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Jack Follman’s Simulated 2020 Pac-12 Football Season, Pt. 1

Follman's take on how the Conference games—as originally scheduled—would have played out

Posted on August 19, 2020

  By Jack Follman, SuperWest Sports

I don’t think anyone thought we’d ever officially be here, but there is no 2020 Pac-12 football season. There may possibly be a 2020 Pac-12 football season played in 2021 somehow but I think most fans have written that off by now, knowing at least that it would look almost nothing like the original season we were all looking forward to.

Huge non-conference matchups, evenly matched rivalry games with a ton at stake, Oregon trying to win the conference two years in-a-row for the first time since the Chip Kelly Era, USC trying to find some championship life under Clay Helton and several schools breaking in new coaches, 2020 was going to be amazing.

As we wait and watch for a potential Winter/Spring season I thought it would be fun to take a shot at how I think the originally scheduled 2020 season would have unfolded. Over the next several weeks, I’ll give you my assessment of how the games would have gone, two weeks at a time. We’ve even included updated simulated Pac-12 standings at the bottom. Just so you know, I didn’t use any kind of computerized simulation system or teams created on NCAA Football 14.

These are just my opinions.

I hope you enjoy this simulation. I would love to talk about any or all of the hypothetical matchups on Twitter (follow @JackFollman to play along).

*Angry fans of certain teams: I see you and love you, but please keep in mind that predicting every single game of a season and keeping every Pac-12 fanbase happy is impossible.

For example, looking at each game, I probably would pick Oregon to win every single game on their schedule. However, they would almost assuredly have lost 1-2 games, so I have to pick those upsets and then probably pick those teams that upset them to lose a game or two they shouldn’t so we end up with win totals that add up mathematically.


Week Zero (August 29)

A few Pac-12 teams were scheduled to start a week early in games that weren’t highly-anticipated but I’m sure we all would have obsessed over being so football hungry.



Hawaii at Arizona

Series History: Wildcats lead 5-1, but lost last meeting in 2019.

Arizona 56, Hawaii 28



Cal at UNLV

Series History: First meeting

Cal 38, UNLV 10

Former Oregon OC Marcus Arroyo gets a tough challenge against an experienced, talented and well-coached Cal team ready to kick-start a season where they expect to compete for the Pac-12 title. The Rebels are roadkill on the hot Vegas strip as the Bears come out swinging.



New Mexico State at UCLA

Series History: Bruins lead 1-0 (2013)

UCLA 62, New Mexico State 21



Week 1 (September 3-5)



Portland State at Arizona

Series History: Wildcats lead 1-0 (2010)

Arizona 59, Portland State 17



Northern Arizona at Arizona State

Series History: Sun Devils lead 3-0.

Arizona State 49, Northern Arizona 10



TCU at Cal

Series History: Bears trail 0-1 (2018)

Cal 24 TCU 20

The Bears prove they’re a Top 25 candidate this year by winning a close one over a good Big 12 opponent in Berkeley with tough defense and clutch play again by Chase Garbers.



Colorado at Colorado State

Series History: Buffs lead 67-22-2.

Colorado 38, Colorado State 21



North Dakota State at Oregon

Series History: First meeting

Oregon 42, North Dakota State 17

Some have pointed to this as a slight upset watch with Trey Lance leading NDSU. That might have been the case if Oregon didn’t have one of the best defenses in the nation coming back. Good enough to keep Lance and his offense limited.



Oregon State at Oklahoma State

Series History: Beavers trail 0-1 (2019)

Oklahoma State 42, Oregon State 35

The Beavers almost pull through and get a national statement win on the road against a ranked Cowboy team but things get too tough in Stillwater down the stretch.



William & Mary at Stanford

Series History: First meeting

Stanford 41, William & Mary 12



UCLA at Hawaii

Series History: Bruins lead 3-0

UCLA 56, Hawaii 35



usc logoUSC vs. Alabama (Arlington, TX)

Series History: Trojans trail 8-2

Alabama 38, USC 21

Things go better than the last time the Trojans played Alabama on a neutral field, but this still isn’t particularly close as the Crimson Tide power through the Trojans and limit their air raid offense.



BYU at Utah

Series History: Utes lead 59-31-4

Utah 24, BYU 14

The Utes comfortably have this rivalry under control and can grind out another win against the Cougars as they break in a new QB and a lot of new faces on defense.



Michigan at Washington

Series History: Huskies trail 5-7

Washington 17, Michigan 16

Jimmy Lake’s first game as head coach of Washington is a huge one and a huge win as the Huskies lean on a veteran defense that was better than most realize in 2019, and just barely get a home win against a Top 20 non-conference opponent to start their season off with a splash.



Washington State at Utah State

Series History: Cougars lead 2-1

Washington State 30, Utah State 24



Week Zero/Week One Simulated 2020 Pac-12 Standings

North Division
South Division

You’ll find Part Two of Jack Follman’s Simulated Season here.

—More from Jack Follman—