2020 Pac-12 Football Preview: Odds and Predictions
- The Pac-12 has not had a school represent the conference in the College Football Playoff since Oregon made it to the championship game in 2015.
- Oregon and USC are the early betting favorites to win the Pac-12, with each team bringing back several key playmakers.
- Darkhorse picks include Utah and Arizona State, who could take advantage of USC’s recent tendency to disappoint.
Ever since the Oregon Ducks made it to the national title game in the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2014/2015, the Pac-12 has failed to send a team to the playoff in the years since.
Despite losing Justin Herbert to the NFL, the Ducks are seen as a threat to win the Rose Bowl and possibly more after a victorious run to Pasadena in 2019.
The USC Trojans are not far behind, with coach Clay Helton getting a vote of confidence from the school’s brass to lead a talented team led by sophomore quarterback Kedon Slovis.
Team Odds to Win 2020 Pac-12 Championship
Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook
|Team||Odds to win Pac-12 Championship Game|
|Washington State Cougars||+600|
|Arizona State Sun Devils||+1000|
|California Golden Bears||+2200|
|Oregon State Beavers||+8000|
Justin Herbert is Gone, But the Ducks Have Plenty of Weapons
Kayvon Thibodeaux (@kayvonT8) strikes with violent hat & hands, grabs/snatches the outside shoulder & finishes with an arm over for the sack #goducks #sacksandstats #passrush pic.twitter.com/qc4KrQLchm
— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) May 3, 2020
Herbert is now a Los Angeles Charger, while Oregon’s offensive line will have to replace stalwarts such as Shane Lemieux, Jake Hanson, and Calvin Throckmorton.
Whoever takes over under center (likely redshirt sophomore Tyler Shough), will lean on a twin rushing attack of C.J. Verdell and Travis Dye, while having his blindside protected by junior left tackle Penei Sewell.
Look for a monster season from sophomore defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, who tallied nine sacks as a freshman in 2019.
Will USC Get Their Act Together?
The cupboard is far from bare in Los Angeles, as the Trojans should once again have a high flying offense that will feature sophomore quarterback Kedon Slovis slinging to receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns.
Their defense should also be in good shape with redshirt sophomore Eli’jah Winston leading the linebacker corps to help shore up a unit that gave up 162.3 rushing yards per game.
USC’s schedule will provide a solid barometer of whether or not they can contend for a playoff berth, as they must take on Alabama in Jerry World in week one while also making road trips to Utah and Oregon before closing out the season against Notre Dame.
Best of the Rest of the Pac-12
— Jayden Daniels (@JayD__5) May 9, 2020
The Washington schools will be a question mark going into the 2020 season, as they both enter the season with new head coaches, as Jimmy Lake takes over for Chris Petersen at U-Dub, while the Cougars venture into the post-Mike Leach era.
Utah could sneak up on USC in the South Division, despite losing key pieces to their defense, which ranked sixth in points allowed among FBS programs.
Look out for Arizona State, who will have sophomore quarterback Jayden Daniels back on campus after posting a solid freshman campaign in 2019, where he posted 17 passing touchdowns to just two interceptions under the tutelage of coach Herm Edwards.
It’s hard not to go with an Oregon-USC matchup in the Pac-12 title game, with Oregon once again taking the crown thanks to their well-balanced roster.