The Pac-12 might have the deepest competition the conference has had in quite some time. The top of the Pac-12 has the talent and skill to make an appearance in the College Football Playoffs. The coaching staffs have improved to make the conference a legitimate threat. Colorado made the biggest splash hire of the offseason hiring Deion Sanders to take over the program. Washington, USC, Utah and Oregon are all contenders in the Pac-12 with none of the teams being significantly better than the other. Today we are taking a look at three win totals for Pac-12 teams. This is not gambling advice and I am not a gambling expert. All lines are provided by FanDuel.
As a reminder, we started a new message board on The Walk-On Redshirts. It is FREE to join and we would love for you to come and contribute!
Washington State: Over 6.5 Wins – Washington State went 7-5 in the regular season last year with a relatively easy schedule. Cameron Ward is back for another season after moving up from the FCS level. Ward was dynamic at Incarnate Word but failed to reach the same level of dominance at Washington State last season. Ward was still efficient and another season training at Washington State should help him improve. Washington State will be relying on new faces in the receiving game as the Cougars lost their top four wide receivers. Head coach, Jake Diekert addressed the need in the transfer portal bringing in Josh Kelly and Kyle Williams from Fresno State and UNLV respectively. The defense should be a strength of the team after Ron Stone Jr and Brennan Jackson announced they would return to the program. The duo has combined for 22.5 sacks in their career. The schedule is a big reason for picking the over. Washington State should get victories over Colorado State, Northern Colorado, Arizona State, Stanford, Cal and Colorado. They also have the potential to beat UCLA, Arizona, Wisconsin or Oregon State. Over 6.5 wins is where I am putting my money.
USC: Over 9.5 Wins – There’s no way the reigning Heisman trophy winner wins less than 10 games this season, right? Caleb Williams is back at USC after nearly leading the Trojans to a birth in the College Football Playoffs. USC should be viewed as the favorite in the Pac-12 considering the talent returning and who Lincoln Riley brought in via the transfer portal. MarShawn Lloyd is expected to be the top running back after transferring in from South Carolina. Lloyd averaged 5.2 yards per carry and tallied nine touchdowns last season. The Trojans also need to replace Jordan Addison but luckily they found a talented player in the portal. Dorian Singer transferred in from Arizona after registering 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns for the Wildcats. The biggest question remains the defense. USC finished the season allowing at least 35 points in six of their final eight games. Riley looked to address the defensive side of the ball bringing in multiple transfers. Bear Alexander and Anthony Lucas are former five star players who should have an immediate impact on the defensive line. USC’s schedule is highlighted by four difficult games. The Trojans will host Utah and Washington while they will travel to Notre Dame and Oregon. USC will win at least two of the four matchups pushing them over the 9.5 wins.
UCLA: Under 8.5 Wins – Look at how much UCLA lost last season and tell me they are even a lock to make a bowl game. Dorian Thompson-Robinson was UCLA’s starting quarterback for the last few seasons totaling 48 starts. True freshman Dante Moore is talented but is he ready to step in for the Bruins in week one? Kent State transfer Colin Schlee has starting experience but lacks the upside of Moore. Ethan Garbers is another quarterback who might get a shot at the starting role. Schlee or Garbers may start the season but they are unlikely to finish the season as the starter. Zach Charbonnet is in the NFL but UCLA was able to find a transfer to fill his shoes at running back. The Bruin’s defense must improve in order to help the offense. Chip Kelly’s team finished 92nd in points allowed last season at 29.0 points per game. Laiatu Latu returns after leading the team with 10.5 sacks. UCLA has five difficult games and they need to win at least three of them. Matchups against USC, Utah, Washington State, Arizona and Oregon State will pose a challenging test to the Bruins. One sleeper team on the schedule is San Diego State. Brady Hoke is 19-8 over the past two seasons. UCLA winning nine games is out of the question this season.