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.

Clay Helton has been Fired- Rating the Legitimacy of the Rumored Coaching Candidates

Recently, anyone and everyone has weighed in on who the University of Southern California should hire to replace the recently fired Clay Helton. Our own George Wrighster is no different- see below.

These are the non-negotiables- the new head coach of USC has to be relevant, proven, a relentless recruiter, and able to bring a running game back to the Coliseum. Using that criteria and basic logic, let’s rate the legitimacy of the candidates that media members and crafty agents have put out there as potential candidates to replace Clay Helton:

Donte Williams- Interim Head Coach

Six years ago, Donte Williams was knows as a skilled California recruiter that was helping San Jose State gain relevance. His reputation and results allowed him to quickly climb the coaching ladder, jumping from SJSU to Arizona, then Nebraska, Oregon, and finally back in California at USC, where he shocked the Trojans stagnant recruiting back to life, and helped hold off Arizona State for guys like Drake Jackson and Korey Foreman.

Why he makes sense: He’s already got the job, and one thing every fan base has been susceptible to is buying into the current staff if the team is able to make a drastic improvement. Williams is one of the top 3 recruiters in the Pac-12, if not the best, and USC is not going to want to lose him no matter who they hire, so if the Trojans find some way to run the table the rest of the way an play for a Pac-12 title, it will be very hard to hire over someone that won over the fan base and the players through the results on the field.

Why it doesn’t make sense: Looking internally and not weighing your options is what has contributed to the program’s inability to meet its potential. Williams has no head coaching experience, and has never called an offense or a defense at the collegiate level. If you surround an elite recruiter with the right assistants, you could end up trending up like Oregon, but if not, you could end up trending down like Washington. Does Williams have the connections and vision for USC’s style of play on both sides of the ball? Can he manage the politics and day-to-day elbow rubbing and donor schmoozing that comes with the gig? We’re only going to find out if the Trojans run the table for the rest of 2021.

Mario Cristobal- Oregon Head Coach

Mario Cristobal took over for Willie Taggart when after one year in Eugene, he took off to try his luck at Florida State. His energy as a recruiter, and willingness to seek out support staff that will help the team improve on the field have helped Oregon become the class of the Pac-12 North.

Why he makes sense: He’s everything USC is looking for. If Athletic Director Mike Bohn could pry Cristobal away from Oregon, he would.

Why he doesn’t make sense: Oregon is likely to match whatever anyone would offer to acquire Mario Cristobal. So the only reason for Cristobal to leave would be an assumption that LA gives him a less-resistant path to winning every single week. Mario Cristobal does not strike me as a person, all other things being equal, to jump ship to make things slightly easier on himself.

James Franklin- Penn State Head Coach

James Franklin took lowly Vanderbilt to back-to-back 9-win seasons before taking over for Bill O’Brien at Penn State, leading the Nittany Lions to three top-10 finishes since 2016.

Why he makes sense: Like Cristobal, James Franklin is pretty much everything USC would want in a head coach, but with more of a track record of success. Franklin has brought several top-10 recruiting classes in a row, and is competing for the top class in the country this year.

Why he doesn’t make sense: For the same reason that he does- several top-10 recruiting classes in a row, and is competing for the top class in the country this year… would you want to leave that? Franklin has coached all over the country, but he’s a Pennsylvania man. Leaving for Southern California to pull in similar recruiting classes in a less prestigious conference might not appeal to him. Moreover, for USC fans, Franklin would be a good catch, but he’s only won one Big Ten title thus far, and one of the primary goals of this search needs to be someone who maximizes the talent they bring in.

Eric Bieniemy- Kansas City Chiefs OC

Eric Bieniemy (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

Eric Bieniemy is the first name you think of when you hear the term “next-in-line.” Bieniemy works under Andy Reid to help run the Kansas City Chiefs offense, quarterbacked by the one-and-only Patrick Mahomes.

Why he makes sense: He’s the hottest name in coaching and has been for almost two years. He has experience in the conference, albeit not great experience, and he undoubtedly would be able to assemble one of the best play-calling staffs available.

Why he doesn’t make sense: He’s not going to coach a college team. The news of his interest leaked through Adam Schefter, the preeminent NFL newsbreaker. So what does that tell you? Bieniemy’s team is sending a message to any NFL team out there that might be thinking about a change, that there’s competition for his services. But there isn’t- not from USC.

Joe Brady- Carolina Panthers OC

Joe Brady is credited for helping call the offense on one of the greatest college football offenses ever assembled. He left LSU after their 2019 National Championship to join Matt Rhule with the Carolina Panthers.

Why he makes sense: It doesn’t make sense! But it would be fun! Brady is too green as far as executive experience, and the example of his success is contained to one very special season. You’d want to see him duplicate that with Carolina, but if he can make Sam Darnold look like the Sam Darnold of old, I’m sure there would be some USC fans that could get behind this.

Why he doesn’t make sense: See above.

P.J. Fleck- Minnesota Head Coach

P.J. Fleck spent a year as a grad assistant at Ohio State before beginning his climb up the coaching ladder. Western Michigan made him the youngest head coach in college football, and he turned a 1-11 first year into a 13-1 fourth year before accepting the head coaching job at Minnesota, where he won 11 games by year 3.

Why he makes sense: He almost makes too much sense. I’m always a proponent of coaches that have turned around more than one program, especially programs with lower relative resources. Minnesota’s average recruiting class is between 40-50 historically, and yet he’s maximized the talent there to make the Gophers competitive. He’s only 40, a relentless recruiter, and might be the only candidate on this list outside of James Franklin and Mario Cristobal that wouldn’t need to find a way to retain Donte Williams.

Why he doesn’t make sense: Any push back on Fleck’s candidacy would have to be regional. Or if the Trojans think they have a shot at anyone else they want. It could also be affected negatively if Minnesota fails to live up to expectations this year.

Lane Kiffin- Ole Miss Head Coach

Lane Kiffin used to coach USC. He used to coach a lot of places. Some Trojans have longed for a re-do in which Kiffin is unencumbered by sanctions.

Why he makes sense: He’s proven he’s a good college coach. He moved on from his Tarmac-firing by USC to have relative success in several places, and even took time to humble himself and coach in the shadow of Nick Saban as an assistant at Alabama. He knows the LA market, and he’s built for the college grind.

Why he doesn’t make sense: While I’m sure there’s some part of Lane Kiffin that wants to be wanted by the team that unceremoniously ditched him, he’s had a taste of big boy football culture in the SEC, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for him to head west.

Luke Fickell- Cincinnati Head Coach

Luke Fickell (Sam Greene, The Enquirer)

Luke Fickell built Cincinnati into a team worthy of a major conference invite. He’s a big name in coaching circles, and nearly knocked off mighty Georgia in a bowl game last year.

Why he makes sense: He’ll win. It’s pretty obvious that in his time as a player and coach at Ohio State, the formula for success was engrained into his DNA. You’re not going to hire Luke Fickell and get worse. No chance.

Why he doesn’t make sense: Luke Fickell has coached and played his entire career in the state of Ohio. His son is on the Cincinnati roster. He’s gotten the Bearcats into the Big 12. USC would be a pretty drastic change at this point for him and his entire family, but if the price is right…

Billy Napier- Louisiana Head Coach

Billy Napier is linked to every major job that comes available. The failed Clemson OC turned longtime Saban assistant, turned Arizona State OC, turned Louisiana Lafayette Head Coach is an intriguing name when it comes to the next round of major college jobs.

Why he makes sense: Napier spent a lot of time at Alabama before leaving to take over Arizona State’s offense. A lot of those Alabama WRs you’ve seen flood the NFL over the last few years? Napier recruits. Plus, Louisiana hadn’t had a 10+ win season in my lifetime, and under Napier they’ve done it twice.

Why he doesn’t make sense: Napier is much more likely next up for an SEC or Big Ten job than he is a return tot he Pac-12. Napier would be the guy I’d expect to get a call if USC pulled Fleck or Franklin away from their current jobs.

Chris Petersen- Former Washington Head Coach

Chris Petersen elevated Boise State before elevating Washington before abruptly retiring before the 2020 season. He’s doing TV commentary now.

Why he makes sense: He was good at Washington. The same criteria USC used to hire Steve Sarkisian.

Why he doesn’t make sense: He’s retired. Like, actually retired.

Urban Meyer- Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach

Urban Meyer made Utah and Florida and Ohio State into monsters. He’s probably the best college football coach on the planet not named Nick Saban.

Why he makes sense: USC fans want him.

Why he doesn’t make sense: USC, the actual school, for a hundred different reasons, does not want him. Plus, Meyer, if you take him at his word, already said there’s “no chance” he’d leave the Jaguars for USC.

Bob Stoops- Former Oklahoma Head Coach

Bob Stoops was the head coach of Oklahoma for eleven different top-10 finishes, and a national championship. He’s only 61 years old, and has been a feature on television ever since stepping down from the Sooners job after the 2016 season. He raised eyebrows with a brief return to coaching with the XFL’s Dallas Renegades- could he be looking to return?

Why he makes sense: He’s got the history of having carried a major college brand to meet expectations for almost two decades. Nobody else really has that on their resume.

Why he doesn’t make sense: College football has never had a more rapid shift in rules and culture than it has over the last five seasons. 2016-2021 is not the time to have a gap in your resume, no matter how good you were before that.

Matt Campbell- Iowa State Head Coach

Matt Campbell (Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports)

Matt Campbell made Iowa State relevant. He built them up over the last five years, gave them four consecutive bowl appearances, a Fiesta Bowl victory over Oregon, and has amassed four separate Coach of the Year awards across his time with both the Cyclones and at the University of Toledo.

Why he makes sense: I’ve witnessed Matt Campbell recruit. He’s made the Pac-12 country a contributing factor to his success at Iowa State, and he’s extremely talented at making a player feel like they’re committing to something larger than themselves.

Why he doesn’t make sense: While both Toledo and Iowa State did the most they could with the talent they had under Matt Campbell’s tenure, they’ve still struggled to move past being competitive to being dominant, or even having a leg up on their rival Iowa Hawkeyes. It’s going to be tough to convince USC alumni to get behind someone they believe does better as the conductor of The Little Engine that Could than at the helm of The Giant Engine that Should.

Bill O’Brien- Alabama OC

Bill O’Brien took the goodwill that came from steering Penn State out of disaster and parlayed it into a head coaching job in the NFL, and he’s probably still be a head coach in the NFL if he didn’t consolidate power to also become the Houston Texans’ General Manager. If talent acquisition is something he’s interested in having a hand in, then a full-time return to college football might not be a bad move after graduating from the Nick Saban school of image rehabilitation.

Why he makes sense: He’s a good coach, a big name, and has the confidence and personality to handle the pressures and media scrutiny that comes with one of the most talked-about jobs in all of college football.

Why he doesn’t make sense: Close your eyes and try to imagine Bill O’Brien getting along with anyone under the age of 35, much less Southern California college kids. Can’t do it? Me neither.

Tony Elliott- Clemson OC

Tony Elliot has been at Clemson for a decade. He’s helped assemble and activate a college football giant, and was responsible for calling the offense on two different national championship teams.

Why he makes sense: He can recruit, he can coach, he has a championship pedigree, he’s young, he’s intelligent, and he’s clearly very loyal- being four years removed from winning the Broyles award for the top assistant in all of college football, and still remaining entrenched at his alma mater as an assistant. USC might be one of the only jobs in the country that Tony Elliott would be willing to abdicate his evident “in-waiting” status at Clemson in order to assume the head coaching role.

Why he doesn’t make sense: Honestly, it’s be a really good hire if the Trojans could pull it off. But I’m not sure anyone involved in the USC hiring process is going to bring someone into the fold that believes coaching USC is a secondary reward to being able to coach somewhere else, and if they brought Elliot in, that’s what they’d be getting- someone people would immediately assume would leave USC for Clemson if Dabo Swinney ever made good on his promise to quit once kids start getting paid.

Have a take you’d like us to address? Email us at immad@unafraidshow.com and we’ll read your take on a future Wrighster or Wrong podcast.

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.

2020 Colorado Buffaloes Season: Tough Start to a Conference-Only Schedule

colorado buffaloes recruiting

The expectations for the 2020 CU Buffs football season are not very high from the outside looking in. Now that the Pac-12 has decided to play a conference-only schedule, the Buffaloes may not be talked about as a legitimate contender. However, there are reasons to think that the Buffaloes may be able to be competitive in a Pac-12 only schedule.

First Four Games of 2020 Season a Tough Outlook In Dorrell’s First Year As CU Buffs Coach

Karl Dorrell Colorado Head Football Coach

There are teams within the Pac-12 that the Buffaloes simply do not have as much talent as. The Colorado Buffaloes have to open up the season on the road against Oregon on September 26. It is not a stretch to say the Ducks are the best team in the conference. The Buffaloes had arguably their most impressive win of the past decade at Autzen Stadium in 2016 but have generally struggled against the Ducks.

This game was originally scheduled in Boulder for the 2020 season, but the conference decided to switch the venue. As a fan, this is frustrating from the standpoint that the Buffaloes had to play in Eugene last year also. The Buffaloes lost that game, 45-3. If there are no future schedule changes due to the schedule changes this season, the Buffaloes will be in year two of a three-year stretch where they have to play AT Oregon every season.

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After playing Oregon, the Buffs will have their home opener against their natural conference rival, the Utah Utes. Utah also made the Pac-12 championship. After playing the Utes, CU will have to travel on the road against Arizona and USC. An optimistic Buffaloes fan may have the team at 2-2 after these games, but CU was not given any favors for their first four games. The Buffaloes most assuredly will not be favored in any of these games. It is very frustrating that the team has to start the season playing against the best teams in the conference. They could possibly be starting a freshman quarterback in Brendon Lewis. Colorado will be forced to find their best football very early in the season if they want to win any games.

CU Buffs’ 2020 Season Becomes Somewhat Easier After Bye Week

The Buffaloes will face Arizona State at home after their bye week on October 31. Recently, the Buffaloes have had their best games against the Sun Devils. In 2018, CU beat ASU 28-21 to improve to 5-0. Last season, the Buffaloes had possibly their best win of Mel Tucker’s one-year tenure in Boulder as they won on the road against the Sun Devils 34-31. Having more time to prepare for this game, along with the confidence of playing a team they know they can beat, should help the Buffs in this game.

The second half of the season for the Buffaloes also includes road trips against Washington and Stanford, and home tilts against UCLA, Oregon State, and Washington State to close out the season. The Buffaloes went 2-2 against these teams last season, as they had home wins against the Huskies and Cardinal in November. The Buffaloes should be able to compete in their home games even though they may not be favored in them. It may not be a stretch to say that the Buffaloes will be able to win the majority of the last six games on their schedule. Having road games against Washington and Stanford is tough, but the team will also have the confidence boost of having beat both those teams in 2019.

Getting to .500 May Be a Stretch for the 2020 Colorado Buffaloes Season, But It Could Be Done

From the outsider’s perspective, Colorado is not on any national radar this season. However, the confidence gained from how the team played down the stretch last season may help them in being able to be competitive early in the season. The Buffaloes will probably have to win one of their first four games to have a realistic shot at getting to .500 this season. Out of all the early games, the most winnable game for them in the early going is probably the road game against Arizona, even though Khalil Tate has posed major problems for the Buffaloes the past few seasons. It will be interesting to see how Karl Dorrell’s footprint on the team affects how they compete against the top teams in the conference early in the season. Even though having a winning record may not be in the cards for the Buffaloes this season, they should be able to build a strong foundation for Dorrell to help this team possibly achieve winning seasons in 2021 and beyond.

Pac-12 All-Decade Team 2010-19

Pac-12 All-Decade Team 2010-19

Who deserves to be on the Pac-12 All-Decade Team 2010-19? George and Ralph draft their best offense, defense, special teams, and coach to play a game. Starts at 43:00

Officiating calls continue to cause debate and controversy in college football and NFL games. We have a solution for the targeting call and catch/no-catch rules.

Did we leave anyone off the Pac-12 All-Decade Team 2010-19 or were we perfect? Leave a comment or send us an email to immad@unafraidshow.com to tell us who built the best team.

Listen to the Pac-12 All-Decade Team 2010-19 on Pac-12 Apostles Podcast

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Make sure you like and subscribe to the Pac-12 Apostles Podcast with George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden on iTunes by clicking here or any other podcasting app. Visit our iTunes page for this podcast and other previous episodes by clicking here.

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 review of our podcast on iTunes if you can! We record a podcast once a week during the off-season for football and then from the months of August to January we record two podcasts per week. 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 Wyoming-born sportswriter and podcaster who spends his days tweeting through the misadventures that come with shuttling four kids around the Arizona desert. Ralph is the publisher of Rivals’ ArizonaVarsity.com, the founder of ArizonaSportsCast.com, and was previously the managing editor of the Arizona State Rivals affiliate, DevilsDigest.com. He is also a professional hater of all things pineapple. Whether you’re talking food, movies, music, parenting, politics, sports, television, religion, or zoological factoids, Ralph has questions for you. He might be sub-.500 in spousal disputes and schoolyard fights, but he’s always UNAFRAID to square up.

Hope you enjoyed the Pac-12 All-Decade Team Draft

CU Boulder Having In-Person Classes In Fall: What It Means For Football

Colorado-buffaloes-ralphie

The University of Colorado Boulder is going to have in-person classes in the fall. This decision has ramifications for Colorado Buffaloes football. Having students on the CU Boulder campus could make the decision to play football and even possibly have some fans in the stadium easier.

The Decision to Reopen CU Boulder Campus Comes With Risks

CU Boulder has a commitment to the well-being of everyone who may step foot on campus. Students will definitely be nervous about going into an environment where they are at risk of catching the novel coronavirus. Athletes will also be put into special circumstances. The reason that many professional sports leagues will be able to resume is that the athletes are under contract and are receiving a salary. College athletes will not be.

Listen to the Best Pac-12 Podcast

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Does a school want to put their athletes at risk by being immersed within the student population? Will athletes accept these conditions? There are many questions that come with a decision like this one. Athletics are a huge part of a university’s money pool, and it will be interesting to see what CU Boulder and other institutions decide for their athletes. Fans want to know their athletes will be ready to play if there are games in the fall.

CU Boulder Coaches Could Be Forced To Go With Experience Over Talent

In a normal season, many players would have more chances to showcase their abilities to their coaches. Obviously this is not the case this season. Thus, players who have been in the program longer may have an easier time winning starting jobs this season.

At the quarterback position, Tyler Lytle will probably start opening day for the Buffaloes. Brendon Lewis may have a larger skill set, but Lytle’s experience within the system may be the deciding factor. The main issue for head coach Karl Dorrell is that he does not have much in-game film from any of his top three quarterbacks at the college level. Redshirt senior Sam Noyer may also have a better shot at the starting job because of his experience, but remember that he played safety, not quarterback, last season under Mel Tucker.

Who Would Get Tickets If Folsom Field Is Allowed To Fill At Any Capacity?

Many Buffs fans already get season tickets to see their favorite team in action. However, the atmosphere at college football games will be different. It is a safe bet that there will not be full stadiums anywhere this season.

Thus, expect any fans that may be at Buffaloes football games this season to be students or season ticket holders. Alumni and donors may also get priority over other fans. It will be interesting to see how much the Pac-12 Conference themselves oversees this process. Oregon Governor Kate Brown already stated that people in Oregon cannot congregate at sporting events through at least September.

Not having full college football stadiums will be unique. It will suck to not see the pageantry and tradition on full display. Spending a fall Saturday afternoon cheering on the school where you are being educated is a pillar of the college experience, and not having this experience may be tough for students. One area that could be affected because of this could be school spirit. One of the pillars that make people fall in love with the place in which they are receiving their education is the sense of community that is felt at sporting events. Fans feel like they are a part of something.

Speculation Does Not Mean Jumping To Conclusions

CU Boulder made a decision to let students back on campus for the fall. Any motives for making this move are purely speculation, but there are educated guesses from many people as to why they make the decisions the way they do. Anything that people hear about this situation is fluid; in other words, it is not set in stone. At the end of the day, everyone’s well-being should be the university’s number one priority. There should be extra care taken with where athletes go, as everyone’s chances of catching the virus go up by being in the community. It is important that athletes, fans, and students at CU Boulder participate within the community, but do so in a safe manner. Fans want to see their favorite players playing on Saturdays this fall. Hopefully the community does their part to help make this a reality.

Karl Dorrell’s Quarterback Conundrum Ahead of 2020 Colorado Buffaloes Season

Karl Dorrell's Quarterback Conundrum Ahead of 2020 Colorado Buffaloes Season

This week, the Pac-12 Coaches Media Webinar series took place. Every coach spoke about the challenges associated with preparing for the college football season, whenever that may be. The 2020 Colorado Buffaloes will have their own set of challenges they have to navigate. One of these challenges will be determining the quarterback position.

Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell was a part of Tuesday’s panel, which included coaches Jimmy Lake of Washington and Kyle Whittingham of Utah. The main similarity between the programs of Colorado, Washington, and Utah is that each team does not have a clear-cut Week 1 starting quarterback.

Dorrell will eventually have to choose between Tyler Lytle, Brendon Lewis, and Sam Noyer as his starting quarterback once the season actually starts.

Lytle, Lewis, and Noyer Will Each Have Opportunity at Starting Quarterback Job for 2020 Colorado Buffaloes

Redshirt junior Tyler Lytle, is the longest-tenured QB with the program. So, he may end up being the best option for the team to start the season. Lytle does not have much in-game experience but is the best pro-style option on the roster.  

Brendon Lewis, a true freshman, could still be the starter in the fall. He was ranked number 257 in the ESPN 300 and could be the best dual-threat option on the roster. Although Lewis may have more trouble winning the starting job because of circumstances, he should be able to see playing time. He is a unique talent and may be the next long-term starter for the Colorado Buffaloes.

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Sam Noyer will be entering his final year of eligibility. Last season, he played safety for the Buffaloes. While playing quarterback in 2018, Noyer won the hearts of some Buffaloes fans in 2018 when he laid a hit out against Washington State after he threw an interception. Noyer has been a mainstay in the program since 2016, so he may also have a chance to see in-game action during his senior season.

Karl Dorrell stated that none of these quarterbacks have had much time to get reps in. He has film from each of these players, but Colorado did not get any spring practices before college sports were shut down. There will be minimal answers at the most important position for the Buffaloes until they are able to hit the practice field.

2020 Colorado Buffaloes Need the Requisite Amount of Practice Time to be Ready for Season

Regardless of who the starting quarterback ends up being, Dorrell stated the need for at least a six-week window before the start of the season. Many predictions have been made about the 2020 Colorado Buffaloes, and they have not been favorable. Most pundits have the Buffaloes winning three to four games this season. For a program that is hungry for a bowl victory, they need the practice reps.

Kyle Whittingham, Utah’s head coach, brought up that things may not necessarily be equal in the NCAA. He is hoping that some of Utah’s players can get back into the weight room by June 1. However, he said that the lead-in time into the season needs to be the same. Different schools in the Pac-12 will be dealt different hands, which could complicate the season even more.

2020 Pac-12 Season in Question Depending on What California Pac-12 Schools End up Doing

NCAA President Mark Emmert stated that the NCAA will leave it up to the conferences as to when they want to start their seasons. Karl Dorrell, along with Jimmy Lake, stated that they wanted the opposite to happen.

The California State school system, which comprises 23 schools, has already decided to have their classes completely online in the fall. However, the California Pac-12 schools are not part of the Cal State system. Still, with Gavin Newsom casting doubt on California holding live sporting events with fans, coupled with Los Angeles’ stay-at-home order being extended to the end of July, it may be hard to imagine Pac-12 games being played in front of fans at the season’s start in September.

Even if the Pac-12 goes the safer route, it could further alienate the conference in the College Football Playoff conversation. The conference has not had a team in the playoff since the 2016 season. The Pac-12 may suffer by not playing in conjunction with the rest of the Power 5 conferences, but it could also give the conference more visibility. If people were able to watch the Pac-12 more readily, they may realize the quality of the conference.

Regardless of what happens, the Colorado Buffaloes have worked hard to be ready for the challenges that the 2020 season will present.

2020 Pac-12 College Football Season: Uncertainty, But Hope is Here

Pac-12 Bowl Games

No one knows what the 2020 college football season holds. Many conferences may be gearing up to run their seasons independently of their cohorts. It will be interesting to see how different conferences react to developments surrounding the coronavirus, but there have been seeds that have been planted as far as state orders in some of the top Pac-12 cities.

Governors Kate Brown and Gavin Newsom Offer Grim Outlook on College Football Fans in Pac-12 Stadiums

Oregon Governor Kate Brown stated her belief that fans will not be able to gather for sporting events through September. This development means that Oregon’s huge Week 2 game against Ohio State could be played in front of no fans. Depending on how different areas of the country move along with their response, should both Oregon and Ohio State consider switching the venues this season? However, questions like these are met with a double-edge sword. Stadiums will most likely not be able to fill up to 100 percent capacity by September anywhere.

California Governor Gavin Newsom cast his doubt on fans being able to see their favorite Pac-12 teams in action. His belief is that a vaccine needs to be widely available. It is hard to imagine Stanford hosting USC or California hosting TCU in front of no fans. However, this may be the reality. It may be hard for someone to accept the risk associated with attending a sporting event without a vaccine.

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How Might College Football Fans React to the 2020 College Football Season Being Pushed Back

Non-conference games like TCU-California and Ohio State-Oregon are scheduled with the fans in mind. These types of games are supposed to bring in revenue for these schools. Fans get hyped for huge out-of-conference games because they provide teams from within the conference with a chance to become more nationally relevant. The Pac-12 has not made the College Football Playoff since 2016, and winning these types of games is paramount for them to become relevant. The atmosphere at these types of games always makes it more difficult for the opponent. Sure, there would be the issue of travel for the road teams, but would Ohio State see a road game against Oregon without the raucous Duck crowd as a hostile environment.

There are season-ticket holders who invest in their favorite college team, whether that team is from their alma mater or if they are connected to them some other way. When a team like Ohio State is going to play in Eugene, fans want to see that game. It will be interesting to see the ways in which conferences ramp up security so fans do not congregate outside the stadium. They will still want to be heard even if they are not allowed in the stadium.

Another Factor to Consider For 2020 College Football Season: The Lack of Player Compensation

College football players have the distinct challenge of trying to balance their studies with another full-time job: playing for the football team. While most players are provided with the benefits of a scholarship and a monthly stipend for food, it would be crazy for these conferences to force them back on the field.

The NCAA and the conferences themselves will have to ask themselves the question of if they want to put these players at risk. College football is at more of a risk of being postponed until next spring because these players are not compensated unlike the NFL. Students may not be returning to campus next semester. For example, the University of Colorado Boulder may be offering a hybrid of in-person and remote learning during the fall semester. If students cannot be on campus all the time, is it too much for institutions and fans to expect their athletes to stay on campus all the time?

Despite the Circumstances, There Is Hope for the Future

Delaying gratification is tough for any human. However, if there ends up being a delay in the start of the 2020 college football season, it is not like the games will not still happen. Oregon and Ohio State will hopefully still end up playing each other in a home-and-home series. These matchups are great for college football. College football is a great escape from the stresses of school for students and the stress of work for the general fan base. There may be a question of when college sports can return to normal, but there is a lot of hope that they will return to normal. Whether it’s in a stadium or on a couch, college football fans will eventually be able to see their favorite teams in action again.