ESPN released its preseason FPI rankings for the 2020 college football season this past Tuesday, and as you’d imagine, there is some debate regarding the teams at the top. Clemson, which lost the national title game to LSU, is the No. 1 team in the country.
Let’s take a look at the teams from the Pac-12 – a conference that hasn’t had a College Football Playoff participant in three seasons. Last year, the Oregon Ducks came closest, finishing No. 6 in the final rankings.
Last season, Oregon finished 8-1 in-conference and defeated Utah in the league’s title game to play in the Rose Bowl. The Ducks defeated Wisconsin 28-27 in a thriller.
This year, ESPN has the Ducks ranked No. 14 in its preseason FPI – behind No. 13 USC. The Trojans return quarterback Kedon Slovis, who had an incredible season after replacing J.T. Daniels due to injury.
It’s clear that ESPN’s formula only gives USC and Oregon a realistic shot at crashing the College Football Playoff party. Utah is the next-highest ranked team at No. 24.
Here’s the list of all 12 Pac-12 teams in the list:
41. Arizona State
54. Washington State
67. Oregon State
Utah, which was a national title contender for much of 2019, fell apart down the stretch, losing to Oregon in the Pac-12 title game and then Texas in the Alamo Bowl. ESPN does not predict the Utes to be a major factor in this year’s race.
Believe it or not, college football season is just about six months away. The 2020 campaign can’t get here soon enough.