The Big Ten and Pac-12 believe it’s not safe to play. The ACC, Big 12 and SEC say, “Play on.’’ Here at TMG we say, “Write on.’’ And so, we present our fifth annual Sweet 16 Countdown to the college football season, 2020 edition.

Was this going to be the year the West Coast ended its College Football Playoff drought? The Pac-12 decided the virus risk was not worth the possible playoff reward, so we'll never know.

What's clear in the pre-season: Despite losing quarterback Justin Herbert, the Ducks were the heavy favorite to win the Pac-12 until Covid-19 shut them down.

New offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, the former Mississippi State head coach and Penn State assistant, had plenty to work with, regardless of who won the QB job—Boston College transfer Anthony Brown or sophomore Tyler Shough. To ease the QB transition, Oregon returned a 1,000-yard rusher, CJ Verdell, and a talented group of receivers.

But where the Ducks, who used to be known for offense, really would have excelled was on defense.

Eight starters were back, including defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux (shown above) and a pack of other studs.

Ohio State’s trip to Eugene on Sept. 12 would have been one of the most important nonconference matchups in this fractured season.