Wednesday, August 9, 2017

College Football: Season Preview: PAC-12

I found the PAC-12 to be incredibly hard to handicap this year. I want to place USC in the driver's seat but picking Todd Helton over Washington head coach Chris Peterson just feels wrong. This is another conference that's top-heavy, but it's good to see the blue-bloods coming back to the fore.

Here's how I see it unfolding....

Conference Standings:
North W L South W L
Washington 12 0 USC 11 1
Oregon 10 2 UCLA 7 5
Stanford 8 4 Utah 7 5
Washington State 7 5 Colorado 6 6
California 2 10 Arizona State 5 7
Oregon State 2 10 Arizona 3 9
Won division     Won division    
Conference Championship:
Washington over USC
Bowl Teams: 8  
CFP: Washington
Big 6: USC
CFP 2: None
Others: Washington
Washington State
Most Underrated: Utah
Most Overrated: Stanford
Coaches on Hot Seat: Arizona State
Washington State

So, I went with Washington, I see them both winning the conference and finding themselves in the CFP.  The biggest surprise is that Oregon is going to be a tough ask. After that there's a precipitous drop off to Stanford (who I feel is a team in decline) and Washington State (who has found their level) before falling off a cliff to California and Oregon State.

In the West it's USC and then a host of middling teams that could finish in any order, UCLA has Josh Rosen, and not much else, Utah is always solid but I think they've found their level as well, Colorado was a nice story last year, but I see them regressing some. Arizona State and Arizona will probably be looking for new head coaches in the off-season and both Todd Graham and Rich Rodriguez get shown the door.  I also wouldn't be surprised to see Mike Leach get tossed as Wazzu.  You put up with his act when he's winning, not so much when he's close to .500.

Again we have a situation where big sports sites are afraid to predict bad seasons for Power 5 teams. In the PAC-12 this year I think it's destined to happen for at least three teams.

OPOY: Sam Darnold (USC)
DPOY: Azeem Victor (Wash)
COY: Willie Taggart (Ore)

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