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Where Arizona and the Pac-12 ranks in ESPN’s SP+ preseason rankings

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Arizona Spring Game Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

ESPN released its annual SP+ preseason rankings this week and, like the Pac-12 media, they are not high on the Arizona Wildcats.

Just as they were in the conference preseason media poll, the Wildcats are dead last among Pac-12 teams in the SP+ rankings. Arizona checks in at 96th in the country, 18 spots worse than the next Pac-12 team, Oregon State.

The rankings consist primarily of three components—returning production, recent recruiting and recent history. The rankings are “intended to be predictive and forward-facing; it is a power ranking, not a résumé ranking that gives credit for big wins or brave scheduling.”

Arizona’s offense is ranked 75th among FBS teams and its defense is ranked 111th. Obviously the Wildcats bring an element of unknown because of the coaching change and new schemes, but they only rank 72nd in the country in returning production. UCLA and ASU, on the other hand, are No. 1 and No. 2 among Power 5 teams.

The Pac-12 as a whole is ranked as the fourth-best in the country behind the Big Ten, SEC and Big 12.

How Pac-12 teams rank

Key: SP+ rating (national rank), offensive rating (national rank), defensive rating (national rank)

  1. Washington: 20.2 (13), 39.7 (11), 19.5 (25)
  2. USC: 19.7 (14), 40.4 (9), 20.7 (13)
  3. Oregon: 19.0 (15), 38.0 (19), 19.0 (21)
  4. Utah: 16.7 (21), 34.3 (35), 17.6 (14)
  5. ASU: 16.3 (22), 35.2 (29), 18.9 (20)
  6. UCLA: 13.3 (29), 40.1 (10), 26.7 (68)
  7. Washington State: 7.9 (45), 39.1 (13), 31.1 (101)
  8. Cal: 6.0 (53), 31.7 (51), 25.6 (60)
  9. Stanford: 3.3 (64), 32.3 (48), 29.1 (92)
  10. Colorado: 2.3 (69) 26.9 (84), 24.6 (57)
  11. Oregon State: 0.6 (78), 34.4 (34), 33.8 (114)
  12. Arizona: -4.9 (96), 28.3 (75), 33.2 (111)

How Arizona’s non-conference opponents rank

  • BYU: 12.9 (31), 36.1 (24), 23.1 (47)
  • San Diego State: 1.8 (73), 18.2 (122), 16.4 (8)

NAU isn’t included because it’s an FCS school.