#3 The Pac 12
The PAC will again have some pretty good teams, and could see a return to the playoffs. There may even be a few surprises in store.
- Stanford University – Cardinal – 12-0 / 9-0: The Cardinal is returning a strong set of starters from a pretty good team, so they’ll be better, and have fewer chances to trip up. They have a real shot at running the table.
- Washington State University – Cougars – 10-2 / 8-1: The Pirates back. Outside of trips to Palo Alto and Boise the coast is clear for the Cougars. Don’t get sticker shock, these guys won 9 games last year, and return 14 starters to a beneficial schedule. There other trips out of the friendly environs of Pullman are to Tempe, Corvalis, and Boulder.
- University of Oregon – Ducks – 8-4 / 5-4: This year will find the Ducks still in a bit of a rebuilding trend. It also has them travelling to Washington State, USC, and Utah. But, many schools would be happy with an 8-4 down year.
- University of Washington – Huskies – 7-5 / 4-5: Washington seems to be a real media darling, and I’m still trying to figure out why. They have 15 starters coming back from a team that struggled to win 7 games last year. They should be better, but more in line with looking good winning 7 games, not dethroning Stanford (who never seems to get picked to win this division).
- University of California at Berkeley – Golden Bears – 3-9 / 1-8: Well the Bears will get to start off in a big way with a BIG road trip to Sydney, and a probable win over UT. After that it’s not going to be very much fun. They aren’t a bad team, just a middle of the road team that gets every other middle of the road team on the road, while their home schedule is loaded with all the teams they can only beat once out of sixty times.
- Oregon State University – Beavers – 1-11 / 0-9: The Beavers are again a very poor team. They get Idaho State at home or a winless campaign could happen.
- University of Utah – Utes – 12-0 / 9-0: The Utes have the most returning, from the best team in their division last year. They are going to improve this year, and they have a great schedule. They have a road test @UCLA, their other road games are @San Jose St, @Cal, @Oregon St, @Arizona State, and @Colorado. Not exactly a murders row.
- University of California at Los Angeles – Bruins – 6-6 / 5-4: The Bruins were decent team last year, but this year have to rebuild on offense, and have a bad schedule to look good doing it on. They start off with an out of conference slate that sends them to College Station and Provo. In conference they have home dates they probably lose to Stanford and Utah, and get to add a trip to Washington State.
- University of Arizona – Wildcats – 6-6 / 4-5: The Wildcats have middle of the pack talent, and a mixed schedule so they are bound for something between winning 5 to 7 games. I’m not sure this saves Rich Rodriguez’s job.
- University of Southern California – Trojans – 6-6 / 4-5: The Trojans are getting a lot of hype, and I just don’t see it going anywhere. They’re not a bad team, but when you have to go on the road to play Alabama, Stanford, Utah, Arizona, Washington, and UCLA you’re not gonna wind up in the top 10 unless you have more in the cupboard than USC does right now.
- University of Colorado – Buffaloes – 5-7 / 3-6: Well this year it looks like the Buffaloes may at least stamp a bit, they’re not quite ready to stampede. With Oregon State, Arizona State, and UCLA coming to the Rocky’s to play it could let the Boulder faithful flirt with bowl invitations.
- Arizona State University – Sun Devils – 3-9 / 1-8: The Sun Devils were not a great team last year, and lost a 12 starters. They face a tough home schedule with Texas Tech, UCLA, Washington State, and Utah coming to Tempe. Then have road trips to the teams they could beat at home.