All it took was one 10-win season for the USC Trojans to be cast as the favorites to win the PAC 12 again. Quarterback Sam Darnold had a fantastic freshman season and even though USC loses its top two receivers from 2016, this team is loaded with great young wideouts.
This is too low of a price though for a team that has yet to really prove itself. After rattling off nine straight wins to end the season, the expectations are sky high and people are papering over the team’s problems. Sure, the Trojans did beat Washington and Penn State near the end of the year, but were drubbed by Alabama and Stanford in the beginning. Buyer beware at +115.
Washington isn’t that safe of a selection either at +290. The Huskies are the clear choice in the PAC 12 North, but are they that much better than their competition? Jake Browning put up big numbers last year, but his performances against good defenses were terrible. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes and threw just as many touchdowns as interceptions in games against USC, Colorado, and Alabama.
The PAC 12 is the one conference where you can feel good about betting on the teams with the higher prices. Stanford has won at least 10 games in six of the last seven seasons and gets to host Washington this year. The Cardinal lost the talented Christian McCaffrey to the draft, but Keller Chryst emerged as a competent quarterback. Stanford has a better defense than Washington as well this season and getting this team at +950 is a great price.
Following this logic, you might think that a wager on Oregon at +1500 is a wise move. Although the Ducks are a lot more talented than their 4-8 record would indicate, new coach Willie Taggart has never been one to throw a quick coat of paint on things. Taggart rebuilds teams from the ground up. He went 2-10 in his first year at both Western Kentucky and South Florida. With this much talent, two wins is too little, but the Ducks are going to need some time. Besides, they have to travel to both Stanford and Washington.
Washington State is the other PAC 12 North team that could prove to be a good investment. The Cougars may have lost to an FCS team in each of the last two seasons, but are 13-5 in conference play during that stretch. Mike Leach’s squad returns 16 starters, including star quarterback Luke Falk, and doesn’t have to leave Pullman until October. Additionally, the Cougs get a week off before the Apple Cup, while the Huskies have to play Utah the week prior.
Poor Josh Rosen. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Rosen is still expected to be the No. 1 quarterback taken in the 2018 NFL Draft, but has failed to have collegiate success. By and large, this isn’t his fault. His offensive line has been terrible and the team couldn’t move the ball on the ground at all in 2016. The offensive line should be better, but the Bruins must travel to Stanford and Washington in cross-divisional play. That’s tough to overcome.
Odds To Win the PAC 12
Washington State +1500
Arizona State +6500
Oregon State +11000
Odds to Win the PAC 12 North
Washington State +430
Oregon State +3000
Odds to Win the PAC 12 South
Arizona State +1500
The Pac-12 as we know it today originally started as the Pacific Coast Conference which originated in December of 1915 with California, Washington, Oregon and Oregon State – then Oregon Agricultural college – the founding fathers. Washington State, Stanford, the University of Idaho, USC, Montana and UCLA rounded the conference out from 1917-1928.
Montana bolted for the Mountain States Conference in 1950 forcing the PCC to only be nine strong for the next nine years. Then in 1959, numerous universities were put under the microscope for alleged slush funds and payments to students who were paid to play. The PCC was disbanded almost immediately.
So as to not punish those that didn’t partake in the illegal activities, the Athletic Association of Western Universities - otherwise known as the AAWU – was formed with Cal, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington acting as charter institutions. Once Washington State joined, the conference took on the moniker the Big Six. A couple years later, both Oregon schools joined to make it an even eight members.
In 1968, the conference changed its name to the Pac-8. After Arizona and Arizona State came over from the WAC in 1978, the Pac-10 as we knew it until 2011 was formed. That year, two new members were added – Utah and Colorado – to make it a 12 team league. The conference was split into the North and South Divisions and the Pac-12 Championship game was established which would send the victor immediately into a BCS Bowl.
Some great rivalries exist between these schools. The one many remember most would be the Big Game back in November of 1982 when Cal used five laterals on the ensuing kick-off after the Cardinal had just taken the lead to steal it back and punch it in the end zone while trying to avoid the Stanford band who were on the field celebrating thinking the game was over.
Other catchy rivalries are the Civil War between Oregon and Oregon State as well as the Rumble in the Rockies between Utah and Colorado. The Apple Cup between the Washington schools, and the Territorial Cup between the Arizona schools.
It’s been awhile since the Pac-12 won a national title, but it’s taken home 15 overall with USC’s nine leading the pack followed by Cal (3), Stanford, UCLA and Colorado who all have one.
Automatic bowl tie-ins to the Pac-12 are as follows: College Football Playoff, Rose Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Foster Farms Bowl, Sun Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl, and Cactus Bowl.
Some of the highest scoring offenses in the country reside in this conference. On top of that, there’s some incredibly porous scoring defenses as well. That makes most teams residing in the Pac-12 one of the better over bets the sport has to offer.
|SEC Conference||Big 10 Conference|
|ACC Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Pac 12 Conference||Big East Conference|
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