Cleat Geeks

2016 Pac 12 Preview: All Americans, Championship Preview & More

With the conclusion of our Pac-12 preview where we went in-depth with every team in the conference (I highly recommend you check them out), it’s now time to look towards the off-season. The Pac-12 features a plethora of talented players, but who will standout among the rest and be named to the All American team? Below we also include our full Pac-12 standings with links to each team’s individual preview and look into our projected Conference Championship game after predicting every single game for all 12 teams. Who gets in? Who will come home with the Pac-12 crown in 2016? Can the South division take the conference crown for the first time since 2008?

For constant Pac-12 updates throughout the season, give me a follow on Twitter @JonValencia_WiB.

All-Pac 12 First TeamChristianMcCaffreyHeisman

QB: Luke Falk (Washington State)
RB: Royce Freeman (Oregon)
RB: Christian McCaffrey (Stanford)
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster (USC)
WR: Gabe Marks (Washington State)
TE: Kody Kohl (Arizona State)
OT: Conor McDermott (UCLA)
G: Damien Mama (USC)
C: Riley Sorenson (Washington State)
Isaac Asiata (Utah)
OT: Zach Banner (USC)

DE: Hercules Mata’afa (Washington State)
Eddie Vanderdoes (UCLA)
Lowell Lotulelei (Utah)
DE: Kylie Fitts (Utah)
LB: Cameron Smith (USC)ChidobeAwuzie
Deon Hollins (UCLA)
Peter Kalambayi (Stanford)
Chidobe Awuzie (Colorado)
Budda Baker (Washington)
S: Marcus Williams (Utah)
CB: Sidney Jones (Washington)

K: Andy Phillips (Utah)
P: Matt Haack (Arizona State)

All-Pac 12 Second Team

QB: Josh Rosen (UCLA)

RB: Myles Gaskin (Washington)
RB: Nick Wilson (Arizona)
WR: Darren Carrington (Oregon)
WR: Jordan Villamin (Oregon State)
TE: Caleb Smith (Oregon State)
OT: Chad Wheeler (USC)

Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

G: Kenny Lacy (UCLA)
Toa Lobendahn (USC)
Johnny Caspers (Stanford)
Tyrell Crosby (Oregon)

DE: JoJo Wicker (Arizona State)JoJoWicker
Solomon Thomas (Stanford)
Tashon Smallwood (Arizona State)
Takkarist McKinley (UCLA)
Peyton Pelluer (Washington State)
DeAndre’ Miller (Arizona)
Jayon Brown (UCLA)
Adoree’ Jackson (USC)
S: Randall Goforth (UCLA)
Shalom Luani (Washington State)
Quenton Meeks (Stanford)

K: Zane Gonzalez (Arizona State)
: Nick Porebski (Oregon State)


North Division

1. Oregon Ducks (8-4, 6-3)
2. Washington Huskies (9-3, 6-3)
3. Stanford Cardinal (8-4, 6-3)
4. Washington State Cougars (7-5, 5-4)
5. Oregon State Beavers (4-8, 2-7)
6. California Golden Bears (3-9, 1-8)

South Division

1. USC Trojans (9-3, 7-2)
2. UCLA Bruins (9-3, 6-3)
3. Arizona Wildcats (8-4, 5-4)
4. Utah Utes (6-6, 3-6)
5. Arizona State Sun Devils (5-7, 3-6)
6. Colorado Buffaloes (5-7, 3-6)


Oregon Ducks vs. USC Trojans

OregonHelmetDespite the Washington Huskies finishing with a better overall record than the Oregon Ducks, the Ducks get in based on their head-to-head wins over both the Huskies and Stanford. This will be their third Conference Championship appearance since the conference expanded in 2011 – they won both times they made it this far. For USC, this will be their second consecutive appearance in the Pac-12 Championship game and could be their first conference title since 2008 as they lost to Stanford last year.

Last season these two teams faced off which saw Oregon cruise to a comfortable 48-28 home win. They are set to play again this year, with USC playing the host this time around. I do project a USC win in their late season meeting, but can they repeat when it really counts?

Looking at how these teams stack up against each other, this game has the potential to be a shootout. Both defenses return only a handful of starters from their 2015 squad. However, USC looks like a much sturdier unit on that side of the ball. Last season they ranked 65th in total defense compared to Oregon’s lackluster rank at 116th. While they don’t have too much experience, USC is loaded with potential and athleticism. They should get better and better as the year goes on, especially under a coaches like Clay Helton and Clancy Pendergast. The Trojans definitely hold the advantage on defense, although I expect Brady Hoke to get the most out of that Oregon unit.Pac12IntroPhoto

On offense, it all starts with Royce Freeman for the Ducks. The bruising power back is among the best in the nation. However, USC counters with a tremendous tandem of their own featuring Ronald Jones II and Justin Davis. Not to mention, they have arguably the best WR in the nation in JuJu Smith-Schuster – I don’t see how the Ducks could even try to contain a playmaker of his caliber. The Ducks are loaded with athleticism and playmaking ability of their own, that’s what they will rely on to keep them in this game.USC.YELLOW.HELMET

Shifting to the QB matchup, I have to give the edge to USC here. Max Browne is a big, strong armed QB who looks ready to step up as the heir to Cody Kessler. For Oregon, they hand the keys to a graduate transfer for the 2nd year in a row. Dakota Prukop comes over from Montana State. The offense will likely lose a beat without Vernon Adams under center, but Prukop can serve as a solid game manager who adds that dual threat ability. He is surely a wildcard – most don’t know what to expect.

With everything considered, it’s very hard not to see USC come away victorious in this matchup. Oregon lives and dies by their offense, but USC is experienced and can match whatever Oregon puts on the board. Plus, they have a huge edge on the defensive side of the ball. Clay Helton leads the Trojans to their first Pac-12 title since 2008, in his first year as the head coach.

Prediction: USC, 38-22

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