Looking Into The 2011 Pac 12 Crystal Ball

12 predictions for the inaugural Pac 12 season in 2011.

Washington State won't be the worst team in the conference. That mantle is passed to newcomer Colorado who made a huge blunder of a hire with Jon Embree. The Cougs won't make a bowl, but they'll win at least four games.

USC will look exactly like they did in 2010, losing two games to inferior opponents and ending up in the 7 to 8 win range.

Only one coach won't return after the season and it won't be the two most likely candidates in Rick Neuheisel and Paul Wulff. Goodbye Dennis Erickson because...

...Arizona State will be the biggest disappointment in the country. A quarterback with 1 career start. A team that has been decimated by offseason injuries. A coach that hasn't had 'it' in ten years. Smells like 5-7.

The Pac 12 will have the Heisman Trophy runner up for the third straight season. Following on the heels of Toby Gerhardt and Andrew Luck, someone from the conference will finish second in the voting and the Pac 12 will finish it's sixth straight year without bringing home the most coveted award in college sports.

Cal will be the surprise team in the North. Even without their home field advantage at Memorial Stadium during renovations, the Bears will keep Jeff Tedford employed and win 7 to 8 games.

Someone other than LaMichael James will lead the conference in rushing. James led the entire nation last season, but will fall short of the conference lead, which will be a battle between UCLA's Jonathan Franklin and Washington's Chris Polk. He'll still be the most exciting player in the conference though and score 20+ touchdowns.

Stanford won't be the same without Jim Harbaugh. The Cardinal won't duplicate last season's 12-1 mark, finishing closer to the 9 or 10 win mark, but will still have the second best record in the conference behind the play of Andrew Luck.

The UCLA at Utah matchup in November will end up deciding the Pac 12 South division. The Bruins will be the surprise in the south while the Utes will meet expectations with both teams coming into the matchup at 6-3 and 4-2 in conference. The winner gets a date in Autzen Stadium against the Ducks in December.

The Pac 12 South champion won't win more than 9 games. Whether it's Utah or UCLA, there's a cap on how many games the champ will win in the mediocre South. It will probably still take 6 conference wins, but there's not a single team in the division that has anything better than 9-3 in them.

No team from the Pac 12 will play for the BCS National Championship. Top to bottom, it will be the deepest conference in the country, but the glut of decent 5-7, 6-6, and 7-5 teams, means that the top level schools are going to picked off at some point. Combine that with Oregon's opener against LSU, and the Pac 12 champ goes to the Rose Bowl.

The Pac 12 will have the top three quarterbacks drafted in the 2012 NFL draft in Andrew Luck, Nick Foles, and Matt Barkley.

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