Here is the Pac-12 North’s power rankings
The Pac-12 North is arguably the strongest and deepest division in the Pac-12. Really the only good news that the South has provided is that USC is off of its Bowl ban and is ready to make another run at a BCS game. USC topped the South last year but couldn’t play in the Champion Ship Game and I fully expect the Trojans to remain at the top of the South this season. The South’s Power Rankings right after the jump.
Southern California Trojans: Matt Barkley’s decision to return for his senior season made it nearly impossible to put the Trojans at anywhere but number one in the South. Add in an offensive line that is mainly returning starters with one of the best groups of Wide Receivers in the on Country and you’re looking at an offense that is unstoppable. While the defensive line is probably the weakest unit on the Trojans roster, a strong secondary and pretty good linebacker core should make up for some of the deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball.Despite heavy sanctions that prevented them from going to bowl games USC has still managed to recruit well enough to have a good two deep roster. And that is why USC tops the Pac-12 South.
Utah Utes: In their first season in a BCS Conference the Utes not only made it to a bowl game, they also became the first Pac-12 representative to win a Bowl Game. Now they return their starting QB and their starting running back and most of their defense. Granted there are some questions about their quarterback but John White IV did alright last season and the Utes defense was one of the better ones in the conference.Add in the fact that most of their conference games are against the South and what you get is an expectation for a lot of wins from this squad. And that is why I have them sitting in second in the Pac-12 South.
UCLA Bruins: They ditched Rick Neuheisel, who is probably responsible for the decline of two Pac-12 programs. Now they have the defensive minded Jim Mora, a direct contrast with the offensive minds that the Pac-12 is teeming with. And in a year or two he’ll have a really effective defense that should help contain some of the Pac’s top offenses.But presently he is dealing with a talented, but lack luster, squad. He’s dealing with a defense that Marshal Lobestael threw for 285 yards against, an offense that still doesn’t have an effective QB, and a special teams unit that leaves much to be desired. While Mora has done a pretty good job of instilling a new mentality down in Westwood, it is going to be a tough, up-hill battle for Mora and his staff to fix the damage that has been done over the last decade.
Arizona State Sun Devils: The Sun Devils started out last year right. They knocked off Mizzou and USC rising all the way to the top 25; but somewhere down the line something fell apart and the Sun Devils lost their last four games after starting out 6-2. Dennis Erickson was fired and (after a disastours search) a Todd Graham was hired to coach the Devils in 2012.He has a defense that lost its star middle Line Backer, Vontaze Burfict, and an offense that watched its star, in QB Brock Osweiler, get drafted into the NFL. There isn’t a whole lot of depth in Tempe right now and it is going to take a while for Graham to be able to fix that. The bottom line is that ASU’s collapse last year was very indicative of the mess that the Pac-12 South is and will continue to be.
Arizona Wildcats: Last year was very disappointing and lead to the mid-season firing of Head Coach Mike Stoops. The Cats did have a couple of highlights last season; the more impressive one was beating eventual Pac-12 South “Champions” UCLA. As for players the only real star was QB Nick Foles and now he’s gone after graduating. Fortunately for Wildcat fans, their AD had a plan in place after he canned Stoops.The Cats AD hired Rich Rodriguez (an offensive genius) as their head coach. He’ll have time to fix a program, which had risen and then collapsed, under Stoops. Cats fans shouldn’t expect much out of this team this year as Rich Rod has a long rebuild under his belt.
This may or may not have happened
- Colorado Buffaloes: The rebuild ahead of the Colorado Buffaloes makes the Sark’s rebuild at UW look easy (wait it was). The depth isn’t there (when they played the Cougs they had back up wide receivers playing as corner backs), the talent is only there in spots and they are dealing with a Coach who only has one year of experience at the FBS level (last year).
Did I mention their head coach is a Buffalo alum? Sound familiar Coug fans? Needless to say Colorado is in bad shape and it is going to be a tough year up in Boulder.