Arizona - Properly Rated - I think just about everyone sees Arizona as a team that probably wins five games and might win 1-2 more and make a bowl game if a few things go right. I think most people also see them as a team that can be dangerous with Khalil Tate, that lacks power in the trenches and has a pretty low ceiling, but also a low floor. They don’t seem like a team that could be worst then 4-8.
Arizona State - Properly Rated - The Arizona schools are similar to me as I think most think the Sun Devils are a team that wins 6-7 games and could miss a bowl if something goes wrong and who has a low ceiling, probably 8-9 wins. The Sun Devils should have a good run game and a solid back of their defense, but will probably struggle in their passing game and up front of defense.
Cal - Underrated - I don’t think a lot of people realize how good Cal’s defense was at the end of the season last year. They easily could have won 10 games last year if they had even just a little bit of offense. The Bears have an entire off-season and another year of Chase Garbers progressing to put things together and be a team I could see sneaking into the Top 25 in 2019.
Colorado - Properly Rated - I think the Buffs are regarded very similar to Arizona. I think most people think they win 4-5 games and maybe make a bowl if a few things go right and their multi-year starter at quarterback progresses a little more. The wild card for the Buffs is Laviska Shenault, who has the ability to be the best player in the nation at any position, but I think most people are fairly not sure how that will alter their win/loss record.
Oregon - Overrated - Many Pac-12 fans (especially Washington and Utah fans) are calling Oregon one of the most-overrated teams in college football history. There’s a lot of truth to that. The Ducks breakout year should have been 2018 with the amount of returning experience and the incredibly-friendly schedule the conference handed them. They didn’t. There’s a lot to like about the Ducks, but they’re going to have to prove they’re a championship-caliber team on the field.
Oregon State - Properly rated - No one is picking the Beavers to do anything but finish last in the North and be the worst team in the conference in any division. That’s fair. I think the only argument could be that I think the Beavers could actually be more solid than they seem because the North around them is so strong.
Stanford - Underrated - A lot of people don’t have Stanford in the Top 25 or barely have them in the Top 25. I don’t get it. The Cardinal likely will not fall out of the Top 25 as long as David Shaw is there in my opinion and they deserve more credit for KJ Costello coming back, given he was better than Justin Herbert in 2018. The Cardinal also have more raw talent across their depth chart than they are given credit for. Also, keep in mind that Stanford has won the North on the odd years when they get Oregon and Washington in Palo Alto every year since 2013.
UCLA - Underrated - The Bruins got hampered last year by breaking in Chip Kelly’s ultra-rigid system, which starts slow (see 2009 Oregon), a tough non-conference schedule, and some general growing pains. I think they will make strides in Kelly’s second season and Dorian Thompson-Robinson will start to turn into a star as a sophomore.
USC - Overrated - I can’t believe I’ve seen USC in preseason Top 25s. The Trojans have been a disaster under Clay Helton for the last year and they lost most of their best talent and experience to graduation last year. I could see them being decent their talented receivers and Air Raid system, but I would be very surprised if they are a Top 25 team in November.
Utah - Underrated - I’m shocked that the Utes aren’t a universally-rated borderline Top 10 going into the season. The Utes lost the Pac-12 Championship Game by 10 points without their starting quarterback and running back and returns loads of proven talent and experience. The only thing the Utes haven’t proven yet is that they can beat Washington and make a big national splash. That’s good enough to put them somewhere between 11 and 15, in my opinion.
Washington - Underrated - The Huskies have made three-straight NY6 bowls and are on the verge of entering the enviable territory where Oregon and Stanford were in the early-2010s where opposing fans said they’ll fall off every year when players X, Y, and Z graduate/leave, then that team wins the team makes an NY6 bowl again the next year. The Huskies are inexperienced, but arguably more talented now and still coached by Chris Petersen.
Washington State - Underrated - This is our usual off-season tradition, underrating the Cougars and Mike Leach. I think we’re a little better this year, with many people ranking them in the Top 20, but I don’t think anyone is considering them to a true contender to win the Pac-12 championship, and that’s not right.