Pac-12 Apostles Week 3 Preview and Picks

After Oregon’s massive win last week, and Stanford’s toppling of the Clay Helton regime, it’d be nice to get a week of uneventful Pac-12 wins against lesser competition- but there are a couple of serious opponents on the docket this week. ASU is trying to keep BYU from going 3-0 against the Pac-12 South, Colorado hopes to finish the task they weren’t able to last week vs Texas A&M, with the Buffaloes matching up against USC Head Coaching candidate P.J. Fleck and the Golden Gophers, while both Washington and Utah will try to bounce back against solid Group of 5 competition.

Make sure to check out this week’s Pac-12 Apostles Podcast, or just click play on the Spotify link below while you read the article below.

Minnesota at Colorado

Kickoff: 10AM Pacific

Broadcast: PAC-12 Network

Opening Odds: Colorado -2

What’s at stake: What’s at stake: Last week Colorado, behind the effort of a bunch of players from the state of Texas, nearly took down the mighty Texas A&M Aggies. Minnesota isn’t Texas A&M, but the Buffaloes don’t have a large portion of their roster from the Twin Cities who are out to prove they should have been recruited by the Golden Gophers. It’s going to be a difficult task for Karl Dorrell to get his team up emotionally for this game, but if he can do it, then it will prove that leading a top-5 team for 98% of the game was no fluke. Minnesota has shown that they’ll give up yards in the passing game if you’re good enough to attack their defensive backs- is Brendon Lewis ready to level up in his third ever start?

Our Picks: Ralph has Minnesota winning straight up, while George is taking Colorado to cover

Idaho at Oregon State

Kickoff: 12:30PM Pacific

Broadcast: Pac-12 Network

Opening Odds: Oregon State -28.5 (self made line)

What’s at stake: You have to beat Idaho. You just have to. Do the Vandals have some talented players? Oh yeah. There’s a good chance TE Hayden Hatten leaves the entire Beavers coaching staff wondering how they missed on his recruitment back when he was Heisman favorite Spencer Rattler’s #1 receiver. But still, anything less than a four-touchdown win is going to be an embarrassment. .

Our Picks: Ralph and George both have Oregon State covering 28.5

USC at Washington State

Kickoff: 12:30PM Pacific

Broadcast: FOX

Opening Odds: USC- 8.5

What’s at stake: After making waves by firing Clay Helton this week, USC is in a strange place in which Athletic Director Mike Bohn has essentially told the Trojan football team that they’re better off without their head coach. Interim Head Coach Donte Williams is walking a tightrope of perfection to even be considered as a candidate to take over permanently, and QB Kedon Slovis is fighting to restore his reputation as the next great USC QB. On Washington State’s end, this is the perfect opportunity to drown out some of the distractions of Nick Rolovich’s mysterious vaccination status and showcase his talented offense to a national audience.

Our Picks: Ralph and George are both on Washington State at home +8.5.

Sacramento State at California

Kickoff: 1:00PM Pacific

Broadcast: Pac-12 Bay Area

Opening Odds: Cal -24 (self created)

What’s at stake: You can make the argument that Cal has coached their way to an 0-2 start. The Golden Bears had a late lead at home against Nevada, and special teams miscues kept them from claiming a victory at Texas Christian. Cal needs this game as much as any Pac-12 team needs a win. Sacramento State is coached by former Cal QB Troy Taylor, who amassed 8,126 career passing yards and 51 touchdowns during his time in Berkeley, is not someone you want to take lightly, or else you might be considering him as your next hire because you allowed him to shock the world.

Our Picks: Ralph and George have Cal -24.

Arkansas State at Washington

Kickoff: 1:15PM Pacific

Broadcast: Pac-12 Network

Opening Odds: Washington -16.5

What’s at stake: The Huskies, who many picked to win the Pac-12 North, have started 2021 by showcasing one of the worst offenses in all of college football. They’ve left Sean McGrew and Kamari Pleasant to wither on the bench despite the fact that the RB duo averaged 20 touches and 2 TDs per game in 2020. They’ve managed to earn unofficial visits from a few talented recruits on Saturday, and if those recruits see unhappy players, and a non-functioning offense, it’s going to severely handicap Jimmy Lake’s ability to infuse the roster with the talent they’ll need to keep pace with rival Oregon. Last week Arkansas State surrendered 55 to Memphis- if Washington can’t even get half of that, then it’s time to hit the panic button.

Our Picks: Ralph likes Washington to get back on track and cover, George has Arkansas State +16.5

Utah at San Diego State

Kickoff: 4PM Pacific

Broadcast: CBS Sports Network

Opening Odds: Utah -7.5

What’s at stake: What’s at stake: Utah QB Charlie Brewer has lost 8 consecutive games away from his home field dating back to last year at Baylor. San Diego State has bullied nearly half the Pac-12, including blowing out the team that gave BYU a better game than Utah did (Arizona). The Utes aren’t exactly at their best historically when visiting Southern California, either. This game has all the hallmarks of a Mountain West upset, so a win by Utah will probably be a pleasant surprise to the fan base, and conference as a whole.

Our Picks: Ralph likes the Utes, George is taking the Aztecs at home +7.5

Stony Brook at #4 Oregon

Kickoff: 4:30PM Pacific

Broadcast: Pac-12 Networks

Opening Odds: Oregon -36 (self created)

What’s at stake: Oregon just can’t afford a let down of any kind. After winning at Ohio State, the lens the Ducks will be judged through for the rest of 2021 will be whether or not they’re worthy of College Football Playoff consideration. The best thing that can happen here is a 3-4 touchdown first quarter lead so that the young Ducks get some meaningful in-game experience.

Our Picks: Ralph and George are taking Oregon -36 in a line we completely made up.

Northern Arizona at Arizona

Kickoff: 7:00PM Pacific

Broadcast: Pac-12 Arizona

Opening Odds: Arizona -21.5 (self created)

What’s at stake: Seeing online debates about whether or not University of Arizona fans should storm the field if they beat 0-2 FCS Northern Arizona at home to end their 14-game losing streak is a brand new level of depressing. For Arizona, the task is simple- taste success. They’ve switched to Will Plummer as their starting QB, a mobile athlete that is going to need to show accuracy and quick decision making on short to medium routes to secure the job leading into Pac-12 play.

Our Picks: We’re both on Arizona -21.5.

#19 Arizona State at #23 BYU

Kickoff: 7:15PM Pacific

Broadcast: ESPN

Opening Odds: ASU -3.5

What’s at stake: Arizona State fans are starting to wonder if QB Jayden Daniels has another gear beyond speedy game manager. Herm Edwards has long said that nothing travels better than defense and a running game, but the time has come for Arizona State’s third year gunslinger to prove that he’s special. BYU dominated Utah last week by getting an early lead, and then taking advantage of the opportunity to rush the passer. ASU can’t get down early if they want to avoid that trap, and they need to keep the Cougars out of the red zone and settling for field goal attempts, because the red zone is where the BYU offense is at its best.

Our Picks: Ralph likes ASU to win by a touchdown, George thinks ASU can win, but that BYU will cover the 3.5

Fresno State at #13 UCLA

Kickoff: 7:45PM Pacific

Broadcast: Pac-12 Network

Opening Odds: UCLA -11.5

What’s at stake: George thinks UCLA is worthy of top-10 consideration, and if they dominate Fresno State, they’ll probably get it. The Bruins had two weeks to prepare for a team that put a scare into Oregon, and for people to take the Pac-12 seriously, this and the ASU game are the two that are the most important, as you’d likely see three Pac-12 teams in the top 15 in the country.

Our Picks: Bruins -11.5, to the moon.

Who are the Pac-12 Apostles?

The Pac-12 Apostles is a podcast for fans who love the Pac-12 conference. George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden are committed to the honest and fair conversation about the conference. Join us by becoming a Pac-12 Apostle. Subscribe and share the podcast.

Please leave a rating and review of our podcast on iTunes! We record a podcast once a week with emergency episodes when necessary. Our podcasts are always heavy on Pac-12 football. But we make it a point to also try and cover the other notable Men’s and Women’s Pac-12 sports. We cover recruiting and any other major storyline in the Pac-12 universe.

George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and long-time NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, and analyst, who is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014. Through years of playing college football, covering bowl games, coaching changes, and scandals, he has a great pulse for the conference and national perspective.

Ralph Amsden is a sportswriter and podcaster. He is the publisher of Rivals’ ArizonaVarsity.com, and was previously the managing editor of the Arizona State University Rivals affiliate, DevilsDigest.com. Wyoming born, Arizona raised, and now based in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and four kids, Amsden made his mark in Arizona sports media through investigative reporting, and being one of the first people to leverage social media and the podcast medium to grow his platform. In addition to his podcasts, he is the Content Director for UnafraidShow.com. Ralph might be sub-.500 in spousal disputes and schoolyard fights, but whether the topic is food, movies, music, parenting, politics, sports, television, religion, or zoological factoids, he’s always UNAFRAID to square up.

Pac-12 Apostles: Clay Helton Fired, Interviews with Ryan Abraham and Mario Cristobal, Week 2 Recap, Week 3 Preview

Clay Helton Fired, Replacement Candidates

On this episode of the Pac-12 Apostles Podcast, George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden get into the not-so-surprise announcement of Clay Helton’s firing, and Donte Williams’ elevation at USC following the Trojans home blowout loss to Stanford. George also interviews Ryan Abraham, publisher of the 247 USC affiliate site, USCFootball.com, as well as the co-host of the Podcast of Champions, to discuss the state of the Trojans. After recapping last week’s games, George interviews Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal, and the guys reconvene to preview and pick the upcoming week’s slate of games.

Apple Podcasts // Spotify // PocketCasts // Google Play // Stitcher // RadioPublic // iHeart

Who are the Pac-12 Apostles?

The Pac-12 Apostles is a podcast for fans who love the Pac-12 conference. George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden are committed to the honest and fair conversation about the conference. Join us by becoming a Pac-12 Apostle. Subscribe and share the podcast.

Please leave a rating and review of our podcast on iTunes! We record a podcast once a week with emergency episodes when necessary. Our podcasts are always heavy on Pac-12 football. But we make it a point to also try and cover the other notable Men’s and Women’s Pac-12 sports. We cover recruiting and any other major storyline in the Pac-12 universe.

George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and long-time NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, and analyst, who is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014. Through years of playing college football, covering bowl games, coaching changes, and scandals, he has a great pulse for the conference and national perspective.

Ralph Amsden is a sportswriter and podcaster. He is the publisher of Rivals’ ArizonaVarsity.com, and was previously the managing editor of the Arizona State University Rivals affiliate, DevilsDigest.com. Wyoming born, Arizona raised, and now based in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and four kids, Amsden made his mark in Arizona sports media through investigative reporting, and being one of the first people to leverage social media and the podcast medium to grow his platform. In addition to his podcasts, he is the Content Director for UnafraidShow.com. Ralph might be sub-.500 in spousal disputes and schoolyard fights, but whether the topic is food, movies, music, parenting, politics, sports, television, religion, or zoological factoids, he’s always UNAFRAID to square up.

Pac-12 Apostles Week 2 Preview and Picks

The Pac-12 North thoroughly embarrassed the conference last week, which has created a pressure-cooker for the entire conference heading into week 2- a slate of games that Jon Wilner has called “the biggest of the season.”

George Wrighster and I already went through and picked each game in this week’s Pac-12 Apostles Podcast (Spotify link below), as did our friends Bryant Conger and Rob Bowron over at 12Pac Radio. Here, I’ll list each game, our picks, and what’s at stake for each Pac-12 team.

#12 Oregon at #3 Ohio State

Kickoff: 9AM Pacific

Broadcast: FOX

Opening Odds: Ohio State -14.5

What’s at stake: This might be the Pac-12’s only chance to have a signature out-of-conference win in 2021. Yes, UCLA dominated LSU, but you can almost guarantee Ohio State finishes the season in the top 10, and the same can’t be said for Ed Orgeron’s Tigers. Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal and offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead made an interesting gamble when they decided Anthony Brown was going to be the guy at QB this year, and now Brown is going to be on the biggest stage he’s likely ever had as a starter, in front of two dozen NFL scouts. Perhaps the biggest thing at stake is the recruiting high ground, as Ohio State just beat Oregon for J.T. Tuimolaou, a consensus top-10 prospect in the class of 2021 out of the state of Washington.

Our Picks: Ralph, George, Bryant and Rob are all in on the Ducks to cover the original +14.5, but the line has moved to as low as +10.5.

California at Texas Christian

Kickoff: 12:30PM Pacific

Broadcast: ESPNU

Opening Odds: TCU -10.5

What’s at stake: Cal looked as if they were about to put Nevada away last week, but they abandoned the run game and found themselves on the wrong end of a 21-17 score. While this game would provide solid bragging rights, and relieve a little bit of the external pressure on head coach Justin Wilcox for five consecutive seasons of diminishing offensive output, a loss wouldn’t do much to affect the Golden Bears ability to compete within the Pac-12 North.

Our Picks: Ralph, George, Bryant and Rob are all in on Cal +10.5

#5 Texas A&M at Colorado

Kickoff: 12:30PM Pacific

Broadcast: FOX

Opening Odds: Texas A&M -17

What’s at stake: The reputation of Boulder, Colorado. I’m not sure anyone expects the Buffaloes to beat the Aggies, but after solid wins at home against UCLA last year, and Nebraska the year before, I feel like we’re on the precipice of respecting Boulder as one of the tougher environments to go into and come away with a win. Colorado also has continued to recruit Texas through their third straight coaching regime, and a respectable showing against a top 5 team out of the Lone Star state definitely wouldn’t hurt the progress and inroads they’ve made.

Our Picks: Ralph, George, and Rob have Colorado +17, Bryant has Texas A&M -17

Portland State at Washington State

Kickoff: 3:00PM Pacific

Broadcast: Pac-12 Network

Opening Odds: We invented a line of Wazzu -28.5

What’s at stake: The current narrative, and I believe it’s completely fair, is that Nick Rolovich actually interfered on behalf of Utah State last week and lost Washington State the game. Not only do the Cougars need to put Portland State away early, they need to pile it on just to hit the snooze button on the already growing mob of alumni calling for Rolovich’s head. This is also a good chance for Washington’s State’s staff to publicly acknowledge that RB Max Borghi is one of the best players in the conference, and is deserving of more than 12 touches.

Our Picks: Ralph and George have Washington State -28.5

Washington at Michigan

Kickoff: 5PM Pacific

Broadcast: ABC

Opening Odds: Michigan -6.5

What’s at stake: Jimmy Lake lost to an FCS at home team last week, kept several talented RBs on the bench, is bleeding recruits, and in the midst of all this struggle, he gets to lead the Huskies into one of the toughest environments in all of football. What’s at stake here is jobs- Maybe not Lake’s, but John Donovan has to do more than put together one scripted TD drive, and he’s going to have to do it with a QB in Dylan Morris who turned the ball over three times last week. Good luck.

Our Picks: Ralph and Bryant have Michigan -6.5, George and Rob have the Huskies +6.5

San Diego State at Arizona

Kickoff: 7PM Pacific

Broadcast: Pac-12 Network

Opening Odds: Arizona -1

What’s at stake: Jedd Fisch was laughed at when he was hired, and has spent the last several months turning the narrative about the naivete of his hire on its head, turning up the dial on recruiting, alumni relations, media accessibility, and fan relations. The fact remains, however, that Arizona hasn’t won a game in almost two years, and while this isn’t Rocky Long’s San Diego State, the Aztecs have never been an easy out for any Pac-12 team. Jedd Fisch literally went door to door this week recruiting students to fill out the “Zona Zoo” student section, and if those kids show up and witness a loss, he might not get them back. The Wildcats are in a must-win situation.

Our Picks: Ralph, George, Bryant and Rob are all in on Arizona -1

#21 Utah at BYU

Kickoff: 7:15PM Pacific

Broadcast: ESPN

Opening Odds: Utah -1

What’s at stake: Utah fans aren’t going to like this, because I know how much it means to them to have a stranglehold on this rivalry, but absolutely nothing is at stake. The Utes have built up enough respect and goodwill in the Holy War, and while they’d certainly be sore about leaving Provo with an L, no one is going to lose their job, nothing is going to change as far as their chances within the Pac-12 South, and it would have a negligible impact on recruiting. All that being said, the conference needs this win to keep the Utes in the Top 25.

Our Picks: Ralph and Bryant have Utah -7, and George and Rob are on BYU +7

UNLV at #23 Arizona State

Kickoff: 7:30PM Pacific

Broadcast: ESPN2

Opening Odds: Arizona State -32.5

What’s at stake: Generational trauma. There’s absolutely no way Arizona State loses to the Rebels, but because it happened in 2008 when the Sun Devils were looking ahead to a visit from Georgia, there’s a paranoia that exists within the Sun Devil fan base that only a blowout win will help exorcise. As far as on-field stakes, RB Rachaad White has an outside shot at national recognition and awards if he can stay healthy, and it would be nice to see ASU lean into that.

Our Picks: Ralph and Bryant are on ASU at -32.5, while Rob and George have UNLV covering the spread

Stanford at #14 USC

Kickoff: 7:30PM Pacific

Broadcast: FOX

Opening Odds: USC -17

What’s at stake: Stanford just took an ugly loss against Kansas State, and people are still completely unconvinced that Clay Helton can cover a 17-point spread. So much so, that the line has moved three whole points to 14 over the last few days. David Shaw’s uncharacteristic public optimism about this Stanford team heading into 2021 threw a lot of people off who thought that the drop in recruiting and increase in grad transfers were contributing to the demise of the Cardinal, but after last week’s loss, people are questioning if Shaw’s tenure in Palo Alto is reaching its twilight- especially since he seems unsure about the best way forward at the QB position. On the other side, no one believes Clay Helton is going to blow out Stanford, so all he has to do to maintain the same level of perpetual discontent that has existed amongst the Trojan fan base for the last 5 years is not lose the game.

Our Picks: All of us are on Stanford +17

Hawaii at Oregon State

Kickoff: 8PM Pacific

Broadcast: FS1

Opening Odds: Oregon State -11

What’s at stake: Jonathan Smith’s charm has seemed to make him immune to criticism from Pac-12 fans. No one expects Oregon State to win, as long as the offense continues to innovate and maximize lesser talent for our entertainment, we ignore the scoreboard. But Purdue seemed to have Smith’s number, and if Todd Graham, who has an awful history in Corvallis, comes in and frustrates the Beavers, public opinion might start to shift. Oregon State not only needs to defend homefield and get a win, they need to settle the quarterback question once and for all so they can rally behind someone ahead of conference play.

Our Picks: The Apostles take Oregon State (Ralph and George), 12Pac takes Hawai’i +11 (Bryant and Rob)

Who are the Pac-12 Apostles?

The Pac-12 Apostles is a podcast for fans who love the Pac-12 conference. George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden are committed to the honest and fair conversation about the conference. Join us by becoming a Pac-12 Apostle. Subscribe and share the podcast.

Please leave a rating and review of our podcast on iTunes! We record a podcast once a week with emergency episodes when necessary. Our podcasts are always heavy on Pac-12 football. But we make it a point to also try and cover the other notable Men’s and Women’s Pac-12 sports. We cover recruiting and any other major storyline in the Pac-12 universe.

George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and long-time NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, and analyst, who is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014. Through years of playing college football, covering bowl games, coaching changes, and scandals, he has a great pulse for the conference and national perspective.

Ralph Amsden is a sportswriter and podcaster. He is the publisher of Rivals’ ArizonaVarsity.com, and was previously the managing editor of the Arizona State University Rivals affiliate, DevilsDigest.com. Wyoming born, Arizona raised, and now based in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and four kids, Amsden made his mark in Arizona sports media through investigative reporting, and being one of the first people to leverage social media and the podcast medium to grow his platform. In addition to his podcasts, he is the Content Director for UnafraidShow.com. Ralph might be sub-.500 in spousal disputes and schoolyard fights, but whether the topic is food, movies, music, parenting, politics, sports, television, religion, or zoological factoids, he’s always UNAFRAID to square up.

Pac-12 Apostles Podcast: Power Shift- The Rise of UCLA and the Fall of the North

In this episode of the Pac-12 Apostles Podcast, George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden get into all of the action in week one, including a disastrous showing by the schools up north, though George thinks the Pac-12 at least outperformed the ACC. Who put on the worst coaching clinic- Justin Wilcox, Nick Rolovich, or Jimmy Lake? The guys get into their Pac-12 power rankings, and are unified at the top after UCLA’s dominant performance against LSU. Finally, Previews and picks for the upcoming week 2 slate of games.

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Make sure you like and subscribe to the Pac-12 Apostles Podcast with George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden on any podcasting app.

Who are the Pac-12 Apostles?

The Pac-12 Apostles is a podcast for fans who love the Pac-12 conference. George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden are committed to the honest and fair conversation about the conference. Join us by becoming a Pac-12 Apostle. Subscribe and share the podcast.

Please leave a rating and review of our podcast on iTunes! We record a podcast once a week with emergency episodes when necessary. Our podcasts are always heavy on Pac-12 football. But we make it a point to also try and cover the other notable Men’s and Women’s Pac-12 sports. We cover recruiting and any other major storyline in the Pac-12 universe.

George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and long-time NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, and analyst, who is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014. Through years of playing college football, covering bowl games, coaching changes, and scandals, he has a great pulse for the conference and national perspective.

Ralph Amsden is a sportswriter and podcaster. He is the publisher of Rivals’ ArizonaVarsity.com, and was previously the managing editor of the Arizona State University Rivals affiliate, DevilsDigest.com. Wyoming born, Arizona raised, and now based in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and four kids, Amsden made his mark in Arizona sports media through investigative reporting, and being one of the first people to leverage social media and the podcast medium to grow his platform. In addition to his podcasts, he is the Content Director for UnafraidShow.com. Ralph might be sub-.500 in spousal disputes and schoolyard fights, but whether the topic is food, movies, music, parenting, politics, sports, television, religion, or zoological factoids, he’s always UNAFRAID to square up.

Washington Huskies Lose to Stanford, Now What Versus Arizona, Oregon?

Pac-12 Power Rankings

UW Football Woes

University of Washington Block W logo RGB brand colors

The Dawgs lose to the Cardinals

The UW football team just lost to a second-string quarterback who didn’t even complete the game. Davis Mills left during the third quarter and Jack West played the rest of the game… without throwing a single pass.

Against Stanford, the UW football team was lackluster and disastrous. They were outgained 482-294 yards and beat 13-23 even though they were 17-point favorites. With another unexpected loss, the Huskies lost their chance for college football playoffs and likely any chance at a Pac-12 title. 

1-2 in Conference Games

In Pac-12 football games, the UW football team is not meeting expectations. Against Cal, at least they lost to a team that beat North Texas and Mississippi in the following weeks. There was also a lightning weather-delay. If the Huskies kept winning, the ranking system could brush the Cal loss away.

But come on. A loss to Stanford. Really? This was a Stanford team that had a losing record, lost its starting quarterback and was playing three freshmen on the offensive line. It was an inexcusable loss. Their conference game record is a reflection of a defense that lacks turnovers and an offense without creativity.

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Jacob Eason in three non-conference games:

  • 77.5-percent completion percentage
  • 901 passing yards
  • 10 touchdowns
  • 1 interception

Jacob Eason in three conference games

  • 54.3-percent completion percentage
  • 548 passing yards
  • 1 touchdown
  • 2 interceptions

Is UW football’s conference record all Jacob Eason’s fault. No. Yes, he certainly has made mistakes and lacks consistency. However, his receivers, offensive system and personnel groupings aren’t doing him any favors. Against Stanford, Eason targeted Aaron Fuller 17 times for 9 receptions and 171 yards. On his other 19 targets, his receivers totaled just 7 receptions for 35 yards. With the pressure the Husky offensive line let through, Eason needed playmakers. But his receivers either couldn’t get open or dropped big-time throws.

On the year, Fuller and Hunter Bryant are the most consistent receiving threats for Washington. In 2019, the Huskies just four receivers with 10 or more receptions. The targets are heavily consolidated. But worse, Andre Baccellia totals just 6 receptions for 41 yards and zero touchdowns. He’s the wideout opposite of Fuller and lacks Pac-12 production. Yet, the coaches are still putting him out there as a starter. Either he isn’t getting open, drops passes, or he doesn’t have chemistry with Eason. Bottom line, he needs to step up or step off the field. 

If the UW football team wants to have more offensive success, they need to start experimenting with different receivers and play calls that will give Eason open looks.

Washington Huskies vs Arizona

Arizona Wildcats logo

Now, the Dawgs face off against an Arizona football team on a four-game win streak. After their loss to Hawaii, they beat Northern Arizona, Texas Tech, UCLA and Colorado. Yes, the Huskies are 9.5 favorites to win the game, but they were 17 point favorites against Stanford. Everyone saw where that got them. Arizona is a good team on a streak. They put up 35 points against Colorado last week. In comparison, UW’s highest point-total against Pac-12 competition this season in 28 points (against USC). This game is going to be tougher than expected and UW football fans might witness a three-game losing streak.

Chris Peterson and the UW football program need to figure out a better system, offensively and defensively. Whatever it is they’re doing right now is not working.

The 12 Offensive Pac-12 Breakout Players You’ll Know By Season’s End

Pac-12 breakout players Offensive 2019

Pac-12 Breakout Players

Each season, college athletes “come out of nowhere” to impress fans, coaches, scouts and media alike. In 2019, there are a large number of Pac-12 breakout players on offense. The conference is loaded with talent and opportunity. Get ready to watch these players turn heads and find the pay-dirt in 2019.

University of Arizona: Cedric Peterson

WR, Redshirt Senior

https://twitter.com/AZAuthority/status/1161656456283770883

In 2018, the University of Arizona’s top-four receivers in receptions and yards were Shawn Poindexter, Tony Ellison, Shun Brown and Devaughn Cooper. Now, the team is without each of them. Cooper was dismissed for violating athletic-department policy and the other three were redshirt seniors in 2018. Clearly, the University of Arizona football needs someone to step up.

To fill the void, Cedric Peterson will likely step up in 2019.

“Now I’m the head guy in the room, now I’m the leader for the first time,” he said to the assembled media. “It’s a little nerve wracking but I’m ready for anything. I’ve been preparing for this my whole life.”

Cedrick Peterson

Peterson is one of two returning receivers with at least one career reception for the University of Arizona. He is the only scholarship receiver with at least one game started for the Wildcats. Additionally, outside receivers coach Taylor Mazzone believes that Peterson will replace Poindexter. As an outside receiver in 2018, Peterson gathered multiple receptions in 7 of 12 games, was praised for his “sturdy” blocking (which helped the Pac-12’s best rushing team). All in all, he’s the guy with the most experience and the clearest opportunity to step up.

Arizona State University: Jayden Daniels

QB, Freshman

Jayden Daniels has already broken a record for Arizona State University. At the start of the season, he will be ASU’s first true freshman to open the season at quarterback.

“I think he manages the game really well,” Edwards said. “He doesn’t make a lot of bad throws, to be quite honest. He doesn’t turn the ball over. He’s got a lot of poise.”

ASU Coach Herm Edwards

In high school, Daniels was impressive. For Cajon High School, he had 1,389 pass attempts for 14,007 yards, 170 touchdowns, and 25 interceptions. Additionally, he added 562 carries for 3,645 yards and 41 touchdowns. Because of his excellence, he is Southern California’s high school career holder for passing yards and passing touchdowns (he’s second in California state history to Jake Browning). He’s also the state record holder for total offensive yards in a single season. As far as high school careers go, he was an all-star quarterback.

Now, as the starter of a Pac-12 collegiate team, he has to grow, learn and improve to the speed of the game. Because he’s already impressing coaches with his decision making, look for him instantly join other Pac-12 breakout players and remain relevant for his collegiate career.

Cal: Christopher Brown Jr.

RB, Sophomore

Cal’s lead back, Patrick Laird, left for the NFL. He vacates 223 carries and 51 receptions from 2018. Now Christopher Brown Jr. has the chance to take over the lead-back role. At 6-foot-1, 230lbs, Brown has feature-back size. Additionally, he showed that he can carry the load for Cal when Laird exited in the Cheez-It Bowl against TCU. In that game, Brown rushed for 57 yards, while adding 3 receptions for 14 yards.

Also, Brown is known for breaking through arm-tackles and avoiding contact for long gains. Because of his powerful and elusive skill set, he’s a threat to take any rush to the house. Look for Brown to take over and become the feature of Cal’s offense in 2019.

UCLA: Chase Cota

WR, Sophomore

Chase Cota, didn’t hesitate to start producing for UCLA football. As a true freshman, he instantly made a splash. The 4-star recruit played in all 12 games and showed versatility as both a receiver and on special teams. He earned 13 catches for 168 yards and was 5th in team targets. On the field, Cota gained praise for his speed, intelligence, route running, and hands. What more could you want from a receiver?

In high school, he gathered experience on both sides of the ball, playing as receiver and defensive back. Additionally, his father is Chad Cota, former Oregon star and an 8-year retiree of the NFL. In 2019, Cota should be inserted into a starting rotation and will quickly gain trust from Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

Colorado: Jaren Mangham

RB, Sophomore

Another 4-star recruit, Jaren Mangham is set for big opportunities in 2019. Colorado football lost Travon McMillian and Kyle Evans. As a recruit, ESPN ranked Mangham as the No. 37 athlete in the nation and Rivals ranked him as the No. 14 running back. Mangham is 6-foot-2, 215lbs. At Cass Tech High School, he notched 31 touchdowns in his senior season. 26 rushing, 2 receiving and 3 kickoff returns. He has excellent talent, size, and versatility.

Currently, he is the third running back behind Alex Fontenot and Deion Smith. However, Mangham is sparking interest in fans and coaches alike. In an April spring game, Mangham added three touchdowns and 149 yards with his rushing prowess. Without major talent or experience ahead of him, Mangham will set himself apart by season’s end.

University of Oregon: Sean Dollars

RB, Freshman

Yet again, the University of Oregon recruited top talent. This time, the Ducks signed the Nation’s No. 1 All-Purpose back recruit, Sean Dollars. Dollars is fast and elusive. Though he is 5-foot-10, 185lbs, his versatility in the running and receiving game will earn him precious snaps in Oregon’s high-octane offense. Dollars already impressed at spring and fall camps.

With highlights like those, it’s clear why Dollars made it on our Pac-12 breakout players list. With his diverse skillset and natural athletic talent, Sean Dollars will make an immediate impact with Oregon’s offense.

Oregon State University: Jesiah Irish

WR, Redshirt Freshman

When it comes to speed, Jesiah Irish has it. At Oregon State University’s pre-camp “combine in March, Irish unofficially ran a 4.26 40-yard dash. Also, as a top-baseball prospect, Irish recorded the fastest time running from second base to home for his age group. He has blazing speed. Downfield or after the catch, Irish is a danger to opposing defenses.

“He can take the top off the coverage,” Smith said. “It helps everything. In the run game, if you can put a guy out there who can roll, the safety better back up. You take a couple guys out of there, that’s a few less guys to tackle the running back.”

Jonathan Smith

Though his role still might go under-appreciated in 2019, Irish should still make enough plays to become a well-known name for Oregon State University football. Blazing speed makes for impressive plays and highlights, which is why he earned his spot on our Pac-12 breakout players set.

USC: Markese Stepp

RB, Redshirt Freshman

Ahead of Stepp are two solid talents: Vavae Malepeai and Stephen Carr. Malepeai, a former 4-star recruit and currently a redshirt junior, led the team with 8 rushing touchdowns last season. He is Hawaii’s high school leader for both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. The 6-foot, 200lb back is known for strength and power. Additionally, Stephen Carr is the talent that has yet to hit. The former 5-star recruit and current junior battled injuries in both of his first seasons. Now, supposedly healthy, Carr has his chance to shine.

But, with Carr’s injury history and Malepeai’s current knee injury from an early-August practice, opportunity is there for the taking. Leaving behind recency bias, Markese Stepp will be the go-to power-back for this offense. He’s got a smash-mouth running style and has health on his side. Sometimes, all a player needs is a healthy body in order to earn snaps and glory. His big deficiency is in his receiving skills. He lacks experience and stats to show that he is versatile enough to be a bell-cow in Graham Harrell’s Air Raid offense. Nonetheless, Stepp has a big chance to slip ahead of the oft-injured Carr and currently injured Malepeai.

Stanford: Colby Parkinson

TE, Junior

Colby Parkinson is a big boy. At 6-foot-7, 250lbs, he’s all the tight end a team needs. But, in addition to his size, Parkinson was an excellent deep threat for Stanford football. In 2018, he recorded 29 receptions for 485 yards and 7 touchdowns. His 16.7 yards per reception average displays his big-play ability. He’s not just a big body. Parkinson showed that he is a quality downfield option.

Additionally, it is important to remember that Stanford lost JJ Arcega Whiteside, Trenton Irwin, and Kaden Smith. Parkinson is their leading, returning receiver. With rapport, experience, size and big-play ability on his side, Parkinson is going to turn NFL scout heads in 2019.

Utah: Jaylen Dixon

WR, Redshirt Sophomore

Redshirt sophomore Jaylen Dixon is ready to build on his redshirt freshman campaign. Last season, he garnered 32 receptions for 589 yards and 18.4 yards per catch. Like Jesiah Irish, Dixon makes his money (even though college athletes aren’t actually paid) with his speed. He is an explosive playmaker that the Utes will definitely utilize going forward.

Most impressive was that Dixon posted a near 75% catch rate last season. With his large depth of target, displaying a catch rate that high is an exceptional talent. Get ready for big plays and a big-time breakout into the Pac-12.

University of Washington: Sean McGrew

RB, Junior

Myles Gaskin, the most productive running back in University of Washington football history, is gone. He leaves behind 259 carries and 21 receptions. Behind him are capable backs that spelled Gaskins in 2018. Salvon Ahmed is the early leader to take over the feature-back role for UW. However, McGrew showed excellent efficiency in 2018 and is poised for a breakout season. His 50 carries for 226 yards and 1 touchdown show good running. But his 6 receptions for 110 yards display an elusive, satellite-back.

Recall that McGrew had 10.56 100-meter-dash speed out of high school. He was a 4-star recruit for good reason. The 5-foot-7 back is quick. When it comes to football, McGrew is explosive. Elite offenses need explosive playmakers. Look for McGrew to compliment Ahmed’s power-back role with his own explosive, satellite-back role. The duo will turn heads in 2018 and McGrew will transform into UW’s version of Tarik Cohen.

Washington State: Max Borghi

RB, Sophomore

Washington State University football’s Max Borghi rounds out the breakout candidates for 2019. WSU lost James Williams to the NFL Draft. He left behind 122 rush attempts and 83 receptions. Williams was utilized in all situations for WSU football.

Last season, Borghi already showed excellent skills when spelling Williams. He tied WSU’s freshman touchdowns record. Last season, he had 72 carries for 366 yards (5.1 YPC) and 8 rushing touchdowns. Borghi also had 53 receptions for 374 yards (7.1 YPR) and 4 touchdowns. He is just finding his form and Williams leaves behind ample opportunity.

At 5-foot10, 197lbs, Borghi isn’t a diminutive satellite-back. He has feature-back size for a collegiate football team. Borghi is powerful with excellent hands. His versatile skill set will impress Pac-12 viewers and earn him a spot in the 2020 draft.

Follow Jeremy McCarthy on Twitter to see how the Pac-12 Breakout Players do this season.

Two Situations Can Be Made Right If the Lakers Hire Arizona’s Sean Miller

With the defection of Magic Johnson, and the inability to secure either Monty Williams or Ty Lue to replace Luke Walton as head coach, the Los Angeles Lakers are currently mired in a public relations catastrophe. The only figure in all of basketball that may be feeling more pressure than the Lakers at this particular moment in time is University of Arizona head coach Sean Miller. I’m here to make the argument that the Lakers and Sean Miller might just be the solution to each other’s problems.

The Lakers, while always relevant thanks to a rich, championship-filled history, haven’t been competitive since April 12, 2013- the night Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon trying to drive past Golden State’s Harrison Barnes. That injury marked the official end of the Lakers’ decade-plus as a championship contender and sent them into the spiral that the team currently finds itself in.

The Lakers’ Long Road to the Bottom

Here’s a brief refresher on exactly how abrupt and eventful the Lakers’ demise has been:

  • In the 2013-14 season, former NBA MVP’s Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash combined to appear in 21 games for the last-place Lakers, and the team finished in last place in the Pacific Division.
  • In 2014-15, the Lakers replaced the departed Mike D’Antoni with Byron Scott and had a first-round draft pick for the first time since 2009. They used that pick on Julius Randle, who promptly broke his leg and missed his entire rookie season. They finished last in the Pacific Division for the second consecutive season.
  • 2015-16 was the Lakers’ worst in franchise history. In a season that became Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour, the team won one road game in the 2016 half of the season and fired Byron Scott in favor of bringing Luke Walton over from the Warriors.
  • Eight of the Lakers primary contributors in 2016-17 were 25 years old or younger, including four of their own first round picks. They replaced part-owner Jim Buss and longtime GM Mitch Kupchak with Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka and finished 14th in the Western Conference.
  • In 2017-18, the Lakers started their rebuild under Magic and Pelinka by stockpiling draft picks and shipping former #2 overall pick De’Angelo Russell to Brooklyn in exchange for a pick they’d use on Kyle Kuzma, and Brook Lopez’ expiring contract. They used the #2 overall pick on UCLA PG Lonzo Ball, whose father Lavar’s unorthodox and shameless promotion of his sons’ basketball skills had fostered an extracurricular sports media circus. They improved drastically on the court, but still finished three spots out of the playoff hunt.
  • LeBron James sends shockwaves through the sports world by deciding to write his final basketball chapter in the City of Angels. Instead of plugging LeBron into the young, improving core of the previous season, the Lakers commence signing a cast of NBA misfits in Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson, and Michael Beasley. Everybody is injured all the time. To make matters worse, players that the Lakers moved on from, like Julius Randle, Thomas Bryant and Brook Lopez, all had fantastic seasons elsewhere. The Lakers finish above .500 when LeBron plays, and go 9-18 without him. During the season, LaVar Ball, father of Lonzo Ball, goes on Phoenix radio stations with the expectation that his son will be dealt to the Suns and openly berates head coach Luke Walton. The team parts ways with Walton, and he’s subsequently accused of sexual assault via a civil lawsuit. Magic Johnson quits his post as the team’s executive vice president in spectacularly odd fashion. The team passes on offering Monty Williams their head coaching position in favor of Ty Lue, who comes away from the three-year contract offer unimpressed, leaving the Lakers without a head coach.

The Lakers wouldn’t be Hollywood’s favorite team without a little bit of drama, but the events of the last six years have jumped the proverbial shark and left the franchise reeling. It’s because this franchise has an appetite for the spotlight, and the stomach for controversy, that I believe the right head coach for them is just 500 miles away, somehow withstanding his own personal tornado of national scorn and scrutiny.

The Ballad of Sean Miller

Sean Miller came to Tucson from Xavier in 2009, hoping to fill the enormous shoes of legendary University of Arizona Lute Olson. By his second year on campus, Miller had made the Wildcats into a 30-win team, knocking off #1 Duke in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament. Heading into his fourth year on campus, he had secured two top-20 prospects in Nick Johnson and Josiah Turner. The following season, Miller landed three of Rivals.com‘s top-23 players, and returned to the Sweet Sixteen.

The trend of dominating the Pac-12, both on the court and in recruiting, has become a regular occurrence for Miller. In his tenure at Arizona, he’s had 10 players selected in the NBA Draft, signed 18 five-star recruits, made seven NCAA Tournament appearances, and won the Pac-12 conference regular season championship five times.

Most impressively, despite being regularly name-dropped in the mind-numbingly stupid NCAA pay-for-play criminal scandal, he’s managed to sign what might be his best recruiting class yet, featuring Rivals’ #4-ranked point guard (Nico Mannion), #3-ranked shooting guard (Josh Green), #15-ranked small forward (Terry Armstrong), and #8-ranked power forward (Zeke Nnaji).

For the last 15 months, Sean Miller has been caught up, fairly or unfairly, in the ongoing NCAA pay-for-play scandal that has seen several coaches and assistants investigated and/or fired for their involvement in funneling cash to recruits or their family members. The goal of those involved was to use cash payments to influence both the athletes’ school decisions, as well as who they select as financial representatives once they made a move toward the NBA. It doesn’t look great for Sean Miller that his long-time assistant, Book Richardson, has pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery for taking money from aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins. It doesn’t look good for Miller that Book Richardson admitted to paying family members of Arizona players and prospects out of his own salary and savings on a Federal wiretap. It definitely doesn’t look good for Sean Miller that those same wiretaps seem to indicate that Book Richardson had no problem painting Deandre Ayton as being one of the players Arizona paid, and that Sean Miller was handling those payments himself. It doesn’t bode well for those who wish to claim that Sean Miller runs a tight, clean ship, that another of his assistants, Mark Phelps, was recently fired for completely separate NCAA violations, reportedly involving the transcripts of one-time Arizona commit and current UCLA forward Shareef O’Neal.

So is Sean Miller Dirty, or Not?

Sean Miller might very well be guilty of funneling cash to high profile recruits like Deandre Ayton. If we’re honest, he looks guilty. The man looks like he stepped right out of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, having helped Al Capone build and expand his prohibition-era bootlegging empire. It’s not enough, however, to simply look guilty. The truth is, there isn’t one shred of prosecutable evidence that Miller is anything more than a victim of an assistant’s desperate attempt to keep up appearances and prove he could meet the program’s high standards without getting his hands dirty, and an over-zealous media, hungry for the high-profile pound of flesh that this scandal has, thus far, has failed to deliver.

Both ESPN, and Tucson’s hometown newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star, have seemingly jumped the gun on attempting to convict Sean Miller over the course of this scandal. Last spring, ESPN’s Mark Schlabach reported that Sean Miller was caught on a federal wiretap discussing payments to Deandre Ayton with Christian Dawkins. ESPN personalities Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale came out strongly in support of Schlabach’s report, despite the fact that the report quickly began to unravel as Sports Illustrated and others pointed out that Schlabach’s dates for the supposed wiretaps that didn’t correspond with the government’s investigation, which caused Schlabach and ESPN to subsequently change the reported wiretap dates in their report multiple times. To make matters worse for ESPN, Christian Dawkins recently joined Miller and Ayton in making on-the-record denials that any conversation on this subject ever occured. Long time Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen reacted to Schlabach’s report by going on Phoenix sports radio and claiming that he spoke with Book Richardson, and that the player Sean Miller was actually caught on wiretaps attempting to pay was Brian Bowen. Hansen later apologized, claiming he had not actually spoken to Book Richardson, but that he believed Miller would either quit or be fired anyway. Miller, in the midst of those media missteps, went on to coach the Wildcats last season anyway.

The Lakers and Sean Miller Need Each Other

So that brings me back around to my original point- Sean Miller needs to be the Los Angeles Lakers’ next head coach. It’d be a new chapter for a franchise that hasn’t won more than 37 games in a season in six seasons, and simultaneously, a fresh start for a successful college coach who’s spent the majority of the last two seasons circumstantially tied to a major scandal. It’s a match, seemingly made in hell, that might just provide heavenly results. You have an NBA franchise consistently wrapped up in self-imposed dubious circumstances and a college coach who has stood tall like a deep-rooted oak tree through a potentially self-imposed, but certainly media-enhanced earthquake. Sean Miller’s time at Arizona has been nothing if not perfect preparation to be the ringmaster in the purple and gold circus. While there might be detractors amongst the spoiled-with-success Laker fanatics due to the fact that Sean Miller hasn’t taken Arizona to a championship during his tenure, much less a Final Four, Miller does have plenty of experience managing top young talent. Plus, Sean Miller is a serious coach- you won’t find any John Wooden-like quotes or inspirational soliloquies attributed to Miller. In the twilight of his career, LeBron James might appreciate Sean Miller’s businesslike, no-frills approach to running a team. Sean Miller also has a history of attracting the top available talent, and no one in the NBA bats an eye if you show up in a free agent’s living room with a promise to overflow their bank account. If Sean Miller really is the bag man that so many people believe he is, then the Lakers would be fools to not take advantage of his recruiting skills in their pursuit to re-emerge as title contenders.

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 13: Apple Cup, Civil War, Territorial Cup, Rose Bowl

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 13

There is so much parity in Pac-12 that it is a tough undertaking to rank the teams outside of #1 Washington State. Washington lost to Oregon and Cal who lost to Arizona who lost to UCLA who lost to Arizona State who lost to Colorado, who lost to Oregon State who lost to USC who lost Stanford, who lost to Utah who lost to Washington. Teams 2-10 have switched up a lot this season and are pretty fluid from week to week. The Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 13 is based on four things: quality wins, schedule played, dominance, and how teams are playing now. The “eye test” and preseason rankings are not factored into the Unafraid Show’s rankings. I know some of you are used to the biased rankings, but you won’t find those here.

You can see last weeks rankings here.

Pac-12 Bowl Projections are after the rankings.

Send all your questions, comments, and grievances to: Immad@unafraidshow.com

12. Colorado (5-6) 

(L) 7-30 Utah

Not only has Colorado lost six straight games since starting 5-0. The Buffaloes have scored a grand total of 14 points in the last two weeks! The team isn’t playing as hard and their intensity is gone. It is obvious that the team sees the writing on the wall. Mike MacIntyre likely won’t be retained as the head coach for next season. He deserves credit for bringing stability to a program that was in total dysfunction. However, after six seasons and only one of those with more than five wins, it is hard to advocate for him. The Buffaloes will try to get bowl eligible this weekend at Cal.

11. Oregon State (2-9)

(L) 23-42 Washington

Everyone knew there would be no upset against Washington, but things are looking up for the Beavers. While their defense still can’t stop anyone ever their offense is continuing to show promise for the future. Jonathan Smith can at least take solace in the fact that multiple times this season the Beavers were not the worst team in the Pac-12.

10. Arizona (5-6)

(L) 28-69 Washington State

The Arizona defense returned back to form against Washington State. They allowed Wazzu quarterback Gardner Minshew to have a career day with 473 passing yards and seven touchdowns. The Wildcats defense had been poor all season against the pass and run despite back to back solid performances against Oregon and Colorado. Khalil Tate was one of the few bright spots this week. He finished with 319 total yards and four passing touchdowns. It seemed the freezing temperatures in Pullman took a toll on the warm-blooded Wildcats as they fumbled the ball six times. Coach Kevin Sumlin has to get his team back firing on all cylinders if he hopes to make a bowl game year one.

9. USC (5-6)

(L) 27-34 UCLA

The doomsday scenario has happened for USC. They do not have a school President, the athletic director Lynn Swann will likely be leaving soon, the boosters, fans, and alumni are demanding Clay Helton be fired, and they lost to a 2-8 UCLA team. The game against UCLA looked like it was going in Helton’s favor until a pair of horrendous second-half interceptions by quarterback JT Daniels sealed the Trojans fate. USC allowed UCLA running back Joshua Kelley to rush for 289 yards. So, I have no idea how they are going to compete against Notre Dame this week. If Helton can upset the Fighting Irish and knock them out of the College Football Playoff, he just might be able to save his job.

8. UCLA (3-8) 

(W) 34-27 USC

It is all smiles for the “boys in blue”. I actually have never heard anyone other than Maurice Jones-Drew call them that, but whatever. They beat USC after starting off the season 2-8. Chip Kelly has started 20 freshmen this season. Their start was slow, but have improved more than any other Pac-12 team from the beginning of the season until now. Their rushing offense and pass defense have steadily improved throughout the season. The future is extremely bright for the Bruins. I believe Chip Kelly will have UCLA in the College Football Playoff discussion in two more years.

7. Arizona State (6-5)

(L) 29-31 Oregon

If I told ASU fans that they would hire Herm Edwards (who hasn’t coached in forever), and have a chance to finish 7-5 year one they would have been happy. It will only take a win against their rival Arizona to make that a reality. The Sun Devils had to feel like they let a game slip away against Oregon. After a slow start, their defense held the Ducks to only a field goal in the second half. They picked off Justin Herbert twice and put up 16 points as well. If ASU can hold Khalil Tate in check this weekend, their bowl game destination will improve.

6. Cal (6-4)

Postponed vs Stanford (Dec. 1)

Cal is last in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (22.7 ppg). Ordinarily, that would be a huge impediment to winning games. But the Cal defense is only giving up 21.1 ppg. If they can get two wins to finish the season 8-4 coach I am positive you will start to hear Justin Wilcox’s name floated around for other head coaching jobs.

5. Oregon (7-4)

(W) 31-29 Arizona State

The good news is Ducks offense showed signs of life against Arizona State. The bad news is that it was only for one half of football. The Ducks offense scored 28 points in the first half. But only managed three more points and under a hundred yards of total offense in the second half. If the Ducks finish off the Beavers in Corvallis they will finish the regular season 8-4. It will be a could games less than I predicted preseason, but the future still appears bright. The biggest question for the Ducks is will their stars return for their senior seasons Herbert, Mitchell, Dye) . If they do, the Ducks will be in the preseason national championship conversation.

4. Stanford (6-4)

Postponed vs Cal (Dec. 1)

There has been nothing “Stanford-like” about this season. They still need two more wins just to tie David Shaw’s worst record at Stanford. UCLA and Cal won’t be pushovers the next two weeks. The Cardinal will need to get refocused after their game got postponed due to the California fires.

3. Utah (8-3)

(W) 30-7 Colorado

Everyone thought the Utes were done competing for the Pac-12 South crown when they lost their top two offensive playmakers, Tyler Huntley, and Zach Moss. Kyle Whittingham’s team had no intention of packing it in. They have had decisive victories against Oregon and Colorado since then. No matter what happens this week against BYU this week, Utah will still play the winner of the Washington vs. Washington State game in the Pac-12 Championship game. The conference needs Utah to dominate BYU and Washington State to beat Washington. It would set up at top 15 matchup in the championship game. The Utes will have an opportunity to make it to their first Rose Bowl appearance.

2. Washington (8-3)

(W) 42-23 Oregon State

The Huskies had been battling injuries all season, but are finally getting healthy. Myles Gaskin returned to the lineup last week and rushed for over 130 yards in both games. Washington’s offense came back to life and the look like a team that can win the Apple Cup. It will be interesting to see how the #2 defense holds up against the #1 offense in the Pac-12. A potential berth in the Rose Bowl will come down to Jake Browning’s ability to make throws and be special. Washington’s preseason hopes of playing for a national championship are gone, but there is still plenty on the line this week.

1. Washington State (10-1)

(W) 69-28 Arizona

DOMINATION. The Cougars whipped Arizona at every part of the game. Mike Leach’s team had 55 points at halftime. If he were Steve Spurrier in his Florida days he may have just done it. This was one of the statement games Washington State needed to send a message to the College Football Playoff committee that they deserve real consideration for the top four.

Now if they can survive the Apple Cup against Washington on a short week, and handly beat Utah in the Pac-12 championship, the Cougars just may get a berth in the playoffs. There feels like there is something magical about this squad. If they get in the playoffs, everybody better watch out!

BOWL PROJECTIONS

via- Sports Illustrated

Rose Bowl– Ohio State vs. Washington State

Holiday– Iowa vs. Washington

Sun– Syracuse vs. Cal

Alamo– Iowa State vs. Utah

Red Box– Indiana vs. Oregon

Cheez-It– Army vs. Arizona State

Las Vegas– Utah State vs. Stanford

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 10: Nobody is Safe From the Upsets

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 10

What a crazy week in the Pac-12. Betters everywhere probably lost a mint with all the upsets in week 10. Oregon State beat Colorado. Arizona destroyed Oregon. And Cal beat Washington without scoring an offensive touchdown. The Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 10 is based on three things: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. The “eye test” and preseason rankings are not factored into the Unafraid Show’s rankings. I know some of you are used to the biased rankings, but you won’t find those here.

You can see last weeks rankings here.

Pac-12 Bowl Projections are after the rankings.

Send all your questions, comments, and grievances to: Immad@unafraidshow.com

12. Oregon State (2-6)

(W) 41-34 Colorado

I apologize to the Beavers. Last week I said, “The Beavers blew their last shot at a Pac-12 win in 2018.” I was wrong. Jonathan Smith inserted Jake Luton at quarterback after halftime, and he torched Colorado’s defense. I know that game is an outlier, but there is part of me that believes the Beavers can beat USC this week.

11. Colorado (5-3) 

(L) 34-41 Oregon State

Oregon State is undoubtedly the worst defense in the Pac-12. Colorado lost a 21 point lead 3rd quarter lead Oregon State and ultimately lost the game. They were still without mid-season All American wide receiver Lavishka Shenault (toe), but there are no excuses for that loss. The Buffaloes have lost three straight games and will need a fantastic effort to get a win against Arizona.

If Mike MacIntyre can’t coach his team to a bowl game his seat will go from warm to scorching hot.

10. UCLA (2-6) 

(L) 10-41 Utah

After winning two consecutive games UCLA ran into the Utah buzzsaw. It didn’t help that they were without their electric true freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson Robinson. We don’t know if he will be back this week against Oregon. Chip Kelly will likely pull out all the stops as he returns to Oregon for the first time as an opposing coach. Everyone in the stadium should be prepared for fireworks. UCLA has to believe they can win the game after they saw what Arizona did to Oregon. However, if DTR is not in the lineup, the Bruins don’t stand a chance of walking out of Autzen Stadium with a win.

I will be in attendance at this game and cannot wait. 

9. USC (4-4)

(L) 34-38 Arizona State

It almost feels like Clay Helton is coaching on borrowed time. He has taken over playcalling duties for the Trojans. So, now there are no more excuses allowed for USC’s offense to struggle. They head to Corvallis Saturday to play the Beavers. I would say there is no chance USC loses this game, but Oregon State did beat Colorado last week. There is good news though. USC gets starting quarterback JT Daniels back from concussion protocol for this weeks’ game.

Fans are disappointed, and Athletic Director Lynn Swann may be painted into a corner. He may have to make a change at head coach on the tarmac at the airport (Lane Kiffin style) if the Trojans fall this weekend.

8. Arizona State (4-4)

(W) 38-34 USC

Arizona State had their most impressive offensive performance of the season against USC. N’Keal Harry showed up and showed out. He caught for a touchdown, returned a punt for a touchdown, and made one of the most difficult catches of the 2018 season.

Herm Edwards has his team sitting at 4-4, with a chance to win the Pac-12 South. The future is extremely bright for the Sun Devils. This week a red-hot Utah team comes to Tempe. Will they be able to continue the Pac-12 upsets and defeat the Utes?

7. Washington (6-3)

(L) 10-12 Cal

The Huskies are light years away from the team many people expected to compete for a national championship. Their defense has been the only thing keeping them in games. If not for stout defensive play this team would be 3-5 instead of 5-3. Washington’s offense is painful to watch. Jake Browning has been underwhelming. And the offense has been unable to dominate rushing the football whether Miles Gaskins is in the lineup or not.

Washington gets a chance to bounce back against Stanford. Chris Peterson will have his team prepared, and this will be a heavyweight title fight.

6. Cal (5-3)

(W) 12-10 Cal

If I told you Cal would beat Washington without scoring an offensive touchdown you would have called me a crazy fool. But, the Golden Bears did just that. The job Justin Wilcox and his staff have done with this defense is remarkable. They don’t have 4 and 5* athletes at every position, but they are well coached and play hard. Cal has the top-ranked defense against the pass in the Pac-12. However, they have to travel to Pullman to play the top passer in the nation, Gardner Minshew. Something has to give.

If Cal wins, they will be bowl eligible. That would be a huge accomplishment for the team to make a bowl game out of the most competitive division in college football.

5. Oregon (5-3)

(L) 15-44 Arizona

What on earth happened to the Ducks last week in Tucson? Oregon’s loss to Arizona would have been the most shocking result of the week had Colorado not lost a 21 point halftime lead to Oregon State.

Oregon’s offense has been virtually non-existent the first half of the last two weeks. They have punted nearly 15 times in two games. That is a far departure for the offense that was leading the conference in scoring. Coach Mario Cristobal and offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo need to right the ship this week against UCLA. The Ducks must run the football early and often so Justin Herbert can get open passing lanes for play-action passes.

The next 4 games are crucial to cementing Ducks fans trust in this coaching staff.

4. Arizona (4-5)

(W) 44-15 Oregon

The Pac-12 is insane. How else can you explain Arizona losing to UCLA in week 9, then beating Oregon badly the very next week? The Arizona defense had their most outstanding performance of the year against Oregon. They were fast and extremely physical which was a departure from the swiss cheese defense they displayed through their first eight games.

Now the biggest question is will the Wildcats return back to the team that earned a sub .500 record or have they turned a corner. This week they get Colorado on Friday night.

3. Stanford (5-3)

(L) 38-41 Washington State

David Shaw proved again why he is a great coach. Stanford had been unable to run the ball as effectively as they had in the past. Instead of continuing to beat his teams’ head against a wall, Shaw decided to throw the football a lot. Stanford was extremely successful throwing the ball against Washington State, which is one of the top pass defenses in the conference. KJ Costello threw the ball 43 times for 323 yards and four touchdowns.

Stanford is tough and consistent even in defeat.

2. Utah (6-2)

(W) 41-10 UCLA

The Utes are continuing to steamroll through Pac-12 opponents. They disposed of UCLA pretty easily at the Rose Bowl. Utah’s defense is one of the best in the nation. Zack Moss carried the Utah offense on his back. He finished with 211 rushing yards and three touchdowns. If Utah can run the ball this successfully, they will be tough to beat.

The recipe to beat the Utes is stopping their running game. SOmeone can force Tyler Huntley to throw the ball 30+ times he will throw a few interceptions.

1. Washington State (7-1)

(W) 41-38 Stanford

At this point, I am rooting for the Cougars to finish the season 12-1 including the Pac-12 Championship. The conference needs a representative in the College Football Championship and Washington State is the last hope. It is increasingly frustrating for Pac-12 fans to see the conference with the most parity to consistently be dismissed in conversation.

Mike Leach is an offensive genius, and it will be interesting to see his ‘Air Raid’ offense against the likes of Alabama and Clemson. Gardener Minshew is lighting up the stat sheet for nearly 400 passing yards per game. They will get a real test this week from the stingiest pass defense in the Pac-12.

This could be Leach’s last season in Pullman if the USC job or other top jobs become available.

BOWL PROJECTIONS

via-USA TODAY

Rose Bowl– Michigan vs. Washington State

Holiday– Iowa vs. Washington

San Francisco– Northwestern vs. Stanford

Sun– Boston College vs. Oregon

Alamo– Texas vs. Utah

Texas– Texas Tech vs. Colorado

Cheez-It– Baylor vs. USC

Las Vegas– Utah State vs. Arizona State

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 7: Bad Blood and Razor Thin Margins

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 7

The Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 7 is based on three things: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. The “eye test” and preseason rankings are not factored into the Unafraid Show’s rankings. I know some of you are used to the biased rankings, but you won’t find those here. Respect is earned, not given.

Take a peek at last week’s rankings here.

12. Oregon State (1-5)

(L) Washington State 37-56

I spent a lot of time deciding on #11-12 in the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 7. How do you choose between a winless team who has played a solid schedule (UCLA) and a team that has only beaten Southern Utah (OSU)? Jermar Jefferson is the best thing the Beavers have going. The freshman has rushed for nearly 900 yards and 12 touchdowns through six games this season. The future for Oregon State is brighter than the present.

11. UCLA (0-5) 

(L) Washington 24-31

If there were moral victories in sports, UCLA would have one for how they played against Washington. The Bruins had multiple opportunities to tie the game in the 4th quarter, but could not capitalize. Dorian Thompson-Robinson made some really good throws and showed flashes of future greatness. Another bright spot was UCLA’s ability to run the football at will against a typically stout Washington defense.

I 100% believe that the Bruins would beat the Beavers if they played this season. They have a chance to get their first win against Cal this weekend.

10. Cal (3-2)

(L) Arizona 17-24

If Brandon McIlwain can stop throwing the ball to the other team Cal will win some Pac-12 games. He looks to be Khalil Tate 2.0; a dynamic athlete at quarterback, but also has solid passing skills. If Justin Wilcox can get his young quarterback to take care of the football a bowl game is in their future. The Golden Bears defense has remained solid even into Pac-12 play. The Bruins head to Cal this week, which should be a very “winnable” game for both teams.

9. Arizona (3-3)

(W) Cal 24-17

Until Khalil Tate is fully healthy and can run the football, Arizona is not a real threat to the upper class of the Pac-12. The Wildcats need his legs to be as much of a threat as his arm. Last year Khalil Tate rushed for over 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns. This year, Tate only has 110 rushing yards through 6 games. A Pac-12 South title is still in reach for Arizona. Utah comes to Tucson Friday for what is essentially a must-win for the Wildcats.

8. Arizona State (3-3)

(L) Colorado 21-28

Arizona State is sitting at a 3-3 record. It doesn’t feel like they are overachieving or underachieving. They seem to be in a perfect spot when measured against preseason expectations. They are struggling to get off the field defensively. The Sun Devils allow the most first downs per possession in the Pac-12. Also, Herm Edwards has to find a way to get his team to close out games. All three of their losses have come by seven points.

7. Stanford (4-2)

(L) Utah 21-40

How the mighty have fallen. Stanford was king of the Pac-12 Power Rankings for the first five weeks of the season. I’m not sure what is going on, but the “intellectual brutality”we had grown accustomed to has been conspicuously absent since the Oregon game. A BYE in week seven should allow the Cardinal ample opportunity to recalibrate and refocus. They must be perfect down the stretch if they want to win the Pac-12 North title.

6. Utah (3-2)

(W) Stanford 40-21

How on earth did Utah score 40 points on Stanford? Utah had not scored more than 24 points against FBS competition this season. The Utes offense is still underwhelming, but their defense did a great job of forcing four turnovers, which led to a lot of scoring opportunities. We will see if Utah can repeat their dynamic offensive and defensive performance this week against Arizona.

5. Washington State (5-1)

(W) Oregon State 56-37

There is no team that I am happier about their success than the Cougars. It would have been easy for them to mail the season in after Tyler Hilinski’s suicide. But, they have come out and fought hard and won games. Gardner Minshew has been so impressive at quarterback that he has drawn the eye of NFL scouts. He may have to put his coaching dreams on hold for NFL paychecks.  They get a much-deserved BYE this week. Mike Leach knows the rest of the schedule will be tough as they have Stanford, Oregon, and Washington still on the schedule.

4. USC (3-2)

BYE

This week is the most important game of the season for USC. If they beat Colorado, the team has a shot to rekindle the energy and excitement of their 2016 Rose Bowl season. If they lose to Colorado, the Clay Helton boo-birds will be out in full force.

3. Colorado (5-0)

(W) Arizona State 28-21

We all keep waiting for Cinderella’s glass slipper to fall off, but the Buffaloes refuse to let it go! Steven Montez and crew keep putting up solid offensive performances. They rank third in the conference in percentage of possessions that end in touchdowns (36.4%). And their defense is one of the stingiest in the Pac-12. If you haven’t seen the Buffaloes electric wide receiver Laviska Shenault, don’t worry, you will see a ton of him Saturday versus USC.

2. Oregon (4-1)

BYE

The Ducks got a week off and who knows what they will have up their sleeves for Huskies week. Revenge has been on Oregon’s mind since being embarrassed in 2016 by Jake Browning and the Huskies at Autzen Stadium. This game is the most bitter rivalry in the conference besides UCLA vs. USC. The loser will be the subject of ridicule for an entire year.

After watching Washington play UCLA last week, we could have a new #1 team in the Pac-12 Power Rankings after the game. Huck the Fuskies!

1. Washington (5-1)

(W) UCLA 31-24

Washington continues to win football games. I am extremely concerned about how this team faired against UCLA. The Huskies may have looked past UCLA to next week’s date at Oregon. However, their usually very stout defense was porous against the Bruins. Jake Browning’s steady play at quarterback has made Washington tough to beat. He rarely makes mistakes, and give his team a chance to win every game, but won’t be a superhero. Browning is the Alex Smith of college quarterbacks.

It is Washington Huskies vs. Oregon Ducks this weekend. The winner of this game will have the inside track if the Pac-12 gets a spot in the College Football Playoffs.