7 min Read

Looking back at our Pac-12 predictions

With the Pac-12 conference settled and Pac-12 individual awards handed out, WeAreSC looks back at its preseason roundtable, where the staff provided their predictions on everything from conference champion to coach of the year, to the Morris Trophy winners. Collectively, there were more than a few right answers.

Order of finish in the Pac-12 North
Erik McKinney: 1. Washington 2. Stanford 3. Oregon 4. WSU 5. Cal 6. OSU
Greg Katz: 1. Oregon 2. Washington 3. Stanford 4. WSU 5. Cal 6. OSU
Chris Arledge: 1. Washington 2. Oregon 3. Stanford 4. WSU 5. Cal 6. OSU
Kevin Bruce: 1. Oregon 2. Washington 3. Stanford 4. WSU 5. Cal 6. OSU
Darrell Rideaux: 1. Washington 2. Oregon 3. Stanford 4. WSU 5. Cal 6. OSU

Outcome: Oregon, Cal, Washington, Oregon State, Washington State, Stanford

We were completely unanimous in how we saw Nos. 4-6 shaking out in the north and clearly Cal and Stanford’s seasons caught us all by surprise.

Order of finish in the Pac-12 South
EM: 1. Utah 2. USC 3. ASU 4. Arizona 5. UCLA 6. Colorado
GK: 1. Utah 2. USC 3. ASU 4. UCLA 5. Arizona 6. Colorado
CA: 1. Utah 2. USC 3. ASU 4. UCLA 5. Arizona 6. Colorado
KB: 1. Utah 2. USC 3. ASU 4. Arizona 5. UCLA 6. Colorado
DR: 1. USC 2. Utah 3. UCLA 4. ASU 5. Arizona 6. Colorado

Outcome: Utah, USC, Arizona State, UCLA, Colorado, Arizona

Utah won the South, while Arizona bottomed out, though there was a strong consensus that Arizona, Colorado and UCLA would be the three worst teams, with Utah and USC at the top.

Pac-12 Championship Game
EM: Utah over Washington
GK: Oregon over Utah
CA: Washington over Utah
KB: Utah over Oregon
DR: Washington over USC

Outcome: Oregon over Utah

Greg Katz nailed it, while Kevin Bruce has the right participants but wrong result. Washington’s down year caught more than a few of us by surprise.

Coach of the Year
EM: Kyle Whittingham – Utah
GK: Mario Cristobal – Oregon
CA: Chris Petersen – Washington
KB: Kyle Whittingham – Utah
DR: Mario Cristobal – Oregon

Outcome: Utah’s Kyle Whittingham

This honor probably could have gone to Oregon’s Mario Cristobal, but either way, we were covered here.

Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year
EM: Utah RB Zack Moss
GK: Oregon QB Justin Herbert
CA: Colorado WR Laviska Shenault
KB: Utah RB Zack Moss
DR: Oregon QB Justin Herbert

Outcome: Utah RB Zack Moss

Two correct responses here, as Moss was the best offensive player for the South champs.

Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year
EM: Oregon LB Troy Dye
GK: Utah DE Bradlee Anae
CA: USC DT Jay Tufele
KB: USC DT Jay Tufele
DR: Cal LB Evan Weaver

Outcome: Cal LB Evan Weaver

Weaver again was a tackling machine for a much-improved Cal team in 2019. Darrell Rideaux went with Weaver in the pre-season.

USC Offensive Player of the Year
EM: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown
GK: WR Michael Pittman
CA: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown
KB: WR Michael Pittman
DR: RB Stephen Carr

Outcome: WR Michael Pittman

While USC didn’t specifically award an “Offensive Player of the Year,” Pittman took home team MVP honors, which is good enough. The senior wide receiver is a Biletnikoff Award finalist, a Lombardi Award semfinalist and won the Pop Warner National College Football Award. He finished the regular season with 95 receptions for 1,222 yards and 11 touchdowns.

USC Defensive Player of the Year
EM: S Talanoa Hufanga
GK: DE Christian Rector
CA: DT Jay Tufele
KB: DT Jay Tufele
DR: DT Jay Tufele

Outcome: DT Jay Tufele was named USC’s defensive lineman of the year, while safeties Talanoa Hufanga and Isaiah Pola-Mao were named the Perimeter Player of the Year on defense.

Hufanga was limited by injuries but still finished second on the team with 76 tackles, including 18 against UCLA. Tufele finished with 4.5 sacks among his 39 tackle. True freshman defensive Drake Jackson deserves mention here, as he led the team with 5.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. Pola-Mao led the team with four interceptions.

Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year
EM: ASU QB Jayden Daniels
GK: UW WR Puka Nacua
CA: UW WR Puka Nacua
KB:UW WR Puka Nacua
DR: UW WR Puka Nacua

Outcome: Clearly, nobody saw Kedon Slovis coming. Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels had a strong season, but Slovis won the award thanks to a record-breaking season as a USC true freshman quarterback.

Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year
EM: USC DE Drake Jackson
GK: USC DE Drake Jackson
CA: USC DE Drake Jackson
KB: USC DE Drake Jackson
DR: USC DE Drake Jackson

Outcome: Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux

Jackson was named a Second-Team All-Pac-12 performer, but it was fellow true freshman defensive end Thibodeaux who took home this award.

Pac-12 Morris Trophy winner (offense)
EM: Stanford OT Walker Little
GK: Stanford OT Walker Little
CA: Oregon OT Penei Sewell
KB: Stanford OT Walker Little
DR: Oregon C Jake Hanson

Outcome: Oregon OT Penei Sewell

Stanford offensive tackle Walker Little was the majority choice, but he missed virtually the entire season after suffering an early injury. But even if he was healthy, it would have been hard to top Sewell, who has quickly become one of the nation’s premier players, regardless of position.

Pac-12 Morris Trophy winner (defense)
EM: Utah DE Bradlee Anae
GK: Utah DE Bradlee Anae
CA: USC DT Jay Tufele
KB: USC DT Jay Tufele
DR: Washington DT Levi Onwuzurike

Outcome: Utah DE Bradlee Anae

Anae is a pass rushing dynamo, as he finished the season with 12.5 sacks. He’s a Hendricks Award finalist, a Lombardi Award semifinalist and a Bednarik Award semifinalist. Anae made his second Pac-12 First Team this year, and now has 29.5 sacks in his career.