Football season is just around the corner and every school's fans are foaming at the mouth about how good their teams are going to be this year.
I have spent the last eight years covering several conferences, including the SEC, Big 12, Conference USA and Sun Belt Leagues.
After spending five years in the SEC, I will be honest I'm really looking forward to my first year covering the PAC 12. I have always been intrigued with this conference and feel that this season will be one of the more interesting ones to cover.
I always set down and go throughout the entire league schedule before the season starts and attempt to come up with some life altering projection that no one else will have. Not really, If I was that good, I would just move to Las Vegas.
I'm very excited about covering Colorado Football, and while it's been a while since this program has been thriving, I don't think there could be a better time to make a change and cover a team like the Buffs at the current time.
With a new head football coach taking over a program that had just one win last season, the only way for Buff fans is up.
Coach Mike MacIntyre is a very positive, motivating coach that has turned a non existent San Jose State team into a 10 win regular season winner.
Yes I know, San Jose State didn't play in the Pac 12 and the competition here is much tougher, but I think Colorado and Pac 12 fans a like will see good things from MacIntyre and his coaching staff.
In this article I will take a look at the overall projections of the conference and then each week I will do a PAC 12 Power Ranking Chart rating the teams based off each week's performances, the big wins, the upsets and the devastating losses.
This piece is to help start up discussion, I'm sure there will be some fan bases that will love me, others will hate me and we won't know for sure until the season is played how good or bad my predictions will be, so lets get started.
I will start with the North Division.
WILL THERE BE AN UNDEFEATED TEAM IN THE PAC 12 ?
I think there is a good possibility there will be.
I'm picking Oregon to go 12-0 on the year, including an undefeated run in league play. There will be several teams trying to upset the Mighty Ducks, but that feat may be tougher than expected. It will depend on the play of standout quarterback Marcus Mariota and how healthy the Ducks can remain throughout the season.
Oregon will face perhaps a tough non conference bout with improved Tennessee, but Oregon's speed will probably be too much for the young Vols. Another non conference test will be Oregon's longest road trip to Virginia. The Cavilers are an improved team, but also will probably be too young for the Ducks.
WILL THERE WILL BE TWO TEAMS IN OREGON WITH GREAT RECORDS
Looking at the schedule, it looks like Oregon State has a good chance of going 9-3 on the year and winning second place in the North Division.
I'm picking Oregon State's three losses to be to Oregon, Arizona State,and Washington.
CARDINAL SEEING RED WITH THIS PREDICTION While a lot of people feel that this could be the year for Stanford to win the North, to me this will definitely be a down year for Stanford. Their power game will not be as strong, and will miss the physical pounding type tight ends of their past. Instead of 12-2, I'm seeing 6-6 or possibly 7-5.
HOW GOOD WILL WASHINGTON BE?
It depends on who you ask. To me this is going to be one of the harder teams to predict. They have the chance to be really good or just ok. I think the deciding factor will be the first game of the season for the Huskies. If Washington can beat Boise State they could gain the early confidence to make this one of their best seasons. I'm picking a loss to Boise and a 7-5 overall record. A win against Boise could have the Huskies going into the Oregon game undefeated.
THE BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE YEAR
HOT SEAT COULD GET HOTTER IN LA
This is the season that USC must put together an encore season. If the Trojans struggle, this could be the end of the Lane Kiffin era. The question will be how many wins will it take for Kiffin to remain in Los Angeles. I'm picking USC to win 8 with the chances of winning one more or the distinct possibility of winning just 6 or seven if the wheels fall off like last year.
EARLY CONFIDENCE IS KEY FOR BUFFS AFTER JUST 1 WIN IN 2012
The first two games of the year is critical for Colorado's success in the season. Everyone has the Buffs dead last in the conference, but if Mike MacIntyre can make believers out of his troops and have early success, this could be an improved football team. There is no doubt this will be a tough season, but four wins is definitely possible. Win one or two they shouldn't the Buffs could be the surprised team this fall. One thing for sure this team will play harder for this coaching staff than they did for the previous one. Now comes the question how many wins will that be worth. Colorado must win their first game against arch rival Colorado State for any of this to come true. Wouldn't it be something if Colorado upsets USC in Boulder and sends Kiffin packing from USC?
NORTH DIVISION PROJECTIONS
Oregon State 9-3 with losses to Oregon, Arizona State and Washington
Washington 8-4 with losses to Boise State, Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA
Stanford 6-6 with losses to Arizona State, Washington, UCLA, Oregon State, Oregon and Notre Dame
SOUTH DIVISION PROJECTIONS
Arizona State 10-2 with losses to Notre Dame and UCLA
UCLA 10-2 with losses to Nebraska and Oregon
USC 8-5 with losses to Arizona State, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA
Arizona 7-5 with losses to Washington, USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Arizona State
Colorado 4-8 with losses to Fresno State, Oregon State, Oregon, Arizona State, Arizona, UCLA, Washington, and USC
UTAH 3-9 with losses to Oregon State, BYU, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona, USC, Arizona State, Oregon, and Colorado