Pac-12 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

Pac-12 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

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Pac-12 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

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2019 Early Pac-12 South Rankings

6. Colorado Buffaloes

The potential is there for new head man Mel Tucker’s team to be terrific, but everyone has to stay healthy. Laviska Shenault is one of the nation’s top receivers, but the depth isn’t there. The running game needs more options with Travon McMillian done, but the line gets back four starters, and the offense should work around star QB Steven Montez.

The Buff linebacking corps loses two key parts in Rick Gamboa and Drew Lewis, but there’s a lot to like on the D line – at least on the outside – and the secondary is loaded with veterans.

Final 2018 Record: 5-7 (2-7)
2018 Pac-12 South Finish: 6
2018 Prespring Pac-12 Conference Ranking: 10
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Protection/O Line
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Cornerback
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Running Back
– Colorado Schedule Analysis

5. Arizona Wildcats

After the drama, and the transfer speculation, Khalil Tate is back at quarterback. The running back situation is strong with JJ Taylor and all of the top guys returning, but the top three receivers are gone. The line has the potential to go from a big concern early last season to a positive, getting back four starters.

Six of the top seven tacklers are back, with a veteran secondary that has to be better after getting bombed on throughout last season. Overall, this was a very, very young D, with 11 of 2018’s top 16 tacklers underclassmen.

Final 2018 Record: 5-7 (4-5)
2018 Pac-12 South Finish: T3
2018 Prespring Pac-12 Conference Ranking: 6
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Defense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Running Back
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Wide Receiver
– Arizona Schedule Analysis

4. UCLA Bruins

Dorian Thompson-Robinson showed promise, and he’s got the potential to blow up in the Chip Kelly system, but developing more quarterback options is a must. Leading receiver TE Caleb Wilson is gone early to the NFL, but everyone else is back to make the passing game rock. Joshua Kelley is back after running for well over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns, and there’s a lot more to come behind a line that improved by leaps and bounds. Four starters return up front.

Leading tackler Adarius Pickett is gone from the secondary, and so is the versatile Nate Meadors. Just about everyone else returns on a defense that underwent a youth movement – and now comes the payoff. Almost everyone who made a play behind the line is back.

Final 2018 Record: 3-9 (3-6)
2018 Pac-12 South Finish: 5
2018 Prespring Pac-12 Conference Ranking: 5
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Rush
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Linebacker
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Quarterback
– UCLA Schedule Analysis

3. Arizona State Sun Devils

The offense has to replace QB Manny Wilkins, and it’ll be an open casting call with Dillon Sterling-Cole getting the first look. Star WR N’Keal Harry is leaving early, but everyone else is back – the receiving corps is loaded. Eno Benjamin is one of the nation’s best running backs working behind a line returning four starters.

The defense works around the young and productive linebacking corps that gets all of the parts back. 16 of the 19 top tacklers return, and a bulk of them were underclassmen. Defensive tackles have to emerge in the 3-3-5, but the secondary is loaded with promising prospects.

Final 2018 Record: 7-6 (5-4)
2018 Pac-12 South Finish: 2
2018 Prespring Pac-12 Conference Ranking: 11
Biggest Issue To Fix: Third Down Defense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Linebacker
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Quarterback
– Arizona State Schedule Analysis

2. USC Trojans

2018 was a rebuild, but the talent is back to be a whole lot better in a very big hurry. JT Daniels is a veteran starting quarterback now, and he has all of his targets to work with. In all, the top eight pass catchers are expected to return. RB Aca’Cedric Ware is gone, but all of the other key rushers are are back. Now the line has to fill in the gaps after losing three starters.

The defensive side has to replace everyone in the secondary. However, the front six should be fantastic as long as everyone can stay healthy. Christian Rector came back for another year as a hybrid pass rusher – the line should be one of the team’s biggest strengths – and the linebacking corps should be fine in time. However, five of the top eight tacklers are done.

Final 2018 Record: 5-7 (4-5)
2018 Pac-12 South Finish: T3
2018 Prespring Pac-12 Conference Ranking: 2
Biggest Issue To Fix: Rushing Offense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Receiver
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Secondary
– USC Schedule Analysis

1. Utah Utes

As long as everyone can stay in one piece, the offense has the potential to be unstoppable. Tyler Huntley is back at quarterback, RB Zack Moss chose to return for his final year, and almost all of the top receivers are back – five of the top six wideouts are back. The O line has to come together after losing three starters.

Star linebackers Cody Barton and Chase Hansen are done, and the top four tacklers are gone, but everyone else of note returns. The entire line is back, and the corner situation is terrific. The big issue? Losing PK Matt Gay and and P Mitch Wishnowsky aren’t going to be easily replaced.

Final 2018 Record: 9-5 (6-3)
2018 Pac-12 South Finish: 1
2018 Prespring Pac-12 Conference Ranking: 7
Biggest Issue To Fix: Turnovers/Fumbles Lost
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Wide Receiver
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Punter, Kicker
– Utah Schedule Analysis

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