With all of the hoopla that surrounds National Signing Day, it is hard not to quickly transition from potential talent to next year’s schedule after this college football holiday.
While some of the talent obtained on this overly anticipated holy day could make an immediate impact, everything can (and most likely will) dramatically change from now until the Spring Game.
Nevertheless, let’s take a quantum leap into the future and throw out possible Over/Under win totals that Vegas bookmakers might draw up for each Pac-12 college football team in 2011.
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It would not be out of the question for Washington State to win their first two games against Idaho State and UNLV, and then lose the next ten games in succession.
The Cougars did manage to win one Pac-10 game last season, but that hardly feels like the beginning of a trend. Deciding if the Cougars can scrape together three wins should be a tough decision and one that Vegas will profit from.
Colorado’s non-conference schedule is quite daunting, travelling to Hawaii and Ohio State plus the always-difficult rivalry game against Colorado State at a neutral site.
Finding wins in Pac-12 play for Colorado could be few and far between as well. While they should be able to beat Washington State, the other eight in-conference games could put these Buffaloes deep into a corner.
Three wins might be doable, but it definitely will be a gamble.
UCLA’s offense has been horrendous the past few seasons and trips to Stanford, USC, Oregon State, and Utah could take a serious hit to their win total.
With the other offenses in the Pac-12 rapidly improving, the Bruins could end up on the short end of the stick in many in-conference battles in 2011 even with their stifling defense.
Oregon State has a tremendously rough stretch to end the 2011 season, going to Utah, Cal and Oregon, and including visits by Stanford and Washington.
Although the Beavers return a good chunk of their offense, they lose Jacquizz Rodgers, which could take some time to recover. They should be able to beat Sacramento State, Washington State and BYU, but circling two more definite wins within conference play becomes a little more difficult.
After being demolished in its bowl game against Oklahoma State, the question of whether or not Arizona can become bowl eligible in 2011 begs to be asked.
The Wildcats play the three toughest teams in the conference (Stanford, Oregon, USC) plus one of the Big 12’s elite in Oklahoma State. Assuming they fall to these opponents, scratching together three more losses is not unthinkable, which could mean a pause in post season play for these Wildcats.
Although California has yet to fill its entire non-conference schedule, expect the teams to be on the lighter side considering the Bears start to Pac-12 conference play.
Cal plays at Washington, at Oregon, and against USC to start the Pac-12 season, and this could mean a long stretch of losses.
The Bears offense and defense return several impact players, though, which could go a long way in stealing a few games from within the conference.
Washington should have a roller coaster season in 2011. The Huskies schedule will make it difficult for them to put together consistent winning streaks.
Several tough road games stare Washington in the face, making trips to Nebraska, Utah, Stanford, Oregon State, and USC.
However, most of their home games are definitely within reach to pull out wins. Washington does return 16 starters, and their maturing process should determine just how close the Huskies can get to this win total.
It has been three seasons since Arizona State has won more than six games, but the return of 20 starters could do wonders to break this streak.
Arizona State displayed offensive prowess to finish off the 2010 season, and if this can transfer to the new season, the Sun Devils could be a sleeper in 2011.
Look for ASU to surprise a few teams on its schedule, edging extremely close to this seven win mark.
Utah will partake in their first-ever season filled with BCS-caliber teams. When it comes down to brass tacks though, football is football, and Utah has fielded impressive teams that have done damage in the past.
The Utes skirt the two toughest teams in the North division (Oregon and Stanford) for the first two seasons, which could allow them to build a nice win total in those years. Nine wins could be a probably number, but expect Vegas to draw up a line that forces you to think.
Although USC has failed to reach double digit wins for two straight seasons, the buzz that constantly surrounds the Trojans forces fans and foes to believe that this ship will inevitably become right.
USC should be favored to win every game against the South, but will drop at least one game to either Stanford or Oregon.
Reaching 10 wins could be a stretch, but it is not completely out of the question. Hell, they could surprise us all and win 11.
With Oregon returning the major parts to its explosive offense, it is hard to believe that these Ducks can’t repeat the numbers that they posted in 2010.
Stanford will definitely be seeking revenge and that mid-November clash should be one of the few games that Oregon will not be favored to win.
The trip to the National Championship game could take its toll on the Ducks, though. Two losses by the reigning conference champs would not be completely surprising.
Andrew Luck’s decision to comeback provides the Cardinal with so much potential that an undefeated season seems almost possible.
Stanford’s defense also returns several key components, which could be the difference in the offensive-minded Pac-12. Losses to Oregon and USC are the most likely on the Cardinal’s schedule. If they can get past at least one of them unscathed, another double digit win totally is definitely probable.