- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN Staff Writer
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And I have one of those very loud, stupid laughs. I mean if I ever sat behind myself in a movie or something, I'd probably lean over and tell myself to please shut up.
Previews, previews, previews. Lots of them hit the web yesterday. Fox, SI and Athlon all had major Pac-12 pieces.
Here’s Mandel’s take on the Ducks:
The string of 11- and 12-win seasons can’t go on forever, and despite the return of star quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Ducks’ once-unstoppable offense showed cracks last year following Chip Kelly’s departure. Oregon’s defense may miss retired coordinator Nick Aliotti.
There’s a couple of ways to interpret this. First, Mandel -- a good friend who knows college football as well as anyone in the country -- is brilliant. And when the Huskies are walking away with the North title, he’s going to have a satisfied grin on his face for the entire offseason. Or, he could be wrong. Nothing wrong with putting yourself out there.
The country seems high on the No. 25 Huskies. For the national voters to place them in the Top 25 after losing their starting quarterback, a Doak Walker finalist running back and a Mackey Award winning tight end speaks to how highly Chris Petersen is regarded as a head coach. And maybe, just maybe those East of the Rockies are starting to pay the Pac-12 a little more national respect.
But as the Pac-12 blog is fond of saying (and so is every single coach in America), the final rankings are the only ones that matter. So a tip of the cap to Mandel for by far the boldest prediction of this preseason.
Some other previews:
SI’s Lindsey Schnell has Oregon and UCLA playing in the Pac-12 title game -- a common pick among most media, including the Pac-12 blog -- UCLA’s Myles Jack as the league’s defensive MVP. That’s another fairly bold prediction considering the quality of players like Leonard Williams, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Shaq Thompson, Hau'oli Kikaha and Jack’s teammate, Eric Kendricks. That’s going to be a fun award to keep an eye on throughout the season.
A couple different posts have come out over the last two days about must-see games. Let’s put it this way – if you plan on watching Oregon, Stanford or UCLA, you’re covered.
First up, Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports has his annual list of the 25 most intriguing games of the 2014 season and five of the 25 involve Pac-12 teams. From his list:
No. 2 Michigan State at Oregon (Sept. 6)
No. 4 UCLA at Texas (Sept. 13)
No. 7 Stanford at Oregon (Nov. 1)
No. 14 Oregon at UCLA (Oct. 11)
No. 17 USC at Stanford (Sept. 6)
Next up is Athlon Sports, which posted 25 must-see games specific to the Pac-12. Here’s their top 5:
No. 1 Stanford at Oregon
No. 2 Oregon at UCLA
No. 3 Michigan State at Oregon
No. 4 USC at UCLA
No. 5. Stanford at UCLA
You can see some interesting opinions in terms of placement. But for the most part all of the major games are covered.
Athlon also came out with its rankings of the top 37 players in the Pac-12.
Here’s what their top 10 looks like:
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Leonard Williams, DE, USC
Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
Ifo-Ekpre Olomu, CB, Oregon
Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Taylor Kelly, QB, ASU
Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State
Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon
Jaelen Strong, WR, ASU
The top four are identical to what the Pac-12 blog had for its Top 25 players. Though we lumped a trio of receivers in our 5-10 and gave the nod to Agholor over Strong for his special teams contributions.
Also, Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News released his all-conference projections for 2014. Not a lot of surprises, though it’s interesting to see UCLA’s Jordon James get the nod over Oregon’s Byron Marshall.
An interesting piece on Jesse Scroggins and his offseason car accident.
Mic’d up sessions are always awesome. Mike Norvell’s is no exception.
Some updates from Adam Jude on Washington’s position battles in this video with Chris Petersen.
Oregon’s Arik Armstead has bulked up his body and his mind, writes Aaron Fentress of Comcast Sportsnet.
A look at Oregon State’s Obum Gwacham’s transition from receiver to defensive end.
My interview with ESPN 700 in Salt Lake City talking Travis Wilson and Pac-12.
Some Stanford news and notes.
A look at the Baers coaching together at Colorado.
Just for fun
One member of the Stanford coaching staff told me he believes center Graham Shuler could be better than both of the guys who preceded him.
— Stanford Football (@StanfordFball) August 20, 2014
And speaking of reunions, these guys are back together. This could get interesting.
Chip Kelly acquires one of his former Oregon standouts, running back Kenjon Barner, for conditional 2015 7th-rd pick pic.twitter.com/o1aVsnT9by
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 20, 2014
3dChantel Jennings and Ted Miller