College Football Rankings, Season Predictions: Pac-12 Spring Version 2022

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College Football Rankings, Season Predictions: Pac-12 Spring Version 2022

College Football Features

College Football Rankings, Season Predictions: Pac-12 Spring Version 2022

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Pac-12 college football rankings and predictions with the realistic best and worst case records and quick analysis – the 2022 spring version.


It’s almost like the Pac-12 took a year off to get ready for what’s coming.

Washington certainly took a break, Stanford went to sleep after a decent start, and USC all but put out the Not Interested sign after the season was blown up  with the early firing of Clay Helton.

Arizona is improving – last year was likely a step back to take a big leap forward, even if it’s still going to take another season or so.

UCLA showed glimpses of getting stronger, Oregon State and Washington State had some fun, and Utah got to the top of the Pac-12 mountain.

This year, though, the conference looks like it’s going to improve all the way around before all the things are in place to blast off in 2023.

Lincoln Riley at USC, Oregon settling in with Dan Lanning, Washington about to crank up the O with Kalen DeBoer – the Pac-12 is going to be fun.

Where to the 12 teams appear to be this spring? How good are they?

The Pac-12 spring rankings are based on how good the teams should be and not the final projected records. Keeping in mind that this all could/might/will change when we make the final calls in August …

2022 College Football Schedules By Teams: All 131 Schools

12
Colorado Buffaloes

2020: 4-2  2019: 5-7 2018: 5-7

Can the Buffaloes bounce back from a disappointing follow up to the surprising 2020? Former Tennessee transfer JT Shrout has to rise up at quarterback, finding strong rushing options after losing Jarek Broussard (Michigan State) and others is a must, and getting a big year out of Baylor WR transfer RJ Sneed would be nice.

Overall there aren’t a ton of lost starters. It’s a team full of upperclassmen that should be pushed by a big recruiting class that’s expected to make a bit of an early impact, especially on defense.

The schedule is the problem. TCU, at Air Force, at Minnesota – there isn’t a sure-thing win on the slate. That includes a road date at Arizona, and there aren’t enough good-looking 50/50 games – at Oregon State? Arizona State? Cal? – to expect a winning season without something special happening.

Realistic Best Case Record: 6-6
Realistic Worst Case Record: 2-10
2022 Colorado Prediction, Spring Football Version: 4-8
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 6-6
Colorado 2021 Final Record: 4-8
Colorado 2022 Schedule & Analysis

11
Arizona Wildcats

2020: 0-5 2019: 4-8 2018: 5-7

Head coach Jedd Fisch tore it all down to build it back up. With a nice combination of a good recruiting class and big gets from the transfer portal – like QB Jayden de Laura from Washington State and UTEP WR Jacob Cowing – the team should be far more competitive.

However, the offensive line has to improve in a big way, and the defensive front six needs to replace just about everyone.

The schedule doesn’t have ANY breaks. After going 1-16 over the last two seasons, it would be nice to have a slew of layups to ease into the season.

At San Diego State – opening up the Aztecs’ new stadium – then Mississippi State, then North Dakota State. And then the Pac-12 season kicks in.

It’s going to be tough to get anywhere near a winning season, but the Wildcats will be better.

Realistic Best Case Record: 6-6
Realistic Worst Case Record: 1-11
2022 Arizona Prediction, Spring Football Version: 4-8
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 3-9
Arizona 2021 Final Record: 1-11
Arizona 2022 Schedule & Analysis

10
Stanford Cardinal

2020: 4-2 2019: 4-8 2018: 9-4

Can the Cardinal turn this back around after two ugly losing seasons in the last three? Start with an offensive line that’s experienced and should be far, far better – at least that’s the hope – and keep going with a defensive back eight that should be fine in time.

Now the O needs to be more explosive and a whole lot tougher on the ground, and the defensive front needs live bodies and parts after losing a slew of Thomas Booker and several fifth-year seniors.

Unlike last year when the Cardinal played a full schedule full of Power Five programs, this time around it starts out with Colgate and end at home with BYU. However, because this team just never, ever gets a break when it comes to the schedule, it doesn’t get Arizona or Colorado from the South.

Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Realistic Worst Case Record: 3-9
2022 Stanford Prediction, Spring Football Version: 5-7
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 6-6
Stanford 2021 Final Record: 3-9
Stanford 2022 Schedule & Analysis

9
Oregon State Beavers

2020: 2-5  2019: 5-7 2018: 2-10

Oregon State is interesting. It’s losing seven starters on offense, but it didn’t do much of anything through the transfer portal to help the cause. However, this was a young team last year with several yards apparently ready to step up. On the other side, the defense is loaded with experience and depth.

It was a nice breakthrough bowl season under Jonathan Smith, but dealing with Boise State and at Fresno State from the Mountain West to start 2022 isn’t going to be a breeze. Throw in USC and at Utah to start the Pac-12 run, and it could be a nasty first half of the season.

Four of the last six games are at home, and there are just enough winnable games – Montana State, Colorado, Washington State, Cal – to form a nice base if the team can take care of Reser.

Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Realistic Worst Case Record: 4-8
2022 Oregon State Prediction, Spring Football Version: 6-6
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 5-7
Oregon State 2021 Final Record: 7-6
Oregon State 2022 Schedule & Analysis

8
Cal Golden Bears

2020: 1-3 2019: 8-5 2018: 7-6

Is this the year the Bears FINALLY turn the corner? They’re getting a nice quarterback in Jack Plummer from Purdue to help the cause, and Jackson Sirmon from Washington was a fantastic transfer signing from Washington. However, there’s still work to do.

The defense is replacing six starters, and the offense that struggled way too much needs more spark. On the plus side, the O line is full of upperclassmen and veterans, and the linebacking corps should be a plus.

With UC Davis and UNLV to start isn’t bad. Throw in home dates against Arizona, Washington, and Stanford – and helped by missing Utah from the South – to go along with winnable dates at Colorado, Washington State, and Oregon State, and Cal should push for six wins.

Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Realistic Worst Case Record: 4-8
2022 Cal Prediction, Spring Football Version: 6-6
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 4-8
Cal 2021 Final Record: 4-7
Cal 2022 Schedule & Analysis

7
Arizona State Sun Devils

2020: 2-2 2019: 8-5 2018: 7-6

It’s been a really, really tough offseason. Star QB Jayden Daniels is now at LSU, and overall the team that was supposed to be one of 2021’s darlings – and came up short – has to undergo several major changes.

It lost a few NFL talents on offense, the defense is replacing eight starters, and …

The transfer portal should help. Herm Edwards brought in just enough to fill in the gaps – getting QB Emory Jones from Florida, RB Xazavian Valladay from Wyoming and S Khoury Bethley from Hawaii helps, but it’s still going to be a fight.

The schedule should help. The Sun Devils should have two built-in wins over Northern Arizona and Eastern Michigan, and getting Oregon State at home is a plus. However, they have to go to Colorado, Washington State, and Arizona – all winnable games if they were played in Tempe.

Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Realistic Worst Case Record: 5-7
2022 Arizona State Prediction, Spring Football Version: 6-6
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 8-4
Arizona State 2021 Final Record: 8-5
Arizona State 2022 Schedule & Analysis

6
Washington State Cougars

2020: 1-3 2019: 6-7 2018: 11-2

Get ready for Cameron Ward.

The Cougars lost QB Jayden de Laura to Arizona, but Ward is a big-time all-around playmaker from Incarnate Word who should go off in the Wazzu attack.

Losing a few of the receivers hurts, and underappreciated Max Borghi will be missed at running back, but the O will be fine, and the D will be great up front. The transfer portal will help, but the back seven will need tweaking.

Getting Idaho and Colorado State in non-conference play helps, but going to Wisconsin is a problem. There’s no UCLA to face, and the date with Utah is coming after a week off. There should be enough 50/50 games to push for a winning season.

Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Realistic Worst Case Record: 5-7
2022 Washington State Prediction, Spring Football Version: 6-6
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 6-6
Washington State 2021 Final Record: 7-6
Washington State 2022 Schedule & Analysis

5
Washington Huskies

2020: 3-1 2019: 8-5 2018: 10-4

It’s not going to be boring.

New head coach Kalen DeBoer takes over one of 2021’s most disappointing teams, and he’s instantly going to try getting the passing game going. If Indiana transfer Michael Penix Jr. can finally catch a break and stay healthy, he should go off with a good group of receivers to throw to, a veteran line to work behind, and with a quarterback-friendly attack that should crank up the stats.

The defensive front has more than enough back to be fine. However, losing NFL first round-caliber corners Trent McDuffie and Kyler Gordon hurts. The D won’t be the problem, and the O should be better.

Getting Kent State and Portland State to start should be good tune-ups for Michigan State. The Dawgs don’t leave Seattle in September, but there are five road games in the nine Pac-12 dates including Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, and Washington State. There’s no USC to face, and best of all, there’s no Utah on the slate.

Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Realistic Worst Case Record: 6-6
2022 Washington Prediction, Spring Football Version: 8-4
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 9-3
Washington 2021 Final Record: 4-8
Washington 2022 Schedule & Analysis

4
Utah Utes

2020: 3-2 2019: 11-3 2018: 9-5

After an incredible year with a Pac-12 championship and a thrilling Rose Bowl appearance, now it’s time to reload.

QB Cameron Rising is back along with a few nice offensive pieces, but seven starters are done. On the plus side, the line should be strong as long as C Nick Ford can be replaced.

The defensive side can’t replace LB Devin Lloyd and all he brought – but Mohamoud Diabate from Florida will give it a shot. The line has to come up with the developed depth to go along with the right starting mix, and there’s just enough gone from the secondary to be annoying.

Starting the season out at Florida and having to host San Diego State doesn’t help ease into the season – there’s a scrimmage against Southern Utah in between those two – but the USC game is in Salt Lake City. There aren’t a whole lot of breaks, though, with three of the last five games – including the date at Oregon – on the road to close.

Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Realistic Worst Case Record: 6-6
2022 Utah Prediction, Spring Football Version: 8-4
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 8-4
Utah 2021 Final Record: 10-4
Utah 2022 Schedule & Analysis

3
UCLA Bruins

2020: 3-4 2019: 4-8 2018: 3-9

There’s a whole lot to like. There might be several key losses on offense – OT Sean Rhyan, TE Greg Dulcich, and RB Brittain Brown will be missed – and the defense has to find fill-ins at tackle and in the secondary, but there’s enough coming in from the transfer portal to help.

QB Dorain Thompson-Robinson is back for what seems like his 18th year, the passing game should be fine, and the depth has been built up over the years under Chip Kelly to fill in the gaps.

For a school that’s among the nation’s elite, it’s certainly not dumb when it comes to scheduling. Why beat your head against the wall? Bowling Green, Alabama State, South Alabama – that’s exactly how you ease into a season and work out all the kinks.

Follow that up with Colorado and Washington, and there isn’t a 2021 bowl team on the slate until dealing with Utah on October 8th.

Utah and USC are home games, there’s a week off before going to Oregon, and making the trips to Arizona State and Cal aren’t that daunting.

Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Realistic Worst Case Record: 6-6
2022 UCLA Prediction, Spring Football Version: 9-3
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 6-6
UCLA 2021 Final Record: 8-4
UCLA 2022 Schedule & Analysis

2
USC Trojans

2020: 4-7 2019: 8-5 2018: 5-1

Anything interesting happening with the USC program?

It just got a few major upgrades. Start with the huge win by getting Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma, and keep it going by bringing about Sooner QB Caleb Williams. Yeah, there were several key losses from last year’s team, but …

RB Travis Dye from Oregon. WRs Mario Williams (Oklahoma) and Brenden Rice (Colorado). LBs Shane Lee (Alabama) and Romello Height (Auburn). A whole slew of solid transfers are coming aboard.

However, the defense is losing most of the starters, receivers Drake London and KD Nixon are off to the NFL, and the offensive line has to prove it can be a whole lot better.

Fortunately, there’s a warm-up against Rice to get the parts in place to kick off a more-than-manageable first half of the season before going to Utah. There’s no Oregon to deal with, and missing Washington isn’t bad. The team doesn’t leave Los Angeles in November.

Realistic Best Case Record: 11-1
Realistic Worst Case Record: 7-5
2022 USC Prediction, Spring Football Version: 9-3
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 9-3
USC 2021 Final Record: 4-7
USC 2022 Schedule & Analysis

1
Oregon Ducks

2020: 4-3  2019: 12-2 2018: 9-4

Let’s try this again. Oregon was very good – it beat Ohio State and got to the Pac-12 Championship – but it came up short in the College Football Playoff run and now it’s rebooting with new head coach Dan Lanning.

There aren’t a ton of losses, but the lost parts are massive – Kayvon Thibodeaux, the top receivers, CJ Verdell, among other. On the plus side, Auburn transfer Bo Nix is a QB upgrade over Anthony Brown, the linebacking corps will be one of the nation’s best if everyone stays healthy, and the O line should be terrific.

Starting the season out against Georgia in Atlanta isn’t a way to crank up the confidence, and dealing with the Eastern Washington passing game and the BYU lines won’t be a breeze.

However, if everything goes right the Ducks should rip through the Pac-12 with no USC to face and the Utah game in Eugene.

Realistic Best Case Record: 11-1
Realistic Worst Case Record: 8-4
2022 Oregon Prediction, Spring Football Version: 10-2
CFN 2021 Spring Prediction: 10-2
Oregon 2021 Final Record: 10-4
Oregon 2022 Schedule & Analysis

2022 College Football Schedules By Teams: All 131 Schools

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