Top Five Pac-12 Teams to Watch
Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Some changes will come to the Pac-12 soon, but the teams will remain intact this year. It should be an exciting season in Pac-12 with teams like Oregon State and Washington looking to improve. In addition, Utah, Oregon, and USC should battle for the Pac-12 championship.
Utah won the Pac-12 last season with a 38-10 win over Oregon. This year the Utes will look to repeat. Utah led the Pac-12 in scoring 37.3 points per game. They are returning quarterback Cameron Rising and running back Travion Thomas. Utah has a returning JaTravis Broughton and R.J Hubert to a secondary that was ranked seventh in the Pac-12 in passing efficiency.
Oregon has a new coach in Dan Lanning, and the Ducks are returning 14 starters. There will be a lot of changes with the new coaching staff, but the strength of the Ducks team will be the offensive line with all five starters returning. Oregon has two good running backs in Byron Cardwell and Sean Dollars. At quarterback, they will have Auburn transfer Bo Nix. Although Oregon's defense struggled last year, giving up 27 points per game, they will look to improve under Lanning, and linebacker Noah Sewell will lead the charge. Brandon Dorlus will lead the offensive line, and if Justin Flowe can stay healthy, the Ducks' defense good be outstanding.
USC should be fun to watch with new head coach Lincoln Riley and quarterback Caleb Williams coming from Oklahoma. In addition, the Trojans are getting wide receiver Jordan Addison a transfer from Pittsburgh. The offensive line brings back for starters. The defense gave up 167.1 rushing yards per game last year. USC will not win many games if that does not improve. New defense Coordinator Alex Grinch will need to fix the defensive issues. They added some depth with new transfer players and should improve.
UCLA had a solid season last year with an 8-4 record. Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet will lead the offense. In addition, the Bruins added Jake Bobo, who had 74 catches last year for Duke. UCLA hit the transfer portal heavily to improve their defense. The Bruins will need to improve their pass defense which gave up a lot of big plays. It will be interesting to see if UCLA can take that next step this season.
5. Oregon State
Oregon State went 7-6 last season but is trending in the right direction. Chance Nolan returns at quarterback and three starters on the Pac-12 top offensive line. In addition, look out for true freshman Damien Martinez; he could be a rising star for the Beavers this year. Oregon State is returning most of the receiving corps, but they struggled to make big plays last year; that is an area they must improve. Finally, the defense will be critical to the Beavers' season. They only had nine quarterback sacks last season and gave up 25.8 points per game. Issac Hodgins returns from injury to help the defensive line, and Florida transfer Andrew Chatfield Jr, who will help the linebackers. The secondary has the experience, and that should help improve their passing defense.