- USC is a +220 favorite to win the Pac-12 this season
- Utah claimed the title in 2021, capturing the program’s first-ever conference crown
- Read below for complete odds, plus analysis and bets to target to win the Pac-12 in 2022
While Oregon, Stanford and Washington have all won multiple Pac-12 titles since 2009, USC has only worn the conference crown once (2017) during that timeframe. But with former Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley’s move from Norman to Los Angeles — and the seismic shift his departure created in the sport — expectations are sky-high in Troy.
Of course, Utah finally broke through last season to win its first Pac-12 championship and had Ohio State on the ropes in the Rose Bowl Game, but fell just short of victory. The Utes will be hungry to prove 2021 was not a fluke. Meantime, UO also welcomes a new coach as the shadow of the LA schools’ eventual move to the Big Ten lingers. Yes, the 2022 campaign should be very interesting out west.
2022 Pac-12 Championship Odds
Odds as of August 10th at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Is USC Ready for a Revival?
Riley took the Sooners to three straight College Football Playoffs between 2017-19 and his arrival in Southern California stunned college football. Now, all the 38-year-old has to do is rebuild a team that went 4-8 last season. That started immediately by bringing quarterback Caleb Williams — a top contender in the Heisman Trophy odds — with him from OU.
In January, Caleb Williams was +1100 to win the 2022 Heisman
He is now +600 heading into the season 📈 pic.twitter.com/tPY8vqZBUq
— SportsBettingDime (@SBD) August 5, 2022
The true sophomore signal caller earned Freshman All-America honors last season and has plenty of weapons at his disposal. Fellow former Sooner Mario Williams was OU’s second-leading pass catcher in 2021 and has natural chemistry with the quarterback. Then, there’s Jordan Addison, who won the Biletnikoff Award last year as college football’s best wideout.
The elite transfers don’t stop there. In the backfield, there’s former Duck Travis Dye (fifth on Oregon’s career rushing list) and Stanford’s Austin Jones (4.2 yards per carry in 2021). The group is impressive — and also leaves some of the USC’s top rivals without key personnel.
“When this team has been a national championship caliber team, it’s been riding a tremendous defense. That’s where we expect to be. We expect to have a national championship caliber defense here at #USC, and I believe we have the people to do that.” pic.twitter.com/J7RxYVy4dC
— Ryan Young (@RyanYoungRivals) July 30, 2022
Alex Grinch heads up a group that that allowed 31.8 points per game last season. Junior defensive linemanTuli Tuipulotu was first-team All-Pac-12 last year, leading the team in sacks and forced fumbles. Meantime, the secondary has a big building block in Calen Bullock, another Freshman All-American in 2021.
How all these new pieces jell in Year 1 of the Riley Era will be one of the more compelling storylines of the college football season.
Utes Have Something to Prove
While Utah may not be the sexy pick to go back-to-back, Kyle Whittingham’s program is one of only 21 in the country to return its head coach, both coordinators and starting quarterback. That continuity could prove to be huge in a conference with major changes in LA and Eugene.
— Josh Furlong (@JFurKSL) August 8, 2022
Quarterback Cam Rising — who was forced to leave the epic battle between the Utes and Buckeyes in Pasadena on New Year’s Day in the fourth quarter with an injury — is back after throwing for 2,493 yards and 20 touchdowns against just five interceptions while completing 63.8 percent of his passes last season.
Tavion Thomas — a 1,000-yard rusher in 2021 — also returns, as do four of Utah’s top five receivers. That’s not including tight end Dalton Kincaid, who snatched a team-high eight touchdowns last season.
Back-to-back Pac-12 Champs? 🧐@UtahFootball tops the preseason media poll with 26 first-place votes. 🙌
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) July 28, 2022
On defense — according to veteran college football analyst Phil Steele — Utah’s weakest-rated group is its d-line, which still checks in at 17th in the country. In other words, the Utes appear to primed to prove the doubters wrong.
Contender Bruin in Westwood
Oregon could very well be in the conference title game for a fourth straight season in 2022, but it’s the program led by UO’s former coach that should have your attention. With Dorian Thompson-Robinson back for a fifth year and Zach Charbonnet coming off a season that saw him rush for 1,137 yards and 13-touchdowns, UCLA’s offense seems ready for an encore performance that saw this group become the highest-scoring unit in the league last season.
UCLA was not ranked in the preseason USA Today coaches poll but that could change after the gauntlet of Bowling Green, Alabama State and South Alabama. Check back on Sept. 19.
— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) August 8, 2022
Longtime NFL assistant Bill McGovern has been tasked by Chip Kelly (who returns for Year 5 with a new contract extension) to shore up a defense that had issues in 2021. But with a front seven that features a deep list of contributors, the Bruins are primed to build on an 8-4 season in a conference in flux.
With the LA schools loaded with talent, defending champion Utah is the pick for me. If the Utes can beat Florida in the opener, look for Coach Whit’s squad to repeat.
Pick: Utah Utes (+240)