The Pac-12 becomes the final Power 5 league in the country to kick off its season this weekend, and the two betting favorites at Mybookie.ag to win the conference championship game are Oregon and Southern Cal at +180 each. They play in opposite divisions so could meet in that game.
Pac-12 Championship | 2020 NCAA Expert Analysis
Each Pac-12 school will play five divisional games and one crossover game against a non-division opponent, with those six games being evenly distributed between home and away for each team. The seventh and final week will feature all 12 teams in action highlighted by the Pac-12 Football Championship Game on December 18, which this year will take place in a home-hosted format. The Pac-12 title game originally was to be held at the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas but the coronavirus changed all that.
All North division rivalry games will take place on the Friday of Week 4 of the schedule, and all South division rivalry games will take place during Week 6 of the season. The crossover games are Arizona at Washington; Cal at Arizona State; Colorado at Stanford; Oregon State at Utah; UCLA at Oregon; and Washington State at USC.
Oregon, in the North Division, has to replace one of the best quarterbacks in school history in three-plus year starter Justin Herbert – now having a terrific rookie NFL season with the Los Angeles Chargers. Coach Mario Cristobal hasn’t announced who will start the season opener Saturday vs. Stanford.
Cristobal released Oregon’s official depth chart Monday morning without naming a starting quarterback between Tyler Shough and Anthony Brown and listed 20 “or” designations, with 13 on offense, including the entire starting offensive line. It likely will be Shough getting the start as he was Herbert’s backup last year, while Brown is a transfer from Boston College. Shough took the bulk of the first-team snaps during fall camp.
“There’s no value to a team giving up every detail of what they’re doing,” Cristobal said of his depth chart. “So I respectfully decline to give out information on who’s starting at certain positions because we’d rather let the opponent figure that out quite honestly.”
Oregon has won 15 of its last 17 games, while its 21 wins over the last two years under 2019 AP Pac-12 Coach of the Year Cristobal are the most in the Pac-12 and equal Oregon’s total over the three years prior to Cristobal taking over. For the 12th time in the last 13 years, Oregon opens the season ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. The Ducks are No. 12 in the latest AP poll and are 12-3 all-time in season openers as a ranked team, including 11-1 at Autzen Stadium with nine consecutive victories.
Southern Cal brings back one of the Pac-12’s top quarterbacks in Kedon Slovis. He took over the starting job late in the first half of the 2019 opener and had a spectacular season as a first-year freshman. While appearing in 12 games and starting 11 times, he completed 282-of-392 passes (71.9%) for 3,502 yards with 30 TDs and 9 interceptions. Slovis was third nationally in completion percentage (.719, second in Pac-12), seventh in passing efficiency (167.6, second in Pac-12) and ninth in passing yards (291.8, second in Pac-12).
No. 20 USC opens the season Saturday at home vs. Arizona State. The 9 a.m. Pacific time kickoff is the earliest for a USC home game since at least the early 1950s. It’s also the 10th straight season Troy plays the first Pac-12 game of the year. And it’s the first time since 1994 that USC opens a season versus a league opponent. Coach Clay Helton, in his fifth full season at USC, has 16 starters (plus the kicker and punter) back from a 2019 squad that won 5 of its last 6 regular season games to go 8-5.
Last year, Oregon upset Utah in the Pac-12 title game – the second straight year the Utes won the South Division but lost in that game. They are +800 to win it this season. Kyle Whittingham, the longest-tenured coach in the Pac-12 Conference and the third-longest tenured head coach at the same school in the NCAA FBS, is in his 16th season at the helm at Utah, where he boasts a 131-64 record. Utah opens Saturday at home vs. Arizona.
- Oregon +180
- USC +180
- Washington +550
- Utah +800
- Arizona State +850
- Washington State +1800
- Stanford +2000
- California +2500
- UCLA +2800
- Arizona +4000
- Oregon State +8000
- Colorado +10000
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