Part two of our look at the potential highs and lows for each team, with a bit of context to start: The North seemingly is as stable as the South is volatile, at least from the standpoint of job security for the head coaches.

Half the HCs in the South could very well have their jobs on the line; nobody in the North is in that position. How does that translate to projections of this sort? By creating greater extremes for the teams in the South.

When the dark clouds of termination hover over a program, the initial weeks are vital: Success eases pressure, but a rough beginning can send a season spiraling by October.

The 1-3 start turns into 1-7 because the players, regardless of claims of ignorance, are acutely aware of the rumors and potential for change at the top.

But when the head coach is secure, when players know the same eyes will judge them the following summer, that 1-3 start can become 4-4 or 5-3.

So you won’t see the same extremes in the North best/worst case scenarios as you saw in the South projections.

*** CAL

Best case: 4-8. The Bears revive their running game, get respectable quarterback play and improve their defensive fundamentals under new coach Justin Wilcox. The schedule provides just enough opportunities (Weber State, reeling Ole Miss, Arizona and Oregon State), and Cal takes advantage to produce an upside surprise.

Worst case: 1-11. Neither Ross Bowers or Chase Forrest makes the most of the talented receivers, the retooled offensive line struggles and the Bears are challenged to score even 17 points per game. The reality of the much-needed defensive overhaul proves too great and Cal staggers through the season, to no one’s surprise.

*** OREGON

Best case: 8-4. The Willie Taggart era lives up to the hype as the Ducks handle a …read more

Source:: East Bay – Sports

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