At first, I thought prohibition was a good thing. People were drinking more and having a lot more fun. Without beer, prohibition doesn't work!
Ahhhh, the honeymoon phase. It’s that first year when a new head coach adjusts to his new surroundings (or in the case of Mark Helfrich, a new office). There is joy and excitement leading up to that first game.
And then reality hits. That joy and excitement turns to second-guessing and not-so-subtle whispers about whether this is the right guy.
The Pac-12 has a trio of second-year coaches: the aforementioned Helfrich, Sonny Dykes at Cal and Mike MacIntyre at Colorado. And Athlon Sports decided to take a look at the expectations for all of the second-year coaches in college football.
Here are their thoughts on Colorado:
But as the 2014 season approaches, it’s easy to see why Colorado is probably a year away from contending for a bowl. The Buffaloes catch Oregon and Washington in crossover play with the North and must replace standout receiver Paul Richardson. Sophomore quarterback Sefo Liufau is promising, and the depth on defense is getting better. An upset or two wouldn’t be a surprise in Pac-12 games. However, a 4-8 final record with a more competitive team in conference action is very likely for MacIntyre.
The key word is in the final sentence: competitive. Two of the Buffs wins were against FCS teams last season (one of which was scheduled, the other one was a result of the disastrous flooding and cancelation of the Fresno State game). This year there are no FCS teams on the schedule, so while he Buffs will likely still hover in the 3-4 win range, those would be considered of a greater quality. And while the Pac-12 blog is yet to meet a coach who can stomach morale victories, there is something to be said for being more competitive. And we too expect the Buffs to be a tougher team in 2014.
For Helfrich, it’s business as usual. We all knew, and I’m sure he did too, that he would be judged by a different jury than MacIntyre or Dykes. All he did was win 11 games, win a bowl game and do it with a quarterback limping through the second half of the season. There’s no question the Ducks are primed for a serious run. But if that run doesn’t end in a playoff berth, is this season a bust? Curious to hear your thoughts. Tweet them at me.
As for Dykes, we’ve spent months rehashing all of the problems Cal went through last year, from the system changes to the youth to the onslaught of injuries. The tide will turn once (if?) the Bears start winning some games.
Who’s all sneaky?
CBS’s Jeremy Fowler took a look at 10 teams that could be “sneaky contenders” in 2014. Among his 10 are Arizona State and Washington.
His thoughts on the Sun Devils:
Arizona State wins 10 games and is still considered the fifth- or sixth-best team Pac-12 team on national scale. Well, don't be confused if the Sun Devils mess around and win the Pac-12 South for a second straight year. If Todd Graham gets a young defense ready, the potent offense will handle the rest.
Definitely not ready to count out the Sun Devils. We know about the losses to the defense – nine starters gone – but we also know how good that offense can be this year. If the offense can out-sprint some teams early in the season and give the defense time to get its footing, the Sun Devils will certainly be in the hunt for the South title. The timing of that UCLA game in Week 4 is very interesting.
Monday was depth chart day. Months of speculation has all been settled with one piece of paper. Unless you see an "or" in between players. Then the debate rages.
Because the Pac-12 blog likes you so much, we dug up all the depth charts that were available online. Some weren't. We'll try to update throughout the day.
Oregon State (page 11 from the preseason media guide, will be updated later today)
UCLA (Not released yet, possibly today)
USC (page 14 of the game notes)
Utah (page 9 of game notes)
Washington (page 9 of the game notes)
On the air
Your Pac-12 reporters have been making the rounds on multiple platforms. Here are a couple of links.
Chantel Jennings will be on ESPN Radio in Pullman (1400 AM) this morning at 10:15 a.m.
Todd Graham clings to his Texas roots.
Bryce Treggs, Cal, looking for more balance on offense.
A deeper look at the Colorado depth chart.
A profile of Oregon freshman Royce Freeman.
The versatile Ryan Nall is in his third position in three weeks for the Beavers.
A really solid breakdown of the Stanford roster from Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News.
The Bruins are No. 5 on the USA Today countdown.
Josh Shaw is a freaking hero. No other way to say it. And one of the best parts is seeing the comments below from all college football fans tipping their caps to the act of bravery. Also nice to see this:
— Jim Mora (@UCLACoachMora) August 26, 2014
Former UCLA DE Kylie Fitts is headed to Utah ... could be a big get for the Utes if he works out.
The full transcript of Chris Petersen's first game-week news conference.
A ticket update on WSU's game against Rutgers.
Just for fun
The entire Oregon cheer squad takes the ice bucket challenge.
Washington's Psalm Wooching is cooler than you.
And finally, if you want to learn how to Haka, Arizona has you covered.