 conference teams every week. I know people say we played Mercer College and we couldn’t get a game with anybody else. All right so…  If we all had to play twelve teams from the Power 5 conferences, we would have a better feel for which conferences were the strongest and there would be more crossover play… and maybe even play more conference games.  Fans would like it better. You guys [the media] would like it better. You’d have a better inventory to show people. We wouldn’t have these games that people don’t really want to come to, players don’t really want to play in. And I think you’d have a better idea of who the best conferences and the best teams were.”

-Nick Saban on “College Football Playoff Selection Show” (December 3, 2017)

The Solution

  1. Change the college football playoffs to eight teams.
  2. Take the five power five champions and three at-large teams.
  3. One of the at-large teams has to be the highest ranked non-power 5 team.

There are two solutions to solve the scheduling imbalance and increase the greatness of college football for fans:

  1. 9 conference games, two power 5 games, and one FBS non-power 5 game to continue to give money to the little guys.
  2. 8 conference games, two power 5 games, one FBS non-power 5 game, and one FCS game to continue to give money to the little guys.

Both of these options would give the fans a much better game experience and generate more revenue for athletic departments. Teams would be more encouraged to schedule home and home non-conference games against good teams. This would make selling season tickets much easier

This would also alleviate a lot of the nonsense discussion about resumes and strength of conferences when choosing playoff teams. The committee would have more data because teams would have played more common opponents. My plan would cause television ratings and revenue increases as well. That’s more money for the NCAA, coaches, sponsors, and athletic departments to keep out of the hands of the players. And isn’t that the #1 goal of college football?

Am I Wrighster or am I wrong?

Pac-12 Media Poll picks Washington to Win the Conference: They are Wrong!

Washington Huskies

The Pac-12 media poll is out. 37 of 42 media members who cover Pac-12 football voted Washington as their favorite to win the conference. If you let the media tell it, Washington should run away with the North division and the South will be competitive with USC winning. But, recent history tells us that the likely Pac-12 champion will be someone other than who the media picks. The media has only correctly predicted the winner of the Pac-12 title game twice since 2011 (Oregon 2011, 2014). 2018 will be extremely exciting for the Pac-12. This is the best coaching from top to bottom that the conference has ever had.

2018 Pac-12 Media Poll

The media will be wrong about their 2018 pick as well. Either Stanford or Oregon will win the North division and Arizona will win the South division. Washington is well coached and their defense will be solid per the usual, but Stanford and Oregon are lurking in the shadows. Stanford has the best coach, offensive line, and running back in the conference. If KJ Costello shows up in a major way, Stanford will be a treat to go to the College Football Playoffs. Oregon, on the other hand, is the biggest wildcard in the conference. They feature a new head coach, Mario Cristobal who will bring more of the SEC conference ground and pound to the Ducks. They also have the project top NFL quarterback prospect Justin Herbert and are very talented at all positions. Arizona is a major threat to USC in the South division. The Trojans are replacing their top quarterback, running back, and wide receiver all in the same season. Arizona has a nuclear weapon at quarterback in Khalil Tate. He has the ability to win any game for the Wildcats.

No matter who wins the conference should fair significantly better in bowl season than last year.

College Football: Pac-12 Coach Power Rankings 2018

Great players win games, but great coaches win championships. The Pac-12 always has plenty of great players and is littered with future first-round draft picks. The conference has also had coaching legends like Pete Carrol, John McKay, Terry Donahue, and Don James. Despite a rich history and tradition, the PAC-12 has never had a coaching roster as good as the upcoming 2018 season. From top to bottom, the conference is now full of some of the best coaching minds. Only the Big Ten (Meyer, Chryst, Franklin, Harbaugh, Dantonio, etc) can rival the coaching lineup the Pac-12 now has in its arsenal. Six of these coaches are in their first or second year at their schools, but all are making noise on the recruiting trail and creating a footprint on the college football landscape. Over the next 2-3 seasons, the Pac-12 collectively will have it’s highest finishes on the recruiting trail.

Despite last year’s abject failure as a conference, the future of the Pac-12 conference is extremely bright and will soon claim multiple national championships.

On to the coaches:

12. Oregon State- Jonathan Smith

Jonathan Smith is the biggest unknown of all the Pac-12 coaches. He put up big numbers as the offensive coordinator at both Washington and Montana. The best news for Smith is that there is nowhere to go but up for the Oregon State Beavers. They haven’t won one conference game in two of the last three years. The bad news for OSU is that is Smith is successful he won’t be in Corvallis long.

11. Colorado- Mike MacIntyre

To say that Colorado has struggled since joining the Pac-12 would be an understatement. MacIntyre took over the program in 2013 and has only been able to win more than 5 games once. In his defense, the university absolutely mishandled a powerhouse of a program and burned it to the ground before he got there. The school has not made a commitment to winning, and until they do the Buffaloes will continue to be Pac-12 bottom feeders. There are few coaches who could do better given what MacIntyre has had to work with.

10. Arizona State- Herman Edwards

The Herm Edwards experiment at Arizona State is either going to be feast or famine. Herm was a good NFL coach and is an excellent leader. But, he has never been a college head coach and hasn’t coached football in 10 years. It initially felt wrong ranking him this low, but their recruiting class wasn’t particularly special and he wasn’t able to retain his offensive and defensive coordinators. If Herm does well, re-ranking the coaches at the end of the season is going to be a nightmare.

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Congratulations Fans and College Football Committee: Ratings are… DOWN!

 
I wrote an article about a week ago about how the College Football Playoff committee set the game back 10 years by putting Alabama in the top four. Now, there is, even more proof to support my argument. College Football Ratings are down. As a fan and analyst, the answer why is crystal clear: Schedules. There are less and less competitive non-conference games every year. NFL ratings are already suffering from a competition problem (in addition to other important issues). The NCAA and conference leaders need to fix this problem before college football heads down that same path. Here’s where the networks finished for average viewership for this year’s CFB regular season:
CBS: 4.951 million viewers, down 10% from 5.489 million in 2016.
ABC: 4.203 million, down 18% from 5.097 million.
Fox: 3.625 million, up 23% from 2.951 million.
NBC: 2.742, down 3% from 2.814 million.
ESPN: 2.155 million, down 6% from 2.300 million.
FS1: 819,000, up 4% from 743,000.
(Source: Per Austin Karp Sports Illustrated)
Every network saw a decline in viewership except Fox and FS1. Fox bought the rights to the Big 10 network and swapped out viewers from ESPN’s family of networks. The bottom line is that fans are more frequently tuning out of not showing up to see their team get 2-3 free wins per season. They want to see good opponents showing up to the stadium so they get their monies worth. My wife and I have UCLA season tickets, yet every year we debate renewing them depending what the home schedule is. I know there are many people like me. These programs ask you to spend your hard earned money on sweatshirts, swag, and other merchandise, but most won’t schedule more than one good non-conference game. Nobody wants to see “insert favorite team” play Mercer, Citadel, Northern Colorado, or Southern Utah.
 
If we are all college football fans, why aren’t more people banging on the table demanding change like me? The game is changing for the worse and the playoff committee and analysts just sit idly by and pass this trash on to fans like it’s good football. Teams who play a weak non-conference schedule are rewarded with high rankings, and spots in the playoffs despite untenable schedules. There are only 13 Saturdays of regular season college football. No weekend should feature a mediocre schedule of games! What is it going to take to get more non-conference matchups like USC vs Miami, Auburn vs Oregon, or TCU vs Ohio State in the regular season?
 
Many people applaud Alabama for scheduling their annual neutral site game to open up the season. However, I’d argue that those games have hurt college football. Where have the days gone where teams have the balls to schedule a home-and-home series with another Power 5 opponent. Alabama hasn’t played a non-conference away game since Penn State in 2011. Here comes the “Nick Saban said Bama scheduled Mercer because no one else would play them” line. You really believe that USC, Penn State, or Wisconsin wouldn’t have rather scheduled a home-and-home series against Alabama instead of a neutral cite game? This is not an indictment exclusively on the Crimson Tide.
 
Think about this: Before their 2017 neutral site game against Michigan, Florida hadn’t traveled outside of the state of Florida for a non-conference game since 1991.
 
College football ratings will continue to fall as long as nothing changes. The question is, will the powers that be ignore this problem staring them in the face, or will they take decisive and immediate action to rectify the problem? It would be extremely simple for all Power 5 conferences to play nine conference games, two Power 5 non-conference games, and one game to give the little guys some money. This would fix the scheduling disparity between conferences, and provide fans with more inter-conference matchups to be interested in. If you go down the list of the top twenty-five most watched games of 2017, all of the games are either conference matchups or power 5 non-conference games.
 
Many people would argue that this schedule nonsense has been going on forever, it’s just the way of the college football world. I’d argue that the landscape of sports is changing right before our eyes. Every year, people get more and more options for entertainment, and mediums to consume them. Every sport now has to earn their viewers on an annual basis. The days of people just watching any old game just because it is on are over. Ratings will continue to decline as long as these horrible scheduling practices stay in place. These pitiful scheduling practices will remain in place until teams are penalized and miss the college football playoffs.
 

There is a foreseeable downside to more competitive schedules for Power 5 teams that I will acknowledge. There will be less 8, 9, and 10 win seasons for fringe teams. That means more of you will be demanding your coaches gets fired. Pick your poison college football fans. Do you want a better slate of games all season? Or do you want your team to have a chance to go undefeated?

College Football Playoffs: The Bullshit Edition

The College Football Playoffs teams were announced this morning and the Top 4 are:
1. Clemson
2. Oklahoma
3. Georgia
4. Alabama
As we see there is one ACC team (Clemson), one Big XII team (Oklahoma), and two SEC teams (Georgia, Alabama). This leaves the Pac-12 and Big 10 completely out of the playoffs. The ACC and SEC have a systematic advantage in the College Football Playoffs and we the fans are getting screwed. College Football Playoff Committee screwed up putting Alabama in the top 4. They’ve set college football back at least 10 years.
We will NEVER see schedules get better until the committee punishes teams that don’t win their conference and don’t play good non-conference games. As a college football fan, you should absolutely be disgusted. I’m assuming that all of you are like me and love college football and enjoy watching good games and debating other fans. If that’s the case, there is no way you should be ok with a team that didn’t win their conference and played a bad non-conference schedule to be in the top 4.
The committee has essentially said that it is acceptable to lose your conference, play eight conference games while playing three non-power 5 teams, including an FCS team and get into the playoffs. Do not give me the “everybody does it” line. Clemson, Georgia, Florida, Notre Dame, USC, Miami, Cal, and others managed to schedule at least 2 power five non-conference games.
If you have a weak schedule, you should at the very least have to win your conference to get in the top four. If you’re as good as everybody “thinks” you are, then you should have won your conference! However, the committee clearly doesn’t value those things as highly as they should. This is not a diss to Alabama, but a diss to the broken system of college football. The fans continuously get screwed and will continue to get screwed until the schedule imbalance is fixed. The worst part about it is that fans sit up and co-sign this nonsense and don’t demand better.
I’ve long said that college football schedules are consistently manipulated by the SEC and ACC, who have an advantage. Pac-12, Big XII, and Big 10 teams have a significantly smaller margin for error when trying to compete for championships. Let me explain how this works by using this table:

You can clearly see why the ACC and SEC have a win-loss advantage. Notice that there is a seven-loss difference between the ACC/SEC, and Big 10 which all have 14 teams. Seven more losses mean an additional game for each team in the BIG 10 against a team that could possibly beat you. Imagine how easy the path to the championship would be if Ohio State could sub out that Iowa game for Mercer. Now, let’s compare those numbers to the Pac-12, which has 12 teams and 54 total conference losses. That is only two losses less than the ACC and SEC, despite having two more teams.
If that was too complicated, an easier way to explain all this is by looking at the average number of losses per team in each conference. SEC and ACC teams will lose a half-game less than all other conferences.
In theory, all this would not be a big deal if the conferences made up for that conference game with a competitive non-conference game. However, in most cases that is NOT what happens.
One of the biggest conversations when comparing teams is comparing how many losses each team has. However, all wins are not created equal. I’ve heard the argument that the Big XII, Big 10, and Pac-12 “play themselves out” of the playoffs by losing too much in conference play. The reality is playing 8 conference games instead of 9 conference games creates a systematic advantage for the SEC and ACC.
Now that we are all on the same page in terms of wins and losses, I’ll explain the manipulation of the committee rankings. The current formula to manipulate your way into the playoffs is: play eight conference games, one mandated power 5 team, two non-competitive FBS games, and 1 FCS team. That FCS game often presents itself in November. It is commonly referred to as a “November Cupcake”, which is a glorified bye week against teams like Mercer, Citadel, or Wofford. The “November Cupcake” is an important component for highly regarded SEC teams to move up in the playoffs because of timing. When other conferences have ranked matchups in November, SEC teams play “November Cupcakes”. This gives them an opportunity to move up the rankings without playing a competitive game, and one of the teams from the other conference has to lose. This is the formula how you consistently end up with top 10 matchups amongst SEC teams late in the season, which makes the conference appear stronger.
I contend that the committee absolutely blew it for college football by putting Alabama in the playoffs. They confirmed that conference championships and schedules don’t matter. This whole system is broken and, in order to fix it, we have to break it again. It stinks for college football fans and gives the SEC and ACC have a systematic advantage while screwing over the Pac-12 and the Big X.
Even Nick Saban (Alabama’s Head Coach) agrees with me when asked about college schedules and teams being deserving of playoff bids:
“I think it’s subjective to some degree because we don’t all play each other. I could get into my theory on this. I personally want to play all Power 5 conference teams every week. I know people say we played Mercer College and we couldn’t get a game with anybody else. All right so…  If we all had to play twelve teams from the Power 5 conferences, we would have a better feel for which conferences were the strongest and there would be more crossover play… and maybe even play more conference games.  Fans would like it better. You guys [the media] would like it better. You’d have a better inventory to show people. We wouldn’t have these games that people don’t really want to come to, players don’t really want to play in. And I think you’d have a better idea of who the best conferences and the best teams were.”
-Nick Saban on “College Football Playoff Selection Show” (December 3, 2018)
So here’s my solution:
1   1.  Change the college football playoffs to eight teams.
2   2. Take the five power five champions and three at-large teams.
     3. One of the at-large teams has to be the highest ranked non-power 5 team.
I am also open to two solutions to solve the scheduling imbalance and increase the greatness of college football for fans:
1   1.  9 conference games, two power 5 games, and one FBS non-power 5 game to continue to give money to the little guys.
    2.   8 conference games, two power 5 games, one FBS non-power 5 game, and one FCS game to continue to give money to the little guys.
Both of these options would give the fans a much better game experience and generate more revenue for athletic departments. Teams would be more encouraged to schedule home and home non-conference games against good teams. This would make selling season tickets much easier.

This would also alleviate a lot of the nonsense discussion about resumes and strength of conferences when choosing playoff teams. The committee would have more data because teams would have played more common opponents. My plan would cause television ratings and revenue increases as well. That’s more money for the NCAA, coaches, sponsors, and athletic departments to keep out of the hands of the players. And isn’t that the #1 goal of college football?

#UnafraidShow Pac-12 Power Rankings and Conference Awards


The conference of champions wrapped up a very eventful season. It was nearly impossible to pick winners from week to week. If I had to describe the conference in 2017 two words they would be parity, and underrated. It’s now time to compare the #UnafraidShow preseason power rankings with the final #UnafraidShow Pac-12 power rankings. When you compare these two, you will see that I was pretty damn good. The conference did have some performances that stood out amongst the rest. So without further ado I present the Pac-12 awards:
Pac-12 Biggest Surprise Team: Stanford. They struggled at the quarterback position all year. They seemed left for dead when they were sitting at 1-2. How David Shaw got this team to the Pac-12 Championship game is nothing short of a miracle.
Pac-12 Biggest Disappointment Team: Oregon State. Many Beavers fans considered the possibility of a bowl game in 2017, but their expectations couldn’t have been more wrong. They finished the Pac-12 season completely defeated.
Pac -12 Coach of the Year: David Shaw (Stanford). The man was outstanding for staying the course with his team and getting results in the face of adversity.
Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year: Bryce Love (Stanford). He has rushed for over 1,800 yards with one game to go. He is almost single handedly the read Stanford has been able to make this run.
Pac- 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year: Justin Reid (Stanford) Troy Dye (Oregon) Justin Reid finished tied for the lead in the conference in interceptions. Troy Dye finished the season 3rd in the conference in both tackles and tackles for loss.
Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Year: Dante Pettis (Washington). It seemed like every time the Washington offense struggled Pettis showed up with his super hero cape on and had a huge return or touchdown.
Now before we get to the Power Rankings I have to disclose something. My wife and I get in huge fights over these Pac-12 Power Rankings. She is a UCLA alum and huge football fan. You have probably seen us doing #TheWifevsTheExpert. When she initially saw the Final Power Ranking she flipped a lid. She had just got out of the shower and was walking around fussing at me in a towel about where Oregon was ranked. I had to explain to her the difference between standings and power rankings. Power rankings say who are the best teams at this moment. Standings indicate your record without taking injury or circumstance into account. The Ducks finished the last two games of the season on fire after their quarterback Justin Herbert returned from injury. They could go out and beat anyone in the conference now. She did not want to hear it, but it is nearly impossible to argue with the Power Rankings.
Preseason
Final
12
California
Oregon State
11
Oregon State
California
10
Arizona
Colorado
9
Arizona State
Utah
8
Colorado
UCLA
7
UCLA
Arizona
6
Oregon
Arizona State
5
Stanford
Washington State
4
Utah
Oregon
3
Washington State
Washington
2
Washington
Stanford
1
USC
USC
Final Thoughts: Stanford plays USC in the conference championship on Friday at 5pm. As much as some fans have rooting interests for other teams, it would be a great idea if everyone teamed up to root for USC. The Trojans are the only hope for the conference to make the College Football Playoffs. I know it may hurt your pride or offend your sensibilities, but it’s the right thing for the perception of the conference. WWJD.
I hope you enjoyed the Pac-12 season as much as I did. Can’t wait for these bowl games and recruiting wars!

Send all emails to: unafraidshow@gmail.com

College Football’s 5 Most Underrated Teams of 2017

The definition of underrate is “to rate or evaluate too low; underestimate.” Here is the 5 college football teams most underestimated for the 2017 season.
Honorable Mention. UCLA- If you have a quarterback you have a chance. If the golden boy Josh Rosen has a good season the Bruins will have a shot to win the Pac-12.
5. Miami– It feels like forever since Miami was good. They fooled you guys in the beginning of last season, but I knew better. This year the Hurricanes return seven starters on a defense that only gave up 18.5 ppg in 2016. Questions about their quarterback have kept expectations low, but their offensive line should be very good. If Miami can get a decent QB out of junior Malik Rosier, true freshmen N’Kosi Perry, Cade Weldon and sophomore Evan Shirreffs, they have a legit shot to win the ACC.
4. NC State– Do not underestimate the quality of this team that finished 7-6 last year. The Wolfpack don’t have the horses to make a run at the ACC Atlantic division, but they have an underrated coach in Dave Doeren. NC State is good enough to hand FSU, Louisville, or Clemson a loss. Last year, the Wolfpack gifted Clemson an overtime victory, and it took a 4th quarter comeback by Florida St to win. Coach Doreen has a veteran offensive line to protect junior QB Ryan Finley. This combo will give the Wolfpack a shot to win every week vs. this tough schedule. A 9-3 finish to the regular season IS possible and would be a huge success, but reality is more around 7-5.
3. Oregon– I can already hear you guys now. Such a homer, of course he says Oregon is underrated. Well, they are. No one has any expectations for the Ducks winning the Pac-12 north after finishing a disaster of a season last year 4-8. The Ducks cleaned house and brought in head coach Willie Taggert from South Florida. Oregon has plenty of talent left on the roster offensively. Justin Herbert showed flashes last year as a true freshman and should have a successful sophomore campaign. Expect to see the Royce Freeman of old running the football. The same cannot be said defensively. The Ducks should be a 9-win team and Pac-12 north champs if they can play a nominal amount of defense this season.
2. Penn St– At the end of the regular season last year, didn’t you feel like Penn St was one of the 4 best teams in the country? I did. This team is good, really good. So how could the Nittany Lions team be underrated? I got two names, Ohio St. and Michigan. It feels like James Franklin is the forgotten man behind Urban Meyer and the Khaki man Jim Harbaugh. Penn St has two of the most exciting players in college football. Their quarterback Trace McSorley reminds me of Johnny Manziel. Defenses can’t tackle RB Saquon Barkley in a phone booth. I am bullish on the scrappy Nittany Lions this year to win the B1G title.
P.S. I hate their non-conference schedule (Akron, Pitt, and Georgia St)!!!

1. Oklahoma St– How bout them COWBOYS! Ok St will come into this season ranking outside of the Top 10, but expect them to finish in the college football playoff. The combination of a light non-conference schedule and playing Baylor, TCU, and Oklahoma at home makes for a perfect recipe for 12-0 or 11-1 regular season. Mason Rudolph will be throwing to the #1 receiving corps in the nation. James Washington, Jalen McCleskey, Marcell Ateman, and Tyron Johnson are all studs. Add in running back Justice Hill and it may take a small army to slow Ok St down offensively. The only thing that can derail the Cowboys is Mike Gundy’s bad luck mullet.