Pac-12 football 2019 preview: Can Oregon, Utah live up to preseason hype?

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Justin Herbert, Oregon Ducks

(Photo by Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Trying to predict who will win the Pac-12 in 2019, could be tougher than most years. Who will stand atop the conference at the end of the season?

The Pac-12 enters the 2019 season about as wide open as its ever been. Some could view that as an indictment on the conference for not having a clear-cut favorite, or perhaps take the optimistic view that there’s depth in the conference and multiple teams who could be crowned conference champs.

Washington won the Pac-12 in 2018, after defeating Utah in the conference championship game. Both meetings between the Huskies and Utes were defensive snoozefests that really didn’t have anyone rushing to praise the conference.

Both Washington and Utah, along with other programs are certain to factor into the discussion for the Pac-12 crown this season. There are many names to keep an eye out on this year, especially those that should be earning some in-conference hardware at the end of the year.

Offensive Player of the Year: Justin Herbert, Oregon

Had Justin Herbert entered the NFL Draft his past year, he may very well have been in the discussion for the top overall pick. The fact that he is returning to the Oregon program makes him a favorite for many awards.

It’s hard not to make Herbert the early pick for the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year. When he’s at his best, the Ducks are contenders to win the Pac-12 and he’s going to put up big numbers on the field.

Herbert finished this past season with 3,151 yards and 29 touchdowns to just eight interceptions. Heading into his fourth year with the Ducks, one has to imagine those numbers will continue to be high.

Another name to keep an eye on for this award is Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin.  The running back was quietly one of the best in college football last season, as he produced 1,642 yards on the ground and 16 touchdowns. His yard total was tied for third-best in the nation.

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