College Football 2015: PAC-12 Pre-Season Power Rankings
12. Colorado- Colorado did not win a game in the PAC-12 last season. Colorado improved slightly from the year before and will hope to keep improving. They will have more experience on both sides of the ball. They still need a lot of work to become relevant in the PAC-12.
11. Oregon State- Oregon State has new head coach in Gary Anderson from Wisconsin. Their offense will be lead by running back Storm Woods who will run for well over 1000 yards now that he is he full time starter. The Beavers will have a lot of question marks on defense. I think this will a rough first year for coach Anderson.
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10. Washington- In Chris Petersen’s second year at Washington he will look to keep improving this team. He will have to pick a new starting quarterback, which will most likely be freshmen. His defense looses a lot of talent that will have to be replaced. I think it will be hard for the huskies to improve this season with to many gaps to fill.
9. California- California has one of the best players in the PAC-12 in quarterback Jared Goff. He is set for a breakout year and this offense should be putting up a lot of points. Their defense was one of the worst in the PAC-12 last season. I don’t see them fixing it enough to have a shot at the PAC-12 title.
8. Utah- Utah enters this season with a new offense and defensive coordinator. They return their quarterback, running back, and top receiver. However on defense they will have to replace one of the best defensive ends in Nate Orchard who recorded 18.5 sacks. Their defense lead the nation in sacks last year. With a new offense and defensive coordinator it will be interesting to see how this team responds.
7. Washington State- WSU was the best passing team averaging 477 pass yards a game. Even when quarterback Connor Halliday went down with a injury back up Luke Falk passed for 1859 yards in four games. Now he gets to start the whole year and should have a breakout year. Their defense was bad last year allowing 38 points a game. Their defense will need to improve if they want to win.
6. Arizona- Arizona has a very talented offense and defense. Their offense will be lead by quarterback Anu Solomon, running back Nick Wilson, and wide receiver Cayleb Jones. Their defense is lead by one of the best linebackers in Scooby Wright who recorded 163 tackles last season. Arizona has the talent to be one of the best teams in the conference.
5. Arizona State- ASU will enter this year with new starting quarterback in Mike Bercovici. He has been waiting three years to become the full time starter. He has a lot of skill and should have a good year. They have a couple of good running backs and D.J Foster will be the go to wide receiver. Their defense returns seven starters and should have a good year. They will have to beat UCLA and USC in order to win the South Division.
4. Stanford- I see Stanford as the only team to contend against Oregon for the North Division. They will rely heavily on the play of senior quarterback Kevin Hogan who will start for his 3rd year. I think Running back Christian McCaffrey will have a huge year rushing for over 1000 yards. Their defense finished 2nd in the nation allowing 16.4 points a game. Their game against Oregon will make or break their season.
3. UCLA- UCLA finished last season with a 10-3 record. They lose their starting quarterback Brett Hundley but they will replace them with the top recruit Josh Rosen. Their defense will one of the best in this conference but the fate of their season will rely on the play of their freshman quarterback.
2. Oregon- Oregon lost arguably the best college football player last year in Marcus Mariota. Lucky for Oregon they are loaded with talent. Their only question going into this season is who will replace Mariota at quarterback. I believe their answer is Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams. Their defense on the other hand dominated last year and should remain just as good.
1. USC- USC enters this year has one of the favorites to win the Pac-12. They should have one of the best offenses In the country this year. Their offense is lead by quarterback Cody Kessler who threw for 39 touchdowns last year. They lost a couple of key players on defense but they should still be solid. Their November 21st game against Oregon may be a preview of the Pac-12 Championship game.
PAC-12- The PAC-12 will be fun to watch this season. USC looks to finally be back to being one of the top teams in the nation. Oregon is as talented as ever but their only question is at quarterback. UCLA has a loaded offense and will go as far as their freshmen quarterback can take them. I think USC and Oregon will be the teams to beat.