2016 Preseason Pac-12 Football Predictions


Pac-12 Football is headed for a shake-up season.  In our 2016 Pac-12 football predictions, we call for two new teams in the Pac-12 Championship game.  The traditional powers are still contenders but the schedule opens the door for new teams to have a chance at making the title game and eventually have a shot at the college football playoff.  Week 1 will go a long way toward determining if the Pac-12 Champ can make the college football final four.

What's Inside

2016 Predicted Records and Standings for Pac-12 Football:

17 Washington Huskies 10 2 7 2
7 Stanford Cardinal 9 3 7 2
24 Oregon Ducks 8 4 5 4
43 Washington State Cougars 6 6 4 5
26 California Golden Bears 6 6 3 6
103 Oregon State Beavers 2 10 1 8
19 UCLA Bruins 11 1 9 0
32 Utah Utes 9 3 6 3
15 USC Trojans 7 5 5 4
53 Arizona State Sun Devils 7 5 4 5
61 Arizona Wildcats 5 7 2 7
83 Colorado Buffaloes 3 9 1 8

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2016 Pac-12 North Preview:

1. Washington – Chris Peterson’s third season starts with high hopes and a ton of returning starters.  This is still a young team but it has experience.  The schedule is manageable and should set them up to make a run at the Pac-12 Championship.

2.  Stanford Cardinal – David Shaw has shown the ability to reload season after season after inheriting a talented program.  A new QB will take the helm at Stanford but this season rests on superstar Christian McCaffrey.  He will be the focus of opposing defenses and will keep the Cardinals in the hunt for the Pac-12 title.  Can the Cardinals survive the toughest September in college football with games against Kansas State, USC, at UCLA and at Washington?

3.  Oregon Ducks – Dakota Prukop, a transfer from Montana State, has been brought in to QB the Ducks in 2016.  How quickly does he fit into the offense?  That’s the question for the Ducks that will be filling holes all over the field.  Look for them to lean on All-American Royce Freeman early until Prukop is comfortable.

4.  Washington State Cougars – After a 9-win season, hopes are high for the Cougars.  Mike Leach brings back Luke Falk at QB, who should be poised for another big season.  The Cougars are going to be a tough game for everyone on their schedule and could wreck rival UW’s season in the finale.

5.  California Golden Bears – Sonny Dykes has to break in a new QB and receiving corps for the Bears.  The toughest game on the schedule come at home which give them a shot but Dykes is still building a program at Cal.  They’ll be back in a bowl but aren’t quite ready to challenge for the title in the Pac-12 North.

6.  Oregon State Beavers – The transition to a 3-4 defense last year was brutal for the Beavers.  They have several new starters on that side of the ball in 2016 but will that mean improvement?  The Beavers are headed for another long season after tanking 115th in scoring offense and 114th in score defense last season.

2016 Pac-12 South Preview:

  1.  UCLA Bruins – All eyes are on Josh Rosen again.  He was a Freshman phenom last season.  He leads an offense that’ll be breaking in several new faces around him.  The defense is going to have to improve against the run.  They bring back most of last year’s starters along with Eddie Vanderdoes who was lost to injury last year.  He should help bolster that run D and make the Bruins contenders for a Pac-12 football championship.

2.  Utah Utes – The Utes should again have a stout defense but will the offense have the fire power to make them contenders?  A new starter at QB leaves questions but the return of Joe Williams gives them a chance.  The schedule has most of the big games at home.

3.  USC Trojans – The Trojans offense will have a new QB but he’s surrounded with tremendous talent.  An offensive line that returns in tact should help the new QB.  The defense has holes to fill in the front seven but the secondary should be a strength.  The schedule is loaded with difficult road games that’ll keep USC from becoming Pac-12 football champions in 2016.

4.  Arizona State Sun Devils – The Sun Devils had a trouble finishing off games last season and led to a 6-7 finish.  The offense will have a lot of new faces including at QB.  The defense will still be aggressive but try to cut down on giving up the big passing plays that led to giving up over 33 points a game in 2015.

5.  Arizona Wildcats – Rich Rodriguez returns the majority of starters on offense and defense.  However, RichRod has brought in a new defensive staff and scheme which could make another bowl trip difficult against a challenging schedule.  They’ll be tested right away against BYU in week 1.

6.  Colorado Buffaloes – The Buffs have experience and expectations are the team will take steps forward this season in Mike MacIntyre’s fourth.  The schedule is tough so the Buffs could be much better but the record won’t reflect that.  Expecting a bowl game against that schedule is just unrealistic in 2016.

2016 Pac-12 Football Championship Game:

UCLA vs. Washington

2016 Pac-12 Champions:

Washington Huskies

Get bowl projections, preseason All-Americans and more in our 2016 College Football Preview. 2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW-1