Time is a flat circle, even in the Pac-12. All pretentious wisdom aside, things in college football tend to repeat themselves, including preseason buzz. Even with how much I love the season and how painful the summer months are before the season, that preseason buzz, prognostication and bloviating is just as fun.
With all of this going on, I dug back into the past to try and find comparison seasons that look a lot like the coming season for each Pac-12 team. I will note that I didn't start watching until the mid-90s, but I tried to avoid having to pull from too far back in the past unless I had to.
Arizona: 2013 - The Wildcats were fresh off a very good year where they exceeded expectations with Rich Rodriguez, had a young breakout star at running back, disappointed a bit in a bowl game. They were expected to be right in the thick of things in the Pac-12 South in 2013 with a stud running back, great system and a slightly shaky QB situation, but were far from favorites to win it. The defense was going to be a question, but it was pretty clear that RichRod's system was going to do well enough in the Pac-12 to get the Wildcats 7-8-9 wins just about every year.
Arizona State: 2013 - The Wildcats and Sun Devils have really behaved very similarly since RichRod and Todd Graham entered the desert. In 2013, the Sun Devils were coming off a very good season where they almost won the South and won their bowl game and gained a lot of faith in Todd Graham. They lost some talent, but had a lot coming back and were considered to be major players in the South, but not favorites to win it.
Cal: 1989 - The Bears were just starting to climb out of the darkness of the late-Joe Kapp years with some glimpses of success under Bruce Snyder, but it still felt like going into 1989 that the Bears were maybe a year away from getting back to being a consistently winning program.
Colorado: 1984 - The days were dark, but they were a little lighter than they had been before and confidence was building in third-year coach Bill McCartney. Expectations were still pretty low, but most felt like the program was headed in the right direction with the right man at the helm.
Oregon: 2011 - The Ducks are once again coming off of losing the national title game. They lost enough key pieces from the run (though not as many as they did after 2014) to where they were not expected to win a national championship the next year, but still had enough coming back to be a very series contender.
Oregon State: 1997 - The Beavers program was a completely different beast than they are now in 1997 - they hadn't had a winning season in nearly 30 years and were a straight-up option team in the Pac-12 - but 1997 was still the last time it felt like the dawning of a new era in Corvallis.
Stanford: 2014 - The Cardinal lost a lot of talent from the previous year but still had enough that they shouldn't lose more than a few games, had a confusing Kevin Hogan coming back at QB and many thought 2014 was finally going to be the coming back down to Earth of Stanford under David Shaw that many have hypothesized. I feel like this year is just another version of last year for the Cardinal.
UCLA: 1985 - The Bruins came into 1985 on a roll with a great head coach and had high expectations even though they were replacing an NFL quarterback.
USC: 2012 - Matt Barkley came back for his senior year to play with a USC team that was loaded with talent and experience and it turned the Trojans into a national title favorite even though they were very questionable at coach. Replace Matt Barkley with Cody Kessler and a questionable Lane Kiffin with a questionable Steve Sarkisian and I see a lot of parallels.
Utah: 2002 - The Utes are tough since they haven't played in the Pac-12 for long, but in 2002, they were playing under a long-time coach who they had a ton of success and were fresh off a bounce back season and a Las Vegas Bowl win.
Washington: 1976 -The Huskies were fresh off a middling at best first year from a new coach and expectations were not high for the second year.
Washington State : 1975 - The program had shown some life a couple of years before with a winning season, but things looked pretty stagnant in Pullman.