DuckTerritory.com's insiders break down what to expect in the Pac-12 for the upcoming 2013 season.
Matt and Will both like Sutton from ASU to win Def. POTY in the Pac-12.
Offensive Player of the Year: De'Anthony Thomas - Thomas steps out of the shadows of Kenjon Barner and LaMichael James and puts up 2,250 yards of total offense.
Defensive Player of the Year: Will Sutton - The senior defensive tackle for ASU posted 23.5 tackles for loss last season along with 13 sacks. Look for him to repeat those numbers in 2013 as he becomes a two-year All-American.
Freshman of the Year: Su'a Cravens - The USC Trojans need a lot of help in the secondary after teams torched them last year. Cravens is a physical safety that will be huge in the pass and run game in 2013.
Next coordinator to become a head coach Justin Wilcox - The Washington Defensive coordinator has made a big impact at Washington in just one season, and if the Huskies see improvements on the defensive side of the ball again some school will pluck him away from Washington.
Best Conference game: Oregon at Stanford Nov. 7 - This game sets up as the potential Pac-12 title game with the league's two best teams squaring off on Thursday night. The North Division will likely be on the line and both teams ranked inside the top 10.
Will Lane Kiffin be the first Pac-12 HC to be fired in '13?
Best non-conference game: Arizona State vs Wisconsin Sept. 14th - ASU is looking to breakout this season and an early season game against Wisconsin could allow the Sun Devils to place themselves in the top 10.
Bold prediction: The Pac-12 will end the season with three teams ranked inside the Top 10 and three other programs ranked inside the top 25. Look for Oregon, Stanford, ASU, UCLA, Oregon State, and USC to all find themselves ranked at the end of the year, with the first three in the top 10.
Offensive Player of the Year: Marcus Mariota - The general expectation is for Mariota to have more opportunities to throw the ball this season and he's got a deep stable of weapons to help him rack up yards. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if he's a Heisman finalist this season.
Defensive Player of the Year: Will Sutton - He only played one snap against Oregon in 2012, but that play should have been enough to see that he's a near-unstoppable force inside for the Sun Devils. This should be between Sutton and UCLA's Anthony Barr and could come down to which team wins the Pac-12 South.
Freshman of the Year: John Ross - All indications from Montlake are that Ross has been one of the stars of fall camp and will see major playing time right off the bat against Boise State. He might still be a little raw at wide receiver, but he's an electric kick returner and that could be enough.
Coach of the Year: Mark Helfrich - This should basically be the Helfrich/Shaw award, because whichever team wins that game in November is in the drivers seat for the Pac-12 title and possibly a berth in the BCS title game.
Next coordinator to become a head coach Justin Wilcox- He's on a solid trajectory, having coached at Boise State, Tennessee, and now Washington. He'll probably be on some short lists even before the season is over.
Will and myself think Marcus Mariota will be the offensive POTY.
First head coach to be fired in 2013: Lane Kiffin - I think he's the only coach that gets fired this season, and it's quite possible he could be run out of LA before the season's even over.
Best Conference game: UCLA vs. Arizona State - Call me crazy, but I just don't buy Stanford as more than a 10-win team this season. UCLA and ASU will likely be playing this game late in November for the Pac-12 South title.
Best non-conference game: Cal vs. Ohio State, Sept. 28th - Cal gave Ohio State fits last season and I would expect Sonny Dykes to pull out all the stops to try and shock the college football world against the Buckeyes.
Bold prediction: Arizona State will defeat Oregon in the Pac-12 title game in Autzen Stadium. Assuming Will Sutton is healthy, he could be a Nick Fairley-type disruption up front and the Sun Devils have enough offensive firepower to keep up with a slowed Duck attack.
Offensive Player of the Year: Coming into his sophomore year, Marcus Mariota has all of the tools, a stable of weapons and the nation watching him. He's one of the premier quarterbacks in the country on a championship-caliber team.
Defensive Player of the Year: The popular pick here might be Will Sutton but I'm looking up North. Shaq Thompson safety is fearless for the Huskies and will be called upon to make big plays this season. He gets my vote.
Freshman of the Year: John Ross and Su'a Cravens are some sexy picks here but I'll go with starting Cal quarterback Jared Goff. He obviously has the tools beating out Zach Kline and the offense could be wide open under Sonny Dykes.
Next coordinator to become a head coach Once again, an obvious pick here is Justin Wilcox with Washington. I'm not sure he's open to going anywhere at this time, but if UCLA has another big offensive season, don't be surprised if Noel Mazzone get's a look somewhere. Scott Frost makes this list next year.
Best Conference game: There are a lot of great games this year because as a whole, I think the conference is better. Stanford and Oregon, USC and UCLA, Arizona travelling to USC and several others make my list. If I had to pick just one, I'd give the edge to the battle of L.A., because frankly I think Oregon will be too much for Stanford.
Best non-conference game: Notre Dame will play USC and Stanford, however I'm not convinced the Irish can beat either. The best game might just be this weekend when Boise State travels to Seattle. I'm also intrigued by Ohio State's trip to Cal and the Bruins heading to Nebraska.
Bold prediction: Oregon wins the national championship with a first year head coach this season. They have the line, coaches, talent and schedule to make this run.
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