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College football prediction season rolls on

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Washington State v Utah Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

If the summer happens and it doesn’t include one thousand prediction or ranking articles across the internet, does it even count?

The good news, at least if you are a fan of predictions and rankings, is we won’t have to answer that question this year. Instead, prediction season is in full swing, and Athlon, one of the primary predictors and rankings has weighed in on the Pac-12.

Washington State didn’t fare especially well in the rankings. The Cougars are picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 North. Their concern is one many have about the Cougars heading into the season.

Concern: Will a quarterback emerge? Tennessee transfer Jarrett Guarantano is competing with Jayden de Laura and Cammon Cooper for the starting nod. For this offense to take off, finding an answer here is a must.

The real cause for concern, however, comes later in the preview. For each team, Athlon picks a freshman to watch, on both sides of the ball. Typically this is a highly-touted recruit, or potentially a redshirt. For the Cougars on offense, it is JUCO transfer WR CJ Moore on the offensive side. On the defensive side, it is punter Nick Haberer. As great as a good punter can be, it’s probably never a good sign they are the player to watch.

Athlon picks Oregon to beat Arizona State in the Pac-12 Championship game.

Max Borghi was also picked by one of the three previewers to be Comeback Player of the Year.

You can read the full preview right here.

*****

Football:

Pac-12 preview: Washington State has issues on both sides ball - Deseret News
In final game of 2020 season, Cougars led Utes 28-7 at the break before surrendering 38 unanswered points at Rice-Eccles Stadium

A Grip on Sports: Despite four decades and a fulfilled life, former WSU defensive back Ray Jackson still harbors some ill-will against Michigan | The Spokesman-Review
WSU: As we mentioned at the start of today’s column, don’t miss Theo’s story on Ray Jackson.

Athlon reveals Pac-12 predicted order of finish
This is a difficult team to evaluate based solely on last season. The Cougars went 1-3 under first-year coach Nick Rolovich but got stuck with a really tough schedule — three of those games were on the road, and the losses were to USC, Oregon and Utah.

Twenty-three years removed from the Rose Bowl, ex-Washington State CB Ray Jackson is now a dedicated police chief and proud father who still has the ultimate resentment for Michigan | The Spokesman-Review
If you didn’t know where to look, it might be hard to track down Ray Jackson these days; ironic because tracking down others is what the former Washington State cornerback did best during his playing career in the late 1990s.

Basketball:

Offseason Update: Men’s basketball in the Pac-12, Part 2 | The Stanford Daily
Washington State

Finally, we get to talk about Washington State. Head coach Kyle Smith works wonders year-round for whatever team he coaches, and this offseason was of course no exception.