Predicting the 2013 Pac-12 Football Season: Once Again, Ducks and Cardinal Will Reign Supreme

Steve Dykes

The Ducks should win the North, while the Sun Devils should win the South.

Because we know that there aren't nearly enough opinions out there about how the Pac-12 standings will shake out at the end of the 2013 season, we thought we would make sure that there was one more prediction out there about the 2013 Pac-12 football season. Taking a look at the 2013 schedule, here is how I think the Pac-12 standings could end up heading into the Pac-12 Championship Game.

North

1. Oregon 11-1 (8-1)

I'm very tempted to pick the Ducks to run the table, as I feel that they have a pretty favorable schedule as their only truly daunting game is at Stanford, and I think they match up well against the Cardinal in general, even if they lost to them last season. The Ducks could easily run the table, but doing that is just so, so hard, especially when you lose one of the best coaches to ever coach in the conference. With Kelly's unmatched perfectionism gone, and because of simple odds, I think the Ducks lose a game in-conference. Candidates include losing the showdown at a juggernaut of a Stanford defense or dropping one of their games against rivals Oregon State or Washington who they both are simply overdue to have a bad game against.

2. Stanford 10-2 (7-2)

The Cardinal have one of the biggest, scariest and most talented defenses I have seen in the Pac-12, but I'm a little bit worried about their offense. I hate how the Cardinal's style seems to keep lesser teams in games (They went down to the wire with Washington State, USC, Arizona and San Jose State and lost to Washington in 2012) if they can just make a couple of big plays and I think it will bite them a couple of times in 2013 again.

3. Oregon State 8-4 (5-4)

I really like this Beaver team, they're balanced, well-coached and have a few superstars, but unfortunately play in a division with two powerhouses they simply cannot leapfrog. I think the Beavers will come out with pretty much the same amount of wins whether they choose Sean Mannion or Cody Vaz as their starting quarterback, as I trust both.

4. Washington 7-5 (4-5)

Ouch, obviously this is a better record to finish with for the Huskies as opposed to a losing record, but not much. The Huskies should be very good with their big three of Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Kasen Williams and Bishop Sankey along with a steadily improved defense, but they play a lot of tough games on the road and like the Beavers, have a couple teams in their division that are pretty immovable from the top.

5. Cal 5-7 (3-6)

I'm sure a losing season isn't how Sonny Dykes, and Cal fans, want to start off his tenure, but I actually think this would be at least a fair season for the Bears given their lack of experience on offense, new regime and the strength of the Pac-12 North.

6. Washington State 4-8 (2-7)

The Cougars should be better in 2013, but unfortunately for them, so should everybody else in the North. In-conference, I expect the Cougars to win one game they should, like their home game against Utah, and upset someone late in the season, like Arizona State.

South

1. Arizona State 9-3 (7-2)

I think the Sun Devils are actually the most complete Pac-12 team outside of Oregon going into the season, and they have a favorable schedule by missing Oregon and getting USC and Arizona at home. I'll give the Sun Devils the slightest of edges over USC since their match-up is in Tempe.

2. USC 10-3 (7-2)

I'm in the minority that thinks that the Trojans simply have too much talent to not have a bounce-back season and will win somewhere around nine or 10 games. I think everyone forgets that they were very much in every game that they lost last season until they lost Matt Barkley and the South lacks a team that they should really be afraid of.

3. UCLA 8-4 (6-3)

People are very excited about the Bruins, but I think they probably have the toughest schedule in the conference and not much on offense outside of Brett Hundley, along with a frighteningly young secondary. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Bruins get to around 10 wins and take the division, but it will be very, very difficult.

4. Arizona 6-6 (3-6)

I think the Wildcats are the weakest of the "Pack of Four" at the top of the Pac-12 South and got a tough draw by getting Oregon and having to play USC and Arizona State on the road. Still, I think the Wildcats should easily get to a bowl, and could pull off a couple of upsets and get to eight or nine wins.

5. Utah 3-9 (1-8)

This looks very, very harsh, but when looking at the Utes' schedule I just don't see very many games that they should win. They should beat Colorado, but I just can't predict them upsetting anyone in the Pac-12.

6. Colorado 2-10 (0-9)

Another that seems harsh, but I think the Buffs should be better, and this would be an overall improvement. They face the same problem that the Cougars do though, in that, someone will have to fall down for them to come up, and other than maybe Utah, I don't know who is going to do that.

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