Posted on August 15, 2023
It’s one of the most-anticipated campaigns we have ever had and the race for the title is super tight between the Pac-12’s marquee programs, all led by Heisman contender quarterbacks.
This is one of the hardest seasons ever to predict given how strong the top and middle of the Conference is. I think homefield is going to make a huge difference as the top teams are so evenly matched.
I went through every game and tried to predict the outcome, including scores.
The best I could do creates a harrowing race for the championship game filled with tight contests which will come down to the final play.
I’m breaking it up into three groupings of weeks and only giving notes on the top games of each week.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t a few important ones.
• Coach Prime and Colorado drew a nightmare of a first game, playing on the road against the national runner-up.
TCU has a lot of rebuilding to do and the Buffs take advantage, scoring points early before the Horned Frogs lean on their experience and depth and talent and run away at home.
• The Utes get a rematch with Florida in Salt Lake City and we get a very similar game as the Gators try to get things started under new coach Billy Napier.
They take the Utes down to the wire but the home team wins this time, kicking a late field goal to get a one-point win.
• The Huskies open up their Season of Destiny against a strong G5 opponent and their famous offense lives up to the hype as they air it out against the Broncos, getting a solid win on national TV to open up the season.
Boise State gives enough resistance to keep the Huskies from running away but Washington scores late to win by a healthy margin.
• The Arizona schools fight it out with good Power 5 teams and take it down to the wire, but just can’t get over the hump, which shows they’re improved teams but probably fringe bowl squads at best.
• Cal and Colorado also take punches at decent P5 schools and lose by two scores. It’s especially tough for the Buffs as they start the season 0-2 in the Coach Prime era.
• Oregon goes down to Lubbock and gets a huge win. Former Oregon QB Tyler Shough and company are able to give the Ducks fits before Bo Nix pushes them past to secure a big-time nonconference win late.
• Pac-12 play kicks off with USC’s offense having its way with a rebuilding Stanford offense. The Trojans get an early lead in the conference standings.
• Two South contenders (UCLA and Utah) pull off really tough road wins by narrow margins.
The wins are huge for each team to put them at 2-0, especially for Utah as they take down Florida and Baylor in weeks One and Two.
– Wisconsin gets revenge on WSU in Pullman, improving with Luke Fickell as head coach.
• Oregon State gets a nice nonconference win in Corvallis over San Diego State, hanging on in the final moments. They get to 3-0 to start the season.
• The Huskies fight off a revenge attempt in East Lansing. The Spartans are improved and get some burst off their home crow before Michael Penix Jr. and Washington’s offense prove to be too much for them.
• Arizona goes on the road and their offense can’t be stopped in Palo Alto.
Troy Taylor and the Cardinal show the Wildcats will still be questionable on defense though as they put up yards and points on Arizona, even though they lose by double digits.
• The conference’s top dogs in USC, Washington, and Oregon get convincing wins in games where they went in well favored.
Washington gets the biggest challenge as they face a Justin Wilcox-coached defense, which matches up well against their pass-heavy offense.
• The season of expectations arrives for the Beavers and they pass an underrated test in their first conference game.
Winning at Pullman is never easy and the Beavers take all they handle from Cam Ward and Cougars. Having a playmaker at quarterback in DJ Uiagelelei pushes them over the edge in the end.
• The game of the week going in was UCLA vs. Utah in a big South Division clash. The Utes bully a semi-rebuilding Bruin team in Salt Lake City to get a leg up in the conference race.
—More from Jack Follman—
- Jack Follman’s 10 Thoughts on 2023 Week 1 in the Pac-12
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Pac-12 Season Predictions: Weeks 9-13
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Pac-12 Season Predictions: Weeks 5-8
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top 50 Pac-12 Players (5-1)
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Pac-12 DB Unit Rankings
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top Pac-12 Defensive Backs
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top 50 Pac-12 Players (10-6)
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Pac-12 LB Unit Rankings
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top Pac-12 Linebackers
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top 50 Pac-12 Players (20-11)
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Pac-12 DL Unit Rankings
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top Pac-12 D-Linemen
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Pac-12 OL Unit Rankings
- Jack Follman’s 2023 Preseason Top 50 Pac-12 Players (30-21)
- Jack Follman’s Top Pac-12 Offensive Lineman for 2023
Jack Follman’s 10 Thoughts on 2023 Week 1 in the Pac-12The Conference was at its best with every member team winning—most of them handily - September 5, 2023
Jack Follman’s 2023 Pac-12 Season Predictions: Weeks 9-13Scores for every game with commentary on top contests, plus projected standings and title game - August 17, 2023
Jack Follman’s 2023 Pac-12 Season Predictions: Weeks 5-8Early picks with scores for every game and commentary for top contests & projected standings - August 16, 2023