After an electrifying 2011 campaign, the PAC-12 conference has the potential to have one of the least exciting races in college football this season. That could create some huge football betting potential.
Stanford lost Andrew Luck, Oregon will be without LaMichael James, and USC is off probation.
The conference has little to no depth in 2012 overall, and pales in comparison to last season, which saw an explosive Ducks team roll by one of the nation’s best defenses in the Rose Bowl.
While Oregon is still expected to be a good team this season, they are not near the level of depth they were a year ago. A few injuries and the Ducks could be doomed. Still Oregon comes into the season at 9/4 odds to win the PAC 12. All the way at the bottom of the conference will be Colorado, who is 100/1 to win the conference.
If the oddsmakers early marks are any indication of how the season will actually end up, the PAC-12′s cream of the crop could have a fairly easy rise to the top in 2012, making betting options a dicey proposition for those who want to maximize their return.
So to help you out, here are my best picks to win the PAC-12 this season.
USC 4-7 Odds To Win PAC 12
“They’re back.” The Trojans are actually favored to win it all in 2012 at 13/4. A team that could have easily been in the conference title game against Oregon a year ago, had it not been serving out NCAA sanctions. Needless to say, the two years did not really hurt the Boys from Troy on the recruiting front, as USC has continued to load up the ranks at just about every position with plenty of blue chip prospects. On top of that, the Trojans recently got a bit more good news in the wake of the Penn State debacle, as star running back, Silas Redd will be joining the team’s already potent backfield. Silas ran for over 1,200 yards a year ago at PSU, while averaging over five yards per carry, and scoring seven touchdowns. His addition is just icing on the cake for an already high-powered USC team that will be ready to show the college football world that they haven’t missed a beat.
Oregon 9-4 Odds To Win PAC 12
The Eugene Machine are projected to finish second overall in 2012, even after losing their starting quarterback, and probably the best running back in all of college football a season ago. That probably has a little more to do with their schedule however, as Oregon has only three real games that possess any real challenges. First up is a home game against Washington, then at USC, and another road game against Cal. It’s hard to imagine them losing all three though, so I expect the Ducks to post at least a 10-win season in 2012. If Oregon can get just a fraction of LaMichael James out of De’Anthony Thomas, they have a good chance of taking home the PAC-12 crown.
Washington 20-1 Odds To Win PAC 12
Washington will be one team that could benefit most this season from a weaker conference division, and like every other team on this list, will play just three difficult conference games all year long. The Huskies will have a chance to make some noise early in the year with a game in Baton Rouge against the LSU Tigers. It will provide a decent gauge for just how far Keith Price can take this team in 2012.
While there is little doubt that Price is an immensely capable quarterback, the question that always lingers when Washington has a talented signal caller, is will there be enough talent around him to really go off. With running back Chris Polk gone, that is a difficult question to answer at this point. Which is why they are 20/1 to win the conference.
California 20-1 Odds To Win PAC 12
California football returns to Memorial Stadium in 2012, and the Golden Bears couldn’t be happier, after playing without home field advantage in 2011. Cal will host seven games this season, and while it looks like the oddsmakers have already appeared to peg the G-Bears not to be a factor at 20/1, I beg to differ. The Bears played solid football in 2011, despite their 7-6 overall record. And with one year under quarterback Zach Maynard’s belt, I like Cal’s chances of finishing much better in 2012.
They will also have a chance to really show the country who they are in two separate two week instances when they travel to Ohio State and USC in back to back games in mid September. Before hosting Washington and Oregon in early November. Their season is really dependant on those four games, and if they can win both games at Memorial, this could be the PAC-12 sleeper pick in 2012.