Predicting the Pac-12’s order of finish in 2023, per 247 Sports
It’s never too early to start talking about the upcoming college football season. The Pac-12 should be one of the more exciting conferences around, especially with all of the QB talent.
Deion Sanders coming to Colorado and Kenny Dillingham heading to Arizona State should help those programs improve a lot. Cam Rising, Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix all returned, and Caleb Williams once again looks like the Heisman Trophy favorite.
Nonetheless, Raymond Lucas Jr. of 247Sports compiled a way-too-early order of finish for the Pac-12’s 2023 season, and the Buffs are in the same spot as the one Jon Wilner did recently.
Here are Lucas’ projected standings as we approach spring ball:
STANFORD CARDINAL (2-10)
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 left and Sacramento State coach Troy Taylor got the job. Unfortunately, Lucas has Stanford going winless in Pac-12 play in a rough year.
CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS (3-9)
Oct 15, 2022; Boulder, Colorado, USA; California Golden Bears head coach Justin Wilcox during the second half against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Wilcox has one of the toughest jobs in the country, and if Cal finishes 3-9 this year, he could be let go in hopes of a turnaround in Berkeley.
COLORADO BUFFALOES (4-8)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – FEBRUARY 09: Deion Sanders attends SiriusXM At Super Bowl LVII on February 09, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Yes, 4-8 might be disappointing for some Buffs fans. However, they won one game last year and have one of the toughest Pac-12 schedules of them all. Here’s what Lucas wrote:
Colorado will be drastically better than it was in 2023, but we know that already. The question everyone is asking is how much better it will be. Our answer is that the Buffaloes will be a contender in the Pac-12, just not in Deion Sanders’ first year at the helm. The roster has no shortage of high-level players, with Travis Hunter being the headliner but the schedule is what we view as the toughest in the conference. Opening the season against TCU will be a challenge, but the Week 2 clash against Nebraska could tell us a lot about what the Buffs’ will accomplish in 2023. We expect the strength of schedule and a lack of depth to keep Colorado out of a bowl game, but it should be a highly competitive team.
ARIZONA WILDCATS (5-7)
Sep 24, 2022; Berkeley, California, USA; Arizona Wildcats wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan (4) celebrates with quarterback Jayden de Laura (7) after catching a touchdown pass against the California Golden Bears during the second quarter at FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
The Wildcats finish 5-7 and miss a bowl game, although Jedd Fisch does have this program on the rise after a rough few years in the desert.
WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS (6-6)
Oct 8, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Jake Dickert talks with officials during the second half against the USC Trojans at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The Cougars have a lot of their roster coming back but lost both coordinators.
ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS (7-5)
Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham calls out to players during practice with the Ducks on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
Will Kenny Dillingham be that much better at ASU? This is a bit of a surprise, but getting Notre Dame QB Drew Pyne does help.
UCLA BRUINS (7-5)
Nov 7, 2020; Boulder, Colorado, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly talks to UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) in the second half against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Jake Bob, and Zach Charbonnet all left Westwood this year, and Chip Kelly has one more year before going to the Big Ten. A 7-5 finish isn’t going to be too promising, but the talent that left this offseason is significant.
UTAH UTES (8-4)
September 24, 2022; Tempe, Arizona; USA; Utah quarterback Cameron Rising (7) passes against ASU during a game at Sun Devil Stadium.
Football Utah Asu Utah At Asu
Utah won the Pac-12 again last season but lost its bowl game, again. Cam Rising is coming back for one more year, but the loss of tight end Dalton Kincaid is a big one. Can Utah win another Pac-12 title? It’s unlikely.
OREGON STATE BEAVERS (10-2)
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 did well last year and then added DJ Uiagalelei as their new quarterback. He fell out of favor in Clemson, but we all saw the talent he had. If he can turn things around, the Beavers could be toward the top of the Pac-12.
WASHINGTON HUSKIES (10-2)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – NOVEMBER 19: Michael Penix Jr. #9 of the Washington Huskies passes during the second quarter against Quinn Perry #12 of the Colorado Buffaloes at Husky Stadium on November 19, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Kalen DeBoer was fantastic in his first season in Washington, and Michael Penix Jr. has returned. The Huskies are major threats to win the Pac-12.
OREGON DUCKS (10-2)
Sep 3, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) passes the ball against the Georgia Bulldogs during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
The first year post-Mario Cristobal went well for the Ducks, but a Civil War loss to Oregon State kept them out of the Pac-12 title game. Bo Nix is back, and the Ducks are looking scary.
USC TROJANS (10-2)
Nov 11, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) drops back to pass against the Colorado Buffaloes during the first half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
For the second straight year, USC has been busy in the transfer portal, this time adding Arizona WR Dorian Singer and a flurry of other weapons on both sides of the ball. Caleb Williams is the likely Heisman repeat winner, and Lucas has the Trojans losing two games — one to Notre Dame and the other to Oregon.