Forever Evergreen: UW Football and WSU Football Impress in Week One

Evergreen State Football Flexes Their Strength

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. In the state of Washington, the UW football and WSU football teams got off to hot starts, offenses clicking in blowout wins against Eastern Washington and New Mexico State. Overall, Washington and Washington State outscored their opponents 105-21. It was an excellent start to the season for Evergreen State Football fans and teams alike. With each game in the books, here are the big takeaways.

Check back every Tuesday for a new edition of Forever Evergreen.

Quarterbacks Jacob Eason and Anthony Gordon Set the Field Ablaze

Wow. Could it have played out any better for Eason and Gordon in their openers? Washington State Football quarterbacks are the best of the bunch (minus Justin Herbert obviously).

Jacob Eason

Eason, in his debut, set the record for the most passing yards in a UW football debut with 349 yards. His 4 touchdowns were also the most in a UW opener since Brock Huard in 1998. He led the Huskies to touchdowns on their first three drives and opened a 21-0 lead. As a former number one recruit, Eason lived up to the hype and put all the other Jake quarterbacks to shame.

Additionally, Eason displayed both arm-strength and touch. Though players and beat reporters talked up his arm strength over spring and summer, it was nice to see how it played out in a game. He made 50-plus yard throws look easy. And while his 50-yard touchdown to Andre Baccellia was impressive, it was not nearly as impressive as his incomplete pass to Aaron Fuller. After an awkward snap, Eason somehow managed to heave a 60-yard bomb to Fuller. Though it sailed over his intended receiver (possibly due to Fuller slowing down), it nonetheless displayed quick decision-making and natural arm-strength. All in all, Eason looked good. 

Anthony Gordon

Not to be outdone by his Puget Sound rival, Anthony Gordon made things look easy. In less than three quarters, Gordon lit up New Mexico State for 420 yards and 5 touchdowns. Yes, the Mike Leach Air Raid Offense makes the quarterback’s job easier, but not that easy. In fact, Gordon ended the first half with an insane line: 22 for 23, 330 yards and 4 touchdowns. Unbelievable.

In his impressive victory, Gordon completed passes to 9 different receivers and threw touchdowns to 4 different ones. He spread the ball around well. Gordon was decisive, precise, and carved through New Mexico State. He led the Cougars to a touchdown on each of their five, first half drives. Though he’s a redshirt senior without any Pac-12 experience prior to this game, he let his name be known. Anthony Gordon and Mike Leach made their case for the Pac-12’s best offense.

Other Offensive Highlights

UW Seniors Lead the Team in Receiving

Seniors Hunter Bryant (TE), Andre Baccellia (WR), Aaron Fuller (WR) and Chico McClatcher (WR) led the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. It was a senior day all the way. Each notched at least five receptions from Jacob Eason. It appears that Eason and coach Peterson are completely fine with riding the talent and experience of their senior playmakers in the pass game.

UW and WSU Have Breakout Running Backs

Richard Newton came out of nowhere. On his first collegiate touch, Newton took it 23 yards to the end zone. He continued his redshirt freshman debut and totaled 91 yards on 12 carries. At 6-foot, 210lbs, Newton was difficult to tackle and displayed excellent rushing instincts and power.

Max Borghi of WSU displayed efficiency and explosiveness. On just 10 carries, Borghi broke the century mark with 128 rushing yards. As many already know, Borghi showed an ability to catch passes last season. With his impressive opener as the leading rusher, Borghi looks to be the Pac-12’s leader in yards from scrimmage at the end of the season.

Will these Evergreen State Football running backs be the best in the Pac-12?

Defenses Bend, But Don’t Break with the New Guys

Though the scoreboard would deceive most, there was a lot that UW football and WSU football could have done better. 

UW allowed 274 yards and two touchdowns. Additionally, they let the Eagles march down the field with 79 and 84 back-to-back drives. With that being said, Chris Peterson rotated in a variety of redshirt and true freshmen on defense. Cam Williams, Laiatu Latu, Alphonzo Tuputala, Trent McDuffie, Asa Turner, Jackson Sirmon, M.J. Tafisi, Tuli Letuligasenoa, Sam Taimani, Faatui Tuitele, Jacob Bandes, Noa Ngalu all got snaps. So obviously there is room for growth. Additionally, the Dawgs notched 4 sacks, 9 tackles for a loss, and 1 safety. They also allowed just 2.1 yards per carry to the Eagles. All in all, it was a promising day for Chris Peterson’s defense. It looks like Peterson has once again recruited and schemed a top defense for the Huskies.

WSU on the other hand, looked both shaky and solid. Yes, they held New Mexico State to just one touchdown. However, they gave up the touchdown just after Anthony Gordon marched WSU down the field. They let New Mexico tie the game 7-7 right away. Additionally the Cougars’ defense allowed nearly 200 yards in the first half. Their defensive line was pushed around more than the scoreboard showed. But, WSU did an excellent job making adjustments in the second half and continuing their dominance. Overall, WSU’s defensive line is the most suspect. They need to find quality players that can penetrate and make consistent, defensive stops.

Justin Herbert Auburn Oregon
Justin Herbert and the Ducks weren’t so fortunate against Auburn ( Photo by Matthew Emmons / USA Today )

The Rest of the Bunch

Apart from Utah, Washington and Washington State had the best weekends. It was a very good week for Evergreen State football fans. Unlike them, Oregon had a rough time. After leading by 15 in the third quarter, buckled to Auburn. They lost the biggest Pac-12 game of the week (and possibly the season). This extended the Pac-12’s losing streak to 10 against ranked, SEC opponents. As much as it helps Washington and Washington State in their Pac-12 rankings, Oregon’s loss hurts the Pac-12 conference overall. 

Overall, the Pac-12 went 1-2 against Power Five teams, 5-2 against Group of Five (including independent BYU and New Mexico State) teams and 2-0 against FCS teams. Not inspiring. If the Pac-12 wants to be taken seriously as a conference, teams need to win every out of conference game. It obviously doesn’t help when Oregon collapses late to Auburn. But UCLA, Oregon State, USC and Cal looked like they kept last season’s issues. They were lackluster. Additionally, USC lost their quarterback to a knee injury. J.T. Daniels had to be carted off. Pac-12 teams needed to step up this season, and many teams aren’t.

As the dust settles from Week 1 of the Pac-12, Evergreen State Football appears primed for the top-spot. Stanford’s schedule is too difficult. USC has a difficult schedule, displayed poor play/judgement and lost their quarterback. Colorado needs a defense. Cal needs an offense. Oregon lost when it counted most. 

It’s a year for the Evergreen State to claim the top spots. Though, Utah was impressive and Oregon could bounce back. If Oregon proves to be just shy of elite, Utah and WSU can each attempt to leap UW this season.

Pac-12 Football Preseason Power Rankings 2019-20

Preseason Pac-12 Power Rankings

Welcome to the Pac-12 Preseason Power Rankings. A team from the Pac-12 has a real chance to make the College Football Playoffs in 2019. The conference starts off with five teams in the preseason AP Poll. Oregon, Washington, and Utah all start the season ranked inside the AP top 14. The conference has a chance to quiet all the outside noise about money and tv deals, and the Pac-12 network by winning a national championship. Join and participate in the new Pac-12 Sports Subreddit for all your Pac-12 news, info, and smack talk.

Pac-12 Preseason Power Rankings:

The Pac-12 Power Rankings will available on Unafraid Show every Monday morning. Make sure you send your comments and grievances to immad@unafraidshow.com.

12. Oregon State Beavers

The Beavers should be markedly better in Jonathan Smith’s second season as head coach. Oregon State returns their top passer, running back, wide receiver, and top nine tacklers from last season. They finished 2018 with a 2-10 record and lost nine games by 17 points or more, so truthfully, there is nowhere to go but up. The best thing they have going is Sophomore running back Jemar Jefferson. He finished 4th in the conference in running as a freshman last year with 1,414 yards. Fans should expect another 2-10 season, but the games should be much more competitive.

11. Colorado Buffaloes

Mel Tucker’s first season as head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes should not be a bad one. He did not inherit a full rebuild like Jonathan Smith at Oregon State. Tucker returns veteran QB Steven Montez who has won big games. And they have the best offensive weapon in the conference WR Laviska Shenault.

The Buffaloes started last season 5-0 with wins over Nebraska, UCLA, and Arizona State. The back half of their schedule was much tougher, but losing seven games in a row seems more of a loss of confidence and focus than just being terrible.

10. Arizona Wildcats

The biggest wildcard in the Pac-12 is the Wildcats. On paper, this team looks very average. Their players don’t have a ton of recruiting stars behind their names, but when they play as a team they can be a force. If QB Khalil Tate can rekindle the magic from his sophomore season that landed him on magazine covers before last season, the Wildcats will make a bowl game. The combination of Tate and RB JJ Taylor in the read-option can a nightmare for defenses. But, can head coach Kevin Sumlin convince Tate not to worry about proving his passing abilities to NFL scouts and just play to his strengths?

9. Arizona State Sun Devils

A year ago so many people were questioning the hiring of Herm Edwards as ASU head coach. They said he was too old, hadn’t coached recently, and his “NFL model” would not work. Then the Sun Devils went 7-6, made a bowl game, and did a helluva job recruiting. Now all the critics are silent. Herm and his staff will have their hands full in the Pac-12 starting a freshman at QB. But they return eight starters including the 2018 Pac-12 leading rusher Eno Benjamin (1,642 yards, 16 TDs) who should make life a little easier.

8. Washington State Cougars

I am still irritated that the Cougars magical 11-2 season last year was not rewarded with a New Years’ Six Bowl game. They were passed but by the bowl selection committee for teams ranked lower and the conference didn’t make a big deal about it. They just took the scraps and stayed quiet about it.

Mike Leach’s ‘Air Raid’ offense gives Pac-12 teams fits when he has a good QB. Last year Gardner Minshew came out of nowhere to be an NFL draft pick after transferring from East Carolina. Can Leach recreate that magic with grad transfer Gage Gubrod or Anthony Gordon at QB? Word on the street is that Gordon has the edge for this job. Hence the #8 spot on the Pac-12 Preseason Power Rankings 2019. The Cougs also have Max Borghi who is expected to have a breakout season in 2019.

7. UCLA Bruins

Call me crazy, but this is the team I picked to win the Pac-12 south. I expect the Bruins to be much improved in 2019. Chip Kelly proved he is a great football coach in 2018. He is known for his up-tempo style, but by seasons end the Bruins were in three tight end sets running smashmouth football winning games. He adjusts his offense to whatever will win. The Bruins started the youngest team in the nation in 2018. Their 2-deep was full of lineup freshman and sophomores.

I expect that with a full offseason of work Chip will have a new wrinkle and magic trick up his sleeve. He made it to a national championship and won a ton of games with guys like Daron Thomas and Jerimiah Masoli at QB. So, he should be able to have success with expected sophomore starter Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

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6. Cal Golden Bears

There is only one thing that can keep Cal from back-to-back bowl games, quarterback play. If Cal could have switched QBs with ANY team in the conference they would have won 10 games in 2018. Cal’s defense was just devouring offenses. They only gave up more than 20 points six times in 2018. The Golden Bears held USC and conference champion Washington to a combined 24 points last season. Their defense returns seven starters including the best secondary in the Pac-12 and top 5 in the nation.

QB Chase Garbers is no longer a freshman and should be much better in 2019. If he plays really well, Cal could shock the Pac-12 world. I wanted to put them higher on the Pac-12 Preseason Power Rankings but the north division is just stacked.

5. USC Trojans

USC should have enough motivation to right the ship in 2019. They had their first losing record since 2000 and only the 3rd one since I have been alive (1981). The Trojans are playing for well-like head coach Clay Helton’s job. And they are being absolutely disrespected nationally. USC only got one vote in the preseason AP poll and are behind Appalachian State and Army.

QB JT Daniels should make huge strides in 2019 because he is throwing to the 2nd best WR core in the nation. The combination of St. Brown, Vaughns, and Pittman is special. USC is not short on talent, so anything besides a Pac-12 south title is a failure.

4. Utah Utes

The Pac-12 media (except me) is in love with Utah and even picked them to win the conference. The Utes are well-coached, play hard, and have a three clear cut 1st-2nd round NFL players (Zack Moss, Jaylen Johnson, and Leki Fotu). But, their Achilles heel this year will be their QB play. They play a very favorable conference schedule but have to play USC and Washington on the road. Tyler Huntley is back healthy at QB. He is a solid QB but Utah will need him to be special to manage 10 wins out of this schedule.

3. Stanford Cardinal

2018 was a huge disappointment for David Shaw and the Stanford Cardinal. Their 9-4 record looked fine on paper. But they could have been 11-2. Their inability to run the football with Heisman candidate Bryce Love was surprising. However, they did get some good news. They found out they have a sure-fire NFL QB in KJ Costello.

The thing I love about Stanford is that their schedule is always good. They don’t schedule themselves 2-3 easy non-conference game. But that could ultimately be their undoing in 2019. The Cardinal have Northwestern, at USC, at UCF, Oregon, and Washington in the first six weeks of the season, with no open week. OUCH!

2. Washington Huskies

The defending Pac-12 champions only return two starters on what was one of the nation’s best defenses in 2018. Their defense will still be well-coached but there will be a natural dip when you lose five starters to the NFL draft. Chris Petersen does believe he has an upgrade at QB in Georgia transfer Jacob Eason.

The Huskies have a very easy non-conference schedule so navigating the brutal Pac-12 north will be the only thing that stands between them and another Rose Bowl and potential CFB Playoff berth.

1. Oregon Ducks

There can be no excuses for the Mario Cristobal and Oregon in 2019. The Ducks have an NFL 1st round QB in Justin Herbert, the best OL in the nation, and a very solid defense. It all starts on Aug. 31against Auburn in the most important game a Pac-12 team will play this season. This game will determine the national respect of the Pac-12 in 2019.

Their road schedule (Stanford, Washington, USC, Arizona St) is tough, but they avoid Utah with the schedule rotation.

This is the season the Ducks must prove they “are back” as a national championship contender. They have a real shot at the CFB Playoff if they beat Auburn and don’t lose more than 1 Pac-12 game. However, undefeated would guarantee them a spot.

Check back every Monday for the Pac-12 Power Rankings.

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.

Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 11: No Margin for Error

College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 11

There has been no more unbiased ranking out there than the Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 11. I get criticized from time to time by people who only want to see the college football world through the lens of the AP Poll. However, if you go back and look at the rankings for each week, I guarantee you would now agree that I have been 100% right and accurate along the way.

The Unafraid Show College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 11 are not going to look like the AP Poll. Open your eyes to see a different view of evaluating the top 10. Most polls including the College Football Playoff Committee give college blueblood teams a massive “benefit of the doubt.” I don’t believe in that. The college football top 10 teams are ranked by the correct criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. Only the games have played matter.

I re-rank the top 10 every week from scratch. The previous week’s rankings do not factor into the next week. So, the rankings will change, sometimes drastically every week because we will have new information.

Before we get to College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 11, you can reference the Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings for Week 10.

Leave a comment or shoot an email: ImMad@unafraidshow.com… Yes, that is the real email address.

1.  Alabama (9-0) Last Week: #2

Alabama is the class of the SEC and College Football. After week 10 I believe we can all agree that Bama is a juggernaut and the rest of the SEC is just like every other conference. Anyone can get beat on any given Saturday (with Clemson as the exception).

Alabama heard all the people saying they would to lose to LSU and told them to have a seat and be quiet. The Crimson Tide’s schedule has been extremely light this season. Playing tougher teams multiple weeks in a week out does fatigue a team mentally and physically. And Alabama has not experienced that, but I’m not sure it would have mattered who they played this season.

It feels like a foregone conclusion that the Crimson Tide will win the National Championship, but remember the New England Patriots looked unbeatable at 18-0, then proceeded to lose the Super Bowl. So, you never know.

2. Clemson (9-0) Last Week: #1

This is the time of year that teams jockeying for playoff seeding are trying to make statements. Clemson clearly made a statement by unmercifully beating Florida State, NC State, and Louisville over the last three weeks.

Dabo Swinney made the correct move when he made Trevor Lawrence the starting quarterback. The Clemson offense has been more dynamic and consistent since then. Winning the ACC is a foregone conclusion for the Tigers. Gearing up for what feels like an inevitable matchup with Alabama for the title has to be priority number one.

3. Notre Dame (9-0) Last Week: #3

If Notre Dame wins their last three games, there is NO chance they get left out of the playoffs. Oklahoma, Michigan, Washington State, West Virginia, Ohio State, and Georgia all have to be rooting for the Fighting Irish to drop a game. Ian Book continues his solid play and feels like the new prototype college quarterback. He is a terrific passer, but also adds a lot of value extending playing and picking up first downs with his legs.

In an interview on College Football GameDay head coach, Brian Kelly was already talking about the playoffs and a potential rematch with Alabama. I have to wonder if Kelly and his team could be looking past games against Florida State, Syracuse, and USC.

4. Michigan (8-1) Last Week: #6

I officially believe in Michigan. The Wolverines did horrible things to Penn State. Their defense is smothering, and unquestionably the #1 defense in the nation. This defense could absolutely slow Alabama’s offense down. The only question is will their offense be able to produce against Bama’s notoriously stingy defense.

The “eye test” tells me that Michigan is a better team than Notre Dame, at this point. However, the fact that Notre Dame beat Michigan week one cannot be ignored. If it came down to the last playoff spot could anyone in good conscience put Michigan over an undefeated Notre Dame?

5. Oklahoma (8-1) Last Week: #5

We have learned two things about Oklahoma this season. Their offense is unstoppable, and their defense can’t stop nosebleed most times. Unless the Sooners lose another game, they will 100% be in the top four of the CFB Playoffs. Chaos always ensues in November and the Sooners will be the beneficiary. It will be interesting to see if a team like Michigan or Alabama who is so good defensively can stop the most potent offense in college football.

Kyler Murray has to be a Heisman Finalist and could possibly win the award if he has more heroics over the last month of the season. Oklahoma is what Washington State would be with 4-5* athletes all over the place, except Washington State plays better defense.

6. Georgia (8-1) Last Week: 7

We have to give Georgia credit for wins against Florida and Kentucky though neither team is nearly as good as the hype that surrounded them. The Bulldogs are in a tight spot when it comes to making the College Football Playoffs. They already have one loss and have to play Alabama in the SEC championship. Anything but a win will keep them out of the top 4, but a New Years Six bowl is surely in Georgia’s favor.

The Bulldogs only need to guard against a let down versus Auburn or Georgia Tech over the next three weeks.

7. Washington State (8-1) Last Week: 9

Something special is brewing in Pullman, Washington. Mike Leach has turned one of the worst college football teams into a playoff contender. No one expected their success after they lost their starting quarterback Tyler Hilinski to suicide during the offseason. However, graduate transfer Gardener Minshew II has shown up and thrown for nearly 400 yards per game.

If one of nations top defenses cannot stop the Cougars, they should be able to finish their Pac-12 schedule unscathed.

8. West Virginia (7-1) Last Week: #NR

It seems Will Grier and the Mountaineers are peeks at the right time. They had ugly games against Kansas and Iowa State in the middle of the season, but have bounced back nicely. We appear to be headed for an Oklahoma vs. West Virginia Big 12 championship game. Dana Holgorsen has his opportunity to deliver on the expectations of West Virginia fans if he can get 3 more wins out of his team.

Just like every other Big 12 team, the only question about this team is their defense. Can they get enough stops against teams that want to run the football to win in the playoffs?

9. Central Florida (8-0) Last Week: #8

Central Florida is the Rodney Dangerfield of college football. They do good things but get no respect. The Knights have won 21 straight football games going back to last season, but have no hope of making the top four. Their schedule has not been good, but until last week had been better than Alabama and other teams in the top 12.

Central Florida is not doing themselves any favors by playing close games against Memphis and Temple. Neither of those teams is as bad as some of the cupcakes on other top 10 teams’ schedule. However, the other teams in the Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 11 have been dominating their inferior competition.

10. Ohio State (8-1) Last Week: #10

The Buckeyes are sitting at 8-1, but they do not look good right now. They have struggled both offensively and defensively in three consecutive weeks against Minnesota, Purdue, and Nebraska. There is no lack of talent with this team, so their play of late has to be concerning for Ohio State fans. A one-loss Big Ten champion will likely end up in the College Football Playoffs, so there is still time for the Buckeyes to pull it together. Michigan is hot right now, and the last thing Ohio State wants is to be playing poorly heading into their most crucial game of the season.

Next Up:

LSU, Texas,

I know some of you are steaming mad right now because your team is ranked too low or is unranked. Take a breathe and realize that your fandom is causing irrational thoughts. The College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 9 is accurate, unbiased, and unafraid.

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 9: New King of the Castle…For Now

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 9

The Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 9 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 (1-6)

(L) Cal 7-49

The Beavers blew their last shot at a Pac-12 win in 2018. They got hammered by Cal. Oregon State is the best team in the Pac-12 rushing the football, but could not do so against Cal. The Beavers are still last in the Pac-12 in total defense, rush defense, pass defense, and nearly every other important defensive statistic. Head coach Jonathan Smith has his work cut out for him in recruiting.

11. Arizona (3-5)

(L) 30-31 UCLA

Rhett Rodriguez got his first start of the season at quarterback, and the Arizona offense looked good. He personally did not have a fantastic game as he finished 15/34 with 231 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. However, if not for a fumble on a sure touchdown, and multiple penalties on big plays the Wildcats could have beat UCLA.

The Ducks head down to Tucson this week. Will Khalil Tate be back in the lineup or will he be sidelined for another week?

10. Cal (4-3)

When you look at the 10th ranked Pac-12 team, you might assume they are terrible. That is far from the case for Cal. They are much improved from the cellar dwellers under Sonny Dykes as head coach. They play in the Pac-12 north, which is the toughest division in college football. So, it is going to be extremely difficult to win games.

Cal’s pass defense is 4th best in the Pac-12 in total defense and 2nd against the pass. There is a lot to be excited about for the future of the program. If the Golden Bears can find two wins against Washington, Washington State, USC, Stanford, and Colorado, Justin Wilcox will make his first bowl game as Cal’s head coach.

9. Arizona State (3-4)

(L) 13-20 Stanford

All four of the Sun Devils losses have come by exactly seven points. They are within striking distance in every game. Arizona State is just not making enough plays to consistently win football games. It is not one particular side of the ball to blame. Both the offense and defense have shared responsibility for the losses. Manny Wilkens will need some 300-yard passing games if ASU is going to win three of their next five games (USC, Utah, UCLA, Oregon, Arizona) to get bowl eligible.

8. UCLA (2-5) 

(W) 31-30 Arizona

It is a winning streak. The Bruins have won two games in a row, and their offense is running and throwing the ball well. Chip Kelly has his team headed in the right direction. It is not all good news for UCLA. True freshman starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson left the game and never returned. And the Bruins defense allowed big play after big play by Arizona. You could drive a tractor through some of the running lanes.

UCLA has Utah coming in town this week. What if they mess around and…

7. Colorado (5-2) 

(L) 13-27 Washington

Colorado performed admirably on the road against Washington. They were without multiple starters including mid-season All-American wide receiver Lavishka Shenault and were still within four points deep into the 4th quarter. Steven Montez deserves a lot of praise for the Buffaloes 5-2 start. This season he has a 3:1 touchdown to interception ratio, and has eliminated a lot of the silly mistakes he made last season.

Colorado should be bowl eligible after they play Oregon State this weekend. Mike MacIntyre will have at least one more season in Boulder.

6. USC (4-3)

(L) 28-41 Utah

The USC fan base is in full panic mode. They are questioning Clay Helton and his ability to lead the Trojans back to the promised land. It is extremely puzzling how USC has the most talented team in the Pac-12 but isn’t getting result commensurate with that on the field. They have had trouble running the football in the majority of their games.

To make matters even worse, lost JT Daniels and Matt Fink to injury against Utah. USC will likely have to start their 3rd string quarterback Jack Sears Saturday against Arizona State.

It is going to be a long rest of the season for USC.

5. Stanford (5-2)

(W) 20-13 Arizona State

The Cardinal have played seven games, and Bryce Love is leading the team in rushing with a lowly 348 yards. 2018 Stanford cannot run the football effectively. It is time to give up hope that will change this season. Trying to run the ball so much has continuously kept Stanford in 3rd and long situations, which they are last in Pac-12 conversion %.

It is time to for Davis Shaw to fully invest in letting KJ Costello pass the ball on early downs. They need to feed JJ Arcega-Whiteside until the defense loosens up on the run game.

4. Utah (5-2)

(W) 41-28 USC

I cannot fully buy into the Utes offense, even after three straight 40 point outings. However, I am fully buying into them winning the Pac-12 south. They scored a bunch all those points against three defenses that no one would consider top tier. Stanford is uncharacteristically 11th in total defense, Arizona can’t stop a nosebleed, and USC had some of their best defenders out. But, when you play bad defenses, you should treat them like bad defenses, and Utah deserves credit for that.

I am absolutely gushing over their defense. They are only allowing 282 yards per game which is 7th in the nation. And the Utes are only allowing 17.7 points per game.

3. Washington (5-2)

(W) 27-13 Colorado

There was never a doubt in my mind the Huskies would beat Colorado. However, the game was much closer than most people anticipated. It was 17-13 until 3:50 to go in the 4th quarter. Washington then piled on some late style points for those who didn’t see the game. A lot of credit goes to Washington’s second-best Pac-12 defense. Their middle linebacker Ben Bur-Kirven is leading the nation in tackles.

Watching the Huskies is a lot like watching the Michigan Wolverines play this year. You recognize the talent, and the defense is one of the best in the nation. However, their lack of explosiveness offensively hinders both from being national championship threats.

If the Huskies win out, they will be headed to the Pac-12 title game.

2. Oregon (5-2)

(L) 20-34 Washington State

Oregon got a huge wakeup call in the first half of the Washington State game. They were completely shut down offensively. At the half, the Ducks had only gained 50 yards on five possessions. And their defense allowed points on every drive in the first half after the first series interception. There were miscues and missed opportunities all over the place.

After the first half ended 27-0, the Ducks came out and looked like the team ranked #8 in the Unafraid Show top 10 and #12 in the AP poll. They dominated the Cougars in the 2nd half but had dug a hole far too deep.

Now the Ducks need a lot of things to fall their way to get a New Years Day Six Bowl birth.

1. Washington State (6-1)

(W) 34-20 Oregon

There is one stat that shows why Washington State has been so successful this year. Through 7 games Washington State is only allowing Gardner Minshew to be sacked once every 76 snaps. Mike Leach does a masterful job making the opposing defense guard the entire field. He designs plays that get the ball out quickly and have an outlet for when pressure comes. The Cougars are throwing for over 400 yards per game while being the best pass defense in the conference.

I have said it since Week 1; the Cougars appear to be turning a tragedy into a special season. They now have the inside track to the Rose Bowl or College Football Playoffs, and have earned the top stop in the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 9.

BOWL PROJECTIONS

via-USA TODAY

Rose Bowl– Michigan vs Washington

Holiday– Iowa vs Stanford

San Francisco– Northwestern vs Oregon

Sun– Boston Col vs Utah

Alamo– West Virginia vs Washington St

Texas– TCU vs Arizona St

Cheez-It– Iowa State vs USC

Las Vegas– San Diego State vs Colorado

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.

Pac-12 Football Predictions Week 6: Make or Break Matchups

Pac-12 Football Predictions Week 6

Conference Play is in Full Swing

Welcome to the Unafraid Show Pac-12 Football Predictions Week 6 by SportsPac12. If you are a Pac-12 fan, aside from Unafraid Show, SportsPac12 is the twitter feed you need to follow! Former sportswriter & columnist who has covered three different Pac-12 schools provides up to date stats and information on every team in the Conference of Champions.

See where all the teams stand in the Unafraid Show Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 6.

Pac-12 Football Predictions Week 6

Arizona State (3-2) at #21 Colorado (4-0)

Saturday, October 6, 1:00 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Folsom Field, Boulder, CO

Straight-Up: Arizona State in a Close Win

Against the Spread: Arizona State (+3)

Having dispatched four teams with a combined 1-16 mark, it’s time for the Buffs to prove they’re worthy of their ranking. CU quarterback Steven Montez leads the nation in completion percentage, and his connection with wideout Laviska Shenault has been deadly. But Montez has yet to be pressured the way he’s likely to be pressured by ASU’s Merlin Robertson, Malik Lawal, and Darius Slade, who have three sacks each on the season. Collectively, ASU defenders average nearly four sacks per game. The Devils also have the advantage of having played in three big games already. Arizona State’s defense should limit Colorado’s explosive offense just enough to prevail in a close, back-and-forth game.

Notes: The Sun Devils lead the all-time series 8-1, with the lone loss coming in Boulder in 2016, and are averaging 38.9 points per game against the Buffs. Remarkably, no ASU running back has lost a fumble (or even put the ball on the ground) in 669 consecutive carries, over 24 straight games. Colorado is 4-0 for the first time since 1998. Under Mike MacIntrye, the Buffs are 16-0 when holding opponents to 17 points or less. Shenault leads the nation with 9.5 receptions and 145.3 yards per game.

Pac-12 Football Predictions Week 6

#10 Washington (4-1) at UCLA (0-4)

Saturday, October 6, 4:30 p.m. PT, FOX

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA

Straight-Up: Washington  in a Blowout Win

Against the Spread: Washington  (-21.5)

History suggests Washington could struggle at UCLA on Saturday: The Huskies have lost eight straight in Pasadena, dating back to 1995. But UW coach Chris Petersen wouldn’t know anything about that, having never coached in the Rose Bowl. Nor would he care. The Bruins will be outmanned at nearly every position, despite having recruited nearly equivalent talent, based on stars and ratings. In actuality, this might be the biggest Conference mismatch of the season, giving Jake Browning a chance to extend his school records in passing and total offense, while enabling Myles Gaskin to pop off a 200-yard game. Unless, unless . . . Chip Kelly has at least one trick up his sleeve this year, doesn’t he?

 

Notes: The Bruins lead the all-time series 40-31-2, but lost last year’s meeting in Seattle, 44-33. The winning team has scored 40+ points in the last three games. By contrast, Washington hasn’t given up more than 35 points in 49 straight contests—dating back to when the Dawgs surrendered 44 points to UCLA in 2014. Gaskin needs just seven yards to move past Chris Polk into second on the all-time UW rushing list. UCLA will be looking to avoid a 0-5 start for the first time since 1943.

Pac-12 Football Predictions Week 6

Washington State (4-0) at Oregon State (1-4)

Saturday, October 6, 6:00 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Network

Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR

Straight-Up Pick: Washington State in a Comfortable Win

Against the Spread: Washington State (-17)

The Cougars showed some welcome defensive maturity last week against Utah, and that figures to be a problem for the Beavers. Oregon State is a year or so away from being able to match any team stop-for-stop. The Beavs would prefer a high-scoring shootout, giving Jermar Jefferson a chance to run wild like he did in Tempe. Both teams are likely to trade big plays at some point, with Gardner Minshew and Easop Winston getting the better of the exchange. Expect OSU to keep it close for a quarter or so, only to watch WSU pull away in the second half. Whatever the outcome between these two loose and confident-playing teams, it should prove entertaining.

Notes: The Cougars lead the all-time series with the Beavers 52-47-3, and have won four straight after posting a 52-23 victory in Pullman last season. With their 28-24 win over Utah, the Cougars have won 10 straight home games for the first time since 1933. OSU relied heavily on Jefferson’s 254 yards against Arizona State, allowing him to break his own Pac-12 single-game rushing record for freshmen, set earlier this season against Southern Utah.

Pac-12 Football Predictions Week 6

Cal (3-1) at Arizona (2-3)

Saturday, October 6, 7:00 p.m. PT, FS1

Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ

Straight-Up: Cal in a Close Win

Against the Spread: Cal (-2.5)

Fast and shifty Cal quarterback Brandon McIlwain showed he can be as dangerous as Khalil Tate last week, running the ball for 123 yards against Oregon. Given Arizona’s defensive woes, that comparison could be on full display this week in Tucson, provided McIlwain can pass well enough to keep Chase Garbers off the field. The Wildcats, meanwhile, struggled to put up 20 points on a mistake-prone and porous USC defense. They’ll need Tate to run and throw much better than his sub-50 completion percentage and 38 yards on the ground to score as much or more against a tougher Cal defense. The Bears are giving up points on less than 20% of their opponents’ possessions.

Notes: Arizona leads the all-time series 17-14-2, having won the last four. The last two have come down to the final play, including last year’s double-overtime contest in Berkeley. Look for Cal to strike early, having scored first in all four games this season. Arizona forced three fumbles Saturday against USC, recovering all three, marking the first time the Wildcats have recovered three fumbles in a single game since 2016. Bears linebacker Evan Weaver posted a career-high 14 tackles against Oregon; he leads the Conference with 13.2 tackles per game.

Pac-12 Football Predictions Week 6

Utah (2-2) at #14 Stanford (4-1)

Saturday, October 6, 7:30 p.m. PT, ESPN

Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA

Straight-Up: Utah in a Close Win

Against the Spread: Utah (-4)

Who needs this game more? A loss could prove disastrous for Utah, whereas Stanford runs the risk of a Notre Dame hangover: The classic elements of a trap game. As good as K.J. Costello and JJ Arcega-Whiteside have been, the Cardinal appear to have become too pass-dependent with Bryce Love struggling. Utah’s defense, which held the Cougars to 0 yards rushing last week, could cause Stanford more problems than the Irish. Offensively, Tyler Huntley played more like a dual-threat quarterback against WSU, rushing and throwing for a combined 206 yards, while freeing up Zach Moss to post his second 100-yard game. Don’t be surprised if Utah hangs around, stealing this one by a field goal.

Notes: The all-time series between the two teams is tied 4-4, though Utah has won three of the last four. Stanford ended a three-game losing streak to the Utes last year with a 23-20 victory in Salt Lake City. The Cardinal has an active 11-game home winning streak—the longest since a 17-game streak from 2011 to 2014—but the Utes are 3-0 in Stanford Stadium. In good hands: The Cardinal have not lost a fumble through the first five games, one of only four teams in the nation to do so. Huntley’s season-high 88 yards rushing against WSU matched his career high.

Leave a comment or voice your opinions at ImMad@unafraidshow.com