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Pac-12 football title game preseason predictions: Oregon, USC, or someone else?

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Who do you see in the Pac-12 title game and who do you have winning?

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Avinash Kunnath: Oregon. Yeah, I know, it's not sexy, but who else do you trust? Let's go down the list of potential contenders:

UCLA: This would be my pick if they weren't rolling with a true freshman at quarterback. The Bruins are deep and stacked at every position and could probably win the Pac-12 South. But do you really trust Josh Rosen to take you to the end unscathed?

Stanford: They have the offense. The Cardinal looked really good down the stretch of last season. But Stanford beat Oregon with defense, and they lost 70% of their starters on that side. Expecting Kevin Hogan to take you to the finish line is far from a winning proposition. 

USC: Feels like 2012 all over again. USC played elite football in one game last year and spent the rest of the year blowing double digit leads. That defense was one of the most disappointing units in the country and Justin Wilcox is on thin ice. No leap will come this quickly.

Arizona State: This is the squad to watch (I have ASU winning the South before Oregon wins comfortably in Santa Clara). The Sun Devils rebuilt in 2014 to ten wins. They have a great front seven. They should be better, stronger and deeper, particularly defensively. But in the end I worry about all the offensive shuffling, and their October schedule is brutal. 

Utah: The Utes are my friendliest sleeper every year, and every year they seem to be in the race in November until some team is like "oh let's score 40 we win". 

Arizona: They had unbelievable & unsustainable luck to win the South last year. Feels like this is a slight regression year before they return to form in 2016.

Oregon: Best running back rotation in the country in Royce Freeman, Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner. They found potential B+ level replacements for both Marcus Mariota and Hroniss Grasu. They play in the weaker division and only really have to prep for beating Stanford to win the North. The Ducks will drop off a tad, but it'll be enough to win the Pac-12.

College football is like a JJ Abrams movie. It's loud, full of passion and excitement in the middle, high tech cinematography, and then at the end everything is boring and anti-climactic.

Nik Jam: Oregon will not be a national factor (my bold prediction from an earlier roundtable) but I still see them winning the Pac-12 north, perhaps even running the tables against their 5 Northern rivals. Stanford will not be as good as people think, Cal and Washington will barely make a bowl game, and Oregon State and Washington State will struggle.

The South is a bigger question. Five of the six South teams can all make a legit preseason case to be the champs. I will go with Arizona State. They keep most of their pieces from last season's successful campaign. Plus, it will be typiCAL to watch the Devils clinch the South title on our field Thanksgiving weekend. Hashtag DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM.

PerryScope: Pac-12 North: This division is significantly worse than the south.  Let's briefly discuss each team's chances of reaching the title game.

Oregon: By far the best team in the division.  Too athletic and too explosive for the Swiss cheese Pac-12 defenses.

Oregon State: Had a rough year last year and does not seem to show much improvement for this year.

Washington: Lost 3 first rounders to the NFL and do not have a pleasant QB situation.

Washington State: Will put up points but will give up more.

Stanford: They should be fairly decent with Senior QB Kevin Hogan returning.  They lost WR Ty Montgomery and OT Andrus Peat to the league.  However they should be still a tough team to beat with an above average front 7.

Cal: Offense should be one of the best in the nation.  Defense however...?

Oregon will not lose a game in the division.

Pac-12 South: Utah and USC are the two best teams in the South in my opinion, shortly followed by Arizona.  I do not believe that Arizona State nor UCLA can repeat last year's success.

Utah has a great defense but I don't think their offense can help them win big games.

USC has the most talent in the conference.  Cody Kessler is Top 2 in the conference. And their recruiting class was number 1 this year.

A.W. Johnston: Cal vs USC. Cal has a top quarterback entering his junior year with a loaded offense, a head coach on the rise and big expectations. USC enters with a loaded roster, a big name quarterback and a coaching staff eager to win a national title. Sound familiar? Yes, it sounds just like 2004. So why not dream a bit and say that in a Pac-12 that is completely up for grabs that Cal can push the 9 win threshold and earn a spot in the title game. USC enters with sky high expectations and eight win Sark has to come through to satisfy an anxious fan base. I think USC puts it all together riding Kessler to the championship and eventually wins the Pac-12.


boomtho: I see Oregon emerging quite easily out of the North. The South is more tricky - I can talk myself into USC, Arizona, ASU... even UCLA and Utah as half steps behind what I see as the three top tier teams. That being said, I'm going with ASU winning the South by a game.

In the title game, I see ASU finally getting over the hump and winning the conference.

KWBears: I agree with boomtho, Oregon should have a pretty clear path to the Pac-12 title game.  Vernon Adams Jr. (Mariota's successor) is their only real wildcard, but I trust Helfrich knows what he's got with him.  Plus, they have so many more "athletes" on both sides of the ball than the other teams - it should be easy for them.  From the South division, I'm going to go out on a limb and choose UofA.  Solomon was a difficult to assess in hist first year, but I trust Rich Rod to develop the guy.  ASU and U$C will be stiff competition for the Wildcats, but I think they can pull-off an upset or two against them and move on.

Between Oregon and Arizona, I'll go for another bold one and choose UofA.  I believe Rich Rod is starting something good down there in the desert, and this is their breakout year.