By Kenny Howell
This is the next installment of my College Football Preview. Today, I will look at the Pac-12. You can click the tag below the story titled "College Football Preview" to look at the other parts.
Yet another undefeated team will come from the Pac-12. The chances of four undefeated teams, which I have predicted, is very small, but maybe it is wishful thinking on my part just to give a great sendoff to the BCS system.
That undefeated team will be Oregon. I honestly think this team might not be as good as the team from last year with Chip Kelly gone. They will be as good, if not more, talented, but that craziness that is Kelly will be missed. The toughest game for the Ducks will be a road trip to Stanford. Other than that, everything is pretty manageable. At Washington won't be easy, but the Ducks are on a different level than the Huskies. They don't have to play USC, and have UCLA and Oregon State at home. If they can manage that road trip to Stanford, they will get through the schedule unscathed.
Stanford will be their toughest competition in the North division. Many people have them playing for a National Championship, but I don't buy it. Like last year, they still won't probably be able to attack people through the air. Their recruiting has been pretty below average except for one year. Their senior class was ranked 63rd by Rivals coming into school. After a fifth place finish in recruiting the next year, they have been 22nd and 26th the last two years. I think the Cardinals will be not be able to get past Oregon at home, and will lose to USC on the road for two conference losses. They will probably lose their final game against Notre Dame as well.
A lot of people are picking Oregon State to be a factor, but I think they take a step back this year. They aren't sneaking up on anybody this year. After a 6-0 start last year, they finished 3-4, and I think that trend continues.
On the South side, there should be a bounce back from USC. I think Lane Kiffin's teams are better when they have a chip on their shoulder. Last year, they were expected to win, and they didn't. The year before was a rebuilding year, and they got 10 wins during a probation year. I think they bounce back in a big way this year with 12 wins. Their only loss should be out of conference at Notre Dame.
The closest competition for USC will be UCLA, but I think they will have three losses in conference. At Stanford, at Oregon and at USC will be tough to come out of with wins. Add that to a trip to Nebraska. Just too difficult. They could win as many as two of those, but I don't think they get any.
So it will be USC and Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship, and the Ducks repeat as champions.
In addition to USC and Oregon, Stanford, Washington, California, UCLA, Arizona State, Utah and Arizona should make bowl games.
1. Oregon (12-0) (9-0)
2. Stanford (9-3) (7-2)
3. Washington (9-3) (6-3)
4. California (6-6) (4-5)
5. Oregon State (5-7) (2-7)
6. Washington State (2-10) (0-9)
1. USC (12-1) (9-0)
2. UCLA (8-4) (6-3)
3. Arizona State (6-6) (4-5)
4. Utah (6-6) (4-5)
5. Arizona (6-6) (3-6)
6. Colorado (3-9) (0-9)