The Gekko File: Course Correcting Pac 12 South Forecasts

Taylor Kelly ... Heisman? Maybe not, but a South Division contender for sure. - William Mancebo

At roughly the halfway point for the Pac 12 season, it is time to revisit the Gekko Files and update our forecasts for the season. We start with a look at the South division. Time to see if Gekko knows what the hell he's talking about.

Every offseason, we take a peek into the Gekko Files in order to forecast how the Pac 12 season ahead is likely to play out.  The challenge with the Gekko File is to somehow convert data points derived from the previous season and whatever we can cull from spring practices and to convert them into insights from which we can predict the outcome of a season.

Sounds easy, right?

Not so much.  But it is fun, and it definitely adds to the overall debate that football-starved fans love to engage in during every offseason.  It also creates an opportunity for those of us who are doing to the forecasting to check in during the season and evaluate how good our prognostication skills really are.

Is this a valid topic for an article or a shameless space-filler on a BYE week?  You make the call.

As you may recall, I forecasted the entire Pac 12 season last August and I came up with this projected order of finish for both divisions.

Pac12_2013_projected_standings_1_medium

Now that we are little over half-way through the Pac 12 schedule, it seems like we have a decent body of evidence to draw upon as we check in on the original forecasts and try to project how things will likely play out the rest of the way.  Let's begin with the South division.

Pac 12 South - 2013 Predictions and Updates

Team Predictions What Gekko Said
1. USC

August

8-1

1st South

If the media over-reacted to and over-rated the Trojans in 2012, then they certainly appear to be under-selling them in 2013...

...this team is still loaded with talent. Just scanning their position groups - linebackers, running backs, defensive lines, wide receivers - it is hard not to say that USC boasts the most talented starting lineups, pound for pound, on each side of the ball in the P12.

Updated

6-3

2nd South

Comments: The fiasco with Lane Kiffin is now well behind the Trojans and they are focused on the future.  "Lame duck" status does not seem to be affecting the Orgeron regime which tells me that he's been assured of some kind of role in the organization beyond this season.  The Trojans are undermanned, but playing with passion.  Expect them to win three of their next four including a home game versus UCLA.
2.  Arizona State

August

6-3

2nd South

On paper, ASU looks poised to have a big season and to build on their 8 win campaign of 2012. All the pieces are there...

... ASU was great last year. Almost too great (despite their losing streak). It seems that there were a lot of guys who played slightly over their skis or who were otherwise helped out by the exploits of an innovative coach who was relatively unknown to the rest of the coaches in the league. It feels like a correction is due and I find myself wondering how it will come.  In the end, I'm going to hedge my bets. While I like ASU the most of the Southern teams, I still see this as an 8ish win type of season and a second place finish in the P12 South.

Updated

8-1

1st South

Comments: The Sun Devils have already exceeded my expectations for the season with a more potent offensive attack then what I had forecasted.  The key was the emergence of the JC transfer WR Jaelen Strong.  Combined with Taylor Kelly's wits and Marion Grice's red zone know-how, the Devils have been a scoring machine.  Their D has been as advertised - a feast or famine affair that can afford to be risk-taking with that potent offense to back them up.  I expect them to win out, including tough road games at Utah and, in a few weeks, at UCLA to take the South Division.
3.  UCLA

August

5-4

3rd South

I actually expect Brett Hundley to take a step back in 2013...I'm not not sure Brett can compensate for all that
is changing around him in 2013...

...The 2013 UCLA Bruins are a dangerous team that nobody is going to want to play, but one that is going to struggle to win on the road and to overcome the lapses of execution that are often associated with youth.

Updated

4-5

3rd South

Comments: This pick is going to drive the UCLA and "Jim Mora for UW" fans nuts.  But, consider, here we are five games into UCLA's P12 season standing at 3-2 and the cracks in the Bruin armor starting to show.  Nine true freshmen starters across the club and some guys who flashed (e.g. James Jones, Myles Jack) starting to come back to earth as the schedule stiffens.  I like the Bruins to take their road game versus Arizona, but to lose their last three to Washington, ASU and USC as they limp into the post-season.
4.  Arizona

August

4-5

4th South

The P12 South is a tough division to call in 2013. The exercise of forecasting the South is as much about assessing who has the most questions as opposed to the answers to each of those questions.  To me, Arizona is that team - the one with the most questions, that is...

...The odds are decent that the offense will be a top 3 affair in the Pac 12. Beyond that, things get more murky. Outside of Colorado, no team in the South has more questions about who will ultimately man the QB position. The loss of Austin Hill to injury is a crushing blow. The prospects for the defense are cloudy to say the least.

Updated

4-5

4th South

Comments: I think I pretty much nailed the Arizona Wildcats for 2013.  While I didn't see QB B.J. Denker become the threat that he has become, he has done his damage at the expense of other playmakers - in particular Ka'Deem Carey - and having the same net impact on the 'Zona offense.  The D is still a work in progress for Rich Rod, and this is a limiter to 2013 upside.  I think UA has one more win on the schedule - WSU - and three losses to the likes of UCLA, Oregon and ASU.  This will leave them exactly as forecasted.
5.  Utah

August

2-7

5th South

Always a "front to back" thinker, Whit has made it a point to concentrate on the defensive trenches in designing his schemes. However, this season, he has to start building that unit without the services of both Star Lotuleilei and Joe Kruger...

...Offensively, the arrival of Dennis Erickson means the complete reconstruction of the playbook...Travis had his ups and downs as a freshman starter towards the end of last season, but he definitely shows a level of athleticism that the Utes are hopeful can be more heavily utilized in an Erickson offense.

Updated

2-7

5th South

Comments: The early season flash of QB Travis Wilson seemed to give many Utah fans hope that this was going to be a "special season".  The upset home win over Stanford only fueled that notion.  However, hopes were somewhat built on the foundation of an odd schedule that didn't require Utah to leave their state for the first half of the season.  Now that the schedule has stiffened, reality has set in.  Utah is a gritty, tough team that can make the going difficult for any team.  But they lack the horses to win week-in, week-out.  Look for them to lose their next three, including a road loss to WSU, before pulling out a final victory versus Colorado to end the year.
6.  Colorado

August

1-8

6th South

This looks like a two-win team that should be able to handle Central Arkansas and may find an upset win among Colorado State, Cal or Arizona...

...Bottom line: there is a lot to like about what the Buffs are putting together, but 2013 is not the year that Buff fans can hope to see fruits from these sown seeds.

Updated

1-8

6th South

Comments: The Buffs have definitely begun to show some fight as their last game against UCLA showed.  I like what coach MacIntyre is doing with this team and I am really impressed with what true frosh Sefo Liufau brings to the table as a QB.  However, there isn't much left in the tank for this team.  I like them to ride the coattails of their big bruiser, Christian Powell, to beat Cal.  However, I don't see any other wins on a
schedule that includes UW, USC and Utah.


Closing Thoughts

The South is still working out much as it was predicted to when I set about authoring the Gekko Files last summer. I think it is fair to say that the attrition among the scholarship players and the affair with Lane Kiffin has greatly scrambled USC's prospects. However, they are demonstrating a certain amount of bounce-back that ought to have every Pac 12 fan lamenting the "return of Troy".

Outside of USC, the progress of Arizona State has been palpable.  They are clearly in the driver's seat where the South is concerned and their upcoming game against UCLA promises to be the clincher if they can pull it off.  The rest of the division has shown flashes of competitiveness, but injuries (UCLA) and lack of depth (Arizona, Utah, Colorado) has all but ensured that the Gekko's originally projected standings will mostly come to pass.

More from UW Dawg Pound:

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join UW Dawg Pound

You must be a member of UW Dawg Pound to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at UW Dawg Pound. You should read them.

Join UW Dawg Pound

You must be a member of UW Dawg Pound to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at UW Dawg Pound. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker