Below are the projected Pac 12 team ratings for the 2013 season. Keep in mind that projected wins and losses are made to reflect what would happen if every team played an average schedule. Most teams don’t play an average schedule, so actual wins and losses won’t look like this once the season plays out. Instead, these numbers are trying to tell us who the best teams are, regardless of the difficulty of their schedule. Therefore, instead of seeing this as a prediction that the top team in the Pac 12 will go 9-3 this year, think of it as meaning this upcoming Oregon team would be projected to go 9-3 in 12 games playing an average schedule.
For projections for all Division I football teams, click here.
|Ranking||Pac 12||5 Yr. Improve||Ret. Starters||Proj. Off+||Proj. Def+||Proj. Total||Proj. Total+||Proj. W||Proj. L|
|Ranking||Pac 12||Passing||Rushing||Scoring||Turnovers||Blocking||Proj. Off||Proj. Off+|
|Ranking||Pac 12||Passing||Rushing||Scoring||Turnovers Forced||Pressure||Proj. Def||Proj. Def+|
Confused? Check the glossary.
1. Oregon– No Chip Kelly in 2013, but the Ducks have plenty of talent coming back on both offense and defense. They promoted former offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to replace Kelly, so there likely will not be a drop off in offensive production. Really, folks in Eugene are hoping there isn’t much of a drop off in anything. I mean, Stanford had their hotshot coach leave for the NFL and promoted their offensive coordinator to head coach, and they are doing just fine. Why can’t things be similar for Oregon?
2. Stanford– Speaking of David Shaw and Stanford, things have gone just peachy ever since Jim Harbaugh left to coach the 49ers, and this season looks to be a continuation of that. The Cardinal have the same number of returning starters in 2013 as Oregon does, and while they weren’t quite as good as Oregon last season, finishing 24% above average and 11th in the nation by my ratings is nothing to sneeze at. Expect the offense to be very good, while the defense has the opportunity to finish in the top 5 in the country.
3. Oregon State– Just about every team in the Pac 12 is returning an above average number starters this season, and Oregon State is no exception to this rule. The Beavers finished last season at 22% above average and #13 in the country, and with so many starters coming back and a slightly upward five year trend, they are projected to be 14% above average and finish at #9 this season.
4. USC– Like everybody else, USC has a lot of talent coming back this fall. The thing is, how much does that matter with Lane Kiffin calling the shots? The transition since Pete Carroll left USC for the NFL hasn’t been so smooth, and the program currently is averaging a 2% per year regression over the last five seasons. Of course, they still finished in the top 20 last season, and the projections have them finishing there again, but that’s not national championship level, so you’ve got to wonder how long Lane Kiffin can keep the peace in the City of Angels?
5. Arizona– Rich Rodriguez’ Wildcats are in a three way tie with Washington and Colorado for the most returning starters in the conference in 2013. 7 of those are on offense, which is the least of the worries for Wildcat fans, considering that’s Rich Rod’s M.O. It’s the defense, which returns 10 starters this season, that needs to take a big step forward. This unit finished 76th in the country last season, so you would have to think, that with basically everyone back, they can’t get worse.
6. Arizona State– Todd Graham may not be the most popular guy with your average college football fan after the way he left the Pitt program, but he did pretty damn well in his first season in Tempe. The offense looks to take a step backward this season, but the defense looks as if it could be just as good as last season.
7. Washington– Like many others, I think Washington is a team who may be primed for a breakout this season. The projections like them to finish 2013 as the 28th best team in the country, but with 17 starters returning, the Huskies could be a team who could jump into the top 15, and maybe higher. The defense projects to be top 20 like they were last season, so if the offense can improve in 2013 (and they do have the recruiting stars on the roster to do so), this team should be able to easily clear that seven win hump.
8. UCLA– The Bruins were a pleasant surprise last season, and while they aren’t expected to fall off the map this year, they are projected to take a step backward. The offense does return slightly more starters than the average FBS team, but they do take a major hit with the graduation of running back Johnathan Franklin, who is now carrying the ball in Green Bay. The defense, meanwhile, must replace 6 guys from last fall. So, this seems to be a decent, somewhat young team. Don’t expect huge things from them, but a bowl game should definitely be within reach.
9. Utah– Man, what happened to Utah? A couple of years ago, they were one of the hottest programs in the country. Now, though, they are getting worse by an average of 2% per years since 2007 and this year’s team doesn’t have a lot of experience returning. In other words, the 2013 Utes don’t project to be much different than 2012’s.
10. Washington State– A lot of people thought that the Cougars might take a step forward last season, considering they had an experienced passing attack returning and their new head coach was a passing guru. Of course, things didn’t quite work out that way, and Washington State wasn’t much better than we’ve come to expect of them. However, there is some room for optimism. Washington State was able to end last season on a high note by beating arch rival Washington for the Apple Cup, and they do return a good number of starters for 2013. Mike Leach is working on turning the culture around in Pullman, and there’s a good chance that he’s the right man for the job. But, with the shambles this program has been in, it may just take more than a couple of seasons.
11. California– Cal fired longtime head coach Jeff Tedford and replaced him with former Louisiana Tech head coach, Sonny Dykes. Dykes and his air raid offense are going to want to throw the ball all over the field, but with a new quarterback and only 4 starters returning on offense, this year may get pretty ugly. And, did I mention that they only return 5 starters on defense, too? All of this is coming from a team that finished last season at #65 in the nation in 2012. Basically, thoughts of this season being anything but a rebuilding year, are simply pipe dreams.
12. Colorado– Mike MacIntyre is the second guy to step in and try to clean up the mess that Dan Hawkins created in Boulder. And, while the Buffaloes do have 17 of their 22 starters from last season’s team coming back, that team was an atrocious 36% below average and would have been the worst team in the nation had it not been for a UMass team that was making its FBS debut. They would be hard-pressed to be worse than they were in 2012, considering all the guys they have coming back, but considering how far this program has fallen, this year probably won’t be that much better.