SportsCrack's 2016 PAC 12 Predictions

Projected Finish

North Division

1. Stanford (10-2) - Having the best player in the conference and perhaps the nation helps with RB Christian McCaffrey.  If you look on paper it looks like a rebuilding season for the Cardinal but they simply reload and most importantly don't beat themselves.

2. Oregon (8-4) - If the Ducks had any spec of a defense they would be a top 5 team.  But they don't.  In fact their defense is awful.  RB Royce Freeman is back after setting a school record with 1836 rushing yards.

3. Washington (8-4) -  The Huskies are still on the rise in Chris Petersen's third season in Seattle but they still don't have the talent up front to compete with Stanford.  Watch out for QB Jake Browning.  Only a sophomore, Browning could have a better season overall than the more heralded Josh Rosen.

4. Washington State (7-5) - Good for the Cougars and the Pirate Mike Leach stopping their 11 straight non winning seasons with a 9-4 season last year.  This year the schedule does them no favors.

5. California (5-7) - Cal will have to out shootout other programs because to put it mildly their defense is average.  Expect a lot of 50-45 scores in Berkeley.

6. Oregon State (2-10) - Coach Gary Anderson is going to be taking his lumps this season in a tough North division.  He's got Utah St transfer Darrell Garretson at QB but I don't see them winning a PAC 12 game.

South Division

1. UCLA (9-3) - If only Josh Rosen had USC's receivers.  Rosen will put up good numbers and will continue to open up his mouth when not necessary.

2. Utah (8-4) - Just another run of the mill 8-4 solid season for coach Kyle Whittingham.  The Utes aren't as flashy as their Los Angeles counterparts but they tend to beat them up in the trenches.

3. USC (7-5) - The schedule is by far the hardest in the nation with out of conference games vs Alabama, Notre Dame and Utah State.  Max Browne will get the snaps after waiting for what seems like half a decade to start for the men of Troy.  If he's smart he will target WR JuJu Smith-Schuster at least 15 times a game.

4. Arizona State (6-6) - It's going to be another mediocre season for the Sun Devils as they break in a new QB.

5. Arizona (5-7) - Sorry RichRod but these Wildcats are on the proverbial decline.

6. Colorado (4-8) - Remember when Colorado was good?  Yeah that was 25 years ago.  Now a good season is not losing double digits so I got them making slight improvements this year.

OVERRATED TEAM - Oregon is still living off the hype that Chip Kelly/Marcus Mariota brought to Eugene. 

UNDERRATED TEAM - Utah has a great defense and might have the best offensive line in the conference.

BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYMAKER - Stanford's Christian McCaffrey set an NCAA record for all-purpose yards (3864) and finished 2nd for the Heisman Trophy.

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYMAKER - USC's Adoree' Jackson is a track star who can also return kicks for touchdowns when not playing a really good corner.


TOP FRESHMAN - Cal's WR Demetris Robertson shocked pretty much everybody when he decided to leave the South and go all the way out to Berkeley.  He should be a featured product on the field.

COACH OF THE YEAR - As much as it pains me to type this it has be Stanford's David Shaw.  4 of the past 5 seasons the Cardinal have won at least 11 games.

FINAL PREDICTION - Stanford (10-2) wins the PAC 12 again by beating UCLA (9-3) but misses out on the playoffs.  Rose Bowl bound.

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