Now that fall camp is upon us, I figured it is time to comb over the Pac-12 schedules and make some concrete predictions based on each team's schedule.
1. Oregon 11-2 (9-0)
This is why predicting a season going in is so tough. Looking at Oregon's schedule, there isn't a single game I would bet on them losing, but overall, I think it is likely that they lose a couple of games. Working with that mindset, I say they lose at Michigan State (breaking in a new quarterback on the road against one of the nation's best defenses is very tough) and fall to USC in the Pac-12 Championship game two weeks after beating them in Eugene. That P12CG loss will knock the Ducks out the Playoff, but I think they still get back to the Rose Bowl for a rematch with Michigan State.
2. Stanford 8-4 (6-3)
The Cardinal are still a deep, talented team with a well-executed scheme, but their lack of explosion on offense and huge rebuilding project on defense is going to lead to a few losses this season. I don't think they beat Oregon, fall to USC on the road again, get upset by someone in the Pac-12 (this could be Cal's year) and lose to Notre Dame or get upset by one of their other solid non-conference opponents (Northwestern & UCF). With this record, I think the Cardinal slide into the familiar Foster Farms Bowl.
3. Washington 5-7 (3-6)
The Huskies might have lost more talent and experience than any other Pac-12 school from 2014 so I don't expect much from them in 2015. They will lose every game they should except maybe if they can steal a home game against Utah and beat two out of three of the North teams below them, while getting upset once.
4. Cal 5-7 (3-6)
The Bears were so close to breaking through last year and unfortunately I think this year will be the same. They will win some games over not very good teams, grab an upset or two, but their defense will fail them and they will fall just short of a bowl game.
5. Washington State 4-8 (2-7)
The Cougars' passing prowess will be enough to get them wins over some bad Pac-12 teams and bad non-conference teams, but that's about it.
6. Oregon State 3-9 (1-8)
The Beavers will grab an upset over a lower-level Pac-12 team this year (I am thinking Washington in Corvallis) and win their home non-conference games.
1. USC 12-1 (8-1)
Ugh, okay, I am predicting USC to lose just one game, win the South, the Pac-12 Championship Game and go to the Playoff. I hate to do it with some of their weaknesses and coach, but I just have to right now. The only game I would bet on them losing is at Oregon, but I would like their chances in a rematch two weeks later on a neutral field. If they can do this, they are headed to the Playoff.
2. UCLA 9-3 (6-3)
I really like the Bruins, if Brett Hundley had come back, they would be my choice to win the Pac-12, but he didn't and breaking in a true freshman quarterback is going to cost them a few games. I think they finally run out against USC, continue to struggle at Stanford and get upset by someone (probably Utah on the road in November). The Bruins will end the regular season near the Top 10 and just miss out on an elite bowl again, going to the Alamo Bowl for the second-straight year.
3. Arizona State 8-4 (6-3)
The Sun Devils will continue to hover below the top of the South. They will be good enough to stay in the South race for most of the year, but won't crack the LA schools and end up going to the Holiday Bowl.
4. Arizona 8-4 (5-4)
The Wildcats have a good thing going under Rich Rodriguez, but I don't think they will get the breaks this year to get back to the Pac-12 Championship Game. Still, they will beat pretty much every team that they should, fight for the South crown and end up in the Sun Bowl.
5. Utah 7-5 (4-5)
The Utes have really improved from where they were a couple of years ago, but so has the rest of the Pac-12, so I don't see them doing much better than this in 2015. They will do just fine though and get back to the Las Vegas Bowl.
6. Colorado 5-8 (1-8)
I had the same problem with predicting Colorado that I did Oregon, but in reverse. I think Colorado will improve enough to win a Pac-12 game or two this year, but when going over their games, I simply couldn't find a game that I would bet they win. They have to win a Pac-12 game though, so let's say they win at Oregon State.