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Pac-12 Football Power Rankings: Welcome to the 2015 CFB Season

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Before the season gets underway, check out our first edition of Pac-12 Power Rankings.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Pac-12 ended up with six teams capturing bowl games last season. With the season now under a week from getting underway, House of Sparky's Kaelen Jones and Connor Pelton take their crack at ranking all 12 programs.

Pac-12 North Rankings

Rank Kaelen Jones Connor Pelton
1. Oregon Stanford
2. Stanford Oregon
3. California Washington
4. Washington State California
5. Washington Washington State
6. Oregon State Oregon State

Kaelen's Picks

Oregon is returning plenty of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. However, I expect Stanford and Cal to really contest for the top spot in the division. Also, Washington State is returning more players than rival Washington, and with Oregon State beginning anew under Gary Andersen (along with a freshman starting at quarterback), the Cougars enter at the top of the lower half of the table.

Connor's Picks

Ever since the Pac-12 expanded four years ago and split into two divisions, Stanford and Oregon have finished first and second in the North. That should happen again this season. The Cardinal struggled for much of 2014 but got some momentum heading into the offseason as they won their final three games, all of which were away from home.

They return 14 starters from that team (including my Heisman dark horse, quarterback Kevin Hogan) and will play nearly all of their tough games at Stanford Stadium. The Ducks roster is stacked as usual but could have some growing pains after losing Marcus Mariota, and road games in Tempe and Palo Alto will not help their cause.

Pac-12 South Rankings

Rank Kaelen Jones Connor Pelton
1. USC USC
2. UCLA UCLA
3. Arizona State Arizona State
4. Arizona Utah
5. Utah Arizona
6. Colorado Colorado

Kaelen's Picks

The Trojans appear to finally be back to their dominant form. The Bruins will hope freshman Josh Rosen is ready to immediately lead UCLA, who possess a talented roster themselves. Arizona State also has a shot to contend and challenge the top programs.

Connor's Picks

The sanctions are finally gone for the Trojans and they will have one of the best offenses in the country with quarterback Cody Kessler and wide receiver John "JuJu" Smith. This division is stacked, as one of the top five teams could beat each other on any given weekend. This fact could hurt the Pac-12's chances at earning a spot in the College Football Playoff, but it will make every game must see television.

Pac-12 Rankings

Rank Kaelen Jones Connor Pelton
1. USC USC
2. Oregon Stanford
3. UCLA UCLA
4. Arizona State Oregon
5. Stanford Arizona State
6. California Utah
7. Arizona Washington
8. Utah Arizona
9. Washington State California
10. Washington Washington State
11. Oregon State Colorado
12. Colorado Oregon State


Kaelen's Picks

The team with the best chance of moving up the board early on, I'd argue, will be Stanford. Oregon and USC will more than likely duke it out at the top of the rankings early on, but if UCLA is able to thrive with a freshman quarterback, I expect them to be in the mix, too. ASU and Cal are both potential sleeper teams to watch, as well.

Connor's Picks

California seems too low here at No. 9. I agree with Kaelen in that the Golden Bears could be a sleeper team. Coach Sonny Dykes is doing a wonderful thing in Berkeley with his "Bear Raid" offense, and they should be able to surprise a few teams as long as the defense is just mediocre and not flat out terrible like it was a year ago.

The schedule, however, could be a problem. Road games against the top three teams in the North are on tap, as is a scary trip to Austin to face Texas in mid-September.