Ten bold predictions for the football season.
Some of these will make us look like geniuses, some of these will make us look like fools. But doesn't college football just do that to everyone? Cheers. Football is back.
1. #Pac-12AfterDark will trend Week 1: A few sub-bold predictions for this. 1. At least three celebrities (define that word however you'd like) will tweet using this hashtag. (Note: Even if they misspell it because they're on the East Coast and might be a bit liquidly influenced, it still counts.) 2. Stanford will launch a scientific study into the cause and effect of said phenomena. David Shaw and Condoleezza Rice will oversee the project, though not in an official capacity. 3. We will see multiple Hail Mary attempts. 4. One of your East Coast friends will finally decide to tune in to see what all the commotion is about. -- Chantel Jennings
2. USC vs. UCLA will decide the South Division: We've long hoped that this rivalry returns to national prominence. This is the year that it happens. The Trojans have their strongest team of the post-sanctions era and a Heisman-worthy quarterback. UCLA boasts 18 returning starters and, if freshman quarterback Josh Rosen can live up to at least 50 percent of his hype, he'll run the offense efficiently enough that the Bruins will be a force in the South. -- Kevin Gemmell
3. No coaches will be fired at the end of the season: But that doesn't mean there won't be a coaching change: Coaching stability is a rare thing. We thought we might have it last year but Mike Riley, tricky guy that he is, shocked us by leaving Oregon State for Nebraska. That in itself suggests that while the Pac-12 doesn't feature many true hot seats, it's as likely that a coach will surprise us by packing his bags and jumping to another spot, either in college or the NFL. -- Ted Miller
4. Washington State will return to the postseason with a win over Washington in the Apple Cup: This will require the Cougars to win the games they should win, which, well, hasn't happened in a while. But in 2015, the chips will fall for Luke Falk and the defense will do … enough. -- Chantel Jennings
5. Oregon will no longer rank as the Pac-12's top offense: The Ducks have been at the top of the heap in every season this decade, and their 2014 scoring average (45.4 points per game) was over a touchdown better than runners-up Cal (38.2 ppg) and Arizona State (36.9 ppg). But this is the year we finally see a shuffle at the top. The Ducks will still score in bunches, but they're replacing both quarterback and center -- the battery of that blur offense -- so a slight slowdown is inevitable. The Bears and Sun Devils, meanwhile, are most ready to pounce. Both teams return big-armed quarterbacks, while Cal features a prolific wide receiving corps and ASU has an array of backfield talent. One of those two offenses will take the torch from Oregon. -- David Lombardi
6. Oregon's defense will be ranked in the top 25 (yards per play) by season's end: Watch out for Oregon. The Ducks are replacing most of their secondary and are annually underrated on defense, but don't be surprised if this crew turns out to be ranked among the nation's top-25 units. It's salty and deep up front and fast and talented in the back half. That being said, Utah will be the conference's best defense. -- Ted Miller
7. There will be coach face/beard holding, again: Dear Jim Mora and Jeff Ulbrich: On behalf of all college football fans, thank you for your loving display of co-coachmanship last season. Jim, your face/beard holding was fatherly and bizarre and beautiful and we loved it. Sincerely, everyone. We're not saying it'll happen on the UCLA sidelines (we're also not not saying that), but somewhere -- maybe in during #Pac-12AfterDark -- there will be coach-on-coach face/beard holding. -- Chantel Jennings
8. Washington quarterback Jake Browning will become the league's second true freshman starter: Maybe it'll be Game 1 and Chris Petersen will just learn to live with the learning curve. Or maybe it'll be in Game 4 when the Huskies need something new, something different. But at some point Petersen will finally hand the reins to his true freshman and get a jump start on his development in the hopes that it pays off down the road. -- Chantel Jennings
9. Colorado will upset someone: The Buffs might not quite be at bowl-berth level yet. But they are good enough to put a scare into a few teams. And at least once this season, they are going to knock off someone that folks like us say they shouldn't. I don't know who. It could be a team from the South or North. But you need only to look at how close Colorado was last year to breaking through. This year, one of those close games will go the Buffs way. -- Kevin Gemmell
10. Devontae Booker will be a finalist for the Doak Walker Award: Booker will be Utah's first finalist and though he won't ultimately walk away with the award, he'll be the Pac-12's best representative during the award circuit. The competition is as fierce as it's been in years, with Booker competing against (Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, Georgia's Nick Chubb, and LSU's Leonard Fournette. -- Chantel Jennings