- Can Utah or Oregon stop USC's rise to the top of the Pac-12?
- USC Trojans (+200 to win the conference)
- Utah Utes (+225 to win the conference)
- Oregon Ducks (+275 to win the conference)
- UCLA Bruins (+850 to win the conference title)
- Washington Huskies (+1400 to win the conference title)
- Oregon State Beavers (+2800 to win the conference title)
- Arizona State Sun Devils (+3000 to win the conference title)
- Washington State Cougars (+4000 odds to win the conference)
- California Bears (+5000 to win the conference)
- Stanford Cardinal (+8000 to win the conference)
- Colorado Buffaloes (+25000 to win the conference)
- Arizona Wildcats (+25000 to win the conference)
Can Utah or Oregon Stop USC’s Rise to Top of Pac-12?
What an offseason it was in the Pac-12 with USC and Oregon making coaching changes that could alter the college football landscape. The move of Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma to USC and Dan Lanning from the position of Georgia’s defensive coordinator to becoming the Oregon head coach impacted the Pac-12 betting odds.
It would be quite an understatement to suggest that the Pac-12 programs have been active on the transfer portal as five of the top nine top-rated transfers according to the 247sports.com database are either leaving or coming into the Pac-12. The days when teams were reluctant to poach players from another conference seem to be ancient history. Nearly 30 players moved from one Pac-12 team to another. USC, which has the top-rated class of incoming transfers, got eight players from other conference teams.
Not all the transfers come within the conference as USC landed former Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams and receiver as well as Pittsburgh receiver Jordan Addison and they all rank among the top 10 incoming transfers. They are three reasons why the Trojans have gone from being tied for fourth in the Pac-12 South Division to having the fifth-best odds (+2000) to win the national title. Oregon (+3300) and Utah (+6600) are the other top title contenders in the Pac-12 according to the NCAAF betting odds.
Six of the 12 conference teams have expected win totals higher than their 2021 victory total including 4-8 USC and Washington squads coming in with projected regular-season win totals of 9.5 and 7.5.
When looking at the 2022 college football Week 1 schedule, two games that stand out are Oregon facing defending national champion Georgia and Utah meeting Florida.
Look at the top NCAA college football Pointspreads and the Pac-12 preview.
USC Trojans (+200 to win the conference)
USC has been holding steady at +200 in the Pac-12 betting odds.
Expect to see plenty of Williams connecting with Addison this season. The Heisman Trophy odds list Williams (+800) behind only Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young of Alabama.
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, the University of Washington duo of cornerback Jacobe Covington and receiver Terrell Bynum, Virginia offensive tackle Bobby Haskins and Wyoming defensive end Solomon Byrd.
While the transfers will help, the key on defense could be the improvement from the seven freshmen and sophomores who had at least 10 tackles a season ago.
Utah Utes (+225 to win the conference)
Utah comes into the season as the defending Pac-12 champions after dismantling Oregon twice, including a 38-10 win in the Pac-12 title game. The odds for the Utes have moved from +275 to +225 to win the conference title over the last two months.
Utah needs to replace linebacker Devin Lloyd, a first-round pick in April’s NFL Draft. The key will be the development of the younger players as 13 freshmen recorded at least 10 tackles a season ago. The talent is there for Utah to be one of the top defenses in the conference.
The Utes held onto most of its offensive playmakers from the top-scoring team in the Pac-12 last season so Utah could emerge as a potential division champion yet again. Cameron Rising had six TD passes and two interceptions while completing 63.5% of his passes in four games against ranked teams during his first season as the starting quarterback
The betting odds have continued to trend in a positive direction as they were at +350 earlier in the summer.
Oregon Ducks (+275 to win the conference)
Any discussions about the 2022 Oregon team need to start with linebacker Noah Sewell, he is the top name among a talented group of underclassmen who saw playing time for the Oregon defense in 2021. Brandon Dorius is another defensive star to keep an eye on.
The big news on the other side of the ball was the transfer of Auburn starting quarterback Bo Nix to Oregon. 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 considering that 64 percent of the receptions in 2021 were by freshmen or sophomores.
The defense added defensive linemen Sam Taimani (Washington) and Casey Rogers (Nebraska) as well as defensive back Christian Gonzalez (Colorado).
It shouldn’t take long to see where the Ducks stand with the opening game of the 2022 campaign coming against defending national champion Georgia. The game will have added significance for new Oregon head coach Dan Lanning as he came to Eugene after building the defense that led the Bulldogs’ run to the national title.
UCLA Bruins (+850 to win the conference title)
The pressure is on UCLA now that USC upped the ante by bringing in Riley from Oklahoma.
The return of Zach Charbonnet gives UCLA an elite running back. Replacing receiver Kyle Phillips and tight end Greg Dulcich will be challenging and is impacting UCLA’s Pac-12 betting odds.
The defense needs all the help it can get after allowing an average of 40 points in the four losses a season ago.
The pass rush should get a boost from the arrival of brothers Grayson and Gabriel Murphy, who combined for 15½ sacks as freshmen at North Texas. Hawaii’s leading tackler Darius Muasau is transferring in, as are cornerbacks Azizi Hearn (Wyoming) and Jaylin Davies (Oregon) as well as defensive lineman Gary Smith (Duke).
Washington Huskies (+1400 to win the conference title)
Washington remained a solid middle-of-the-pack pick in the conference at +1400.
Former Indiana quarterback Michael Penix, Virginia running back Wayne Taulapapa, New Mexico running back Aaron Dumas, and Arizona State receiver Lonyatta Alexander should help improve an offense that finished ninth in the Pac-12 in points per game and 10th in yards per contest a season ago.
On defense, 20 of the 24 players with at least 10 tackles were either freshmen or sophomores. Washington gave up the third-fewest points in the Pac-12 even with such a young defense, so the best could be yet to come.
Oregon State Beavers (+2800 to win the conference title)
Top rusher B.J. Baylor, leading receiver Trevon Bradford and top tackler Avery Roberts are all gone.
Chance Nolan returns for his second full season as the starting quarterback for the Beavers. Baylor’s departure could open up the door for Deshaun Fenwick and Trey Lowe, who averaged 5.7 and 6.4 yards per carrying as sophomores.
Omar Speights, Jaydon Grant, and Kitah Oladapo are the top returning tacklers for the Beavers.
Arizona State Sun Devils (+3000 to win the conference title)
The odds for Arizona State have gone from +4000 to +3300 and now stand at +3000. This is interesting considering that eight players transferred since the start of April. Those departures include linebacker Eric Gentry, who is now at USC.
A key addition for Arizona State is Xazavian Valladay who ran for 1070 yards for Wyoming last season and was the Cowboys’ leading rusher in each of the last three seasons. The Sun Devils did see starting quarterback Jayden Daniels transfer 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.
Washington State Cougars (+4000 odds to win the conference)
The odds for Washington State to win the Pac-12 title have fallen from +3300 to +4000 over the last couple of months. It will be exciting to see what Incarnate Word quarterback Cameron Ward can do after he threw for 4,648 yards and 47 touchdowns in 2021. His head coach is now the Washington State offensive coordinator (Eric Morris) and two of his receivers are also now at Washington State.
Nevada safety Jordan Lee, Virginia defensive lineman Nusi Malani, and Oregon State receiver Zeriah Beason are other transfers to join the program.
California Bears (+5000 to win the conference)
It has been a roller coaster ride for the Bears. After the Pac-12 odds went from +4000 to +6600, they are now at +5000.
California has finished fourth in the Pac-12 in total defense in each of the last four seasons and will call upon that defense once again in 2022.
Cal added a couple of familiar names to its defense with edge rushers Xavier Carlton and Ouda Isibor transferring in from Utah and UCLA. The biggest addition could be linebacker Jackson Sirmon, Washington’s leading tackler in 2021.
Stanford Cardinal (+8000 to win the conference)
Quarterback Tanner McKee returns after completing 65 percent of his passes and recording more than twice as many touchdowns passes as interceptions.
Patrick Fields, the second-leading tackler for Oklahoma, will help the Stanford secondary. The transfer portal cost Stanford some key players on both sides of the ball.
Colorado Buffaloes (+25000 to win the conference)
Colorado is heading in the wrong direction as the odds to win the Pac-12 moved from +12500 to +25000 the summer.
Brendon Lewis finished with 10 touchdown passes and just three interceptions as a freshman. His effort against Oregon when he had no interceptions and three touchdowns against one of the conference’s best teams showed what he is capable of.
Half of the top 28 tacklers on Colorado’s team in 2021 were either freshmen or sophomores. That could bode well for the future especially after Colorado finished in the middle of the Pac-12 in scoring defense with so many young players.
Colorado lost leading rusher Jarek Broussard to Michigan State and second-leading receiver Brenden Rice to USC.
Arizona Wildcats (+25000 to win the conference)
Quarterback Jayden de Laura, who threw for 2,789 yards with 23 touchdowns in 2021 for conference rival Washington State is a key addition to an Arizona offense that scored the fewest points in the Pac-12 in 2021. He figures to look for UTEP transfer Jacob Cowing (69 catches, 1367 yards) early and often.Follow us on Twitter