This season is going to be an interesting one for the PAC-12. In my view, there is no clear cut team to take the title. The storylines for the PAC-12 are interesting, and some certain things will have to happen if the stronger teams from recent years will still compete for the title in the conference.
Head coach David Shaw is a great coach, but I’ll see how great he is since many players from last year are not on the roster. He still has Christian McCaffrey at running back this year, and he is in the running for the Heisman, but the question is what kind of talent does he have around him? The Cardinals are rebuilding the O-line, and it may take time for them to gel if McCaffrey wants to have another stellar season. Defense may be a little shaky, but, they should be able to get the job done well enough to win the PAC-12. ESPN’s FPI rankings think this is a long shot, but I like the Cardinal.
It is time for Washington to take a shot at the title. I believe this is the season. The Huskies finished the 2015 season with 7 wins and a victory over Southern Miss in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, and they should be relatively steady on offense with quarterback Jake Browning. The defense should be the heart and soul for the Huskies in 2016, and they will get better this season after allowing only 18.8 points per game in 2015.
Head Coach Jim Mora has an excellent quarterback in Josh Rosen. Rosen may even be mentioned as a candidate for the Heisman if things go well for him this year. The schedule for UCLA is not a tough as USC’s, so the nod for the third spot in the PAC-12 goes to them.
It’s been a while since USC has been mentioned in conference title hopes, but this season should be different with the talent level they have on the roster. That talent does not always translate to victories on the field, and their schedule in 2016 is tougher than most. But, they could break out and turn some heads.
Not as strong as they once were, and their defense has been struggling recently. They added former Michigan head coach Brady Hoke to the staff to help get the defense back to dominating levels, and that should prove interesting. On the offensive side of the ball, the Ducks will be “showtime” once again, and will be fun to watch. But until some of the defensive questions are answered, they will be my pick for 5th in the conference.