The PAC 12 is deep, and as football season nears, I take a look at some of the burning questions.

Football season is officailly underway after a weird and uneventful week one. Five games were played in college football’s new week zero, and I’m sure fans all around the country watched (ignored) them. Well now it’s time for everybody else to join the fun as one of the best weekends in college football history is just days away. Today, I will be taking a quick look at the PAC 12, an underatted conference that has three teams capable of making the college football playoffs.

Who will be the player of the year in the PAC 12?

I know this is the same answer everyone has, but is there anyone that could possibly be chosen over Sam Darnold. He is a preseason favorite to win the heisman, a popular prediction to go top 10 in the draft, and one of the most competitive players in the NCAA. The scariest thing about him, is that there is still plenty of room for him to grow. The kid studies film 24/7, and is his toughest critic. He has insane arm talent, and a really high football IQ. Sam Darnold’s ceiling is incredibly high, and if he capitalizes on his potential, he could wind up as one of the best quarterbacks in PAC 12 history.

What team is a sleeper in the PAC 12?

Ok so I know after their first game against Colorado State, this is a very questionable pick, but I’m sticking with it. My sleeper team in the PAC 12 for the 2017 season is Oregon State. This isn’t a team capable of challenging for a division title, but it is a team that can surprise some folks. Head Coach Gary Anderson is a top 5 coach in the conference, and slowly but surely he is turning around this Beaver football team. He didn’t inherit a lot of talent, but towards the end of last season, he started to get his team to play and believe in his style of football. Unfortunately, Oregon State has a very tough schedule, and still might not win that many games; but this team is trending upwards and should pull off an upset on their way to reaching bowl eligibility, even after a subpar opening game.

Coach Most likely to get fired?

Just as The PAC 12 has several teams capable of competing for a title, the leauge has several coaches that may be looking for jobs this winter, but the one most likely to get fired is Rich Rodriguez at Arizona. Long gone are the days of Scooby Wright heisman campaigns and New Year’s Six bowl berths. Heading into his sixth year, Arizona has been degressing. Once promising quarterback Anu Solomon has transferred to Baylor. Now, there is not much to lead me to believe things will get any better for the Wildcats. A 9 million dollar buyout is a lot for a school like Arizona, but with another bad season, there will be no choice. A once promising tenure will crash and burn in Tucson.

Storyline to watch?

For me, the biggest storyline comes from Boulder, Colorado. I want to see if Mike Maciyntire and the Buffaloes can repeat a similar performance as a season ago. A year ago, Colorado was the surprise team of the season. They fielded one of the most experienced teams in the country a season ago, but now find themselves replacing a lot of talent. If they are able to come in and have another big season, it would not only be huge for the school, but for coach Macintyre as well. Back to back good seasons at a school like Colorado would make him a coaching commodity for any program looking to make a turn around. Colorado opens the season with a Colorado State team that looked to be in midseason form week 0. My guess is that Colorado comes back down to earth. They’ll finish closer to 6 wins than they will 10.

Conference Champion?

I’m going with Stanford out of the PAC 12 north. I really like what they have going on in Palo Alto. I think they beat Washington but drop one to a bottom half PAC 12 team somewhere along the way. Ultimately, the win over the Huskies gives them the tiebreaker. In the PAC 12 championship game, Stanford will end up taking on USC. I know, I know, that’s what everyone says, but everyone says that for a reason. USC is good, really good. Their offensive line will struggle to start off, and that’s why they will lose to Stanford early in the season. However, they will recover from that, and as long as they keep a balanced offense they will win a lot of games. Will they be able to recover from the early loss and make the CFB playoffs? Quite possibly. They will, however, beat Stanford the second time around and win the PAC 12 championship.

FInal Score: USC 31 Stanford 16