2013 Pac 12 Conference Preseason Top 5* Rundown
The PAC 12 has quickly risen to the second toughest conference in all of BCS Football. The diehards of every conference, well at least the major ones, will make an argument for their conference supremacy, so we here at the Rivals Rundown, will make the argument that the PAC 12 is the toughest conference top to bottom…ok not really, but the PAC is clearly the number 2 conference behind the SEC and here is why, welcome to our PAC 12 Conference Top5* Rundown:
1. Oregon Ducks11-1 (PAC 12 Champions) (North Champions)
No real surprise here to us although it might be to some, considering 7 out of 16 major preseason publications have Stanford winning the PAC 12. We here at the R&R see it a little different, with the fact that Oregon or Stanford both would’ve been a better show in the National Championship game last year, the only real difference this year, revenge. Oregon will be like an unstoppable rocket heading directly for Stanford with only a trap game on the road to Washington standing in their way. That’s right, we’re ignoring road games against UCLA and Virginia, seeing Washington as the only team that could trip Oregon before the Stanford showdown. Oregon is loaded with 9 returners on offense and 7 returners on defense, with tons of top recruits ready to be plugged into the Ducks system. We don’t think that Oregon can survive a complete year undefeated but we will be cheering for them if it comes down the stretch and they are the PAC’s best chance to represent in the National Title Game.
2. USC Trojans 10-3 (South Champions)
If you look around, everyone loves Stanford at this spot, we don’t but we also don’t love USC. We just think that they are too talented and have too easy of a schedule not to finish 10-3. Anything less then 10-3, with the roster they have, with a schedule bypassing Oregon and Washington from the north, and home games of Stanford and UCLA, Coach Kiffin better do the right thing and just quit if they can’t reach double digits. Look for a September match-up with Arizona St. to let everyone know who is in the driver seat for the South Title. (Secretly we will be cheering for this pick to be wrong and for the Sun Devils to win the South, the PAC 12 and the National Championship…but we do that every year!!!)
3. Oregon State Beavers 9-3
Sometimes preseason rankings make no sense to us, this is the case with the national media’s treatment of Oregon St. So, last year the Beavers weren’t on anyone’s preseason radar to have the type of season they produced. They had solid wins against Wisconsin, UCLA, BYU, Arizona St, and suffered two of their four losses (including the bowl game to Texas) to Stanford and Oregon…this year the Beavers have a non-conference schedule featuring Eastern Washington, Hawaii, and SDSU, they get Stanford, USC and Washington all at home…yet everyone has them on the outside looking in. Well, not us here at the Rundown, we like the Beavers to have a chance to ruin Oregon’s BCS title game hopes on the last game of the regular season thus giving Oregon St. a shot at the PAC 12 Title. Now, let’s clarify one thing, we are picking Oregon but we’re taking Oregon St over Stanford.
3. Stanford Cardinal 9-3
The Cardinal have posted double digit season for the past three years, since then, the Coach who got them there is now coaching in Super Bowls, the QB who got them there had one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history and yet the Cardinal is now being talked about as a “reload” type of program and 2013 is the year they can prove it… we don’t think so. The 2013 campaign to us looks a lot like a season that will be successful for Shaw and the Cardinal but not up to the level of the last three. We like the chances for USC and Oregon St to take back wins against the Cardinal as well as Oregon, that leads us to drop the Cardinal to this position, although we think they are a better overall team than Oregon St, we like the Beavers in the head to head game.
4. Arizona State Sun Devils 9-3
(Homer Alert) So yes, ASU is our home team here at the Rundown but being fair we think some of the preseason hype surrounding the Devils right now needs to calm down just a little bit. The Devils need to get through one of the toughest stretches in all of college football, in-fact, we challenge you to find one tougher then Wisconsin, Stanford, USC, and Notre Dame. If the Sun Devils get through that 2-2 it’s a win and with Oregon St and Washington at home, we like the Devils to make it to December with a chance to play for the PAC 12 Title. (Now, our hearts say the Devils are going undefeated and I better get tickets and book a trip to the National Championship game…but that’s what I want every year)
5. Washington Huskies 8-4 & UCLA Bruins 8-4
Before we get ahead of ourselves and cover every team in the PAC 12 that could have a winning season, we are going to lump these two programs together, maybe we should’ve done that with the Ducks and Cardinal. Anyways, Washington and UCLA both are on the verge of bringing their programs back to national relevance, if that happens, then the PAC 12 will have an argument that they are the second best conference in college football. We will call these two teams, our sleepers for the 2013 season, now we know that a lot of people are talking about UCLA winning the South but we need more proof, this year would be it. UCLA is facing a revenge schedule, meaning, last year UCLA got wins against Nebraska, USC and ASU, we don’t see that happening two years in a row. For the Huskies, they will break in a brand new stadium on opening day against, Boise St, if they can take that game, which might be a blow out for the Huskies (not kidding here) then look out for them to go 4-0 riding a ton of confidence into Stanford, Oregon, and Arizona St. Those three games will determine if the Huskies are back. And that’s why UCLA and Washington are our sleepers.