The PAC-12 Football Media Days are now in the rearview mirror. Most teams start their official practices in less than a week.
Some observations about the Media Days in Hollywood:
-Writers and “experts” are in love with UCLA
For whatever reason, a lot of people think UCLA is the class of the South and can challenge Oregon/Stanford in the North and can even compete nationally. Undoubtedly, UCLA is a good program with talented players. But for so-called “experts” to pick the Bruins to walk away with the South is a bit confusing to Devils in Detail. UCLA was solid last year, but not absolutely stellar. Since then they’ve lost their leading receiver and their best defensive player. The offensive line is still young and unproven. The running back situation is not settled yet. For everyone to pick UCLA in a landslide is worthy of some head scratching.
-Writers and “experts” are in love with Brett Hundley
Another confusing scenario. Brett Hundley is a great quarterback for UCLA. He put up some good numbers last year. He’s a natural leader and it is very apparent that this Bruin team follows his lead. But it appears that his magnetic personality has caused some people to forget about other quarterbacks in the league. Statistically, Sean Mannion (OSU) and Connor Halliday (WSU) had better years than Hundley. ASU’s Taylor Kelly was right there with Hundley and of course Hogan (Stanford) and Marriota (Oregon) absolutely lit it up last year. So for Hundley to be treated like a rock star is confounding. Perhaps, that is just the nature of LA.
Everyone Seems to be Sleeping on USC
This seems incredible to the analysts and insiders. But the national media and even the PAC-12 media appears to think that USC is good, but not great. Even though they are picked 2nd in the South, no one is really giving them a chance to win it. The prevailing thought is that the Trojans still have depth issues because of their sanctions from three years ago. Plus, they are dealing with a new coach. Devils in Detail doesn’t see it that way. The opinion here is that USC is almost back. They are extremely talented at almost every position. They are beginning to get their swagger back. Yes, the QB position is not occupied by a Heisman candidate. But Max Wittek is good enough to beat anybody in the league. This team is going to make a statement this year and probably win the South.
Nobody believes Todd Graham
When it comes to ASU, nobody believes head coach Todd Graham when he swears that the defense will be okay. ASU fans already know that the defense coming back will be young, inexperienced and unproven. Losing 9 starters will create doubt. Apparently there is enough doubt for the voting media to pick ASU to finish third in the PAC-12 South. As much as everybody talks about the Sun Devil offense being explosive, evidently they don’t think it will be explosive enough to offset the exodus of personnel on the defensive side of the ball.
Now that the pageantry of the media days are over, it’s time to get to work. For ASU, they start the season on Friday. That will give them exactly 27 days to get ready for the home opener. Thankfully, the truth about every team will be put out there and proven or disproven on the field. And all the blather about pre-season picks will be forgotten.