Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Pac-12 season with the team rankings.
Preview 2018: Pac-12 Team Rankings
This is NOT a prediction of how the teams will finish. They’re the rankings of how good the teams are going into the season.
Please scroll down for the Pac-12 rankings done by total conference, ranking 1 through 12.
Pac-12 Rankings: North
1. Washington Huskies
Should be ranked here because … there aren’t any major holes. The Huskies have the best offensive backfield in the conference, the offensive tackles are NFL caliber, and the D is the best in the league – or, at least, the North.
Should be ranked lower because … there isn’t a true No. 1 receiver. The loss of John Ross two years ago and Dante Pettis this season leaves a void. Star OT Trey Adams needs his knee to be healthy, not having DT Vita Vea around hurts, and … it’s all nitpicking.
2. Stanford Cardinal
Should be ranked higher because … Bryce Love isn’t off being one of the must-have running backs in your fantasy draft. The offensive line is the Pac-12’s best to pave the way, the defense is once again the Stanford defense, and enough parts are there to get back to the Pac-12 Championship.
Should be ranked lower because … KJ Costello has to be healthy. With Keller Chryst gone to Tennessee, and Costello trying to get over a hip injury, the quarterback situation is sketchy. The passing game isn’t going to be amazing as is, and it’ll be an issue if the starter isn’t right – and good.
3. Oregon Ducks
Should be ranked higher because … QB Justin Herbert might just be the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, or be close to it if everything goes according to plan. The lines are fantastic, and the defense is about to be a rock to start out the Mario Cristobal era.
Should be ranked lower because … it’s not a given that the experience and talent in place equals a big season. The team has to prove it can be the big boys with a new head coach. That’s not a given.
4. California Golden Bears
Should be ranked higher because … the Bears have the defense in place with the coaches in place to handle the big-time offenses on the slate. The linebacking corps is as good as any in the conference, and the corners are outstanding.
Should be ranked lower because … the offensive talent isn’t anything great. The skill players are good enough to put a few points on the board if the D does its job, but this isn’t going to be like the Cal team of old that could get into wild and crazy shootouts.
5. Washington State Cougars
Should be ranked higher because … the defense is still good. There might be a few key losses, but overall, that side of the ball should be a rock at times thanks to the great linebacking corps and one of the division’s better secondaries.
Should be ranked lower because … is Gardner Minshew really up to the task? The Wazzu passing game is the Wazzu passing game, and it’ll be great as always even with the former East Carolina Pirate at quarterback. But there’s a massive overhaul at all the offensive skill spots.
6. Oregon State Beavers
Should be ranked higher because … Jonathan Smith has settled the program as the new head coach. He has a good offensive line to start with, and the secondary will be a positive thanks to a terrific safety tandem of Jalen Moore and David Morris.
Should be ranked lower because … the skill players still aren’t there. Artavis Pierce is a decent back, and Timmy Hernandez is a good receiver, but overall, the offense is going to need a while to make a dent.