The mothership continues to hover around and survey college football with a couple of video previews here and there. Today we look at one of those previews which tabs risers and fallers all over college football. Three teams are tabbed from the Pac-12.
Brian Floyd (he of CougCenter and SB Nation everything) seems to tab Stanford as a team that'll stay right in the race for the Pac-12 crown even without Andrew Luck. The Cardinal will actually be able to return entirely to their identity of power sets and keep the intensity up in what figures to be a very finesse Pac-12 full of defenses that can be exploited. The question will come with regards to how well Stanford performs on the road without a seasoned QB though, and that's a hard question to broach.
It's hard to imagine Stanford improving while losing their number one draft pick of a quarterback (along with three other crucial offensive players), but this sort of resurgence has happened before. Anyone remember Tennessee 1998?
Floyd makes perhaps a bolder proclamation by dropping USC from the supposed national championship status all the way down to the top ten. USC had their moments of brilliance last year against Oregon and UCLA, but they were for the most part not quite as good as the offseason hype dictates. Could there be a crash back to Earth with plenty of worthy contenders ready to knock the Trojans off the pedestal?
Conventional wisdom would dictate that Stanford would be the team to fall and USC would be the team to rise with Barkley staying and Luck going. USC will have the most mature offense of any team on the field this season, and probably the best talent on both sides of the football. But the Pac-12 is going to be anything but conventional this season, so there is some method to this madness of going contrarian.
Then there's Utah, who Paul Myerberg of Pre Snap Read picks out. The Utes are definitely one of those teams that is fun to ride with because they have a solid defense, which is a lot more easy on the heartburn than a poor defense. The concern is their offense, which was not good enough to put two touchdowns on the board against Colorado, Arizona State and Washington. WASHINGTON! The team that employed this man!
Hey, I'm a fan of defense, but in this conference you'll need touchdowns to win a lot of the football games you play, and 25 points per game just won't be enough to top out past the eight win bar.
Speaking of UW, they fall down the charts too--the loss of the always underrated Chris Polk will be a tough pill for the team to swallow and it could bog down Sarkisian's offense if they're constantly in pass-first mode and can't get more from their younger backs. Although the defense should be improved because they're NOT EMPLOYING THIS MAN, they'll still need to put a lot of talent to really get that group up to speed.
So in conclusion, I agree and disagree with everyone. Eureka!