Predicting The Final 2015 Pac-12 Football Standings

UCLA Bruins
UCLA Bruins /

UCLA Bruins

With all these way-too-early polls and predictions, I will be taking a shot at the up-coming 2015 Pac-12 football season. In the previous piece, I took an in-depth look at the 2015 Pac-12 Football Season itself, so for this article I will be projecting what I believe will be the Final Pac-12 Football Standings for the up-coming 2015 season.

Let me tell you this, it was not easy. I looked at the entire Pac-12 football schedule and assessed the wins and losses of every time in the conference. Some were easy (is anyone really going to choose Sacramento State over Washington?) and some where a bit difficult (Oregon at Stanford). Then there were some that are tough to call because of the recent phenomena of the neutral site (Arizona State vs Texas A&M at NRG Stadium).

Though it was tough, I fought through the hard decisions to bring you my best attempt at predicting final standings for the 2015 Pac-12 Football season, which I am sure Oregon and UCLA fans would agree with, is pretty accurate.

Predicted 2015 Pac-12 Football Standings

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Now Here Is Why…

Dec 31, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez talks with his players in the huddle in the first quarter against the Boise State Broncos in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl at Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona – The Wildcats were surprisingly successful last season with a very young team. Under head coach Rich Rodriguez, Arizona has made incredible improvements in the three years he has been in Tucson and that will continue this year, unfortunately, I think the Wildcats stumble late in the season, losing three of their last four games. Remember, Arizona is playing their season straight through to the end with no bye week. That could be a huge factor late in the season.

Arizona State – Although I believe Rich Rod is a better coach than ASU’s Todd Graham, the Sun Devils have a bit more experience and should be in a better position to battle for the Pac-12 South. Though I have them beating Texas A&M and USC early in the season, they will fall to the hands of UCLA, Utah and Oregon mid-season.

Nov 28, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez and Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham shake hands after the fourth quarter of the territorial cup at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats won 42-35. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Cal – It is still a rebuilding project for Sonny Dykes up in Berkeley, so do not expect a lot. The Golden Bears did get a couple of strong commits on National Signing Day, but is it enough to get Cal out of the Pac-12 cellar? Not this year. Make no mistake, they will be better, but it will not show in the standings, especially with a brutal road schedule which includes games at Texas, at Washington, at Utah, at UCLA, at Oregon and at Stanford.

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Colorado – If things do not improve this next season for head coach Mike MacIntyre, then his seat will warm-up very quickly. Unfortunately, that is what I see happening. Though they will have plenty of chances to gain experience with a conference-high 13 games in the regular season, it could back-fire on them as I predict they will once again have the Pac-12’s worst record.

Oregon – No Marcus Mariota? No problem! Well, a little problem. Though head coach Mark Helfrich has a lot of good players returning, he also has a lot that have moved on, especially three on the offensive line. Still, with Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams taking over at QB, the Ducks seem to be in a good position to repeat as Pac-12 Champions.

Oregon State – Former Wisconsin head coach Gary Anderson takes over a team that is in need of a make-over. Not only that, they lose starting quarterback Sean Mannion, so next season has a lot of questions, though hopefully I have answered what Anderson’s first season will be like as they could be the bottom of the North Division.

Jan 2, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Paul Perkins (24) runs after a catch during the second half of the 2015 Alamo Bowl against the Kansas State Wildcats at Alamodome. The Bruins won 40-35. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA – Despite not having a starting quarterback, UCLA is returning a lot of players and will have a ton of experience, including last season’s Pac-12 rushing leader Paul Perkins. Because of that, the Bruins should still be considered a Pac-12 favorite. Though non-UCLA readers may think there is some bias here, it is not hard to fathom the Bruins earning another 10-win season which includes winning the South Division. Still, it is the toughest division in college football and the Bruins will not come out the other end unscathed as I have them losing to both Stanford and Utah.

USC – USC is locked and loaded for 2015, but do they have the right weapons and game plan to win the South Division as so many critics have them doing? Sure they have returning QB Cody Kessler, but does he have enough to make that leap from good quarterback to great? USC will be good next season, but they also have a tough schedule which will make winning the South very difficult. One of those games includes a trip to Oregon, a team the Trojans have not payed in three years.

Dec 20, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham looks on against the Colorado State Rams during the second half of the Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium. Utah won 45-10. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Utah – For every season the Utes have been in the Pac-12, they have almost broken into the top half of the division. They have had some great wins, which includes victories over USC, UCLA and beating Stanford the last two years. Still, the Utes have weapons, but cannot seem to make it over the hump, which will once again be an issue for this team in 2015.

Washington – The Huskies seem to have a new identity with head coach Chris Petersen, so can he turn them in a proper contender in the North? Yes, but they will not be at the top of their division this year. Petersen will get close, but I predict that Washington will have a tough time with the two current heads of state, Stanford and Oregon. The Huskies are on their way, though they will not make a huge impact this season.

Washington State – The good news is the Cougars are improving. The bad news is, so has the rest of the Pac-12. Though they will not be scrapping the bottom of the barrel, they still will still be a sub-.500 team. Because of this, head coach Mike Leach may be feeling the heat on his seat.