[divider]CHURCHILL: Has OSU Finally Found a QB?
PAC-12 RANKINGS: QB | RB | WR | TE | COACHES
CHURCHILL: Ryan Nall Most Underrated
PODCAST: 2017 College Football Preview
PREDICTIONS: Week 1
BEST: Games of the Year[divider]
Until new head coach Justin Wilcox gets things rolling a bit, they'll be at or near the bottom. But this is a soft ranking right now, as Arizona shows the kind of downside that could unseat Cal at No. 12.[divider]
Arizona's chances to stave off the cellar of the Pac-12 are, surprise, surprised, mostly about the quarterback situation. But that defense allowed 470 yards per game last season and whether or not they're markedly better in 2017 obviously remains to be seen.[divider]
10. Oregon State
The Beavers, at times, looked solid Saturday at Colorado State, but two things became clear in that game — a 58-27 loss; the defense still needs a lot of work and the offensive line either did not perform well or they're simply not that good.
The Buffaloes lost defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt to Oregon and three star defensive backs to the NFL. They also lost their starting QB. This is a great test for Mike McCartney. If Colorado wins 9-plus games again, he's the real deal.[divider]
The Sun Devils are going with Manny Wikins at QB over Alabama transfer Blake Barnett, but Todd Graham's job security lies on the shoulders of the worst defense in the conference last year. Opponents averaged more than seven yards per play against ASU in 2016. [divider]
The Bruins have as much or more talent than the two teams ranked ahead of them, but QB Josh Rosen was hurt last season and frankly Jim Mora has been outcoached. A lot.[divider]
The Utes lost some talent to the NFL but return key defenders and Kyle Whittingham has himself a new starting quarterback in sophomore Tyler Huntley.
An argument can be made for Wazzu to be ranked a spot higher — they were better a year ago — but they did lose their two best wide receivers and safety Shalom Luani (3rd-round pick, Raiders).
Oregon's defense was awful in 2016 but Leavitt and head coach Willie Taggart have some talent with which to work and the offense is in good hands with athletic QB Justin Herbert, RB Royce Freeman and speed on the outside.[divider]
Stanford's 62-7 win over Rice told us nothing but how bad Rice is as a football program. Oh, and that it's cool in Australia in August. Keller Chryst will be tested at USC September 9.[divider]
The Trojans were very good once Sam Darnold took over at QB last season and are one of three teams that could represent the Pac-12 in the College Football Playoff.
If there are questions it's on defense where the loss of Adoree' Jackson and Leon McQuay III put some pressure on the USC depth chart right away.
Yes, USC beat Washington in Seattle last season but the Huskies are loaded and a number of neutral observers believe the chance the Dawgs are better this season than last is very real.
Almost the entire offense returns, including Jake Browning and both running backs, and two freshman — RB Salvon Ahmed and TE Hunter Bryant — are expected to make an immediate impact.