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Gaze into the Cristobal: Predicting the PAC-12 North

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21st Biennale of Sydney Media Preview Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Welcome back,

clearly your curiosity has gotten the best of you. And who could blame you? Last week, you were amazed by the crystal clear images you saw of the future, as we predicted who would win the PAC-12 South. Is it really possible? That a band of Duck bloggers stumbled upon a portal through time and space?

Once again, we gaze into the Cristobal...

and predict the PAC-12 North.

Adam Chimeo predicts...

1. Stanford (10-2, 8-1)

2. Oregon (10-2, 7-2)

3. Washington (9-3, 7-2)

4. California (7-5, 4-5)

5. Washington State (4-8, 1-8)

6. Oregon State (3-9, 1-8)

Oregon wins 10 games... but so does Stanford.

  • The North will be returned to its rightful state, which is an eternal struggle between the Ducks and the Cardinal for national relevancy. I see Oregon winning 10 games for the first time since 2014. After using their first three games as live-practice, the Ducks lose a close one in their PAC-12 opener to the Bryce-Love-led Cardinal. I see a road loss somewhere in Oregon’s future, but then my vision gets hazy, so I’ll assume Utah is able to win at home. In the end, the Ducks will have just missed out on a PAC-12 championship game, but a win over the huskies and a premiere bowl game appearance will make everything better.
  • After the hostile reaction to a recent publication, “Bottom 11: Who is the Second Best PAC-12 Mascot”, you would think that I would be foolish to pick Stanford as my Champion of the North. Well, what’s the point of being an Overlord if I can’t make wild claims. Stanford wins enough to win the PAC-12, and loses enough to once again miss the playoffs.
  • When you look at the talent Washington returns and you combine that with their schedule, it is a fair assumption that 9-3 would be a disappointing season for the huskies; I am here to tell you that the Sun Dodgers will be gravely disappointed this season, after failing to beat the three best teams on their schedule (Oregon, Stanford, and Auburn.)
  • Not only did I see the Golden Bears make it to a bowl game, with wins over the four worst teams in the PAC-12 (Washington State, Colorado, Oregon State, and UCLA), I also saw the fate of Justin Wilcox. In the year 2022, Wilcox will start his first season as Oregon’s head coach, replacing Mario Cristobal as he takes over at Miami. You heard it here first!
  • The most important game of the season will take place on October 6th, between Oregon State and Washington State. Both teams will be fighting for their first PAC-12 win of the season, but in the end, the Cougars will prevail. This will be the final season for crazy pirate Mike Leach at Wazzu, and the first of many seasons for Jonathan Smith at Oregon State.


  • Washington 10-2 (8-1) loses to Auburn and Oregon, beats USC in the CCG, loses to Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl
  • Stanford 10-2 (8-1) loses to Washington and Notre Dame
  • Oregon 10-2 (7-2) loses to Stanford* to crush the Ducks’ hopes, then beats Washington to restore them, then loses at Utah as the Utes re-crush Oregon’s division hopes again just as ASU crushed Utah’s the week before
  • Wazzu 5-7 (3-6) inexplicable win vs Arizona at home because it’s the Pac-12
  • Cal 4-8 (2-7) splits UNC/BYU, beats CU & OSU, loses at home to UCLA & on the road at Wazzu in their best chances to get to a bowl
  • OSU 1-11 (0-9) continues the streak of almost but not quite losing to an FCS team

* Oregon hasn’t fixed the real reason Stanford put up so many points against them last year - the diminutive secondary’s inability to contest easy lobs to tall slow receivers.

sodd predicts...

1. washington (11-1, 9-0)

2. Oregon (11-1, 8-1)

3. Stanford (10-2, 7-2)

4. WSU (7-5, 4-5)

5. Cal (4-8, 2-7)

6. Oregon State (2-10, 0-9)

The power shifts dramatically to the North in 2018, with washington, Oregon, and Stanford each putting up double-digit win seasons... the Cougs and Bears take a step back and the Beavers... well, they double their win total from 2017.

  • Oh I really, REALLY didn’t want to do this. But the huskies remain the cream of the PAC-12 crop in ‘18, with only a neutral-site loss to Auburn in Hotlanta to blemish their record. They won’t dominate, but their stout defense will be just enough to keep them in games. A late field goal will push them past the Ducks for a third straight season in week seven, thereby clinching the North crown and a trip to Jeans Stadium (wretch).
  • Am I a Homer? Am I high? How about both? Regardless, I see Great Things for the Ducks in 2018. A favorable schedule, a healthy Herbert, and a potentially dominating defense means 11 wins for the first time since 2014, with only the aforementioned heart-breaking loss to washington keeping them from a perfect season. A New Year’s Day bowl awaits.
  • Okay, I admit it. Before last season I said that Stanford wouldn’t win six games in 2017, and there was NO way Bryce Love could replace Christian McCaffrey.

Boy, was I wrong!

Love won’t quite duplicate his Heisman runner-up season, but he and The Tree’s typical stingy defense will be enough for ten wins and a third place finish in the rugged PAC-12 North in ‘18.

  • I feel for Wazzu coming into 2018. The Cougs figured to be set at quarterback, with the ascension of junior Tyler Hilinski to replace the NFL-bound PAC-12 record-holder Luke Falk. Then tragedy struck in January, when Hilinski took his own life. Enter East Carolina transfer Gardner Minshew (who?) and a return to PAC-12 mediocrity for The Pirate’s crew.
  • A tough schedule and lack of star power will doom the Golden Bears in 2018. Coach Justin Wilcox’s job will be safe, but the natives will begin growing restless.
  • Oh, them Beavs. Everything that could go wrong did for Oregon State in 2017, capped off by a 69-10 ass-whuppin’ in the Civil War. Expect more of the same in 2018 under first-year head coach, former Beaver legend Jonathan Smith.

RB predicts...

1. Washington (11-1, 8-1)

2. Stanford (7-5, 5-4)

3. WSU (8-4, 5-4)

4. Oregon (7-5, 4-5)

5. Cal (6-6, 3-6)

6. Oregon State (3-9, 1-8)

UW - Sadly, the Fuskies win the North with games to spare. Miles Gaskin is good, even superlative at times. Oregon plays them close but lose a heartbreaker. UW’s lone defeat comes at the hands of Cal, who play like a team possessed on that day in late October & live up to their ATQ South designation.

Stanford - They have a lot of Love & senior depth, thus some pretty high expectations for 2018. But they wind up missing the run-stopping presence of DT Harrison Phillips, who last year held together an uncharacteristically mediocre rush defense but is now donning a helmet for the idyllic city of Buffalo NY. Once teams realize they can beat the Furd up front, those equipped to do so – Notre Dame, Washington, USC – will cause problems.

WSU - You’d think this would be a rough year for the Cougs – Leach’s “I’m outta here, oh wait never mind” Tennessee deal, Hilinski’s death, departure of a million assistants including DC Alex Grinch, etc. But Leach somehow holds it all together in his own idiosyncratic way, and the Cougs are solid if a bit inconsistent.

Oregon - Pains me to say this, but this is a more up-and-down season than a lot of Duck fans expect. After the 3-0 powderpuff start, people start up the hype train - “Yeah, those teams were bad, but look how we destroyed them! DUCKS ARE BACK BABY!!!”.

Unfortunately, Herbert yet again does not make it through intact, and while the offense isn’t as abysmal as last year without him it still struggles. Lack of consistent playmaking WRs doesn’t help. We lose a couple games we shouldn’t, where the team shows up flat a la Vegas Bowl.

The darkest days come when the Ducks lose Chip’s homecoming game at Autzen and then to the Utes the following week. Fans grow a bit restless & especially wonder if Arroyo is up to the task. But to close observers there are plenty of flashes that Cristobal has set a solid foundation – it just takes a little while to Fill The Sleeves after your 3rd coach in 3 years. Patience friends, patience.

Cal - Wilcox & Beau Baldwin deliver a surprisingly potent offense, and when Cal is clicking on all cylinders they pull off a couple upsets against top teams like UW & USC. The catch is, a lot of the time they’re not clicking on all cylinders.

OSU – Much wailing & gnashing of rodent teeth in Corvallis, but they’re used to that.

Daisy predicts...

1. Oregon (11-1, 8-1)

2. Washington (10-2, 7-2)

3. Stanford (9-3, 7-2)

4. California (7-5, 4-5)

5. Washington State (5-7, 2-7)

6. Oregon State (2-10, 1-8)

  • People, it’s been a few years since Oregon shocked the CFB world, but it’s going to happen again this year. By November, the national narrative will have progressed from “Oregon won’t be able to overcome their lack of depth to get back to the playoffs” to “Seriously Stephen A, I knew the whole time that Oregon was a sleeping giant and they’d awaken this year to put the hurt on the rest of the Pac12”. Get ready to visit Dallas in late December, folks!
  • The dawgs will open strong with a victory against Auburn and yes, it will be another season of hearing about the genius of Coach Pete. But the Huskies are going to stumble twice in Pac12 play and will have to settle for the Rose Bowl this year, which luckily for them isn’t settling at all because it’s the fucking Rose Bowl.
  • Stanford will be slow, deliberate, plodding and will win 9 games the way they always do - in a giant snooze-fest fashion. By the end of the season, we’ll want to mob-up and attack Bryce Love with sporks and realistic light sabers because his storyline is going to be completely insufferable- it will have us punching our televisions.
  • Go Cal! After we beat you at the end of September we’re totally behind you and all of your Duckie coaches, even your creepy head Duck, er, coach. Nothing but love for ya’ll.
  • You can’t help but pull for WSU this year, even if you aren’t a big fan of the Pirate. Getting to a bowl game would be a great feel good story for this team, but I’m afraid there has been too much turmoil and uncertainty in Cougerville for them to get there.
  • Ah Oregon State, bless your heart. You just keep pluggin’ away, okay? Hugs and kisses, December will be here before you know it.

Las Vegas Bowl - Boise State v Oregon Photo by David Becker/Getty Images


What are your predictions for the PAC-12 North? Tell us in the comment section!


Who will win the PAC-12 North?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    (153 votes)
  • 45%
    (174 votes)
  • 0%
    Washington State
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Oregon State
    (2 votes)
  • 11%
    (43 votes)
  • 1%
    (5 votes)
379 votes total Vote Now