Pac-12 soccer: Can Lincoln Riley and Dan Lanning make rapid impacts?

Published:Mar 8, 202420:15
Pac-12 soccer: Can Lincoln Riley and Dan Lanning make rapid impacts?

By RJ Younger
FOX Sports activities Faculty Soccer Author

Listed below are the highest 5 storylines for the Pac-12 heading into the 2022 faculty soccer season.

1. Is Utah going to make its first journey to the Faculty Soccer Playoff?

From my preseason Prime 25 revealed this previous weekend: "Kyle Whittingham’s Utes return 14 of their 22 starters from final yr’s Pac-12 title group and added no less than one bona fide star switch in Mohamoud Diabate, a linebacker anticipated to fill the void left by Devin Lloyd. The Utes could make a mark with a win at Florida on the highway that would put them on a path to this system’s first-ever invitation to the CFP. Let me see you sundance, Utah."

I ranked Utah because the fifth-best group within the nation. The AP ranked the Utes at No. 7.  There's cause for optimism in Salt Lake Metropolis, and it behooves Utah to capitalize on it with a win in opposition to Florida.

Pac-12 storylines: Is Utah a CFP contender?

Pac-12 storylines: Is Utah a CFP contender?

Is Utah going to make its first journey to the Faculty Soccer Playoff? Will Lincoln Riley win 12 video games? RJ Younger discusses his high Pac-12 storylines.

2. Will Lincoln Riley win 12 video games, win the convention title, produce the Heisman-winning QB and make the CFP in 12 months 1 at USC, like he did in 12 months 1 at Oklahoma?

My Prime-25 take: "We all know Lincoln Riley can put collectively an offense, and he’ll actually have the firepower to return out blazing with quarterback Caleb Williams, working again Travis Dye and large receiver Jordan Addison.

"What stays to be seen is whether or not coordinator Alex Grinch and his defensive workers can prove a Trojan protection that may win the Pac-12 and push the Trojans to their first CFP bid in historical past. Flip that F-18 the wrong way up, paint the goal, climb that mountain, take 9Gs to the face and put together to dogfight all the best way house. Combat(’s) on."

Other than that, the Utes most likely really feel some form of means about all of the love USC has been getting from people inside and out of doors the Pac-12 simply because they modified head coaches once more. Like many, I’m to see how the Trojans maintain within the Pac-12, not to mention in opposition to a stout Fresno State squad returning the very best Group of 5 quarterback within the nation and a Notre Dame squad that's using excessive on the recognition and fervour from elevating Marcus Freeman to go coach.

Utah or USC the very best wager to make the CFP out of the Pac-12?

Utah or USC the best bet to make the CFP out of the Pac-12?

RJ Younger believes just one group from the Pac-12 has a sensible shot to make the CFP this yr, and that group would be the winner of the convention championship sport.

3. Can Dan Lanning return Oregon to heights it hasn't seen since Chip Kelly roamed the sideline in Eugene?

My Prime-25 take: "Dan Lanning’s 12 months 1 in Eugene incorporates a gauntlet nonconference run. If UO comes out of that begin to the season 3-0, we’ll know the Geese are prepared to soak up greater than Disney’s Youth Hockey Iceland in a made-for-TV film."

Lanning and defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi might use a full season of Justin Flowe, who is among the most proficient gamers within the sport.

Flowe has performed in simply 15 quarters, however he was a consensus five-star recruit and the second-highest ranked participant the Geese have ever signed. He recorded 14 tackles in opposition to Fresno State of their 2021 season opener and is the primary Oregon participant since 2007 to report 14 tackles and drive a fumble in the identical sport.

On the flip aspect, the Geese have three dying matches on their nonconference schedule that features a 10-win FCS squad (Jap Washington), a 10-win FBS program (BYU) and the defending CFP nationwide champion (Georgia).

Why Oregon will underachieve in Dan Lanning's first season

Why Oregon will underachieve in Dan Lanning's first season

RJ Younger explains why he thinks Washington State will high its projected win whole of 5.5, then shares why he thinks Oregon won't be able to win greater than 8.5 video games.

4. Can UCLA's Zach Charbonnet be the very best working again within the league?

UCLA would love nothing higher than to construct on its 8-4 report final yr (6-3 within the Pac-12) and provides itself a chance to play within the convention championship for the primary time within the Chip Kelly period.

With the league’s choice to scrap divisions, the Bruins can do this with video games in opposition to AP Prime-25 opponents Utah and USC at house and a highway sport in opposition to Oregon.

However to perform that feat, the Bruins want Charbonnet to be the very best tailback within the league. After speeding for greater than 1,100 yards final season and scoring 13 TDs, he, alongside quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, should be formidable in 2022.

5. Can the Pac-12 show it is a Energy 5 convention in additional than identify solely?

Now can be an excellent time for the Pac-12 to remind us all how good the soccer is on the West Coast. The previous 5 years, it has suffered a sequence of embarrassing losses and CFP choice misses, and now it has been raided by the large unhealthy Large Ten for its two greatest brand-name packages.

This season, the Pac-12 must get fortunate — prefer it did with Oregon beating Ohio State on the highway final season — and it must keep away from cannibalization — not like when Stanford beat Oregon. By no means thoughts that Utah beat Oregon twice in 13 days and had that very same Ohio State on the ropes within the Rose Bowl. 

The 2022 destiny and way forward for the Pac-12 convention might very nicely relaxation on the shoulders of the Utes.

Bonus: Is BYU a CFP contender?

Clearly, BYU is not within the Pac-12. However for the reason that unbiased Cougars went 5-0 in opposition to Pac-12 groups final season and play Oregon and Stanford this season, they could as nicely be.

My Prime-25 take: "The Coogs have no less than 10 wins in every of the previous two seasons, and Kalani Sitake is poised to make that 30 in three years with the return of Jaren Corridor — 23 TDs to simply 5 INTs — if he can discover one other tailback as proficient as Tyler Allgeier for 2022. However that is a giant if with Notre Dame, Arkansas, Oregon and Baylor on the schedule. However that is additionally the form of schedule that proves the Cougars are reliable CFP contenders."

If the Coogs can run the desk — that’s a giant if — there isn't any cause to imagine they'll’t earn an invite to the CFP on their solution to establishing themselves for his or her entry into the altering Large 12 in lower than a yr. What a boon it could be for the Large 12 to have two of its latest members with expertise within the CFP not named Oklahoma.

RJ Younger is a nationwide faculty soccer author and analyst for FOX Sports activities and the host of the podcast "The No. 1 Ranked Show with RJ Young." Comply with him on Twitter at @RJ_Young, and subscribe to "The RJ Young Show" on YouTube. He's not on a StepMill.

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