Alright, time for Pac-12 predictions. And the same question that came up every year for the past fifteen years comes up again…is USC a contender?
The answer is…sort of.
They will be a contender in the Pac-12 and a contender to go to a New Year’s Six bowl. The problem lies with the teams in their division, namely Arizona State (although UCLA, Arizona, and Utah continue to be pains in the ass as well).
Let’s cut the crap and get right to the predictions shall we? Then we can get to some notes.
- Even though I have Arizona State and Oregon winning their respective divisions, there are quite a few other teams that could make it to the Pac-12 Championship game without being too much of a surprise. The only teams I believe have no shot at doing that are Colorado (obviously), Cal, Washington State, and Oregon State.
- For once, Colorado might not be the whipping boy of the Pac-12 (despite their still craptastic record). Oregon State seems to be trending in the wrong direction and boy is Gary Andersen going to regret the move to the Pacific Northwest.
- Toughest non-conference schedule easily goes to Stanford. They are at Northwestern, home against UCF, then finish their season on The Farm against Notre Dame. I only see them winning two of those three.
- Now the easiest non-conference sked is a bit of a toss-up but I am going with the Fighting Leachs of Washington State. Portland State, Rutgers, and Wyoming? Seriously? Who do they think they are, Marshall? Worst part is, they won’t run the table in those three games and will struggle in conference play. Mike Leach’s hot seat will get much hotter this season.
- Again, realignment talk has come up since there’s no football to watch for a few months (although we are now down to 18 days until the first FCS game of the season). The question is, will the Pac-12 want to keep up and become the Pac-14 (or Pac-16) and who do they get if they decide to expand? There are probably about twenty schools on their list but it all boils down to one: Texas. They get the Horns then they probably instantly leapfrog the SEC as the most powerful conference in the land (and bury the Big XII once and for all). Should be interesting in the next three or four years.
Not too many notes there as I am trying to get over a foot injury (which is bugging the hell out of me) so my mind is elsewhere (my foot). As for the Pac-12 title game, I see Oregon pulling off the very minor upset over an Arizona State that will, up until that game, have College Football Playoff aspirations. They will be dashed and then be relegated to the New Year’s Six.
Next up is the Big XII as we come closer to the start of the season (thank god).