Pac-12 South: SoCal Diet
It could well be old friends UCLA and USC fighting for the Pac12 South football championship in 2014.
Arizona State, of course, will try to defend its division title, and Arizona plans to move up in the standings. Utah? Colorado? Some lovely parting gifts will be arranged.
It's the SoCal contingent that looks loaded with higher-caliber talent this time around.
These dudes do tacky well, but hey, we've had worse here. And they've got a sack of stats to share:
UCLA will indeed pin its hopes on quarterback Brett Hundley, who could've been a high draft pick had he left early for the NFL last year. When not running, he'll be throwing to receivers such as Devin Fuller and Jordan Payton.
USC is looking to get back into the mix after probation and two tough seasons, which cost Lane Kiffin his job. Steve Sarkisian takes over as the new head coach, and the Trojans are looking to retrun to their perch atop of the Pac12. Good luck with that, at least in 2014. Cody Kessler is back at quarterback, and while USC may not be ready this season, they believe it won't be long before the Trojans are back in the realistic race for the Rose Bowl.
Arizona State lost to Stanford in last seasons' Pac 12 title game. OK, that's being kind. They got smashed.
Coach Todd Graham will look for quarterback Taylor Kelly to have another great season but with less to work with, as the Sun Devils have graduated many key players.
Meanwhile, a short cruise down I-10 finds the Rich Rodriguez era is now in full swing at Arizona. The Wildcats hope to improve on last season's 8-5 record. He does need a quarterback, and the running game is thin, but recruiting has picked up, and Arizona should make some noise this fall. The schedule has hair, though; the 'Cats must travel to Oregon and UCLA but at least they get their rivalry game at home against Arizona State.
Which brings to mind, is the Territorial Cup the best they could do? Not Shootout at the AZ Corral or something?
No such thing as a Cover 2 back then.
The Utes ..
... had to do it ...
Anyway, they're thin at quarterback, have to travel to Stanford and UCLA, and even scheduled a game at Michigan, which won't help their record or their team's health, for that matter. The Buffaloes jumped to four wins last season in Mike MacIntyre's first year at the helm, including a Pac12 victory over California. (Well, it still counts!) Colorado hopes running back Tony Jones will come into his own this season and help improve their record in 2014, but that's going to be a tall order.
The Pac 12 South may come down to one game. USC plays UCLA on 22 November. If one or both stumble badly -- again, parity and a nine-game league schedule likely means two losses should be considered a success in this conference -- it's the good ol' Territorial Cup that comes into play six days later.
By then, the Sun Devils and Wildcats should be locked and loaded for an allegorical shootout of sorts.