Back to the Future: Pac-12 Preseason Projections Of The Past

Chip Kelly has been a big reason that power in the Pac-12 has shifted from USC to Oregon in both the media's eyes and the standings.

In the modern era, where every game is on TV and practices and recruiting are covered each and every day, the college football season generally brings fewer surprises. What we know about teams within a conference going into the season for the most part is usually fairly accurate. Yes, some teams are bound to disappoint and other surprise, it's just the nature of sport, but taking a look back at how the media predicted the Pac-12 and Pac-10 standings in the recent preseason media polls when compared to the final actual standings, they are very much accurate.

However, it is always interesting to take a look a back and see how the teams in the conference finished in comparison to how they were predicted to finish.

2007

Preseason

1. USC

2. Cal

3. UCLA

4. Arizona State

5. Oregon State

6. Oregon

7. Arizona

8. Washington State

9. Washington

10. Stanford

Actual

1. USC

2. Arizona State

3. Oregon State

4. Oregon

5. UCLA

6. Arizona

7. Cal

8. Washington State

9. Stanford

10. Washington

  • This was the start of when they hype around Jeff Tedford and Cal started to die down and the beginning of a great run for Mike Riley and the Beavers.
  • This was also the peak of when people viewed the conference as "USC and then everyone else" with Cal being a weak number two team heading into the season and Arizona State a very weak team to finish second in the conference.
  • It should be noted that Oregon was well on their way to a potential BCS bowl before an injury derailed Dennis Dixon and they lost their last three regular season games.

2008

Preseason

1. USC

2. Arizona State

3. Oregon

4. Cal

5. UCLA

6. Oregon State

7. Arizona

8. Washington

9. Stanford

10. Washington State

Actual

1. USC

2. Oregon

3. Oregon State

4. Cal

5. Arizona

6. Arizona State

7. Stanford

8. UCLA

9. Washington State

10. Washington

  • Controversy was just starting to simmer at USC, but they were still far and away the favorite going into the season and ended up winning the conference.
  • Despite receiving little to no hype going into the season, Oregon was just starting to become a power in the conference but had yet to knock USC off the top.
  • Arizona State lived up to their reputation of always not being good when you expect them to be and being good when you don't expect them to be while pretty much everything else went according to expectations.

2009

Preseason

1. USC

2. Cal

3. Oregon

4. Oregon State

5. Arizona State

6. Stanford

7. UCLA

8. Arizona

9. Washington

10. Washington State

Actual

1. Oregon

2. Arizona

3. Oregon State

4. Stanford

5. USC

6. Cal

7. Washington

8. UCLA

9. Arizona State

10. Washington State

  • Though there was significant controversy surrounding USC from the Reggie Bush scandal, most still saw them as the clear cut favorite in the conference only to see them have their worst season since 2001.
  • Oregon was touted as a good team going into the season but nowhere near the power they became towards the end of the year.
  • This is the first year that Tedford and Cal really started to disappoint in a big way more than just a small way.
  • The first year that, despite no one seeing it coming, Harbaugh and Stanford broke through as a force to be reckoned with.
  • Steve Sarkisian was also able to get the Huskies out of the cellar where most thought they would remain for at least a couple more years.

2010

Preseason

1. Oregon

2. USC

3. Oregon State

4. Stanford

5. Arizona

6. Washington

7. Cal

8. UCLA

9. Arizona State

10. Washington State

Actual

1. Oregon

2. Stanford

3. USC

4. Washington

5. Arizona

6. Arizona State

7. Oregon State

8. Cal

9. UCLA

10. Washington State

  • Oregon being picked as the preseason favorite to win the conference marked a huge change in the conference after nearly a decade of sheer dominance by USC and the Ducks more than lived up to their expectations getting to the national title game.
  • The media underestimated Washington and Stanford and the abilities of Harbaugh and Sarkisian to bring their programs to the next level.
  • After a few years of overachieving despite any expectations, the Beavers fell to the bottom of the conference.

2011

Preseason

North

1. Oregon

2. Stanford

3. Washington

4. Oregon State

5. Cal

6. Washington State

South

1. USC

2. Arizona State

3. Utah

4. Arizona

5. UCLA

6. Colorado

Actual

North

1. Oregon

2. Stanford

3. Washington

4. Cal

5. Oregon State

6. Washington State

South

1. USC

2. UCLA

3. Arizona State

4. Utah

5. Arizona

6. Colorado

  • The first year of the Pac-12 split things in two with divisions and heading into the season the South was predicted to be much weaker than the North, especially with USC ineligible and it very much turned out to be true.
  • The North pretty much turned out as expected while the South ended up being a mish mash of teams that were all about the same other than USC that fought over who could underachieve the most, with falling into the championship.
  • Once again, Arizona State was expected to be and should have been good, but completely disappointed, completely falling apart as the season progressed.
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