Posted on August 17, 2023
The contenders have emerged, most of the forgettable games are over, and we’re ready to see who wins.
In 2023, the Pac-12 will have legit CFP contenders at the top, strong teams in the middle, and exciting, improving teams at the bottom. It figures to be an incredible year.
Let’s jump into the final weeks of the season.
• The Beavers run into a hungry Wildcat team in Tucson and can’t get the win. The Arizona offense runs wild and gets a huge win that inches the Cats closer to bowl eligibility.
• The Sun Devils down the Cougars in Tempe in a game that features both teams really fighting hard for a win.
The Cougars have a tight D, just not tight enough to hold back Kenny Dillingham’s offense as it continues to pick up steam in conference play.
• UCLA, USC, and Washington get comfortable wins in games they are heavily favored in to keep things rolling.
• The Game of the week is Oregon and Utah in Salt Lake City rather easily. It lives up to its hype and in a neck-and-neck affair.
The Utes get the close win at home late behind a long field goal as time expires to stay with only one loss and right behind USC and Washington.
Week 9 Projected Standings
• Arizona and UCLA have one of the games of the year fighting for the middle of the Pac-12. The Wildcats are able to get by the Bruins again, squeaking out a win by just one point at home.
• A few games where the favorite wins comfortably—Utah, Oregon, and Washington State getting big wins, but wins they were expected to get.
• Oregon State nearly gets upset at Colorado as the Buffs continue to improve. A late missed field goal saves the day for the Beavers and keeps them in the championship hunt.
• The game of the season hits The Coliseum with the Huskies playing USC in the historic venue for the first time in a very long time with everything on the line.
Caleb Williams vs. Michael Penix Jr. lives up to the hype and the last team with the ball wins, with USC kicking a short field goal to get a two-point win as time expires.
Week 10 Projected Standings
USC damn near clinches the championship game by beating Washington since they’re a conference game ahead of everyone, undefeated, and have wins over Utah and UW.
Utah and Washington clash in Seattle in week 11 in what could be close to a championship game play-in game.
The Oregon schools lurk if the top three slip up, especially since Washington still has to come to Corvallis.
• The Buffs make a massive step and take down Arizona in Boulder. It’s just their second conference win, but it’s a big one and gets them momentum going into the end of the season.
• USC has to go up to Eugene with the Ducks knowing their only hope for a Pac-12 title resides in beating the Trojans.
Bo Nix and the Ducks do just that in an instant classic as they pull it out in the end and give USC their first conference loss.
• Washington and Utah meeting in Seattle is the second huge game of the weekend. Husky Stadium hosts a slugfest in the cold and rain as Utah’s defense finds a way to slow down the Husky air attack.
Penix throws a go-ahead touchdown pass late and keeps Washington on pace to get to the championship game.
• Cal, Oregon State, and UCLA score big wins for them going into the home stretch of the season.
Week 11 Projected Standings
• Arizona does its best to grab a huge upset over the Utes, but Utah’s defense is just too stingy and creates several turnovers. Arizona now is going to have to win their final game to make a bowl.
• Oregon goes down to Tempe for a trap game and takes a good shot from Kenny Dillingham and his offense. The Duck offense is too much, though, and can’t be stopped in the desert.
• Stanford finally gets a conference win, taking down rival Cal.
The Cardinal had a tough season in a very very tough conference so it’s good to see them get at least one win in a back-and-forth affair with the Bears.
• The Beavers get a chance to make the conference championship game if they can beat Washington in Corvallis.
The Beavers give it a great shot, running the ball all over Washington before Michael Penix Jr. and Washington pull away through the air to clinch a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
• The Trojans close out their regular season with a nice win over the Bruins. Caleb Williams and company have the better offense and are able to rack up yards and points about as much as they want.
Week 12 Projected Standings
• Arizona State plays spoiler and keeps Arizona from getting to a bowl game in a high-flying game where neither defense can stop the opposing offense.
Homefield gives the Sun Devils the edge in the end.
• Oregon vs. Oregon State is huge this year with the rivalry now in question because of the breakdown of the conference and after Oregon State’s dramatic win last year.
The Ducks get the better of the Beavers this year and close out the season with 10 wins.
• The future of the Apple Cup is also up in the air, as is Washington’s passing game as Michael Penix Jr. closes out his career in Husky Stadium with a high-scoring win.
The Huskies cruise and finish off the regular season as a legit CFP candidate.
Six teams make bowl games and three teams end the season just one win away from getting bowl eligibility.
Pac-12 Championship Game
USC and Washington meet for the final Pac-12 Championship Game in a rematch of an instant classic just a month before.
The Trojans and Huskies match up well with big-time quarterbacks, impressive offenses, and questionable defenses.
Washington 37, USC 34
The Huskies get the win this time.
They go back and forth with the Trojans for four quarters in Vegas and Penix throws a go-ahead touchdown with just seconds left to seal the deal and send the Huskies to the CFP in the final year of the Conference.
—More from Jack Follman—
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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