Back by popular demand! (…of the 5 people who read the few posts I put up last year, no one demanded…)
THE PAC-12 TIERS!
As a reminder…
During "The Grind", a team from a tier up to two below your team's tier could beat you. That would be credited to "The Grind" (CLICK HERE to read more about "The Grind"). So a Tier 1 team might lose to a Tier 3 team…but never to a Tier 4 or 5.
A Tier 3 team might beat anyone or lose to anyone from Tier 1 to Tier 5…creating that "Middle" in the Pac-12 that is so hard to predict. Even a Tier 2, ranked in the top 25, team has the potential to lose to an average team.
…and with rivalry games, all bets are off. That is the nature of a rivalry. (So is Colorado really Utah's rival???)
Tier 0 — Elite team. This team doesn’t lose a game, might have a "scare" from a Tier 2 team at worst…national championship material.
Tier 1 — Great teams. These are the teams who finish with 11 wins, go to a BCS game…finish in the top 10.
Tier 2 — Good teams. These are the teams who finish with 8-10 wins, finish ranked in the top 25 or just outside at worst.
Tier 3 — Above average teams. These are the teams that finish with 6-7 wins. Some will make a bowl game & possibly make it to 8 wins, but won’t be ranked.
Tier 4 — Average teams. These are the teams who will win 3-5 games.
Tier 5 — Below average teams. These are the teams who win 1-2 games. (Keep in mind that if they were in a lower tier conference…these teams would likely finish with 4-7 wins)
Tier 6 -- Poor teams. A team that finishes with 0 wins in the Pac-12...(would finish with around 2-3 wins in a non-AQ ((what do we call them now that we have a playoff???)) conference)
Tier 7 -- Terrible teams. A team who finishes with 0-1 win in a non-AQ conference.
USC – It seems unfair that the Heisman front runner has 2 NFL caliber wideouts to throw to. Who else has 1 WR of the caliber of Lee & Woods? ...and Barkley gets both?!? The only way I see anyone beating USC is if they have 2 lockdown DB’s and a pass rush that forces Barkley into bad decision; and of the games I’ve watched so far, that’s Alabama. So there’s your National Championship game…USC/Alabama.
Oregon – So I’m thinking 2 losses this year…both at the hands of USC. My only question is if Utah finishes 11-1 and Oregon 11-2…who does the Rose Bowl take?
Utah – I see losses to USC, @Washington & a third road game…most likely candidate is @UCLA. @ASU also looks like a trap game; right after BYU…possibility looking forward to USC. I’m going to put on my crimson colored glasses and say Utah somehow finishes 10-2.
Washington – I really like Price, and felt like Sarkisian had them trending up until that late season choke. I feel like UW is a 9 win team with losses to @LSU, @Oregon, USC. First half of the schedule is brutal though (4 currently ranked teams, 3 in the top 5)…could be as bad as 2-4 after the Oct 13 game vs. USC. That could be pretty demoralizing, & might put them into a tailspin…but I’ll project a 9-3 season.
UCLA – Neuheisel really was/is a bad coach. Fortunately for Jim Jr. the schedule looks like diddly poo for the most part. Next week’s home game vs. Nebraska is winnable (but I still think they lose). Only other real challenges are Utah, USC, and Stanford (all home games). I’m on the fence with the game vs. Utah, and also think that @ASU could be a loss. I see an 8-4 finish for UCLA, but they have a lot of upside, especially if they beat Nebraska. Could be a top 20 matchup when Utah comes to town, and I think they may be a fringe Tier 2 team.....
Stanford – Tier 3? Sacrilige! …at least to many Pac-12 faithful for me to think this is an average Stanford team…but this will be proof of how a world class QB can make you elite, and his loss can make you mediocre (…see Boise St.) I see losses to USC, @ UW, @ND, @Oregon, @ UCLA…finishing 7-5.
ASU – Losses to Oregon, @USC, @Arizona. I’m on the fence with Utah & UCLA (see above). ASU could have some nice momentum going into the Utah game if they pick up both Illinois & @ Missouri…but I’m putting down @ Missouri as a loss. Couple that with a loss to Utah/UCLA…looks like a 7-5 finish.
Arizona – Losses to Oklahoma St., @Oregon, @Stanford, UW, USC, @UCLA, @ Utah…welcome to the Pac-12 Rich Rod. Still, hanging on the fringe of bowl eligibility in your first year isn't bad. 5-7 record, with the possibility of a surprise in there that gets them to bowl eligibility.
Cal – Tedford is losing his jerb. It's a tough schedule, and they really needed that win vs. Nevada, as they will likely be staring bowl ineligibility in the face by the time they come to Utah...with Washington & Oregon on deck. Losses to @Ohio St., @USC, @ASU, UCLA, Stanford, @Utah, Washington, Oregon…3-9 record.
Washington St. – Wazzu has to be better than that hot mess I saw last week…but not much better. Losses to Oregon, Cal, @Stanford, @Utah, UCLA, ASU, UW. Finish 4-8.
Colorado – If Colorado can’t beat CSU, who can they beat? (cue Utah joke…) Upside, they could be 3-1 heading into the Sept 29th matchup with UCLA, as their next 3 opponents are ‘beatable’…but I see them losing out after Fresno St. and finishing 2-10.
Oregon St. – I pray that the Beavers have some respect and beat BYU…but probably not going to happen. Losses vs. Wisconsin, @UCLA, @Arizona, Wazzu, @BYU, Utah, @UW, ASU, @Stanford, Cal, Oregon. 1-11.
...so there you have it...it's hard to glean a lot from the first week of the season, so I could see this shifting drastically based on the next few weeks.
What are your thoughts?