With the 2017 Pac-12 football season upon us, everybody in the media has given their opinion about what they think will happen. Some of those people in the media are people who don’t pay a ton of attention to the Pac-12. However, when the media person is a “Pac-12 guy”, the opinion carries a lot more weight. At the Pac-12 Media Days I was afforded the opportunity to talk with Pac-12 Network personality Yogi Roth and was able to gauge what he thought about the 2017 version of Pac-12 football.
Question: What are your thoughts on the 2017 season?
“The way I look at my predictions is that I look at the end of May. I look at spring ball results, injuries, go back and look at film, and then look at what happens in these two months in the summer before camp.” Roth explained.
The USC Trojans have a ton of momentum heading into this year and have been picked by many as the team to win the Pac-12 Conference and to even get to the College Football Playoff.
Yogi wasn’t so sure.
Question: Does USC pull it off this year?
“I don’t know. You look at their schedule and they will be favored, not Vegas favored, but by me in every game. I get that they don’t have a bye week, but their first three games at home. The crowd will just be juiced, I mean, really juiced. I believe the USC carries this conference. I really do. It carries it in a positive way. I think it is great that they have the juice.” Roth said with a smile on his face.
I asked about the defensive line issues from last year.
“Those big boys on the d-line will be able to compete in every game. They won’t be overwhelmed in any game. The line will be able to get that push this year. They will be fine.”
Moving on from the Trojans, the defending conference champions, Washington Huskies came up.
“Washington has a great schedule this year. I’ll pick them in every single game this year. The Huskies have something special going on up there.”
Stanford is a team that always comes to compete. Yogi had some thoughts there as well.
“Stanford brings back almost 90% of their defense, almost all of their offensive line. The quarterback will be Keller. Bryce Love is impressive and their game is so different from everybody else and you can’t count them out at all. Coming off their season where they lost three games. Those losses were three uncommon losses for Stanford.” Yogi said.
Question: What do you think of the job Gary Andersen is doing at Oregon State?
“Love it. I think they go to a bowl game. Coach Andersen is a star. If he would have stayed at Wisconsin one more year, I think he gets offered the USC job. Besides Chris Petersen, he is the best get that the conference has got in the past five years. He’s an absolute star with what he asks of his players and how he spits the truth to his players. You get into the schematics, they need a quarterback. I think Jake Luton gets a shot. They have two freshmen receivers that are going to good. In their backfield, they have three guys that are absolute studs.” Roth said with no hesitation.
Question: Is Ryan Nall the most underrated player in the conference?
“Definitely, but also in the country. Just look at what he has done. Where he came from, his size is great. He’s not a little 5’9” scat back. He is a big dude. He looks for contact, but he also has ran away from people. He’s healthy as well, so that helps a ton.” Yogi said.
“I think play-action pass makes a glorious return to college football. I think the run-option has made defenses play so down hill that I think you’ll see a ton of pistol formations this year. That’s my big out on a limb prediction this year.” Roth said.
Question: What do you think of Willie Taggart?
“Spent a little time up there. Really impressed with him, another truth teller. He wins the living room for sure. Oregon has a brand over the past 15 years that can ignite at any time. It doesn’t go into many down times. The swoosh is always hot, it doesn’t cold. Willie will be able keep the brand hot. Willie will get it going. I think they struggle this year. What I know now, I am not sure that there defensive personnel can compete the way they want. This year. Can their backers play in this conference? Can their secondary cover anybody?” Yogi said in a matter-of-fact tone.
Question: Thoughts on Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert?
“I like him. He looks like he’s 12, but he’s put on 20-30 pounds. He makes every throw that is necessary. He’s going to be fun to watch. He can run, move, and put pressure on the defense. I think he’ll do well, depth is a question mark, but they are bringing back all the offensive linemen to help keep him off the ground. Last year, the winning teams in the Pac-12 put up an average of 38 points per game. Can this offense do that? I’m not sure.” Roth said.
Question: Was Justin Wilcox the right hire for California?
“Oh yeah. The energy he is bringing to that program is crazy. The thing that is great about Justin is that he has been training for this opportunity all his life. His work ethic is second to none. You look at where he’s coached and who has helped him along his journey and you just stand in awe of Justin. He’s the right guy for the Cal and Cal is right spot for him.” Roth stated.
Yogi Roth is in tune with the Pac-12 Conference. When he’s on air with the Pac-12 Network or sitting and talking with other media members he’s all about the Pac-12. His thoughts and opinions are always thought out and backed up with stats and personal observations.
If you ever get the chance to talk football with Yogi Roth, take the chance.