But let’s not call it coincidence or correlation. Then again he has gone to the SEC so if they don’t get two schools in the College Football Playoff, blame him.
The Pac-12 has become the de facto second best conference in the land and it’s by a long shot as well (at least last season and probably this one…ok probably the next few as well unless the Big XII goes crazy). You can expect no less than three national title contenders, two true Heisman trophy contenders, and a few NFL first rounders from this conference alone this season. It’s just too bad I can’t get half their games because we don’t (and never will) get the Pac-12 Network here. Such a shame.
- Oregon Ducks (8-1 conference, 11-1 overall) – First spoiler alert: no Pac-12 team will go undefeated inside the conference. This conference is too tough with too many top tier teams for this to happen. This could affect seeding for the College Football Playoff but The Committee should respect what these teams have to go through. Saying all that, Team Nike should have the best shot in the Pac-12 North, the toughest division in football not named the SEC West.
- Stanford Cardinal (7-2 conference, 9-3 overall) – One of the latest trendy things in college football is basically dickriding everything Stanford. I get it. Since Harbaugh the Elder (or is he the younger one…wait, just call him Harbaugh the Insane) took over at The Farm, things have been coming up Roses for the Cardinal. No pun intended, they have been to a lot of Rose Bowls recently. But even with David Shaw being one of the best coaches in the land, they can’t be the best all the time and I hate to say it, they are going to Autzen and they will probably lose, end of story. Now let’s move on.
- Washington Huskies (6-3 conference, 10-3 overall) – Don’t be alarmed. My math isn’t wrong. Washington plays 13 times this season thanks to the “Travel to Hawaii, Get an Extra Game” clause that a team can use. Ubercoach Chris Petersen goes farther west to see if he can bring that Boise magic to a team that has been stuck in neutral for the past few years. His first year should see some improvement but wait another year or two. Then the Pac-12 North could get VERY interesting.
- Oregon State Beavers (6-3 conference, 9-3 overall) – Somehow the Beavers come in fourth in the Pac-12 North. In most divisions, they would make a fine runner-up. It’s too bad they are stuck in a brutal division. Until they can win against one of the teams above them, this will be their customary spot. On the bright spot, Sean Mannion may destroy all Pac-12 passing records this year as I am sure Mike Riley plans on having him throw the ball approximately 78 times a game.
- Washington State Cougars (1-8 conference, 4-8 overall) – Last year was fun for Wazzu. Mike Leach’s Fun Time Crazy Offense Starring Connor Halliday was great to watch. Too bad their defense was horrible and the trainwreck that was the last two minutes of the New Mexico Bowl is probably a sign of things to come this year. With many teams in the Pac-12 improving, unless Halliday and his band of merry receivers go absolutely insane and score 50 a game, this team isn’t going bowling and may float back to the bottom of the division.
- California Golden Bears (0-9 conference, 1-11 overall) – Poor Sonny Dykes. Left a pretty good thing in Ruston with LaTech to go to Berkeley and go right into the hot seat of coaching. This team is going nowhere fast. As I said above, pretty much all the other teams are improving which means Cal falls to the bottom of the pile. Even Colorado should beat them this year. Maybe bottoming out will help Dykes scrap the system and start over. Question is does he get the time to do so?
- UCLA Bruins (8-1 conference, 10-2 overall) – I talk about chic picks a lot in these predictions. Here’s another one. The Bruins to go to the College Football Playoff. I’m not saying it won’t happen. It very well might. I think part of the reason for this pick is that his very well may be the last we see Brett Hundley and Myles Jack playing college football. Two Heisman hopefuls on the same team. However; their schedule is too difficult and I see them slipping up once which would be enough to eliminate them from CFP consideration unless they win the Pac-12 title outright.
- USC Trojans (6-3 conference, 9-3 overall) – I really do think the Trojans made the right call naming Steve Sarkisian head coach and not giving in to pressure to hire Ed Orgeron. Orgeron was great in the few games he coached for the Trojans but he was beyond brutal at Ole Miss. Great coordinator, average head coach. Sarkisian was ready to move on but they will have to wait for the UCLA show to conclude which should be this season. Then he can start his assault on the Pac-12 South.
- Arizona Wildcats (6-3 conference, 8-4 overall) – I am one of the few people who think the Wildcats may be even better than they were last year, even without Ka’Deem Carey? You can never count me as a huge RichRod fan but he seems to be doing some good things in the desert and I even see them passing their brethren down the way in Tempe this season. Speaking of Tempe…
- Arizona State Sun Devils (3-6 conference, 6-6 overall) – I could get some flak from people but I just don’t see the ASU hype. Other than the fact they are the biggest party school in the land (with some incredibly smoking hot college women), their football team has been a little above-average. Nothing special since Jake The Snake Plummer left years ago. I see a step back for a team that, yes, should have lost to Wisconsin last year (thanks a bunch instant replay).
- Utah Utes (2-7 conference, 4-8 overall) – Are the Utes now the worst FBS team in the state of Utah? Well they have been for two years now I don’t know what would have changed. Kyle Whittingham has to be on an incredibly hot seat this season as I don’t see the Utes winning much more than they did last year. Which will inevitably lead to a coaching search as this team has done nothing more than tread water since coming over from the Pac-12’s scrappy younger brother, the Mountain West conference.
- Colorado Buffaloes (1-8 conference, 3-9 overall) – Thank god for Cal being on their sked, am I right? Mike MacIntyre has the rebuilding job of all rebuilding jobs these days. Two decades ago, this team broke the Nebraska-Oklahoma Big Eight stranglehold. Now they struggle against FCS teams. They should be slightly better this year than last and I am guessing it will continue in the coming years. I mean if he can bring San Jose State back from the dead (albeit briefly), then he should be able to do it for almost any program.
Now this will be some kind of conference championship game. Brand spankin new Levi’s Stadium to host instead of letting the better school host (which I always thought was a stupid idea) and a Friday night all to themselves (apologies to MACtion fans but come on). Plus, if it ends up being the Ducks and the Bruins it should be a fantastic match. I have the Ducks winning and moving on to the CFP semis but it won’t be easy on them.