theBRKDWN’s College Football Cheat Sheets — PAC-12

Welcome to theBRKDWN’s inaugural College Football Cheat Sheet Series! The slowest time of the sports year is winding down with NFL training camp in full swing and college football kicking off today. 

Not everyone has the time to research and break down every team in college football before the upcoming season, so we at theBRKDWN wanted to help. These cheat sheets will help every college football fanatic be prepared in knowing the ins and outs of the contenders for each division.

Today, we will complete the series with the PAC-12, so sit back, relax, turn on some hype videos and enjoy the cheat sheet series as you prepare for the first full weekend. Enjoy the season!

North

#12 Washington Huskies

  • Return nine starters — seven on offense, two on defense.
  • Rank 108th on Phil Steele’s experience chart. Return 46.3 percent of yards and 37 percent of tackles from last season. Returning offensive linemen have 107 combined starts.
  • Jacob Eason steps in to fill the shoes of four-year starting quarterback Jake Browning. 
  • Schedule highlights: USC Sept. 28, @Stanford Oct. 5, Oregon Oct. 19, Utah Nov. 2, Washington State Friday, Nov. 29
  • Season Projection: Eason should improve on his shaky first-year at Georgia after a season behind Browning in head coach Chris Peterson’s system. He is going to have to drastically improve if the Huskies want to make it back to Santa Clara for the PAC-12 Championship. The defense loses almost all of its key players from a season ago, so I do not believe they will be winning games alone the way they did a season ago. Some regression is in order for the Huskies with so much production lost. 10-2 year.

#13 Oregon Ducks

  • Return 17 starters — 10 on offense, seven on defense.
  • Rank first on the experience chart. Return 80.1 percent of yards and 68.8 percent of tackles from last season. Returning offensive linemen have 153 combined starts.
  • Starting quarterback Justin Herbert shocked the college football world when deciding the return for his senior season.
  • Schedule highlights: vs. Auburn (Dallas) Aug. 31, @Stanford Sept. 21, @Washington Oct. 19, Washington State Oct. 19, @USC Nov. 2
  • Season Projection: The Ducks have all the makings of a CFP-level team this season — a really good senior quarterback, the best offensive line in college football and a high-powered offense. Herbert should be in New York at the end of the season, and if he isn’t, something likely went very wrong for the Ducks along the way. This team will go as far as their defense allows them to. I believe they return enough, as well as add some talented young players, to make it to Santa Clara at the end of the season. 12-1, but on the outside looking-in of the CFP.

#21 Washington State Cougars

  • Return 13 starters — seven on offense, six on defense.
  • Rank 99th on the experience chart. Return 39.5 percent of yards and 57.2 percent of tackles from last season. Returning offensive linemen have 65 combined starts.
  • Schedule highlights: @Utah Sept. 28, @Oregon Oct. 26, Stanford Nov. 16, @Washington Friday, Nov. 29
  • Season Projection: Last season’s starting quarterback Gardner Minshew has moved on to the NFL, unfortunately for head coach Mike Leach and co. Minshew’s arm led this team to a school-record 11 wins last season, so whoever steps in to fill his shoes will have to fill a huge void. Leach’s system will always produce a high-powered offense, but I don’t think it will be powerful enough to get back to double-digit wins. 9-3 for the Cougs.

#23 Stanford Cardinal

  • Return nine starters — four on offense, five on defense.
  • Rank 118th on the experience chart. Return 61.6 percent of yards and 46.7 percent of tackles from a season ago. Returning offensive linemen have only 39 combined starts.
  • Schedule highlights: Northwestern Aug. 31, @USC Sept. 7, @UCF Sept. 14, Oregon Sept. 21, Washington Oct. 5, @Washington State Nov. 16, Notre Dame Nov. 30
  • Season Projection: It’s the good, the bad and the ugly for Stanford this season. The good for head coach David Shaw and Cardinal faithful is starting quarterback K.J. Costello is back for his senior season. The bad is, he’s one of only nine returning starters. The ugly is this schedule is absolutely brutal. They are fortunate enough to get some of the other contenders at home, but I don’t see a way for the Cardinal to navigate their way to Santa Clara. 8-4 on the year.

South

#15 Utah Utes

  • Return 14 starters — seven on each side.
  • Rank 54th on the experience chart. Return 89.7 percent of yards and 51 percent of tackles from a season ago. Returning offensive linemen have only 47 combined starts.
  • Schedule highlights: @USC Friday, Sept. 20, Washington State Sept. 28, @Washington Nov. 2
  • Season Projection: The Utes have the fortunate advantage of playing in the PAC-12 South, where they are virtually the only game in town. Senior starting quarterback Tyler Huntley is going to have to improve on his sub-1,800 yard performance a season ago if the Utes want any shot at competing for anything outside of the PAC-12 South title. I don’t see him having a jump of that size, but Utes fans shouldn’t be upset with another division title. 10-2 season in Utah. Also, I couldn’t resist.

PAC-12 Championship (Santa Clara, CA)

Oregon 31 vs. Utah 17

  • I believe Oregon’s offense will be strong enough to allow them to navigate their way through the North on their way to another PAC-12 crown. The combination of the best offensive line in college football with one of the most talented quarterbacks is a lethal one, and one I do not foresee Utah being able to stop. I just hope there are more than 100 fans this year for the game.

If you missed the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 or ACC Cheat Sheets, head over to theBRKDWN to check them out!


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