NCAA Football 2012 Conference Betting Previews- PAC-12- Can anyone catch USC in the PAC-12 this season?
The PAC -12 expanded to a South and North Division last season with the addition of Utah and Colorado and is now set to take its place as one of four power conferences in Division 1A college football. Everything remains intact for the 2012 season as the conference is set on maintaining 12 teams despite the whirlwind of realignment that has impacted several of the other major and mid-major conferences.
The following is a betting preview for the top contenders in each of the two divisions along with each team’s current odds to win the conference as provided by BetOnline.
The USC Trojans have finished serving a two-year ban from postseason play due to NCAA sanctions that were imposed as part of the Reggie Bush scandal and are ready to make-up for lost time as prohibitive favorites at 1/6 to win the South Division and 5/8 favorites to win the conference title. They return nine starters on offense including Heisman front-runner Matt Barkley at quarterback. The Trojans also have his two favorite targets back in wide receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. Defensively, free safety T.J. McDonald and defensive end Wes Horton leads a squad that returns seven starters from last season.
The second but distant favorite to win the South Division is the Arizona Wildcats at 10/1. They are sixth-favorites to win the conference at 35/1. Arizona is coming off a 4-8 campaign in 2011 including a 2-7 record in conference play, which led to a change at the top. Rich Rodriguez comes over from Michigan and will try and work his magic to turn this team’s fortunes around. He will look to running back Ka’Deem Carey to carry the load out of the backfield after rushing for 425 yards last season in a back-up role. The Wildcats main problem could be on the defensive side of the ball with a unit that gave-up an average of 35.4 points a game last season.
The odds to win the conference for the rest of the teams in the South Division are Utah at 35/1, UCLA at 40/1, Arizona State at 50/1, and Colorado at 100/1.
The only other team that has a legitimate chance to give the Trojans a run for their money in the conference is the Oregon Ducks. They have been opened as 2/5 favorites to win the North Division and 2/1 second-favorites to knock-off USC in the conference title game. The Ducks return just six starters on offense but will look for veteran leadership from running back Kenjon Barner and All-Conference wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas, who is also extremely dangerous as a kick returner. The defense returns eight starters from last season’s roster including All-Conference defensive end Dion Jordan.
The second-favorite to come out of the North at 5/1 is the Washington Huskies. They finished 2011 with an overall record of 7-6 and went 5-4 in PAC-12 play, but stumbled down the stretch with five losses in their last seven games including a wild 67-56 loss to Baylor in the Valero Alamo Bowl. The Huskies will have 16 starters back from last year’s team, which should provide a wealth of experience on both sides of the ball. Keith Price returns as Washington’s starting quarterback. As a sophomore last season, he threw for 3,063 yards and 33 touchdowns while completing a very respectable 66.9 percent of his passes.
The odds to win the conference for the rest of the teams in the North Division are California at 18/1, Stanford at 25/1, Washington State at 50/1, and Oregon State at 60/1.
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