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PAC-12 Conference Picks

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PAC-12 Picks

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Wildcats

Taylor Henry (4-8)- Rich Rodriguez is on the hot seat in Tucson, and I think he may be looking for new employment after the year. Arizona will start 2-1 in the non-conference, but struggle in conference play. Oregon State at home and Cal on the road are the best chances for conference wins, but I think they’ll have a tough year.

Jose Bouquett- (3-9)- Remember what I said about Arizona State? Double that and drop a word and you have the same result with Arizona. Rich Rodriguez has fallen so far and the free fall is going to continue in 2017.

Gabey Lucas- (3-9)- Maybe 4-8. I couldn’t care less because it’s Arizona and they’re inconsequential.

Andrew Burnett- (3-9)-

Alois Piet- (4-8)-

Arizona State Sun Devils

Taylor Henry- (5-7)- ASU has a tough non-conference schedule. SDSU is no gimme game, even in Tempe, and nobody likes going to Lubbock and playing, regardless of how good Texas Tech is. The four game stretch of Stanford, Washington, Utah, and USC is a murderers row, and the season could spiral out of control in a hurry. Adding Blake Barnett should help if he’s able to perform, and ASU should be healthier after a ton of injuries last year.

Jose Bouquett- (5-7)- If the seat isn’t hot for Todd Graham now, it’s going to be after the season. I can’t name one thing that I’m confident the Sun Devils will be good at next season. They’re going to get pounded by teams at the top of the conference but be just good enough to not be at the bottom. Graham is going to keep his job isn’t he?

Gabey Lucas- (4-8)- Oh look, a team just as non-intriguing as Arizona! Worst-case scenario: 2-10. Best-case scenario: Maybe go bowling? That’s a stretch though. Ugh, I really don’t care about either of the Arizona schools because they’re so lame and I don’t even care.

Andrew Burnett- (3-9)

Alois Piet- (6-6) They could easily trade wins with Colorado, UCLA and Utah, which could switch their records with the other middle of the pack teams in the PAC-12.

California Golden Bears

Taylor Henry- (1-11)- This is going to be a really tough first year for Justin Wilcox and Cal. Weber State will be the only game the Bears win this year, and they’ll go winless in PAC-12 play. Wilcox may turn out to be a solid coach, but this is a multiple year rebuild, and they’re going to finish dead last in the PAC-12.

Jose Bouquett- (1-11)- Cal is about to take the walk of shame in 2017. Davis Webb was basically the only reason to tune into a Cal Bears football game. Now that he’s gone what else is there?

Gabey Lucas- (3-9)- The thing is, they’ll be better than their record indicates, but only because their record is going to be… not good. I want to say 2-10, but I think they could upset someone along the way so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say 3-9. The thing is, I don’t think they’ll be crazy AWFUL, they’re just going to be pretty awful combined with a ridiculously tough schedule.

Andrew Burnett- (3-9)

Alois Piet- (4-8)

Colorado Buffaloes

Taylor Henry- (8-4)- The Buffaloes are back. They lost a ton on defense, but for once they have guys skilled enough to step into the role of competitive starter. QB Steven Montez is a gunslinger, and it should open up the Buffaloes offense even more than last year. A cream puff non-conference schedule should give Colorado a 3-0 start, though they need to be careful with Colorado State, who will be looking to get revenge for that beat down the Buffaloes gave them last year.

Jose Bouqett- (7-5)- The Buffs are back again! I’m jumping on the Buffs bandwagon again and they will be a decent team again. Montez has to be better than he was in last year’s Alamo Bowl. But, Back-to-back bowl games is quite the accomplishment for CU as of late and I am all in on the offensive firepower if Montez can hold his own back there.

Gabey Lucas- (8-4)- Like everyone else, I think they’ll regress a bit this year, but they won’t regress as much as everyone else is predicting.

Andrew Burnett- (7-5)

Alois Piet- (7-5)- They could easily trade wins with ASU, UCLA and Utah, which could switch their records with the other middle of the pack teams in the PAC-12.

Oregon Ducks

Taylor Henry- (7-5)- This is tough. Oregon will be improved. Willie Taggart is a good coach, and the addition of Jim Leavitt will pay huge dividends down the road. A secretly tough non-conference schedule will leave Oregon 2-1, and they’ll have to be ready to play in Laramie, where Wyoming is tough and has a talented starting QB. A strong finish against Arizona and Oregon State should give the Ducks a winning record.

Jose Bouquett- (9-3)- Oregon’s season can go one of two ways and it all rests on their quarterback, Justin Herbert. If Herbert can be as outstanding as he was for his four game stretch then he could easily lead the Ducks to the conference title. But, if he can’t be an above average quarterback Oregon could just be another average team. I’ve chosen the path of average quarterback, hopefully this doesn’t come back to haunt me.

Gabey Lucas- (6-6)- I see the best case scenario at 8-4 but worst case scenario of 4-8 so I’ll just take the median here since this is a Ducks team in transition who could turn out too many ways for me to confidently predict either true success or failure.

Andrew Burnett- (7-5)

Alois Piet- (8-4)- Oregon will play as the underdog and cause trouble for both Stanford and Washington in the North.

Oregon State Beavers

Taylor Henry- (5-7)- This OSU team is improving. Opening up the season at Colorado State where they unveil a brand new stadium is a tough break, and Minnesota is no easy W either. They’ll catch a team sleeping in Corvallis at some point during the season, but they’re going to fall just short of a bowl game this season.

Jose Bouquett- (4-8)- Oregon State feels like it will always be the little brother in the conference. They aren’t the best team in Oregon, they aren’t the best OSU in the country and they aren’t the best team whose colors are orange and black. In summary, Oregon State is not the best.

Gabey Lucas- (7-5)- As I mentioned earlier, best case scenario for the Beavs, they come out and surprise them (Expletive Redacted) Gopher Bros, then lose three straight to WSU, UW, and USC. Upset Colorado in a nail biter, lose to Stanford than win out against Cal, the Arizona schools, and Oregon. Worst-case scenario, not that. Anyways, I’m feeling 7-5 because I’m the HOTTEST TAKER IN THE TOWN. They’re going to totally pull a Colorado this year because the North doesn’t have the same vacuum that the south had last year (Plus they’re not on the same talent level) but OSU has their QB finally and Frickin Ryan Nall. They’re actually going to be ok this year.

Andrew Burnett- (3-9)

Alois Piet- (4-8)- Some believe this is the year that OSU starts to compete for a division title. Contrary to the beliefs of my colleagues, Oregon State won’t compete for the conference title at all.

Stanford Cardinal

Taylor Henry- (9-3)- Stanford is going to be Stanford. They’re going to do things right, and beat you by discipline. Questions at the QB position make them a little under the elite of the PAC-12 conference, and I see them losing to USC, Washington, and one more game, maybe at Utah in early October. 9 wins and another solid bowl game is about par for the course with Shaw and the Cardinal.

Jose Bouquett- (9-3)- I don’t see it. I have tried to see why people think Stanford has a chance to win the conference but without a top tier quarterback they won’t be able to compete in high scoring games. Ryan Burns is brutally average and Stanford will have to rely on their run game and defense to win games. But, David Shaw is one of the best coaches in the conference so don’t be surprised if the Cardinal wins double-digit games.

Gabey Lucas- (10-2)- Nothing that interesting to say here. The nerds will do what they always do.

Andrew Burnett- (9-3)

Alois Piet- (11-1)- Not much separates the Huskies with Stanford, but the fact that the Cardinal hosts Washington in November is a big deal.

UCLA Bruins

Taylor Henry- (6-6)- Everyone is really high on UCLA this year because of the healthy return of Josh Rosen. I’m not one of those, and while he’ll improve this year, Jim Mora has always underachieved with a lot of talent. His seat may get hotter as the year goes on, and he may be at the end of his leash in Los Angeles. Going on the road to Stanford, Utah, Washington, and USC doesn’t help either.

Jose Bouquett- (10-2)- Are you surprised? Last season was less than ideal for the Bruins, like incredibly disappointing. The injury to the star quarterback last year effectively ended their season. A new offensive coordinator should be able to give the offense a much-needed boost and they need their offensive line to win ball games. If UCLA can protect Rosen they could easily be the running for the Pac-12 championship game.

Gabey Lucas- (7-5)- Maybe 8-4. Maybe Less. Maybe more. Who knows? It’s UCLA. They underachieve. Whatever.

Andrew Burnett- (6-6)

Alois Piet- (6-6)- Some people think UCLA can challenge USC for the division title, but Josh Rosen does not make a whole team by himself.

USC Trojans

Taylor Henry- (11-1)- USC has the best talent and the best QB in the PAC-12. My only concern is whether Darnold regresses now that the book is out on him a little bit. USC has playmakers everywhere, and a really favorable schedule. I think they slip up once, playing Stanford and Texas back-to-back weeks will be tough, and going to Pullman may prove difficult. The hardest game on the schedule could be at Colorado in November, where the weather could be freezing, and a motivated Buffaloes squad remembers being left out of the Rose Bowl a year ago.

Jose Bouquett- (11-1)- There’s a lot of hype around USC (again) and this time it might be merited. Sam Darnold will live up too all the hype and then some. Darnold very well may end up with a Heisman Trophy, another Rose Bowl appearance, possibly a national championship bid and being drafted first overall. Life is going to be good for that guy.

Gabey Lucas- (11-1)- I really think they’ll go 19847-0. Just kidding. Kinda. I’ll give them one loss because of how hard it is to go undefeated in 12 games, statistically, even their rebuilding offensive line I don’t see a team other than Stanford that can beat them. Maybe Colorado or Utah pulls off an upset? I wouldn’t be shocked if they go undefeated, but I’m still going to say 11-1.

Andrew Burnett- (12-0)

Alois Piet- (12-0)- The Trojans look head and shoulders above the rest of the PAC-12 South.

Utah Utes

Taylor Henry- (6-6)- Kyle Wittingham is a great coach. He’s probably the most underrated coach in the conference. Utah will start hot, going 4-0, but will stumble down the stretch to a .500 record. I think they get upset at Oregon this year, and have a tough 3 game stretch to end the year with Washington State, Washington, and Colorado in consecutive weeks to end the season. While Utah’s defense will be stout, I still have questions about their offense, as is usually the case as of late in Salt Lake City.

Jose Bouquett- (8-4)- What are the two things that Utah is perennially good at? Running the ball and defense. Only problem is that Utah is getting an entirely new offensive line and the defensive is more worrisome than in years past. UCLA nightmare, Joe Williams, is in the NFL. This leaves Troy Williams in a scary situation with a lot of the offensive load on his shoulders.

Gabey Lucas- (8-4)- Best case: 9-3. Worst Case: 5-7. This is Utah who overachieves like it’s going out of style.

Andrew Burnett- (10-2)

Alois Piet- (8-4)- The Utes are the most stable team in the middle of the PAC-12 South.

Washington Huskies

Taylor Henry- (12-0)- Washington has a great team. Yeah, they lost a lot in the secondary, but Chris Petersen has built a program up in Seattle. A horrendous non-conference schedule should allow the Huskies a fast start, and their toughest game is a game against Utah late in the year. Browning has a lot to prove after he played poorly down the stretch, and I think he’ll continue to do so. I hope Washington starts to schedule better non-conference opponents in the future.

Jose Bouquett- (11-1)- Unfortunately, we won’t be treated to a Washington USC regular season matchup but; I do believe we will see these teams matchup in the Pac-12 championship game. Jake Browning is a fantastic college quarterback however the loss of lightning quick wide receiver, John Ross, is going to make life more difficult for the junior quarterback.

Gabey Lucas- (11-1)- On one hand, I don’t see a game they “should” lose on their schedule. On the other hand, this is the PAC-12, and you never know when #AfterDark craziness is going to strike.

Andrew Burnett- (12-0)

Alois Piet (11-1)- Not much separates the Huskies with Stanford, but the fact that the Cardinal hosts Washington in November is a big deal.

Washington State Cougars

Taylor Henry- (8-4)- I love Mike Leach. He’s a great coach, and that offense with Luke Falk will be firing on all cylinders again this year. Expect Washington State to start 4-0, which sets up a HUGE matchup with USC at the end of September in Pullman. Can the Cougs play defense is constantly the question as with all Leach teams, and I think they’ll play enough to have another solid year.

Jose Bouquett- (7-5)- I am all in on the Luke Falk Mike Leach connection. Leach is a offensive genius, Falk is a first round quarterback prospect. I love Washington State’s offense but that’s it. Their defense is going to be shaky because Leach is their coach and they lost their two best wide receivers. The Cougars will be fun to watch but they are destined to be Texas Tech west.

Gabey Lucas- (8-4)- I want to say 9-3, but I feel like one of the teams who I want to put in their win column will end up giving the Cougs a tougher time than expected. But then again, WSU Cougs could make that up with a surprise win themselves… Damnit I want to say 9-3 so bad.

Andrew Burnett- (8-4)

Alois Piet- (7-5)