#1 - OL and DL. This is the most important predictor in my book. It's why I picked Stanford to lose 4 games two years ago. That year they had a young OL and a thin DL. They bounced back last year, but a young/thin line spells trouble.
For example, USC's DL is thin this year. Shockingly thin. And their schedule...which leads to #2:
#2 - schedule. The week in, week out is real. Schedule is a TON of your success. Back to USC. Their first four weeks they play Alabama, Stanford and Utah, three teams that should be around 10 wins. That's brutal. They could start 1-3. Then look how they finish: Oregon, Washington, UCLA, ND. Again, 2-2 would be a good finish. Their schedule is crazy. Same for Oregon. They play Virginia and Nebraska OOC. That's not brutal, but it's tough. Then they finish with ASU, USC, Stanford, Utah, OSU. That's a rough stretch to end the season. 3-2 would be a good finish. And look at Stanford: Kansas St, USC, UCLA, Washington, WSU, ND. ROUGH.
#3- coach. What has their leader shown.
#4 - QB. A great QB is wanted. A consistent QB is good. For example, Hogan and Wilson were consistent. In Wilson's case, you knew he wasn't great, but you knew he wouldn't turn the ball over. With Utah's defense and special teams and Booker, as long as Wilson didn't lose the game for you (like the USC game), you have a shot to win. In the same vein, Goff was the #1 pick but only won 7 games. QB is so over-rated. While important, it's not as important as the lines are.
#5 - other players/returning starters. Does the QB and lines have playmakers around them? Are they experienced enough to not throw an INt late in the game? Will they wrap the ball up and get tackled instead of going for an extra yard and fumbling? If the lines aren't good, it doesn't matter who the talent around the lines are, they will struggle to be successful. CB's can only cover for so long. RB's can't gain yards if the OL doesn't block. QB's can't throw if they don't have time.
That's why I'm so high on Utah. Their lines are incredible. Utah may have the best OL and DL in the PAC-12. Their schedule is easy compared to the top teams in the PAC-12. Utah may have the best coach in the PAC-12. Utah should win at least 8 games. The key to Utah's season is....TURNOVERS.
Can JWilliams not fumble? Can TWilliams not throw costly INT's? If our offense can hang onto the ball, we should be at 9+ wins. If TWilliams goes all Wilson vs USC on us, then we could lose some games we could/should win.
Saw my neurosurgeon today, he lifted some of the no bending lifting twisting restrictions! I am cleared to ride my Harley! I shouldn't be benching 400 lbs any time soon but what he told me was listen to my body while I am doing something and don't push it beyond what feels good.
I go see the infectious disease doc on Thursday. Don't expect any changes or bad news there.
Finally get to return to all the things I love doing!!
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