Last season, USC, Oregon and Stanford ruled the roost in the Pac 12. Have things changed for the 2012 season?
Only a little bit.
The Trojans enter the new season as the overall favorite to win the conference, listed at -160 at the sportsbooks to do so. They have Matt Barkley back for his senior year and another crack at a Heisman trophy, and have numerous weapons returning in both the backfield and out at wide receiver.
Lane Kiffin has done an excellent job in his short tenure at USC and, now that the program is eligible for bowl games again, the Trojans should be competing for the national title without question.
The only team that should really give Kiffin’s crew trouble is Oregon, priced at +250 to win the Pac 12. The Ducks always seem to have a prolific offense to lean on and should be the only team that can keep up offensively with the Trojans.
After those two, the college football picks get slim. Stanford will take a large step back now that Andrew Luck has moved on to the NFL, while Utah, California and Washington will be competing mainly to reach a bowl game.
Further down on the list will be UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State and Washington State.
As for the biggest underdog in the whole conference, it’s undoubtedly Colorado. The Buffaloes are at a crazy +20000 to win the Pac 12 after finishing 3-10 overall in 2011. It’s going to be another re-building year in Boulder.
It should be another entertaining year out west, but, as you can see, there are two kings in the Pac 12 and it would be a shock if neither USC or Oregon ended up emerging as the conference champion.