With new teams, a new logo and a new TV contract; the Pac-12 has been the talk of the college football world. For the first time ever the Pac has split into two six-team divisions of North and South.
The winners will face off in the first ever Pac-12 Championship Game, with a Rose Bowl berth on the line (or maybe something bigger – just ask Oregon). Here are some familiar names and maybe a dark horse or two vying for a trip to Pasadena in January.
It’s pretty cut and dry that Oregon has been the dominant force in the former Pac-10, bulldozing their way to the 2010 National Championship game. And while they may have come home empty handed they are far from finished.
For the 2011 season, Oregon’s offense is still packing heat with running back LaMichael James at the forefront paired with the electric Darron Thomas at QB.
Stanford has been the silently growing “force to be reckoned with,” and now with the top QB in the nation Andrew Luck returning for another year, they are even more dangerous than before.
It will be tough after losing head coach Jim Harbaugh to the San Francisco 49ers, but with the talent still left on the field, Stanford could very well be smelling Roses.
Dennis Erickson’s team hasn't played in a bowl game the last three seasons, and his coaching seat is definitely en fuego. However the Sun Devils are poised to challenge for the conference title. Led by their beast of a linebacker Vontaze Burfict, the Sun Devils will put a scare into every opponent.
Utah won’t be able to rest on last year’s laurels – its time to step up and play with the big boys in the Pac-12. The key to their season might be the health of quarterback Jordan Wynn who underwent shoulder surgery in the spring. If completely healthy he just might lead the upstart Utes to a Pac-12 South title.
Many experts believe that Mike Riley is the best coach in the Pac-12—he will have to prove it this upcoming season with the loss of Jacquizz Rodgers to the NFL. With a very manageable schedule and a tendency to get better as the season progresses, Oregon State might just sneak up on the rest of the Pac-12 North.