Pac-12 North- Finish
1. Washington Huskies
The Washington Huskies are loaded with juniors and seniors on offense as seven starters return and a many other players have come back with substantial experience. The defense sees five of seven top tacklers come back. QB Jake Browning, who threw for over 3,400 yards and 43 TDs while tossing just nine picks, leads the offense. Although top receiver John Ross is gone many others are on-hand, including Dante Petis who had 15 TD catches. RBs Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman lead a deep group of rushers. On defense, the LB group and deep backs are sound, while the front guys, despite losses are also very tough. The Huskies were first in the conference and eighth in the nation in points allowed at 17.7 PPG.
2. Stanford Cardinal
3. Oregon Ducks
There’s a lot of talent on this team that includes sophomore QB Justin Herbert who in his freshman year threw 19 TDs passes and only four interceptions. The ground attack is four-deep and the wideouts include last season’s top receivers. The defense, which was ranked 11th in the Pac-12 and 126th in the nation, allowed 41.4 PPG. They do see the top nine of 10 tacklers return. First-year Ducks coach Willie Taggart comes to the team with a 40-45 record and a 0-1 bowl mark. It will be interesting to see how much better the Oregon D will be this year.
4. Washington State Cougars
Washington State plays the toughest in-conference schedule of all teams in the Pac-12. Senior QB Luke Falk connected on 70.0% of his throws for 4,468 yards and 38 TDs, while tossing 11 INTs. Despite losing top receiver Gabe Marks, he has a rich assortment of pass catchers available and s sound rush attack that’s four deep. Nine starting players return on defense, which was tough versus the run but loose against the pass. They should score an average of about 39 PPG this season, while holding opponents to an average of 26 PPG.
5. Oregon State Beavers
6. California Golden Bears
The Golden Bears have to replace their starting quarterback, top receiver, and primary rusher. Plus, they have to replace 66% of their O-line. Justin Wilcox has a lot to accomplish as he starts his first season ever as a NCAA football head coach. He’s given new offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin the job of making sure that the team puts points on the board. The D allowed opponents 42.6 PPG last season, which was second-last nationally. We don’t expect them to do much better this season.
Pac-12 South- Finish
1. USC Trojans
USC has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball that includes sophomore QB Sam Darnold. In his freshman season, Darnold passed for 3,000-plus yards and 31 TDs. He also threw nine picks, but overall was solid, connecting on just over 67% of his passes. RB Ronald Jones averaged 6.1 YPA, rushing for over 1,000 yards while scoring a dozen times. USC has to hope that they can replace their two top receivers from last season who managed to catch a total of 126 passes while scoring 14 TDs. The defense, which overall is loaded, includes junior LBs Cameron Smith and Porter Gustin. Smith was the top tackler last year with 83 tackles and Gustin was second with 68. Gustin had 5.5 sacks and 7.5 TFL.
2. UCLA Bruins
3. Utah Utes
New offensive coordinator Troy Taylor, the eighth guy to hold that position in nine years, has one charge, to generate more than 29.8 PPG in 2017 for the Utes. Senior QB Troy Williams returns after passing for more than 2,500 yards while notching 15 TDs. Williams was to cut down on his eight picks and improve his completion rate of 53%. Top returning receiver Raelon Singleton made 27 catches and averaged 17.2 YPC while crossing the goal line four times. The defense will be, as usual, consistent, and will keep this team in the game. The offense needs consistency.
4. Colorado Buffaloes
The Buffaloes had a stellar defense last season that allowed just 21.7 PPG. But don’t expect this team to put in a similar performance as the D loses much of its core contributors as well as its coordinator. Colorado will put a decent offense on the field 90% of it’s starters on the O-line, a full contingent or receivers, and their top running back. Sophomore QB Steven Montez got some reps in last season, throwing 140 passes, completing 59% and accumulating 1,000-plus yards. He hit for nine TDs while putting up five picks.
5. Arizona State Sun Devils
6. Arizona Wildcats
This is a team that offers an odd mix in that the offense is loaded with some very fine playmakers, while the defense has been ranked a one of the worst units nationally two years running. Last season, QB Brandon Dawkins rushed for close to 1,000 yards and passed for 1,348 while scoring 10 rushing touchdowns and passing for eight more. Shun Brown, the team’s leading receiver, is back and ready to go. This season look for the Wildcat secondary, which is deep, to perform better than it has. The LBs are better than they have been, while the D-line is, once again, greatly lacking.
2017 Pac-12 CFB Preview
Washington Huskies: Sugar Bowl (CFP)
- USC Trojans: Fiesta Bowl
- Stanford Cardinal: Alamo Bowl
- Oregon Ducks: Holiday Bowl
- UCLA Bruins: Foster Farms Bowl
- Washington State Cougars: Sun Bowl
- Utah Utes: Los Vegas Bowl
- Colorado Buffaloes: Cactus Bowl
2017 Pac-12 CFB Preview
Projected Best Bets
Our 2017 Pac-12 CFB Preview Best Bets are projections based on the most current information. Due to the nature of these projections and the game please be aware that a lot can change during the course of a season. Make sure that you perform due diligence prior to making any wager.
- Sep 1: Washington @Rutgers- Washington by no more than -32
- Sep 23: USC @California- USC by no more than -23
- Sep 23: Nevada @Washington State- Washington State by no more than -20
- Sep 30: Stanford @Arizona State- Stanford by no more than -30
- Oct 7: California @Washington- Washington by no more than -40
- Oct 14: Colorado @Oregon State- Colorado by no more than +35
- Oct 28: Washington State at Arizona- Washington State by no more than -45
- Nov 3: UCLA @Utah- UCLA at no less than +7
- Nov 4: Colorado @Arizona State- Colorado by no more than -19
- Nov 18: Stanford @California- Stanford by no more than -20