We've already looked at the numbers. Anticipation of college football begins with each conferences' media day. For the newly-knighted Pacific 12 Conference, the first media day is Tuesday, July 6. Among the hot topics? Expect much on the Oregon football scandal of Willie Lyles. Of course, we'll expect more on the additions of Utah and Colorado reshaping the conference into North and a South divisions. And how will the Wildcats fare?
So leading into Media Day, our staff writers make some wild, effort-filled predictions. First up, we take a look at our guesses for the final division standings by the end of the regular season (bowl games and the Pac-12 Championship not included). Saturday, we check out the All-Offense teams we expect by the end of the season. Sunday, we look at the All-Defense teams and finally, we'll make Coach of the Year picks on Monday.
By Ryan Clay (Smooty)
Oregon: 10-2 (8-1) ... Oregon comes back loaded, even without Cliff Harris, and will be hosting the first Pac-12 title game at Autzen in December.
Stanford: 9-3 (6-3) ... The Cardinal will have more trouble than expected with the loss of Head Coach and motivator-extraordinaire Jim Harbaugh. Andrew Luck will keep Stanford in most games, but they will not be as untouchable as 2010.
Washington: 7-5 (5-4) ... Steve Sarkisian has the program on the rise, but there will still be some bumps in the road for the rising Huskies.
Oregon State: 6-6 (5-4) ... Tough schedule again for the Beavers. Coach Riley seems to get the most out of largely unheralded recruits, but with Washington on the rise and Stanford and Oregon manning the top of the division, the North will be tough for Oregon State on a weekly basis.
WSU: 5-7 (3-6) ... Lookout, but the Cougars may fight for bowl eligibility this season. Things are slowly getting better on the Palouse.
Cal: 5-7 (2-7) ... The Bears will be the victim of an arduous conference schedule, and playing home games outside the friendly confines of Strawberry Canyon.
USC: 10-2 (7-2) ... Everyone knew the Trojans would not be down for long. Barkley and Co. will put up impressive numbers as long as the coaching staff can keep them motivated, despite the lack of post-season eligibility.
Arizona: 8-4 (6-3) ... The Wildcats will struggle through the first month, but the schedule sets them up to finish strong.
ASU: 7-5 (5-4) ... Don't buy the hype. Dennis Erickson should polish up his resume. With USC ineligible for the Pac-12 Title Game, nothing short of playing for the conference championship will save his job.
Utah: 8-4 (5-4) ... Utah is a strong team, that will have to play a tough nine game schedule for the first time. Ever. The Utes will challenge every week, but could find themselves on the wrong end of several close games.
UCLA: 3-9 (2-7) ... Slick Rick's last stand in Westwood. Not buying it.
Colorado: 1-11 (0-9) ... One of the toughest schedules in the nation, and the transition to the Pac-12 is going to be rough for Colorado, and first year coach Jon Embree.
Rose - Oregon
Alamo - Stanford
Holiday - Arizona
Sun - Washington
MAACO - ASU
Kraft Fight Hunger - Utah
New Mexico - Oregon State
By Alec Sills-Trausch (UofAlec)
Oregon: 11-1 (8-1)
Stanford: 10-2 (8-1)
California: 6-6 (4-5)
Oregon State: 5-7 (3-6)
Washington State: 4-8 (2-7)
Washington: 2-10 (1-8)
USC: 8-4 (6-3)
Arizona: 8-4 (6-3)
Arizona State: 7-5 (5-4)
Utah: 7-5 (5-4)
UCLA: 5-7 (3-6)
Colorado: 3-10 (2-7)
The newcomers do not fare as well as they did in their previous conferences (looking at you Utah), but things look close to the same as last year. Oregon and Stanford will again be in the running for a BCS bid, while the South division fights for an identity. With USC still on probation, the fight will be between the two Arizona schools to go to the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game.
By Kevin Zimmerman (K_Zim)
Oregon: 10-2 (8-1)
Stanford: 11-1 (8-1)
Oregon State: 7-5 (6-3)
Cal: 6-6 (3-6)
Washington: 5-7 (3-6)
Washington State: 3-9 (1-8)
USC: 9-3 (6-3)
Arizona State: 8-4 (6-3)
Utah: 8-4 (5-4)
Arizona: 7-5 (5-4)
UCLA: 5-7 (4-5)
Colorado: 3-9 (2-7)
In the North, it's the usual. Oregon and Stanford beat up on everyone and neither of the Washington teams can get over the hump The South gets interesting; it's wide open and though USC ultimately has too much talent, ASU's offense catches up to its defense and Utah is its normal, solid self. As for Arizona, things could get ugly early, but the Wildcats still have a shot at making a lower-tier bowl game.
In the end, lots of teams end up around .500 thanks to winning in the nonconference games, though the league ultimately beats itself up because of the parity.
HOW DO YOU THINK THE FINAL REGULAR SEASON STANDINGS WILL SHAKE OUT?