Important questions for each Pac-12 football team, per 247Sports
The Pac-12 has a ton of football teams that can make a run at the conference title next season in what will be the last year before USC and UCLA go to the Big Ten.
The Colorado Buffaloes made the biggest splash of the offseason by bringing in Deion Sanders and a ton of talent. On the other hand, Cam Rising is back in Utah, Bo Nix returned to Oregon and Michael Penix Jr. is at Washington again.
Oh, and Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams is back with a talented USC team.
Here are a few burning questions for each Pac-12 team, according to Chris Hummer of 247 Sports:
USC: FRONT 7
Oklahoma State’s Mason Cobb (0) celebrates after intercepting a pass in the third quarter during a college football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. OSU won 41-31.
USC’s offense is loaded, but the biggest question is its defense. Adding Mason Cobb helps, but the defense will make or break the season.
Nov 19, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies linebacker Daniel Heimuli (15) and safety Asa Turner (20) tackle Colorado Buffaloes running back Deion Smith (20) during the second quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Washington’s offense is also loaded, but the bigger question is again its defense, especially in the secondary.
OREGON: ILB CORE
Sep 18, 2021; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks linebacker Noah Sewell (1) tackles Stony Brook Seawolves running back Ty Son Lawton (7) during the second half at Autzen Stadium. The Ducks won 48-7. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
The Ducks’ loss of Noah Sewell is a massive one and they will need to replace him. Having Bo Nix back at QB helps the offense not miss a beat, however.
UTAH: HEALTH OF CAM RISING
September 24, 2022; Tempe, Arizona; USA; Utah quarterback Cameron Rising (7) passes against ASU during a game at Sun Devil Stadium.
Cam Rising suffered a torn ACL in the Rose Bowl but decided to forego the NFL for one more year. The biggest questions are when will he return and how good will he be?
OREGON STATE: DJ UIAGALELEI
Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) fades back to pass near North Carolina defensive lineman Kevin Hester (98) during the first quarter of the ACC Championship football game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina Saturday, Dec 3, 2022.
Clemson Tigers Football Vs North Carolina Tar Heels Acc Championship Charlotte Nc
The Beavers fared well by landing former Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei in the transfer portal. Can he play as he did at Clemson, though?
UCLA: QB SITUATION
Nov 19, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly watches game action against the Southern California Trojans during the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Five-star QB Donte Moore is electric, but Kent State QB Collin Schlee could win the starting job as well. Whoever gets the job has big shoes to fill after the loss of Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
WASHINGTON STATE: PASSING GAME
Sep 3, 2022; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Cameron Ward (1) is forced out of the pocket by Idaho Vandals defensive lineman Zach Krotzer (96) in the first half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Washington State lost both its OC and DC this offseason, and Cam Ward needs to take a step forward if the Cougars want to make another bowl game.
ARIZONA: RUSHING DEFENSE
Nov 5, 2022; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Oregon Ducks linebacker Justin Flowe (10) during the game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jayden de Laura and the Wildcats’ offense were surprisingly decent. However, Arizona needs to stop the run if they want to make a bowl game. Former Oregon Duck Justin Flowe should help in that department.
CAL: OFFENSIVE LINE
Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Sam Jackson (16) against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Bears brought in TCU QB Sam Jackson V. The OL returns four of five starters, and they need to improve to have a chance of winning a few games.
ARIZONA STATE: ROSTER CONSTRUCTION
Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham calls out to players during practice with the Ducks on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
O40522 Eug Football Practice 10
Whenever a new coach comes in, there is almost always a ton of roster turnover, and that has been the case for the Sun Devils. How quickly can this roster gel?
Sep 18, 2021; Berkeley, California, USA; Sacramento State Hornets head coach Troy Taylor kneels on the sideline during the second quarter against the California Golden Bears at FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
David Shaw walked away and the Cardinal hired former Sac State HC Troy Tayor. The offense needs a massive overhaul.
Dec 17, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; Jackson State Tigers quarterback Shedeur Sanders (2) passes against the North Carolina Central Eagles during the first half of the Celebration Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
The Buffs have crushed the transfer portal so far this offseason. As such, the question is, how much will these transfers make a difference? Here’s what Hummer wrote:
But let’s narrow it down a bit: What will the Power Five’s worst defense, which gave up 7.2 yards per play last year, look like with an infusion of talent via the transfer portal and high school ranks? It’ll be better. But whether that unit can even be average will determine if the Colorado bowl hype is legitimate.
The secondary figures to be considerably better. Travis Hunter and Cormani McClain are the most talented cornerback duo in the country, even if they’re young. The Buffaloes also added starting-quality pieces like Kyndrich Breedlove (Ole Miss), Myles Slusher (Arkansas) and Tayvion Beasley (Jackson State) to help the DB room. You could say the same about Colorado’s entire defense, frankly. The Buffaloes upgraded everywhere. But can a starting unit made up almost entirely of transfers and high school players come together quickly enough for this unit to be ready for a brutal non-conference schedule and a loaded Pac-12 schedule? We’ll see.