Buckle up for a fun season out West in 2018
We're starting to see the college football polls come out and odds being set in Vegas. The preview magazines, talk shows and talking heads have all had their say.
All we need to do now is kick off another ho-hum season that is sure to have very few surprises and play out exactly how we all think it will, right?
You know that's not how this works.
For better or worse, it's time once again for some OUTRAGEOUS* college football predictions as the 2018 season approaches.
Next up is the Pac-12 Conference. There are a handful of new coaches out west, and they will certainly play roles in how everything shakes out. But -- much like in the SEC -- you can expect a one-team race with some new faces fighting for the top spot in the conference.
Outrageous College Football Predictions for the Pac-12 in 2018
Oregon finishes with a losing record
They have talent on the roster -- especially at quarterback. The problem, however, is that this talented roster is adapting to its third head coach in three seasons. This is a team that has gone 11-3 over the last two seasons, and now it deals with a new man at the helm. It should help that Mario Cristobal was on Willie Taggart's staff in 2017, but their leadership and coaching styles will be different. That means a culture shift, which is a lot to deal with for a team facing the sort of schedule that the Ducks will in 2018. They host Stanford and Washington and will travel to Arizona, Washington State, Utah and Oregon State. They could easily lose all of those and one more.
Mike MacIntyre doesn't keep his job through the season
Just two seasons after winning the Pac-12 South, Colorado looks like a safe bet to finish dead last in the division in 2018. There are so signs of momentum or progress for MacIntyre's program, and he's not even one of the top two FBS coaches in the state of Colorado. The Buffalo football program deserves better than that, and MacIntyre will be out of a job by December.
K.J. Costello emerges as one of the top quarterbacks in the country
All eyes and attention will be on Stanford running back Bryce Love to start the season, but look for Costello to assert himself as one of the top signal-callers in the country in 2018. Be it the physical tools he possesses, a talented receiving corps, an outstanding offensive line and the presence of Love demanding defenses to key on the rushing attack, all the pieces are in place for Costello to break out on the national stage.
Arizona wins 10 games and the South division title
The defense was the weakness for the Wildcats in 2017. That young unit is all grown up, and will be ready for any and all shootouts that ensue as a result of quarterback Khalil Tate operating a Kevin Sumlin offense. The offense is going to score a ton of points, and the defense -- led by defensive tackle Dereck Boles -- is going to make some big plays. The best team on Arizona's relatively weak schedule is USC, and the Wildcats get them at home.
Washington runs the table to the College Football Playoff
Only one Pac-12 team in the last 10 years -- the 2010 Oregon Ducks -- has finished the regular season undefeated. Washington will achieve that feat in 2018 with ease. This is arguably the most talented and experienced team Chris Petersen has had since he arrived in Seattle. He's a got a legit Heisman contender at quarterback, an offensive line with two future NFL tackles, a defense that returns nine starters, and an extremely favorable schedule. Barring injury, the Huskies should cruise to an undefeated regular season, a Pac-12 title and a spot in the College Football Playoff.
*Remember, "outrageous" can be defined as “wildly exaggerated or improbable,” and “very bold, unusual, and startling.” These are "outrageous" predictions and should be treated as such.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo! SBNation and Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.