NCAAF Odds: Many Changes in the Pac 12 Conference CFB

Coaching Changes, Prominent Transfers Dominate the Pac 12 Headlines

Eyes Focused on New-Look USC

What an offseason it was in the Pac 12 Conference CFB with Lincoln Riley being hired at Southern California and Mario Cristobal bolting from Oregon to head back to his alma mater as Miami’s head coach.

Multiple starting quarterbacks transferred and the roster shakeup ended with Riley putting USC in a position to compete for the conference title.

Things can change, but at the current time it is looking like USC, Oregon, and Utah will fight it out for conference supremacy. The big question is how will these changes impact the Pac 12 and the college football conference odds.

There are five teams with expected win totals of 5 1/2 or less so this figures to be a top-heavy league.

There might not be a league where more players transferred from one team to another and that might ruffle a feather or two along the way. We know this, now is a great time to bet on NCAAF.

Southern California Trojans (+135 to win the conference)

Not long after Lincoln Riley made the surprising announcement that he was leaving Oklahoma to take over the USC program, players started transferring in and out. The site lists staggering numbers of 26 players leaving USC and 20 coming in via the transfer route.

Riley’s former players led the charge with quarterback Caleb Williams, receiver Mario Williams and cornerback Latrell McCutchin. All-American receiver Jordan Addison left Pittsburgh for USC, and Oregon’s Travis Dye who was the second-leading rusher in the Pac-12 also headed to Southern California.

Other prominent players transferring in included Virginia linebacker Eric Gentry, cornerback Jacobe Covington, and receiver Terrell Bynum who are both from Washington. Colorado cornerback Mekhi Blackmon, Ohio State safety Bryson Shaw, linebackers Romello Height and Shane Lee from Auburn and Alabama, Virginia offensive tackle Bobby Haskins, Wyoming defensive end Solomon Byrd, Stanford running back Austin Jones, and Colorado receiver Brendan Rice.

The fourth-leading tackler Chase Williams, along with highly touted receiver Bru McCoy and tight end Michael Trigg lead the list of former Trojans.

Seven freshmen and sophomores had at least 10 tackles a season ago and the Trojans held onto most of those players; so, factoring in the newcomers it could be quite the season for USC.

The Trojans have an expected win total of 9 1/2 and it won’t be surprising to see USC go over that mark.

Oregon (+275 to win the conference)

Oregon is another team with a major coaching move as Mario Cristobal moves back to Miami, and former Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning takes over in Eugene. He takes over with high hopes for making a stand in the Pac 12 Conference CFB.

Bo Nix arrives in Eugene after a productive three-year run as Auburn’s starting quarterback. He will be joined in the backfield by former Minnesota running back Mar’Keise Irving, who could help fill the void from the transfer of leading rusher Travis Dye. Nix will have some talented targets to throw to with the return as 64 percent of the receptions in 2021 were by freshmen or sophomores.

Noah Sewell could be one of the top defensive players in the country and much like on the offensive side of the ball, underclassmen got plenty of work a season ago.

The defense added defensive linemen Sam Taimani (Washington) and Casey Rogers (Nebraska) as well as defensive back Christian Gonzalez (Colorado).

Cornerbacks DJ James, and Jaylin Davies transferred to Auburn and UCLA, while defensive lineman Jayson Jones also moved over to Auburn.

Utah Utes (+350 to win the conference)

Utah is another program with a large number of outgoing transfers and that included three remaining in the Pac-12.

Illinois State safety Clayton Isbell, Florida linebacker Mohamoud Diabate, Idaho tight end, and Syracuse receiver Landon Morris are all joining Utah.

The Utes held onto most of its offensive playmakers although the loss of Devin Lloyd to the NFL leaves a huge hole to fill.

UCLA (+1000 to win the conference)

The pass rush should get a boost from the arrival of brothers Grayson and Gabriel Murphy, who combined for 15.5 sacks as freshmen at North Texas. Hawaii’s leading tackler Darius Muasau is transferring in, as are cornerbacks Azizi Hearn (Wyoming) and Jaylin Davis (Oregon).

Defensive lineman Gary Smith (Duke), Offensive linemen Raiqwon O’Neal, and Jaylan Jeffers arrive from Rutgers and Oregon. It is not all good news as 10 defensive players have transferred, led by third-leading tackler Mitchell Agude.

The top two receivers (Kyle Phillips and tight end Greg Dulcich) are off to the NFL. The good news is 1,000-yard rusher Zach Charbonnet is returning. Ten of the top 12 tacklers were seniors – so, that leaves some work to be done on that side of the ball.

Washington (+1200 to win the conference)

Washington landed former Indiana quarterback Michael Penix along with Virginia running back Wayne Taulapapa, New Mexico running back Aaron Dumas, Pittsburgh linebacker Cam Bright and Arizona State receiver Lonyatta Alexander.

Washington had to break in freshmen at the quarterback and receiver positions while 20 of the 24 players with at least 10 tackles were either freshmen or sophomores, so the lessons learned a season ago could pay off in 2022.

Oregon State (+3300 to win the conference)

Oregon State was pretty quiet on the transfer front. Georgia Tech running back Jamious Griffin joins the Beavers while the biggest loss via transfer could be receiver Champ Flemings.

The Beavers need to replace leading rusher BJ Baylor but do return quarterback Chance Nolan. The defense will continue to be built around the junior class.

Washington State (+3300 to win the conference)

Nevada safety Jordan Lee, Virginia defensive lineman Nusi Malani, and Oregon State receiver Zeriah Benson join the program. The Cougars saw nearly 20 players transfer out including starting quarterback Jayden de Laura.

There were seniors playing key roles on both sides of the ball and that will leave plenty of questions for the Cougars this season.

Arizona State (+4000 to win the conference)

X could mark the spot for the Sun Devils as in Xazavian Valladay who ran for 1070 yards for Wyoming last season and was the Cowboys’ leading rusher in each of the last three seasons.

Arizona State might need to run the ball more now that quarterback Jayden Daniels transferred to LSU. The top four receivers from the 2021 squad are gone. Running back Rachaad White and tight end Curtis Hodges moved on to the NFL, while Ricky Pearsall and LV Bunkley-Shelton transferred.

Arizona State also added safety Khoury Bethley, the second-leading tackler for Hawaii, and Miami defensive lineman Nesta Jade Silvera

Linebacker Eric Gentry is among the defensive players who transferred elsewhere.

California (+4000 to win the division)

Washington’s leading tackler Jackson Sirmon and Utah defensive end Xavier Carlton remained in the Pac-12 when they transferred to Cal.

Receiver Nikko Remigio headed to Fresno State

There were already going to be heavy personnel losses before the transfers so this is another team with more questions than answers heading into the season.

Stanford (+5000 to win the division)

Stanford looks to regain its glory by winning the Pac 12 Conference CFB. Patrick Fields, the second-leading tackler for Oklahoma, will help the Stanford secondary. Nathaniel Peat and Austin Jones, the top two rushers for Stanford in 2021, have moved onto Missouri and USC.

The defense will need to replace linebacker Gabe Reid and defensive end Ryan Johnson who transferred to Utah and Northwestern.

The offense will be built around quarterback Tanner McKee.

Colorado (+12500 to win the conference)

Colorado lost leading rusher Jarek Broussard to Michigan State and second-leading receiver Brenden Rice to USC. Cornerback Christian Gonzalez is now at Oregon.

The defense should be improved after so many freshmen and sophomores saw extended playing time in 2021.

Brendon Lewis had 10 touchdown passes and just three interceptions as a freshman which is an impressive ratio.

Arizona (+50000 to win the conference)

The Wildcats bring in quarterback Jayden de Laura who threw for 2789 yards with 23 touchdowns in 2021 for conference rival Washington State. UTEP transfer Jacon Cowing (69 catches, 1367 yards) could be a top target. Arizona also added defensive lineman Tiaoalil Savea from UCLA.

Freshmen and sophomores contributed at almost every position during the 2021 campaign. If they take a jump this season, this could be a much improved squad.

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