As many of his teammates left school early to go to the NFL Draft, Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley remained in Tuscaloosa for an extra year of seasoning.
That experience was apparent Saturday in the Crimson Tide’s biggest win of the season to date. Dominant defensive performances for Alabama aren’t rare, but Mosley led one of the Tide’s best efforts of the season in the 38-17 win over LSU.
When we sit down to iron out our Top 25 Poll each year at Athlon Sports, we are trying to project the final year-end standings not build a preseason power poll. It might be a small and subtle difference but an important one to acknowledge.
Injuries are a big part of any college football season. Just ask the coaching staffs at Maryland, Missouri or USC.The Terrapins lost four quarterbacks to season-ending injuries last year, while the Tigers played 2012 without the services of standout running back Henry Josey. USC lost defensive end Devon Kennard in the preseason, which played a role in the Trojans’ defense finishing seventh in the Pac-12 in yards allowed.
USC running back Markese Stepp barrelled into the end zone through the vaunted Utah defense last September, tacking on a fourth-quarter score that essentially slammed the door on the then-No. 10-ranked Utes. As the hard-running Stepp rumbled in for the score, he let his momentum carry him all the way to the FOX Sports mobile studio setup, coincidentally situated directly behind the Coliseum's West end zone.
The 2020 race to win the Pac-12 starts with last year’s champion – Oregon. The Ducks are Athlon’s pick to win the league once again in 2020, but in a twist, it’s coach Mario Cristobal’s defense – not the usual high-powered Oregon offense – that leads the way. Cristobal hired former Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead to direct an offense replacing quarterback Justin Herbert and four starters along the offensive line.