#Pac12 Football best vs worst case scenario 2015

If you do not stay up on late on Saturday nights to watch the Pac-12, you are missing some of the most exciting football that is played on the collegiate level. Who needs an NFL team in LA when USC and UCLA are doing their thing on the weekly? Last second Hail Mary’s, future NFL QB’s, up-tempo offenses, and smash mouth defenses are littered throughout the conference. The Pac-12 South is one of the toughest divisions in college football this side of the SEC West. Oregon may be receding, but they are still expected to win the North. What other institutions are we going to have to keep an eye on? Read on as we go through each team. Disclaimer-this just states the best and worst case scenario, it does not predict which team will be in which bowl.

Arizona

Last Season: 10-4 (Defeated by Boise State in the Vizio Fiesta Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 7

With Rich-Rod now in his 4th season as head coach, the Wildcats have won no less than 8 games per year. The defending South Division champions will have some challenges this upcoming season starting on Sep 26 when they host UCLA. Finishing the season with 3 out of 4 on the road-at Washington (Oct 31), at USC (Nov 7), and at Arizona State (Nov 21) will be tough. Overall Arizona goes on the road 6 times this season…yikes. Best case scenario: Sun Bowl. Worst case scenario: No bowl game.

Arizona State

Last season: 10-3 (Defeated Duke in the Hyundai Sun Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 8.5

The Sun Devils are building something, I’m not quite sure where it will finish but it could have College Football Playoff in its future. Maybe not this season, but the talent and the schedule is there if they can win enough games. Starting off the season in what will probably be one of the games of the week, ASU faces off against Texas A&M in Houston. That is basically a road game. They only have 4 true road games on the schedule however. The first is a big one-at UCLA (Oct 3) that gives the winner the inside track to the Pac-12 championship game. Going to Utah (Oct 17) will not be a walk in the park. At Washington State (Nov 7) should be a shootout. The last road game is at California (Nov 28). If Arizona State can hold serve at home and take care of half their road games they will at least be at-large New Years 6 bowling. Best case scenario: At-large New Years 6-could be Fiesta Bowl. Worst case scenario: Holiday Bowl.

California

Last season: 5-7

Vegas over/under win prediction: 5

Vegas expects no win improvement for the Golden Bears. Aaron Rodgers is not walking through that door anytime soon either. After starting the season 4-1, they lost 6 out of 7 down the stretch. This season the schedule is even more difficult. 6 road games starting at Texas (Sep 19), at Washington (Sep 26), at Utah (Oct 10), at UCLA (Oct 22)(That is 4 out of 5 games on the road), at Oregon (Nov 7), and at Stanford (Nov 21). California will be lucky to make it to bowl eligibility. Best case scenario: matching Vegas’ win prediction. Worst case scenario: having a 3-4 win season.

Colorado

Last season: 2-10

Vegas over/under win prediction: 4.5

There is not much room to go any further than Colorado has been in recent years. Last season they only managed 2 wins, however 4 of those games were decided by less than a touchdown. Something may finally be starting to click in the mountains. This season starts with a trip to Hawaii-why every school doesn’t schedule this trip beats me. The next 4 games are home games, including the in-state rival affair against Colorado State. Sidenote-for some reason I love this game, its one of the must watch games for me every year. 5 out of the next 8 games are on the road, a rare 13 game schedule. Is Colorado doing something that other institutions will follow up on? Keeping 4 non conference while playing 9 conference games is a lot of wear and tear. Best case scenario: 5 wins. Worst case scenario: having a worse 2 win season (2-11).

Oregon

Last season: 13-2 (Defeated by Ohio State in the National Championship Game)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 9.5

I waited to write this article until I knew for sure that Vernon Adams was enrolled. If he is anything close to as effective he was at Eastern Washington then the Ducks might have something. The second game of the year is a road trip to East Lansing for the finale of a home and home with the Spartans. Michigan State will have revenge on its mind, this is a tough spot for the Ducks. Back to back road games at Washington (Oct 17) and at Arizona State (Oct 29) yes that is a Thursday night game. This is the year we see the erosion from Chip Kelly I believe. Best case scenario: Rose Bowl. Worst case scenario: Holiday Bowl.

Oregon State

Last season: 5-7

Vegas over/under win prediction: 4

Somehow in the midst of losing 7 of 9 games, Oregon State beat then ranked #20 Utah and #6 Arizona State last season. The last win gave them a chance at a bowl but finishing with losses to Washington and Oregon halted those aspirations. This season Vegas expects a decrease in wins. Gary Anderson will get this thing right in the not-so-distant future. I just don’t think this is the year to put expectations on the Beaver program. Best case scenario: Bowl eligibility. Worst case scenario: 3-9.

Stanford

Last season: 8-5 (Defeated Maryland in the Foster Farms Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 9

It was a back and forth year for the Cardinal. They’d win a game then lose one, win two straight and lose two straight. Finishing off the season with a bowl victory helped make last season a good one. Starting the season with 3 out of 4 on the road is tough. Having only 2 road games the rest of the season is really fortunate, especially when those two road games are at Washington State and Colorado (Oct 31 & Nov 7) Stanford could get on a run that leads them into the Pac-12 championship game. Best case scenario: At-large in the New Years 6. Worst case scenario: Returning to the Foster Farms Bowl.

UCLA

Last season: 10-3 (Defeated Kansas State in the Valero Alamo Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 9.5

Starting the season 4-0 then losing 2 straight before winning 6 out of 7 is the reason so many people are high on UCLA this season…including Vegas and yours truly. I have been expecting this program to be in competition for a National Championship (perhaps prematurely) since Jim Mora came aboard. This seasons schedule is tougher than last seasons was, but you have to play the games one at a time. Home Virginia-at UNLV-home BYU. I don’t think another program has anything equal to that to start the season off. A huge game on the schedule is a possible preview of the Pac-12 championship game-at Stanford (Oct 15) its on a Thursday so the nation will be watching. Finishing the season at Utah (Nov 21) and at USC (Nov 28) will be the two game stretch that either vaults the Bruins into National Championship contention or stops it. Best case scenario: College Football Playoff. Worst case scenario: At-large in New Years 6.

USC

Last season: 9-4 (Defeated Nebraska in the National University Holiday Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 8.5

Getting to 8-9 wins this season will take a lot of focus from the men of Troy. The talent is always there, this is U-S-freaking-C we are talking about. Finishing with 5 out 9 games on the road is difficult for even teams at the next level. They have the senior QB to get them all the way to the College Football Playoff, and they have all the talent a coach could ask for. They need the focus (and beating UCLA at home (Nov 28) at home can’t hurt either). Best case scenario: College Football Playoff. Worst case scenario: Alamo or Holiday Bowl.

Utah

Last season: 9-4 (Defeated Colorado State in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 7.5

Utah had a good season last year, they always seem to have a good season. Will they get back to the form that saw them finish undefeated and blasting Alabama in the Sugar Bowl? We may never see a situation like that again in College Football. Utah was not in the Pac-12 that year, had they been they might have been playing for a National Championship. Starting the season with home Michigan-home Utah State-at Fresno State-at Oregon is one of the tougher 4 game stretches I’ve seen. We will all be able to tell early on how well the Utes will be this season. Best case scenario: Making it back to the Las Vegas Bowl. Worst case scenario: bowl eligibility.

Washington

Last season: 8-6 (Defeated by Oklahoma State in the TicketCity Cactus Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 4

In year 2 of the Chris Peterson experiment…that is what I’m calling it since apparently this was the dream job he was waiting for despite other larger and more lucrative options…Vegas is expecting a drop off. Either Peterson is tearing this whole thing down and going into a long rebuild or he just isn’t that good and somehow exceeded in flipping Boise Idaho. Until a few years of horrible results I’m going to say that Chris Peterson knows what he is doing. Best case scenario: exceeding Vegas’ win prediction. Worst case scenario: 2-10.

Washington State

Last season: 3-9

Vegas win prediction: 5

Washington State has been to 11 bowl games in its history. They are starving for a winner and hiring Mike Leach hoping he would recreate his success at Texas Tech has not fully happened yet. I think this year Washington State will exceed the win prediction Vegas gave us. Starting with 3 non conference games home Portland State-at Rutgers-home Wyoming then a road game at Cal should get the Cougars to 4-0. All they have to do is win their conference home games after that, but they are tough. 2 of them are against Stanford and Arizona State. Winning at Washington to end the season could spring them into bowl eligibility or even further up the bowl hierarchy. Best case scenario: Sun Bowl. Worst case scenario: Cactus Bowl.

Conclusion: Whoever wins the battle of LA will more than likely win the Pac-12. UCLA and USC are the teams to watch.

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