The Pac-12 has fallen off the College Football Playoff radar because of the rise of two powers in the SEC — Alabama and Georgia — as well as the supremacy that Clemson has shown in the ACC. Oklahoma has excelled as well in recent years, but the lackluster quality of the rest of the Big 12 has a lot to do with their ascendancy. Notre Dame took a playoff spot last year, leaving both the Big Ten and the Pac-12 out in the cold. The conference has a number of intriguing teams for college football betting enthusiasts to consider in their wagering for 2019. Here are five bold predictions that we are willing to make for the Pac-12 this season.
Five PAC-12 College Football Betting Predictions in 2019
Oregon State will not finish last
Jonathan Smith enters his second season in Corvallis, after a 2-10 campaign that was most impressive due to the comeback win at Colorado that kept the Buffaloes from gaining bowl eligibility. Smith quarterbacked the team in 2000 — when the Beavers won 11 wins. Tailback Jermar Jefferson will hold the key to the team’s offensive hopes, but the defense was already improving in 2018.
UCLA will finish ahead of USC in the Pac-12 South
Clay Helton only led USC to five wins in 2018, but he also has JT Daniels returning as a true sophomore. However, UCLA looks like it could be on the rise in Chip Kelly’s second season. The season did not begin well, including an embarrassing home loss to Cincinnati, but over the course of the season, the Bruins looked like they were buying what Kelly was selling. Dorian Thompson-Robinson can beat teams with his arm and with his legs, and tailback Joshua Kelley has the moves and speed to light up opposing defenses. Both teams should be better, but UCLA will beat out USC in the division standings and could make the Pac-12 title game.
Stanford wins the Pac-12 North
There are a number of other teams that are getting a lot more press than the Cardinal. Those include Oregon, who gets senior Justin Herbert back at quarterback. However, he has not played well when the national spotlight has been on him. Washington and Washington State are also both contenders, with Washington bringing a stout defense and Washington State bringing a video-game style offense. Stanford has a great quarterback of their own, though, in K.J. Costello, and the offense runs through him thanks to a play selection that includes a ton of wideout screens. The Stanford defense returns all-conference nominees at all three levels and has the defense to stop Oregon — and the offense to get by Washington.
Utah wins the Pac-12
Utah won the Pac-12 South last year without its starting quarterback, Tyler Huntley, who missed most of the season, and without its starting tailback, Zack Moss, who went down late in the season. If they had had their first-string offense, Utah could well have beaten Washington in the Pac-12 title game last year. On defense, Utah returns most of their stellar unit, including seniors Leki Fotu and Bradlee Anae on their line and safeties Julian Blackmon and Javelin Guidry. With Britain Covey back to return kicks, Utah is a danger in all three phases of the game.
The Pac-12 gets a Heisman Trophy finalist
Justin Herbert, K.J. Costello, Tyler Huntley and Jacob Eason, the new quarterback in Washington, all could put together the sort of season that sees them invited to the Downtown Athletic Club for the Heisman Trophy presentation. Which one will it be? That depends on which team emerges with the most wins. Each of them have the skills and the experience to lead their team to the top. If I had to pick one finalist from the conference, it would either be Herbert or Huntley, although I see Utah and Stanford colliding for the Pac-12 title.