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Pac-12 Football: The HoS staff plays general manager for a day

If trades were allowed in college football, which ones should Pac-12 teams be making before the season begins?

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

College football differs from the NFL in many, many ways, and that's what makes it great. But if there was one thing we could borrow from the professional ranks, it would be the ability to trade and swap players to different teams all across the country.

Your team is in the playoff hunt but needs to replace an injured quarterback? Go ahead and swap some future recruits for that star signal-caller whose team might not even make a bowl game.

Have an unhappy wide receiver that wants to transfer? Why not benefit from his departure and work out a trade with another school in the same situation.

The possibilities are endless, so a few members of our staff decided to play general manager for a day and pick which transactions could help Pac-12 teams as we head into the 2016 season.


Ryan Bafaloukos - House of Sparky Co-Managing Editor

#1 - Washington State trades QB Luke Falk to USC for WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and LB Osa Masina

There is little debate that USC needs a quarterback and they get arguably the best one in the conference in Washington State's Luke Falk. With Falk in town, USC is the favorite in the Pac-12 South and one of the most talented teams in the nation. Yes, they would be giving up the best wide receiver in the conference but they still have Darreus Rogers, Steven Mitchell, and potentially Adoree' Jackson at the position.

In Mike Leach's system, Washington State can find another quarterback to put up similar numbers to Falk (not to take anything away from Falk) and they now boast the top receiving corps in the conference with Smith-Schuster alongside Gabe Marks. They also get a sophomore linebacker in Masina who will be an anchor along their defense for the next 2-3 seasons.

#2 - Colorado sends QB Sefo Liufau to Arizona State for WR Cameron Smith and CB Kareem Orr

This trade nets the Sun Devils a starting quarterback for the 2016 season who has started the better part of the past three seasons for Colorado. In 2014, Liufau threw for 3,200 yards and 28 touchdowns before throwing for 2,418 yards in an injury-riddled 2015 campaign. Liufau would be a nice stop-gap plan with Brady White, Dillon Sterling-Cole, and Bryce Perkins getting an extra year to develop.

The big loss here is Kareem Orr, who proved to be one of the top freshman DBs in the nation last season, but bringing in Maurice Chandler and J'Marcus Rhodes and a healthy Armand Perry should soften the blow.

Colorado gets a wide receiver to help replace Nelson Spruce in Smith would have an immediate impact on the offense. The big get, however, is Orr, who could start at safety or cornerback and be an impact member of the Buffaloes defense for the next three years. Orr has all-conference potential and Colorado gets two starters to replace a senior quarterback.

Note: Although Liufau is recovering from a foot injury, most expect him to be 100% when the season starts.

#3 - Oregon State sends WR Jordan Villamin to UCLA for QB Matt Lynch and RB Nathan Starks

Perhaps the only glaring hole on the UCLA football team is at the wide receiver position, where UCLA moved DB Ishmael Adams to and is projected to start true freshman Theo Howard. Villamin has been very productive the past two seasons despite playing on an anemic Oregon State offense. The junior receiver tallied 578 yards receiving in 2014 and 650 in 2015 despite the Beavers averaging just 159 yards through the air last year.

Oregon State gets two productive young players from UCLA in Starks and Lynch. Starks ran for 320 yards and averaged 6.4 yards per carry in 2015 and could give Oregon State two productive years. Lynch is an incoming freshman who was one of the top 30 quarterback prospects in the 2016 class, possibly giving OSU its quarterback of the future.


Connor Pelton - House of Sparky Co-Managing Editor

#1 - Colorado trades CB Chidobe Awuzie to California for OL Dominic Granado and OL Steven Moore.

California saw a linebacker transfer to Illinois and a strong safety tear his ACL after the spring game this past April, leaving their defense with just five returning starters from last year's team. Needless to say, the Golden Bears need some help, especially in the secondary. That's where Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie comes in. The senior led the Buffaloes in tackles and tackles for a loss last year (in addition to being second in pass deflections) and would surely help a team in need of a good corner.

In exchange for Awuzie, Mike MacIntyre's team would receive offensive linemen Dominic Granado and Steven Moore from California. Colorado may have some experience on the line, but that experience doesn't necessarily equal talent. The addition of Granado and Moore, grouped with left guard Gerrad Kough, would give them one of the best pass-protection lines in the conference.

#2 - Arizona State sends RB Kalen Ballage to Utah for LG Isaac Asiata

Gone is all-everything running back Devontae Booker for Utah, and while former Washington quarterback Troy Williams had a great season a year ago at Santa Monica College, he will not be able to duplicate Travis Wilson's mobile successes for the Utes in 2016. Yes, they are in need of someone who can run the ball consistently and reliably, and Arizona State's Kalen Ballage could be that man.

The Sun Devils will be down to just a single tailback in the form of Demario Richard in this scenario, but with some increased blocking help via Utah left guard Isaac Asiata, that is a trade the maroon and gold should be more than willing to make. Chris Thomsen's offensive line looks to be extremely young and inexperienced heading into the fall, so the addition of someone with All-Pac-12 talent like Asiata would be huge.


Zac Pacleb - House of Sparky Football Beat Writer

#1 - Arizona State sends QB Manny Wilkins and LB/DB Marcus Ball to Oregon for DB Arrion Springs and DB Tyree Robinson

This is a mid-level impact trade that could fill up some holes on both depth charts. Arizona State is lacking in any sort of experience in the secondary, and as of July, the plan appears to feature Kareem Orr and De’Chavon "Gump" Hayes at corner with Armand Perry and Laiu Mokieola at safety.

Only Orr played consistently in the secondary last season, and even then, it was at field safety. While he was strong last season as a true freshman, he was exposed on numerous occasions on big plays. Cornerback is his more natural position, so he should be fine there. At worst, Springs and Robinson would provide depth to a thin secondary selection for ASU, and at best, they provide some experience having both played in 12 and 13 games respectively.

The Sun Devils will have to give up their presumptive QB1, but in exchange for some depth in the secondary and given their plethora of talented men to run Chip Lindsey’s offense, I think the trade-off will be okay. More so, none of ASU’s quarterbacks have started a game, so the experience drop-off on the roster will be virtually none. However, Wilkins was touted in high school as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country.

The Ducks decided to run with Vernon Adams for a year and with the addition of Montana State transfer Dakota Prukop, they could do the same this season. With Wilkins, they would get two to three years of consistency under center (I say ‘under center’ figuratively because this is Oregon, after all). He would also provide competition for redshirt freshman Travis Jonsen, another top dual-threat recruit in high school.