PAC-12 North: 2015 Preview
If Week 1 of college football is any indication -- and it probably isn't -- one thing is clear.
Oregon will cruise to the Pac-12 North title unless California upgrades it defense.
Questions have arisen, but Oregon will still be the pursued.
Thus, the aforementioned transfer, QB Vernon Adams, will need to engineer what the Ducks expect to be another point-a-minute offense in 2015. Royce Freeman, who scored three touchdowns on opening day, will be the featured running back.
If Stanford gets any more conservative on offense, it'll become the Republican presidential nominee. QB Kevin Hogan must improve, as he only passed for 155 yards. Worse, Stanford only rushed for 85 more. USC looms for Stanford in two weeks, so they need to turn the season around right away.
The second half of that game seemed to show the young Huskies morphing into what could be a surprisingly solid squad. True freshman QB Jake Browning still needs his offensive line to mature in a hurry, but he's got WRs like Dante Pettis, and a power RB with good wheels in Dwayne Washington.
There's speed on both sides of the ball, but this team is at least a year away from challenging in the division.
California could be the sleeper in this year's division race.
The Bears started out by crushing Grambling in a glorified scrimmage, 73-14. Sonny Dykes has turned the fortunes around in Strawberry Canyon, with QB Jared Goff well-positioned to have a spectacular season. WR Kenny Lawler is a ball magnet, defenses be damned.
However, the first D to be damned is that of the CalBears. Unless they get a clue, readers won't be able to tell by the scorelines if it's football or basketball season.
The Beavers rushed for 281 yards in their 26-7 vicory over the Wildcats, they only had 110 yards passing. Freshman Seth Collins struggled throwing but ran for 152 yards. His development will be the centerpiece in the team's progress, as this season will be all about Andersen positioning his program.
Then there's Washington State and their free spirit of a coach in Mike Leach.
Playing in a rainstorm at home against FCS Portland State, the Cougars blew a 10-0 halftime lead and lost, 24-17, in what can only be described as a typical Coug reaction to being installed as 31-point favorites.
Odds are they'll bounce back.
Sophomore Luke Falk is the quarterback and -- typical of Leach's Air Raid attack -- threw for 289 yards, but Wazzu only rushed for a total of 104. And, like the CalBears, sooner or later, the Cougars must step up on defense.
Of course, where there's Leach, controversy won't be far behind. The Cougars next travel across the country to face a Rutgers team in turmoil, and yet the headlines are a disparaging Leach comment from last year about New Jersey football.
As if candid quotes aren't hard enough to come by these days.