Happy Friday. Welcome to the mailbag.
To the questions!
Popov in Syria writes: Realize you guys will be overloading us with spring football stuff and then a summer of filler, but I want to know what you, oldest of the Pac-12 crew, think the All-Pac-12 team will look like in 2016. Not before the season, which is predictable. But after. And I will save this.... so?
Ted Miller: Syria? Why do I get the feeling you guys try to outdo each other with the names and places in these sassy little notes?
OK then, I'll bite.
QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
RB Royce Freeman, Oregon
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC
WR Gabe Marks, Washington State
TE Dalton Schultz, Stanford
OL Zach Banner, USC
OL Conor McDermott, UCLA
OL J.J. Dielman, Utah
OL Casey Tucker, Stanford
OL Damien Mama, USC
PK Aidan Schneider, Oregon
DL Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA
DL Lowell Lotulelei, Utah
DL Elijah Qualls, Washington
DL Hunter Dimick, Utah
LB Azeem Victor, Washington
LB Cameron Smith, USC
LB Salamo Fiso, Arizona State
CB Sidney Jones, Washington
CB Adoree' Jackson, USC
S Budda Baker, Washington
S Marcus Williams, Utah
P Matt Haack, Arizona State
That crew at running back and in the secondary should tread closely to preseason All-American status.
Sure no one will disagree with these picks. And, please, if you're going to blast me with a "How the heck can there be no players from Arizona/California/Colorado/Oregon State?" you must include the player you prefer and the player you'd eliminate.
That tends to reduce the juice behind the outrage.
Alex in Seattle writes: What do you think Cal's record would have been last season had it played WSU's schedule (including Oregon without Adams)? I say 10-2, with losses only to Stanfurd and UCLA. How differently Sonny Dykes would be perceived but for the fortuitous whims of the schedule. Cal easily had the most difficult schedule in the conference, including missing Colorado and Arizona (two of three worst teams in conference); and playing at Utah, at UW, and at Oregon -- probably the three toughest venues in the conference, no? And Cal never missed any starting QBs, like UW did vs WSU, and WSU and Utah did vs. Oregon, and Stanford did against numerous teams.
Ted Miller: Cal certainly had a tougher schedule than Washington State and the head-to-head win is meaningful, but a lot goes into winning football games.
Of course, I suspect Cal wouldn't have opened with a loss to Portland State. And if the Cougars played Portland State 100 times, they'd win 99, just not on Sept. 5 of this past season.
Would Cal have had the gumption to win at Oregon without Adams? Well, one of the odd lessons this year is that Vernon Adams might have been the true MVP in college football. The Ducks were a top-10 team with him, a .500 team without him. The Oregon Vernon Adamses certainly owned the Bears, with Adams throwing for four touchdown passes in a 44-28 win.
Also, the Washington team that Cal clipped 30-24 on Sept. 26 was much better in November. Not sure you can give the Bears a win there.
So, Alex, maybe Cal would have gone 10-2 or 9-3 against the Cougs schedule. Or maybe not.
And if I looked like Brad Pitt my wife probably would not strike this pose as much.
Jill from Spokane writes: Just a note to say you guys did a good job this year. Not really you, but the others, Chantel, Kyle, Kevin and David. For the first time it seemed like you guys covered Washington State and your Husky bias didn't dominate. Is this because your influence is going down? Or just that the smarter people are getting more opportunities? Whatever the reason, I'm writing this to you because the others don't have a mailbag. Please tell them that they did a good job.
Ted Miller: I am at your service, Jill. I will deliver your message.
Only is it OK if I do so after a good cry?