With Week Zero of the college football season fast approaching, it’s worth analyzing the current odds to win this season’s Pac-12 Championship, via BetOnline. The reigning champion Utah Utes made up for their back-to-back failures in 2018 and 2019 by dominating the Oregon Ducks in last season’s title game by a final score of 38-10 at Allegiant Stadium. Kyle Whittingham is one of the most underrated head coaches in college football and his Utes are determined to capture consecutive titles in 2022.
Utah will face stiff competition from a new-look USC squad that made a splash by luring away Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma. Riley has brought several high-level players with him to Southern California via the transfer portal. Elsewhere, the Ducks have reloaded and are hellbent on course-correcting last year’s championship failure. An exciting campaign awaits.
The full odds to win the Pac-12 are as follows:
- USC (+175)
- Utah (+250)
- Oregon (+300)
- UCLA (+1000)
- Washington (+1400)
- Oregon State (+2500)
- Arizona State (+3300)
- Washington State (+3300)
- California (+5000)
- Stanford (+5000)
- Colorado (+15000)
- Arizona (+25000)
THE FAVORITE AND MY PICK: USC
Few programs around the entire nation enjoyed an offseason as successful and bold as the one the Trojans did. Lincoln Riley’s move from Oklahoma to USC shocked the country in a domino-effect decision that changed the landscape of college football across multiple conferences.
Riley arguably possesses the most brilliant offensive mind in the sport. His resume at Oklahoma speaks for itself and his history of developing NFL-level quarterbacks has been well documented. The Trojans hit a home run with the hiring of Riley and it positions them to capture the Pac-12 Championship in 2022.
Riley’s arrival calls for renewed optimism. Capturing the success of yesteryear won’t happen overnight for the Trojans, but Riley is the correct man for the job. From a roster-building perspective, Riley’s aggressive recruiting trail indicates he’s aware of the expectation to win immediately. Riley worked the transfer portal day and night, and his biggest prize arrived via a familiar face in former Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams.
Williams will take charge of a Riley-led USC offense that’s bursting with potential. Joining Williams at USC via the transfer portal is 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison. Look for Williams and Addison to quickly form one of the most successful quarterback-receiver combos across college football.
Riley’s goals include turning USC back into the powerhouse they once were. It’s worth noting the Trojans suffered an embarrassing campaign last year. Roster turnover guarantees some growing pains, but the Trojans have enough horses to win the Pac-12 Championship.
THE NO. 1 CONTENDER: UTAH
The Utes enjoyed a truly historic campaign in 2021 that finally saw them get over the hump and celebrate a Pac-12 championship. The Utes now return with a realistic expectation to capture back-to-back titles. USC and Oregon make for worthy adversaries, but the Utes now possess a championship pedigree they can lean on going forward.
Cameron Rising returns at quarterback. Rising completed nearly 64% of his passes last season while throwing 20 touchdowns versus just five interceptions. A familiar returning class at various playmaking positions suggests Rising is primed to enjoy even more success under center.
The Utes are tasked with replacing first-round NFL draft pick Devin Lloyd. Long-term defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley has enough talent to field yet another impressive defense. Look for Florida transfer Mohamoud Diabate to make an immediate impact.
Recapturing last season’s glory is a difficult task the Utes must face head-on. Utah opens its season with a difficult road matchup at Florida. That result will serve as a strong indicator regarding Utah’s chances of claiming back-to-back Pac-12 titles.
A WORTHY UNDERDOG: OREGON
The Ducks were certainly disappointed by last year’s failure to contend with Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game. The program responded accordingly by hiring Dan Lanning as its new head coach. Lanning immediately brings a winning pedigree with him to Eugene, having won last season’s National Championship while serving as Georgia’s defensive coordinator.
Auburn transfer Bo Nix is expected to start under center. Nix should represent an upgrade on Anthony Brown, who struggled to command the Ducks’ offense last season. It’s worth noting Nix may have to fend off a challenge from former five-star recruit Ty Thompson, who recently turned heads at the Madden Passing Academy. Whoever starts under center should enjoy operating the incoming system under new offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham, who previously coached Nix at Auburn.
Defensively, the Ducks should have the depth to adequately replace Kayvon Thibodeaux, although doing so is always easier said than done. Linebacker Noah Sewell has an opportunity to be one of the best front-seven defenders in the nation. Lanning’s defensive tendencies should help this unit be a productive one.
Lanning’s Ducks will experience some growing pains in 2022. System overhauls on both sides of the ball essentially guarantee acclimation periods. With that said, Oregon is still a decent bet to make another appearance in this year’s Pac-12 Championship Game.
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