You know that person who is always late to the party? In 2020 for college football, that perpetually late fella is the Pac-12.
Starting on Saturday, November 7th, the conference, despite impressive safety measures during the time of the coronavirus, starts their season later than every other major conference. And as I mentioned last week, that’s fine and all…as long as they’re content to admit that even a dominant, undefeated conference champion has no shot at the current four team College Football Playoff.
Personally I’m all for expanding the CFP to 6 or 8 this year only to include each of the five power conference champs + a Group of 5 representative, surely not to be Central Florida after their stunning home loss to Tulsa last weekend.
Being that I haven’t missed a University of Arizona home game in Tucson since 2006, the prospect of no fans saddens me to no end. My 85+ consecutive home game attendance streak is likely to end…but considering how awful I think this year’s team will be, maybe it’s not a bad thing.
With limited analysis since, let’s be honest, we don’t know which star players will be in or out for the conference in 2020, here’s an early guess at how the regular season results will look (winners are circled).
Projected regular season standings:
Oregon State: 1-5
Washington State: 1-5
Assuming every team plays its comparable foe from the other division’s standings during Championship Weekend, I have the North only losing the championship game and winning the other five matchups. Needless to say, the Northern California, Oregon, and Washington schools seem to be, on paper, collectively better than their southern counterparts this season.
Championship Week Matchups:
Championship Game: USC over Cal
Oregon over ASU
Washington over UCLA
Stanford over Utah
Oregon State over Arizona
Washington State over Colorado
If Clay Helton parlays narrowly saving his job the last two seasons into a conference championship and potentially a further extension, he would seemingly have more lives than a cat.
On to this week’s picks where I’ve stunk up the joint in recent weeks. It’s hard to call myself an ‘expert’ the way I’m picking games this season!
EC: Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss team puts a scare into his old boss, Nick Saban’s ‘Bama squad, keeping it within one score through three quarters. But in the 4th, Alabama does the opposite of what a top-Big 12 team would do, and dominates the quarter en route to a fairly convincing win.
AL: Oklahoma goes down in the Red River Shootout, their 3rd loss in a row. You have to think Lincoln Riley is regretting that million-dollar contact they gave Alex Grinch last season. As always with the Big 12 and OU, I’m not sure they can turn it around on that side of the ball, and with a freshman QB and questions on offense as well, I think they go down against Oklahoma State later in the year at Bedlam…and maybe in Lubbock against Texas Tech. A FIVE loss Oklahoma Sooners team?
JB: Defense optional in the Red River Showdown, and Big Game Tom (Herman) doesn’t need to show up on Saturday since OU/Texas is…no longer a big game. While all eyes are on Clemson-Miami, the game of the week belongs to the SEC East and upstart Tennessee, who takes the nation’s longest – and quietest – winning streak into Athens, Georgia. I didn’t buy into the Bulldogs as my pick last week and was proven dead wrong. Tennessee keeps it close, but the ‘Dawgs pull it out at home in a defensive battle.
SM: Arkansas proves that they are a better program than the team that had not won an SEC game for nearly three years. The Razorbacks keep it close with Auburn the entire way until the Tigers score the TD to put them up for good very late in the 4th quarter. Pig Sooie!!
Trying an all-CFB Pick 5 this week as my NFL picks definitely aren’t working…
Week 5 Pick 5 Selections:
Last Week: 1-4
Florida -6.5 at Texas A&M
Oklahoma -1.5 vs. Texas (I don’t know why I’m picking this game…but something tells me OU won’t lose 3 in a row)
Syracuse +2.5 vs. Duke
Texas Tech +12.5 at Iowa State
Ole Miss +23 vs. Alabama