Unless you’ve got super powers or an actual crystal ball, who could’ve predicted the rise of some Pac-12 teams — *cough* Arizona *cough* — and the fall of others (here’s looking at you, USC).

I didn’t nail all my prognostications, but I hit my fair share.

Here’s a look back at my 2023 Crystal Ball predictions…

Arizona Wildcats

Crystal Ball prediction: 7-5 overall (5-4 Pac-12)

Actual record: 9-3 (7-2)

Spot on: Northern Arizona (W), Mississippi State (L), UTEP (W), Stanford (W), Washington (L), USC (L), Washington State (W), UCLA (W), Colorado (W), Arizona State (W)

So off: Oregon State (L), Utah (L)

Rewind: After Arizona improved from 1 to 5 wins last year, I expected them to be on the rise once more in 2023. In fact, with 7 wins including a 5-4 conference record, I was probably higher on the Cats than most. But 9 wins? And 7 in conference? Who could’ve seen that coming?

Eating my words: “The Beavers are going to be a tough out this year, boasting one of the best offensive and defensive line combinations in the conference. What Jonathan Smith has done in short order at his alma mater is impressive. When the teams last met in 2019, Oregon State was coming off a 2-win season in Smith’s debut, but the signs of a quick turnaround were apparent. The Beavers won that year in Arizona Stadium, 56-38, en route to a 5-7 record.”

(Not so much … Arizona beat the Beavers 27-24.)

Arizona State Sun Devils

Crystal Ball prediction: 3-9 (2-7)

Actual record: 3-9 (2-7)

Spot on: Southern Utah (W), Oklahoma State (L), Fresno State (L), USC (L), Washington (L), Utah (L), UCLA (W), Oregon (L), Arizona (L)

So off: Cal (W), Washington State (L)

Rewind: Nailed this one! Hit the overall record and the conference record and only flip-flopped the Cal and Wazzu games. I didn’t have high expectations for the Sun Devils, and they met that low bar. The future is bright for Kenny Dillingham, though.

Eating my words: “But in comes Dillingham, who helped Bo Nix reach unforeseen heights last year at Oregon. He could have an immediate impact on Trenton Bourguet, the one-time walk-on who took over for (Emory) Jones, or Notre Dame transfer Drew Pyne.”

Cal Bears

Crystal Ball prediction: 3-9 (1-8)

Actual record: 6-6 (4-5)

Spot on: North Texas (W), Auburn (L), Idaho (W), Washington (L), Oregon State (L), Utah (L), USC (L), Oregon (L), Stanford

So off: Arizona State (L), Washington State (L), UCLA (L)

Rewind: I was pretty good on Cal until the final few weeks, when they dispatched of a down Wazzu squad and lambasted UCLA in the #Pac12AfterDark finale. Kudos to Justin Wilcox for likely doing enough to pull himself off the hot seat while getting bowl eligible for the first time in nearly a half-decade.

Eating my words: “Things are dire in Berkeley, both the short- and long-term future. Cal’s coffers are running light, so Justin Wilcox might not officially on the chopping block, but his seat can’t feel too good.”

Colorado Buffaloes

Crystal Ball prediction: 5-7 (3-6)

Actual record: 4-8 (1-8)

Spot on: Nebraska (W), Colorado State (W), Arizona State (W), UCLA (L), Oregon State (L), Arizona (L), Utah (L)

So off: TCU (L), Oregon (L), USC (L), Stanford (W), Washington State (W)

Rewind: I was bullish on the Buffaloes and felt great after the first 3 weeks. Then came Oregon and USC, then a brief reprieve against Arizona State, then 7 straight losses to end the year. Overall, the afterglow of a glorious 3-0 start lingered, but not all season.

Eating my words: “Compared to most if not all college football media, I’m bullish on the Buffaloes this year. Deion Sanders put the bold in Boulder, and I think it’s going to pay off. Maybe not with a bowl berth in Year 1, but I’m betting the Buffs buy in to Prime’s us-against-the-world mentality.”

Oregon Ducks

Crystal Ball prediction: 10-2 (7-2)

Actual record: 11-1 (8-1)

Spot on: Portland State (W), Texas Tech (W), Hawaii (W), Colorado (W), Stanford (W), Washington (L), Washington State (W), Cal (W), USC (W), Arizona State (W), Oregon State (W)

So off: Utah (W)

Rewind: I pretty much nailed the Ducks, aside from predicting a loss to Utah. Given Oregon’s astounding 35-6 win in Rice-Eccles Stadium, even if the Utes were fully healthy, they wouldn’t have stood a chance.

Eating my words: “After losing (Christian Gonzalez) to the NFL, the Ducks need an entirely new defensive backfield to come together quickly. If I was in the pass-happy Pac-12, I don’t think I’d want to be breaking in 4 DB transfers and 1 true freshman.”

Oregon State Beavers

Crystal Ball prediction: 9-3 (6-3)

Actual record: 8-4 (5-4)

Spot on: San Jose State (W), UC Davis (W), San Diego State (W), Cal (W), UCLA (W), Colorado (W), Stanford (W), Washington (L), Oregon (L)

So off: Washington State (W), Utah (L), Arizona (W)

Rewind: The Beavers may be my biggest letdown of the year. I originally had them at 10-2 and waffled to get them down to 9-3. And even that wasn’t bad enough. They biffed games against Washington State, Washington and Arizona by a combined 8 points. Part of me wonders how long Jonathan Smith was distracted.

Eating my words: “It’s truly going to come down to the passing game. If (DJ) Uiagalelei performs at the level he played at Clemson, 10 wins would be the ceiling. If he lives up to his once-lofty expectations, the college football darlings could slide on Cinderella’s glass slipper.”

Stanford Cardinal

Crystal Ball prediction: 2-10 (0-9)

Actual record: 3-9 (2-7)

Spot on: Hawaii (W), USC (L), Arizona (L), Oregon (L), UCLA (L), Washington (L), Oregon State (L), Cal (L), Notre Dame (L)

So off: Sacramento State (W), Colorado (L), Washington State (L)

Rewind: Stanford started slowly with a surprising loss to Sacramento State, but the Cardinal had some surprisingly nice moments in Pac-12 play. The Colorado game was a toss-up before and during, but beating Washington State while holding the Cougars to 1 touchdown was a high for Troy Taylor in Year 1.

Eating my words: “One of the most tantalizing talents of the Pac-12, (EJ) Smith has battled injuries throughout his Stanford tenure. His 2022 campaign ended just 2 games into the year after a terrific start: 206 rushing yards on 30 carries with 3 rushing touchdowns and 63 receiving yards on 8 receptions and a score. Extrapolate that over a full season — always a fool’s errand, but still fun — and you’ve got the top returning running back in the Pac-12.”

UCLA Bruins

Crystal Ball prediction: 7-5 (4-5)

Actual record: 7-5 (4-5)

Spot on: Coastal Carolina (W), San Diego State (W), North Carolina Central (W), Utah (L), Washington State (W), Oregon State (L), Stanford (W), Colorado (W), Arizona (L), Arizona State (L)

So off: USC (L), Cal (W)

Rewind: I nailed the first 10 games of the UCLA schedule, upsets and all. Did I think the Bruins would score just 7 points against Arizona State? No. But I pegged them to lose. But I did not expect them to beat USC, nor collapse in the finale against Cal.

Eating my words: “With a cupcake schedule that sees UCLA miss both Oregon and Washington this season, anything short of 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns (for Dante Moore) would be underwhelming.”

USC Trojans

Crystal Ball prediction: 10-2 (8-1)

Actual record: 7-5 (5-4)

Spot on: San Jose State (W), Nevada (W), Stanford (W), Arizona State (W), Colorado (W), Arizona (W), Notre Dame (L), Cal (W), Oregon (L)

So off: Utah (W), Washington (W), UCLA (W)

Rewind: Who among us wasn’t wrong about the Trojans? I remember waffling pretty hard on them in the preseason, but I thought Lincoln Riley would guide USC to heights unreached in more than a dozen words.

Eating my words: “After a pair of losses to eventual repeat Pac-12 champion Utah, as well as a Cotton Bowl crash against Tulane, USC has plenty for which to fight in 2023, and the Trojans are the conference’s best hope for its first CFP berth since Washington in 2016.”

Utah Utes

Crystal Ball prediction: 9-3 (7-2)

Actual record: 8-4 (5-4)

Spot on: Florida (W), Weber State (W), UCLA (W), Cal (W), Arizona State (W), Colorado (W)

So off: Baylor (L), Oregon State (L), USC (L), Oregon (W), Washington (L), Arizona (L)

Rewind: My predictions were predicated on Cam Rising’s return, as well as Utah staying somewhat healthy throughout the season. But we know how that worked out — Rising was lost for the season, along with a handful of other Utes stars. That they finished 8-4 was a coup for Kyle Whittingham.

Eating my words: “Traveling to Waco for another tough nonconference test, I’m less optimistic of the Utes surviving Rising’s absence. I’m not particularly bullish on the Bears, who fell to 6-7 last year after going 12-2 in Dave Aranda’s 2nd season, but they are a bit better than Florida and get the Utes at home. I do think Aranda will clean up some of the mistakes that led to 3 1-score losses last year.”

Washington Huskies

Crystal Ball prediction: 11-1 (8-1)

Actual record: 12-0 (9-0)

Spot on: Every game but USC

So off: USC (L)

Rewind: I put too much stock in the Trojans’ home-field advantage and way too much stock in their defense, both of which failed them en route to the Huskies’ undefeated regular season. I also put too much stock in Bralen Trice (see below).

Eating my words: “In a conference that lacks dominant left tackles, Trice will feast. He had at least a half-sack in 7 games. Alongside ample front 7 talent, anything fewer than a dozen sacks would be a disappointment.”

He’d finish with 5 as UW ranked last in the conference in the category.

Washington State Cougars

Crystal Ball prediction: 5-7 (3-6)

Actual record: 5-7 (2-7)

Spot on: at Colorado State (W), Northern Colorado (W), UCLA (L), Arizona (L), Oregon (L), Washington (L)

So off: vs. Wisconsin (L), Oregon State (L), Arizona State (W), Stanford (W), Cal (W), Colorado (L)

Rewind: The Cougars had a confounding season, winning 4 straight, including tough matchups with Wisconsin and Oregon State, before losing 5 in a row. Then came a redemptive beatdown of Colorado and a chance at bowl eligibility, only to be undone by a last-second field goal in the Apple Cup. I pegged the final overall record but was way, way off on how the Cougars would get there, most embarrassingly, in predicting they’d lose to Colorado.

Eating my words: “… But facing the weight of uncertainty and a roster that lost several key pieces, I’m not so optimistic on the Cougs this year. If (Jake) Dickert manages to galvanize Washington State under a common cause, the Cougars could very well win 7 games once again. But it’s going to be an uphill climb, and I don’t think they have the depth to get there.”