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Adjusting Preseason College Football Power Ratings – Part II

Last week I wrote an article about Adjusting Preseason College Football Power Ratings and I used the Pac-12 South as an example.

This week we’ll do the same thing with the Pac-12 North.

Here is what my Pac-12 North Power Ratings looked like at the end of the 2018 college football season:

Washington – 87
Wazzu – 82.5
Stanford – 81.5
Oregon – 78.5
Cal – 78
Oregon State – 60

Now let’s go team-by-team and make the initial Power Ratings adjustment for each position group.

CALIFORNIA

QB +1 (10): This was arguably the worst QB position group in the conference last year (Pac-12 high 20 INTs). Garbers was the main starter (10 starts) and he wasn’t really very effective – 14-10 TD to INT ratio and dead last among Pac 12 starters with a 119.88 pass efficiency ratio – but he was also a freshman, so he should have a better command of the offense this year. The Bears also add UCLA transfer Devon Modster (2 starts in 2017). There is really only one way for this group to go in 2019.

RB -1 (6): Cal loses their leading rusher for the past two years Patrick Laird and last years 2nd & 3rd leading rushers were QBs. Which leaves sophomore Chris Brown (37-148-1) as the leading returning rusher at running back.

However, offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin feels good about his running backs, so we’ll need to keep an eye on this position group. Perhaps the drop off in production will be minimal?

WR -1 (5.5): This group had zero playmakers last year and their top four receivers have moved on, leaving senior Jordan Duncan (20-267-4), Michigan transfer Kekoa Crawford and a bunch of underclassmen as options. If there are any gamebreakers on the roster they’ll need to emerge from this group. I’m skeptical.

OL -0.5 (10): This was an OK line last year finishing 6th in the Pac-12 at 4.20 yards per carry, but 11th in sacks allowed with 36. They lose 3 starters, but return 2 starters and 2 part-time starters, so any drop off will probably be minimal.

Offensive Summary -1.5 (31.5): This was a really bad offense last year. Cal finished 121st nationally at 4.99 yards per play and they finished last in the country in Red Zone offense.

They finished dead last in the Pac-12 averaging 344 ypp, 21.5 ppg and 186.2 passing yards per game. They also threw 20 interceptions, the second most in the country.

Now they lose their leading rusher, top 4 receivers and 3 starters along the O-line, so any type of improvement may be hard to come by, especially with no obvious playmakers at the skill positions.

“Offensively,” said HC Wilcox, “we’ve got to develop some explosiveness.”

I believe that if Garbers (or Modster) can cut down on the interceptions, perhaps this offense can at least be more efficient in 2019.  

DL 0 (10.5): Cal should have another good defense, but this is the one area with some questions. Especially the NT position after the departure of Chris Palmer. Fuimaono (still on the raw side) and Maldonado (still on the small side) will try and replace the lost production. At worst, I don’t see the run defense faring any worse (3rd in the Pac-12 w/ 3.61 yards per rush allowed). Cal is fine at the DE positions, the Bears were 4th in the conference with 31 sacks last year.

LB 0 (9): Despite the loss of two very productive starters (2nd leading tackler Kunaszyk & 7th Funchess), this is still one of the top linebacker units in the conference. Leading tackler and second team All-Pac 12 Evan Weaver returns, as does linebacker Cam Goode, who was injured last season but may be the most talented LB on the team. Add JC transfer Kuony Deng to the mix and the linebacker corps projects as even more athletic than it was last year,

SEC +0.5 (10): This is one of the top secondaries in the country. Last year Cal led the PAC-12 in pass defense (175.1 ypg), pass efficiency defense (107.25) and interceptions (21). Of the seven DBs in last year’s rotation, six return, including all 4 starters.

“We’re spoiled a bit,” Wilcox says of this deep, experienced set of ball-hawking defensive backs.

Defensive Summary +0.5 (29.5): This was one of the top D’s in the country last year. Cal was 15th in the nation in total defense, giving up just 317.2 ypg and 22nd in scoring defense allowing 20.4 ppg. They return 8 of their top 10 tacklers, the secondary is one of the best in the country, and the front seven has experience. The Bears have all the pieces in place to field another top-notch unit.

Special Teams +0 (8): Nearly everyone returns to a solid special teams unit. The punting game should be among the Pac-12’s best thanks to the return of Australian Steven Coutts (41.46 average last year).

Coaching +0 (8): I like Justin Wilcox, a lot. He and DC Tim DeRuyter turned this defense around in a hurry and they’ve now got it performing at a high level. This is Wilcox’s third year at Cal, and if he can get better QB play from an anemic offense, this could be his best team yet.

Final Grade 77 (-1) 

Oregon 

QB: +0.5 (12.5): Not much needs to be said here. Potential Heisman candidate and first round draft choice. However, I didn’t give Herbert the full 13 points for two reasons. First, would you pick Herbert over Trevor Lawrence? Probably not, so he’s not the best QB in the country. Second, statistically last year he wasn’t even the best QB in the Pac-12. Herbert finished 4th in the conference in passing (242.4 ypg) and passer rating (144.06) and he only completed 59.4% of his passes (8th in the Pac-12). 

RB: +1 (7.5): CJ Verdell and Travis Dye were Oregon’s top two rushers last year as freshmen. They combined to average 26.31 carries per game and 135.15 yards per game. They’re solid and should only improve in their second season, but they lacked big plays last year – Oregon finished 107th in S&P+ rushing marginal explosiveness.

WR: -0.5 (7): This unit struggled last year – an FBS worst 52 dropped passes according to Phil Steele – and now they lose their top receiver Dillon Mitchell (NFL 7th round). The Ducks do return 6 of their top 7 receivers and they add Penn State grad transfer Juwan Johnson who has NFL size and enough deep speed to stretch the field. 

OL: +1 (13): This is one of the best and most experienced O-lines in the country. All five starters return, including four all-conference players, and seven linemen overall have combined for 153 starts. LG Shane Lemieux and RT Calvin Throckmorton are legitimate NFL prospects. 

Offensive Summary +2 (40) 

This was a very good offense last year finishing 3rd in the conference in total offense (427.2 ypg) & 2nd in points (34.8 ppg). And now the Ducks return a potential first-round draft choice & Heisman trophy caliber QB, a pair of solid running backs, most of their receiving corps and their entire offensive line. They could use some big-play threats, but this is my highest rated offense in the conference. 

DL: +0.5 (10.5): Three starters return to a solid D-line. The Ducks were 4th in the conference last year allowing 3.73 yards per carry and they tied for 5th in sacks. They do lose All-Pac-12 DE Jalen Jelks (NFL 7th round pick), but they do add the nations #1 recruit DE Kayvon Thibodeaux. 

LB: +0 (8): The Ducks lose two starters from a solid LB unit, including NFL 5th round draft selection Justin Hollins. But they return leading tackler and all-conference first team OLB Troy Dye, 9 game starter La’Mar Winston on the other side and several experienced underclassmen in the middle. 

SEC: +0.5 (9): This is Oregon’s best defensive unit. They do lose Lombardi Award winning FS Ugo Amadi (NFL 4th round pick), but they return three starters and four of last year’s five primary DBs, and overall this is a more experienced secondary than it was a year ago. 

Defensive Summary +1 (27.5): This is a good defensive unit, but nothing special. Last year they finished 6th in the Pac-12 in both total defense (385.9 ypg) & points allowed (25.4ppg). The pass defense was a mediocre 8th in the conference allowing 241.6 ypg and 24 TD passes (10th). If new DC Andy Avalos (from Boise State) can figure out how to upgrade the pass rush, this could be one of the top D’s in the Pac-12. 

Special Teams: 0 (7): Not much movement here. The Ducks weren’t very good on special teams last year and based on the returning personnel, they don’t figure to much better this year.

Coach: +0.5 (7.5): I gave Cristobal and staff the usual +0.5 second year bump, but I’m not so sure they deserve it. Oregon returned 14 starters last year and started the year 5-1 with a win over Washington (and the one loss was a choke against Stanford). Then they lost three straight road games, including a 44-15 beat down in Tucson. Who the f**k loses in Tucson? LOL! 

82 (+3.5) 

OREGON STATE

QB: +0.5 (9): Luton has good size (6-7, 225), but he’s really not a very good QB (9th in the Pac-12 in passing & 7th in passer rating). However, this will be his second season in HC Smith/OC Lindgren’s offense, and there is solid talent at the skill positions, so I would expect the numbers to increase. Highly touted Nebraska QB transfer Tristan Gebbia also joins the QB mix. 

RB: +1 (8): Jermar Jefferson and Artavis Pierce form one of the Pac-12’s best and most versatile running back units. Jefferson rushed for 1,380 yards last year as a freshman (239-1380-12) and Pierce rushed for 408 yards (54-408-4). 

WR: +1 (7.5): In all, 11 of the top 12 wide receivers are back, including Isaiah Hodgins and Trevon Bradford, who combined for 115 receptions, 1,525 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. They also add another highly touted Nebraska transfer in Tyjon Lindsey.

OL: +0.5 (8): This group was HORRIBLE last season. They allowed a national-worst 48 sacks and they also allowed 99 tackles for loss (126th). They return 2 starters – left guard Gus Lavaka and left tackle Blake Brandel — who have combined for 67 career starts. But the other four players with starting experience are gone. However, they do add former Arizona center Nathan Eldridge (25 career starts), and overall career starts go from 82 to 92, so an improvement, even ever so slight, should be expected.

Offensive Summary 32.5 (+3): The Beaver offense was middle-of-the-Pac-12 on most categories last year averaging 404.8 ypg (6th), 155.58 ypg rushing (7th), 249.2 ypg passing (5th) and 26.1 ppg (9th). However, with improved QB play, solid personnel at the skill positions and an experienced O-line, HC Smith has reason to believe that the offense will be improved in 2019. 

DL: +0.5 (7.5): If 14 is the highest possible grade I give for a D-line, which would make it the best in the country (think Clemson & Alabama last year), and a 7 is the lowest grade, meaning it would be the worst D-line in the country, improvement – again, even if slight – is expected.

LB: +1 (7): If this defense has a strength, this is it. Seven of the top eight linebackers return, including Hamlicar Rashed the team’s best playmaker. Shemar Smith is back on the inside after coming up with 85 stops and the Beavers add four-star linebacker transfer Avery Roberts from Nebraska. All things considered, this should also be an improved unit.

SEC: +1 (6.5): Another poor position group that returns a lot of experience. Eight of the top nine DBs, including 6 with starting experience return to a unit that allowed a Pac-12 worst 33 TD passes, an FBS-worst 161.21 pass efficiency rating and a national worst 3 ints. Again, no where to go but up. 

Defensive Summary 21 (+2.5): Not a lot needs to be said here. The Beavers had the worst Power 5 D in the nation last year allowing 536.8 yards and 45.7 points per game (WTF!), and they had a national-worst eight takeaways (WTF II).

But as I’ve said several times before, they’ll be a more experienced unit with the top ten tacklers and eight starters returning along with seven JUCO transfers.

ST: +0.5 (6.5): P Rodriguez was okay, but PK Choukair was only 12-20. Everyone returns so as usual there is only one way to go.

Coach: +0.5 (6.5): I ranked Sumlin and Edwards at 7’s in their first year at their new schools because each had previous HC experience. I ranked Smith at 6 last year — same as I have Mel Tucker at CU this year — because he had ZERO HC experience. 

66.5 (+6.5) 

STANFORD 

QB +1 (12): KJ Costello put up some strong numbers last year as he was 2nd in the Pac-12 in passing yards per game (272.3 ypg) and TDs (29) and he led the league and was 15th in the country in pass efficiency rating (154.97). He was especially good against bad defenses and merely solid against good Ds. Nevertheless, he is still one of the top QBs in the country, but surpassing last years production will be tough. 

RB -1 (7): The reason Stanford had to rely on the passing game so much last year was because the running game, despite an NFL caliber running back on the roster (Bryce Love 4th round draft choice), sucked! Granted Love was often injured and never 100% last year, but returning RBs Cameron Scarlett and Trevor Speights are nowhere near the gamebreaker that Love was. 

WR -1 (7.5): The Cardinal lose its top three receivers from 2018 — J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (NFL second-round draft pick), Trenton Irwin and tight end Kaden Smith (NFL 6th round pick — a trio that combined for more than 64 percent of the team’s receptions.

Typically, when you lose 2 NFL draft selections, I’d downgrade this position group 1.5 to 2 points, but the coaches don’t seem too worried. There’s a lot of young talent on hand, starting with 6-7, 240-pound junior TE Colby Parkinson. “Colby Parkinson is going to be mentioned among the best tight ends in America, if not the best,” HC Shaw.

OL -1 (10.5): Stanford’s O-line SUCKED last year. That seems crazy to say, especially with all the talent on hand, but the Cardinal finished last season 123rd out of 130 FBS teams in rushing yards per game (107.9), and a just-barely better 112th in yards per carry (3.65.). Now they lose 4 starters and 120 career starts.

The good news is that this is Stanford and they once again have some uber talent available, starting with Jr. first-team All PAC-12 LT Walker Little and former 5* RS So. RT Foster Sarell. 

Offensive Summary 37 (-2): The offense loses 3 NFL draft selections at the skill positions and 4 multi-year starters along the offensive line, so I had to downgrade this unit overall. But despite the conference’s most efficient passing game last year, the Cardinal still finished 11th in the conference in total offense and only averaged 28 points per game (5th). I’m betting any downturn is minimal.

DL +1 (11): The D-line returns mostly intact and it is the deepest the Cardinal have been in several years. “As long as all those guys stay healthy, that’s a pretty good group of defensive linemen that are getting better and better all the time,” DC Lance Anderson said. Stanford had a strong pass rush last year finishing 3rd in the Pac-12 with 36 sacks, but they finished 6th in the Pac-12 in yards per rush allowed (3.99). Both of those numbers could improve this year. 

LB -1 (7.5): Stanford is loaded at OLB with fifth-year senior Casey Toohill, a former starter who missed the majority of last season; third-year sophomore Gabe Reid, who led the squad in sacks (5.5) last year; returning tackles-for-loss leader Jordan Fox (9.5); and budding star 6-4, 240-pound sophomore Andres Fox, who moved to outside linebacker this spring after playing on the D-line last season.

On the inside Stanford loses its two leading tacklers, Bobby Okereke (NFL 3rd round pick) and Sean Barton, and none of the returnees there have played even 50 career snaps.

SEC +1 (7.5): Despite the loss of CB Alijan Holder, Stanford is loaded at cornerback with Freshman AA Paulson Adebo, junior Obi Eboh, and sophomore Kendall Williamson. Safety Malik Antoine returns, too. This should be a solid secondary, but we need to keep in mind that despite a really good pass rush last year, the Cardinal still allowed 264 yards per game passing (11th), though they were 5th in pass efficiency rating at 127.79.

Defensive Summary 26 (+1): Stanford returns 5 starters to a defense that wasn’t anything special last year. They held 7 bad to mediocre offense to 17 points of less, but they allowed 38 or more points on 4 occasions. They’re loaded at DE, OLB & CB, but the backbone of the D — namely, the inside linebackers and safeties — is unproven. 

ST: +0 (8.5): Second-team All-Pac-12 PK Jet Toner returns (14-15 FGs last year) as does everyone else except punter Jake Bailey (44.06 avg … Pac-12 3rd). The Cardinal should have another solid special teams unit. 

Coach: +0 (9): Only Washington has a better coaching staff than Stanford. 

80.5 (-1) 

Stanford Cardinal cornerback Paulson Adebo (11)

WASHINGTON 

QB -1 (10.5): The Huskies are trading proven experience for 5* potential. Jacob Eason started 13 games at Georgia, but he hasn’t thrown a meaningful pass in nearly two years. So, until proven otherwise, I’m dropping this position group down a notch after losing the school career passing leader. 

RB -1 (7.5): Somewhat similar situation as at QB. UW loses their career rushing leader, NFL 7th round draft pick Myles Gaskin. But projected starter Salvon Ahmed isn’t necessarily an upgrade in talent. However, overall this group looks solid on paper, and a trio of highly touted ball carriers will try qual or exceed Gaskins production.   

WR +0.5 (8): Washington returns every wideout who caught a pass last year. However, they need a few playmakers from that group to step forward. No one established themselves as a truly dominant #1 target last year. 

OL+1 (12); Despite losing four-year starter and NFL 1st round draft pick Kaleb McGary at RT, this line is loaded. Four returning starters and the return from injury of 6’8 left tackle Trey Adams (first-team all-conference in 2016, 32 career starts) gives UW tremendous veteran experience on the line. The Huskies boast 106 career starts up front. 

Offensive Summary 38 (-0.5): UW loses a ton of (career) production from an offense that struggled to score last year — The Huskies’ red-zone touchdown percentage, 56.45, ranked 105th nationally. Washington has a seasoned O-line, deep receiving corps and the running will probably be fine. The only real question is whether or not Jacob Eason will be an upgrade over Jake Browning. Only time will tell.

DL -1 (11.5): The Huskies lose a pair of all-conference D-linemen, including 4th round draft pick Greg Gaines at DT. Junior DE Levi Onwuzurike, a five-game starter last season, should step into a starring role, and fifth-year senior DE Benning Potoa’e, an outside linebacker the past three season, now is listed as a defensive line starter. The Huskies are also loaded with young, unproven talent. I look for this unit to take a step back as that talent matures. 

LB -1.5 (8): UW loses their top two tacklers, including the Pac-12 DPOY & NFL 5th round draft choice Ben Burr-Kirven, who led the country with a 176 tackles. Outside of seniors Brandon Wellington and Kyler Manu, there isn’t a ton of experience here. This unit definitely figures to be down a notch or two. 

SEC -1.5 (8.5): The Huskies had three DBs selected in this year’s NFL draft, two in the second round and another in the sixth round. Senior Myles Bryant and juniors Elijah Molden and Keith Taylor bring experience, but they lack the playmaking ability of guys like Rapp and Murphy. However, similar to the D-line, the Huskies are loaded with young, unproven talent. But this unit also figures to be down a few notches.

Summary Defense 28 (-4): This was the Pac-12’s best defense last season – first in total defense (306.2 ypg) & points allowed (16.4 ppg) – but the Huskies will be hard pressed to match those numbers this year. They lose 9 defensive starters, including 5 NFL draft picks. Word out of Seattle is that despite being considerably less experienced, this will be the most athletic defense yet under Petersen. Still, matching last year’s production with so much inexperience seems unlikely. 

ST +0.5 (7.5): This unit was actually below average last year, especially in the return game. Everyone returns and improvement is imminent. 

Coach: +0 (9.5): This is the Pac-12’s best coaching staff. 

83 (-4) 

WASHINGTON STATE 

QB -1 (11): Tough to see Gubrud or Gordon matching Gardner Minshew’s production — – Minshew hit 71% of his passes for 4,779 yards and 38 scores — but I think that is what I said last year at this time about Minshew matching Falk’s numbers. Gubrud put up massive numbers at Eastern Washington and Gordon is a veteran of the system coming off a great spring. Whoever wins the QB battle will put up some big numbers, I’m just a bit skeptical that they’ll match last year’s phenomenal efficiency and output. 

RB -1 (7.5): Leading rusher James Williams left early for the NFL – he rushed for 560 and had a school record for running backs with 83 receptionsbut Max Borghi was really productive in his freshman season. He had 366 yards rushing (8 TDs) and 374 yards receiving (53-374-4). It’s a thin and inexperienced group in the backfield after him. 

REC +1 (8.5): Wazzu returns their top four receivers, and seven of their top eight, so this looks to be the deepest and most experienced position group on the team. 

OL +0 (11): The Cougars lose a good one – All-American LT Andre Dillard (1st round draft choice – but they return 5 players with starting experience, including 4 full-time starters. Wazzu ranked first in the nation in sack rate allowed, a paltry 1.9 percent (WOW!). 

“We’ve got four of the five back, and that’s definitely beneficial, no question about that,” Leach said. 

Offensive Summary 38 (-1): Whoever wins the QB battle will have an experienced supporting cast to work with it, and this is going to be a very good, productive offense. But matching Minshew’s Heisman like numbers may be too much to ask for. 

DL 0 (10.5): Wazzu led the Pac-12 in sacks (38) and finished second in tackles for loss (88) last year. The run D wasn’t as good allowing 4.11 yards per carry (7th in the conference). They lose two starters, but they add former West Virginia Freshman AA Lamonte McDougle at NT. The lone returning starter is junior DT Will Rodgers. DC Tracy Claeys calls him “extremely explosive” and DL coach Jeff Phelps says he’s capable of becoming a major force in 2019.

LB -0.5 (7.5): The Cougars lose leading tackler Peyton Pelluer (fifth-most tackles in WSU history), but the linebacking corps looks to be in good shape with returning starter Willie Taylor and Dominick Silvels handling most of the pass rushing duties, and junior Jahad Woods (Pac-12 HM last year) a rock-solid, do-it-all playmaker on the outside. Juniors Justus Rogers and Dillon Sherman are taking over for Pelluer on the inside. 

SEC -1.5 (7.5): Marcus Strong returns at one cornerback, but the loss of three-year starting SS Jalen Thompson is a big blow to this secondary. Thompson was one of the Pac-12’s best safeties, but he’s going pro after being ruled ineligible thanks to an NCAA violation. The Cougars will be relying on a trio of highly touted JUCO’s to fill in for the departing starters.

Defensive Summary 25.5 (-2): Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys enters his second season after assembling a very productive unit last year. The Cougars were 4th in the Pac-12 in total defense (359.5 ypg), 5th in scoring defense (23.3 ppg), and as noted before they led the league in sacks (38) and finished second in tackles for loss (88).

I look for similar results from the front seven – another good pass rush but only average production against the run. But the pass defense, which finished 4th in the conference last year figures to be down a couple of notches.

ST +0.5 (8.5): The Cougars return almost everyone to an outstanding special teams unit. 

Coach: +0 … 8: I’m not a big Mike Leach fan. I still remember that New Mexico Bowl where all that idiot had to do was have his QB take a knee and they win. Instead he just keeps passing the ball. The QB gets stripped, Colorado State scores to force OT and Wazzu ends up losing outright. But the guy does know how to produce a productive offense, and Tracy Claeys looks like a solid DC, so I begrudgingly give them an 8. 

80 (-2.5)

In summary, here are my initial PAC 12 North Power Ratings for the beginning of the 2019 college football season:

Washington – 83 (-4)
Oregon – 82 (+3.5)
Stanford – 80.5 (-1)
Wazzu – 80 (-2.5)
California – 77 (-1)
Oregon State – 66.5 (+6.5)

Unit by Unit Rankings:

At this point I like to compare my numbers against the current GOY lines posted at 5Dimes (or any of the other offshore sportsbooks). This will give you an idea of how your current numbers shape up against the bookmakers.

Cal @ UW -13 … My number is UW -9
Stanford @ USC -4.5 … my number is spot on
Oregon -2 @ Stanford … my number is Stanford -1.5
UCLA @ Wazzu -6.5 … my number is Wazzu -5.5
ASU @ Cal -2.5 … my number is Cal -1.5
USC @ UW -8.5 … my number is UW -5
Wazzu @ Utah -5.5 … my number is spot on
UW -1 @ Stanford … my number is -0.5
CU @ Oregon -16.5 … my number is Oregon -14.5
UCLA @ Stanford -4.5 … my number is Stanford -5.5
Oregon @ UW -4 … my number is spot on
Wazzu @ Oregon -6 … my number is Oregon -5
Oregon @ USC PK … my number is USC -2
Utah @ UW -4.5 … my number is UW -3.5
UW -18 @ Oregon St … my number is UW -13.5
Wazzu -4 @ Cal … my number is a PK
USC -3.5 @ Cal … my number is USC -1
Stanford @Wazzu -5.5 … my number is Wazzu -2.5
Cal @ Stanford -7.5 … my number is Stanford -7
UW -10.5 @ Colorado … my number is UW -9.5
Wazzu @ UW -6.5 … my number is UW -6
Oregon St @ Oregon -23.5 … my number is Oregon -18.5

I’m off on a few of these by a pretty large margin. Based on the current market, I appear to be either overrating Cal, Oregon State & Stanford or underrating Oregon, Washington and maybe even Washington State.

Most of my numbers against the South appear to be pretty accurate, except where USC is involved. My USC numbers vs UW, Oregon and Cal are off by 2-3.5 points. Which leads me to believe that my UW & Oregon numbers are too low vs the market and my Cal number is too high.

However …. some notes:

Cal – Based on the current market point spreads, my Cal number looks to be high. However, I really cannot see grading Cal out any lower. In fact, I’ve downgraded their offensive number by 1.5 points, but I really don’t believe their offense will be any worse than it was last year and if they get better QB play, it might at least be more efficient (i.e. less turnovers …. which will only help the defense). 

Oregon – I’ve graded the Duck offense as the best in the conference and I’ve graded their defense just below Cal, Utah and Washington, the three best D’s in the league last year. So I don’t see any obvious areas in which I have them underrated.

Oregon State – I know +6.5 points is a huge bump, but the Beavers should have a solid offense and at least a more experienced defense. And I still have this defense graded out as the lowest D in the Pac-12 on every level.

Stanford – I downgraded this offense by 2 points. Mainly because of the losses along the O-line and at RB. But … for whatever reason both of those units sucked last year and I don’t believe they’ll be any worse this year. Defensively, this is a solid defense, but nothing special. 

Washington – I know all the media and apparently the oddsmakers are still in love with UW. And yes I agree they have a TON of young talent ready to take over. But EIGHT NFL draft picks lost? And that doesn’t even include your 4-year starting QB who holds the school record for passing yards. Maybe I downgraded them too much …. or I had them underrated last year. But until proven otherwise, I’m proceeding with caution on the UW just “reloading” mantra.

Washington State – The Cougars are going to be really good again this year. But that offense was nearly flawless last season with Minshew’s quick release helping the O-line put up nearly perfect sack numbers. They had an easy Pac-12 road schedule last year. It’s a lot more difficult this year. 

I will continue to refine these numbers as we approach the 2019 season.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. 

 

 

 

 

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