Pac 12 Odds, Predictions, Betting Preview 2022 College Football

The Pac-12 figures to be one of the most wide-open conferences in football this season, and three teams at the top could factor into the College Football Playoff conversation by the end of the season. I’ll analyze Pac-12 betting odds in this article, including projected win totals for each team and championship odds. You can bet on the Pac-12 futures markets across various legal online sportsbooks.

Pac 12 Betting Preview & Odds

Utah won its first Pac-12 championship in 2021, and the tragedy-stricken Utes produced their best season in program history. The pressure is on them to repeat as champions and take the next leap as a national power. Utah will be pushed to the top of the conference by a star-studded USC team that landed Caleb Williams, Jordan Addison, and other top talents in the transfer portal to engineer Lincoln Riley’s offense. The Utah vs. USC game on October 15 will be must-watch television.

Oregon will also remain a top power in the conference, albeit with a new-look roster under new head coach Dan Lanning. Bo Nix will hope to produce more stability on offense while Noah Sewell headlines perhaps the best defense in the conference. Don’t sleep on UCLA here, though, as they return Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet in Chip Kelly’s offense. The Pac-12 also features a handful of teams hoping to go bowling, including Washington, Washington State, and Oregon State.

USC Trojans Odds

Odds to Win National Championship:
Odds to Win Pac 12:
Regular Season Win Total:

What to Know:

  • 2021 Record: 4-8
  • Head Coach: Lincoln Riley
  • Key Players: QB Caleb Williams, WR Jordan Addison, DL Tuli Tuipulotu, DE Korey Foreman
  • Key Losses: WR Drake London, DE Drake Jackson, RB Keontay Ingram, CB Chris Steele
  • Key Transfer: QB Caleb Williams
  • Game to Circle: at Utah, October 15

It’s hard to recall a program undergoing so much change in one offseason, and the recently departed talent has to feel somewhat slighted as USC has suddenly arrived on the national stage in a huge way. Lincoln Riley will have to engineer chemistry between a ton of highly talented players who have never played together.

Riley’s hand-picked former Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams rapidly change the offense’s dynamic. Williams is still only 19 years old and was excellent despite a lack of high-level supporting talent in Norman. Williams should be even better after a freshman season with 1,912 passing yards and 21 touchdowns as a part-time starter.

That won’t be an issue in Los Angeles as reigning Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison joins Williams after an absurd 100 catches for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. The USC receiving corps will also feature former four-star recruits and transfers Mario Williams (Oklahoma) and Brenden Rice (Colorado), along with the returning 54-catch Tahj Washington and seven-touchdown Gary Bryant.

While the passing game is loaded with talent, the run game should also be excellent as Oregon transfer Travis Dye ranks fifth all-time among Oregon players with over 3,000 rushing yards. The offensive line isn’t elite, but guard Andrew Vorhees is a future NFL starter who provided elite play at left tackle and guard last year. Brett Neilon is a four-year starter, and Virginia transfer Bobby Haskins will be solid.

The biggest question for USC will be whether or not the defense can hold up its end of the bargain. The Trojans allowed 31.8 points per game. Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch joins Lincoln Riley in Los Angeles as a coach who thrives on havoc and turnover creation.

Junior Tuli Tuipulotu earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors last year as he ranked 16th among interior defensive linemen in PFF grade. He’s joined by Korey Foreman, the second-ranked prospect in the 2021 recruiting class who had 11 pressures on just 113 snaps as a true freshman. Foreman will anchor the pass-rush and benefit from the addition of Shaun Nua to the coaching staff, as Nua was integral to Aidan Hutchinson’s development.

Auburn transfer Romeo Height and future NFL talent Nick Figueroa round out the defensive line. Safeties Xavion Alford and Calen Bullock return, with Mekhi Blackmon (Colorado) and Latrell McCutchin (Oklahoma) transferring in to start at cornerback. Bullock is critical to the secondary, and his impressive freshman season suggests elite upside.

The offense already led the Pac-12 in yardage last year before adding a who’s who of all-star talent, and the Lincoln Riley experience will make for primetime television this season. Detractors will argue that it will take time for so many new faces to mesh, and there’s some legitimacy there.

However, a weak starting schedule will assuredly have the Trojans at 6-0 on their way to Salt Lake City. USC should be favored in at least ten of its twelve games, so I lean towards the over here, but the juice is significant. I’d rather bet USC’s Pac-12 title odds as the best team in the conference.

Best Bet: over 9 wins, Pac-12 championship at +200 or better

Oregon Ducks Odds

Odds to Win National Championship:
Odds to Win Pac 12:
Regular Season Win Total:

What to Know:

  • 2021 Record: 10-4
  • Head Coach: Dan Lanning
  • Key Players: QB Bo Nix, OL T.J. Bass, LB Noah Sewell, DE Brandon Dorlus
  • Key Losses: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, RB Travis Dye, WR Devon Williams, WR Johnny Johnson III
  • Key Transfer: QB Bo Nix
  • Game to Circle:

Oregon undergoes an offseason of transition with Dan Lanning replacing Mario Cristobal and Bo Nix replacing Anthony Brown. The Nix addition should be a positive as he has big-play arm talent despite his overall lack of consistency. Former five-star recruit Ty Thompson will push him for the starting job, and Nix will need to continue to improve his accuracy and decision-making to hold onto the spot.

The offense lost two top receivers from last year, Devon Williams and Johnny Johnson III, who combined for 60 catches and just under 900 yards last year. Sophomore Dont’e Thorton ended his season with four catches for 99 yards and a touchdown in the Alamo Bowl, followed it up with a strong spring game, and is set to break out this season.

The run game will also look different this year, particularly with Travis Dye transferring to USC. Dye did it all for the Ducks last year with 1,673 yards from scrimmage and 18 total touchdowns. Byron Cardwell had 417 yards in his freshman season and will get the first crack at the lead role in the offense.

The offensive line remains one of the best in college football which will help the transitioning passing and running games. T.J. Bass and Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu are future NFL players, and Alex Forsyth might be the best center in the conference.

Lanning orchestrated the dominant Georgia defense last season, and while the Ducks don’t have nearly as much talent, this could be the best defense in the conference. If former five-star prospect Justin Flowe can have better injury luck, he and Noah Sewell could be the best linebacker tandem in the country. Sewell is a top candidate for the Butkus Award.

First Team All-Pac 12 defensive lineman Brandon Dorlus returns alongside an intriguing rotation of pass-rushers who will help replace Kayvon Thibodeaux. Dorlus ranked top-five in PFF’s wins above average metric among interior defensive linemen in college football. Popo Amuave is also a dominant interior defender who should have a massive season.

Verone McKinely’s departure hurts as he was one of the best playmaking safeties in the country. Still, Bennett Williams’ return to health will be significant, and Colorado transfer Christian Gonzalez was a huge add. Gonzalez ranked 11th out of 39 Pac-12 cornerbacks in coverage grade last year per PFF.

Oregon’s identity is changing in 2022 as Dan Lanning is bringing a physical brand of football to Eugene. The defense is loaded with talent and should be significantly better than last year’s version despite the loss of Thibodeaux. The offense should be in solid shape regardless of whether it’s Nix or Thompson taking snaps under center, and the offensive line is one of the best in the country.

Winning at Georgia will be a tall order in the opening week. However, that game could set the tone for the brand of toughness and physicality that Lanning will want this team to reach. With no USC on the schedule and their more difficult opponents, including Utah, coming to Eugene, the Ducks should be right back in the title conversation.

Best Bet: Over 9 wins, bet to win the Pac 12 at +300 or better

Utah Utes Odds

Odds to Win National Championship:
Odds to Win Pac 12:
Regular Season Win Total:

What to Know:

  • 2021 Record: 10-4
  • Head Coach: Kyle Whittingham
  • Key Players: QB Cameron Rising, RB Tavion Thomas, TE Brant Kuithe, CB Clark Phillips III
  • Key Losses: OT Bamidele Olaseni, WR Britain Covey, LB Devin Lloyd, DE Mike Tafua
  • Key Transfer: Mohamoud Diabate
  • Game to Circle: USC, October 15

For many reasons, the 2021 Utah season was magical, as they won the Pac-12 championship and made it to the Rose Bowl. The tragic loss of 2020 leading rusher Ty Jordan and cornerback Aaron Lowe provided the team’s emotional spark to push it to new heights. This year, the Utes have CFP aspirations.

Tavion Thomas stepped up in place of Jordan and ran for over 1,100 yards and 21 touchdowns. Per PFF, Thomas ranked second in broken tackles per attempt (0.3) and tied first in total explosive runs (36) among Pac-12 running backs. T.J. Pledger added over 800 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns behind him.

The offensive line lost two starters to the NFL in Nick Ford and Bamidele Olaseni, but the Utes still return two all-stars on the right side in Braeden Daniels and Sataoa Laumea. Daniels ranked top-five among all Pac-12 offensive linemen in run-blocking grade in 2021 per PFF.

Cameron Rising lost a fall competition to Charlie Brewer last year, but he entered as the starter in Week 3 and never looked back as he led the team to a 9-2 record with 2,493 yards and 20 touchdowns to just five interceptions while completing 63.8% of his passes. Rising makes up for his lack of elite athleticism and overpowering arm talent with impressive timing, accuracy, and excellent decision-making.

Rising loses his top pass-catcher and the team’s star return man Brittain Covey, but Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid form perhaps the best pass-catching tight end duo in the country – they combined for over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. The wide receiver room lacks proven talent, but Utah’s coaches have praised Devaughn Vele as an emerging player.

The defense was exposed by Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, but don’t let that be the lasting image from an overall great season. The problem, however, is that do-it-all heart-and-soul linebacker Devin Lloyd left for the NFL after an incredible season with 111 tackles, 22 tackles for a loss, and seven sacks. Nephi Sewell, the team’s second-leading tackler, and Mike Tafua, the team’s leader with nine sacks, move on as well.

Florida transfer Mohamoud Diabate will have the unenviable task of filling that void. He’ll be aided by Junior Tafuna, who was the Pac-12’s Freshman Defensive Player of the Year in 2021 with 33 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks as a redshirt freshman. Van Fillinger will take on more of a role after 9.5 tackles for a loss last season.

An elite secondary will help make up for a worse front seven. Superstar cornerback Clark Phillips, who led the team with 13 pass breakups last year, returns alongside the ascending safety Cole Bishop, who led all Power Five safeties in run defense grade per PFF.

The schedule also isn’t overly kind to the Utes this year. Non-conference games against Florida and San Diego State present possible challenges early in the season, and road games against UCLA and Oregon will be challenging games to win. I’d pick Utah to hit nine wins in the regular season this year, but I’d argue there are more scenarios where they finish 8-4 rather than 10-2, so I’m sheepishly taking the under here.

Best Bet: Under 9 wins

UCLA Bruins Odds

Odds to Win National Championship:
Odds to Win Pac 12:
Regular Season Win Total:

What to Know:

  • 2021 Record: 8-4
  • Head Coach: Chip Kelly
  • Key Players: QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, RB Zach Charbonnet, WR Jake Bobo Sr., LB Darius Muasu
  • Key Losses: TE Greg Dulcich, WR Kyle Philips, OT Sean Rhyan, S Quentin Lake
  • Key Transfer: LB Darius Muasu
  • Game to Circle: USC, November 19

UCLA finally broke through last year with their first winning season under Chip Kelly, but with the Pac-12 continuing to improve around them, they have to be even better to take the next leap.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson returns for another season under Kelly, and he had over 3,000 total yards and 30 total touchdowns last year. DTR is a constant threat with his legs and has been since his first start in 2018, but he became a much more accurate passer and better decision-maker last season.

He’ll be joined by Zach Charbonnet, one of the best running backs in the country, who had 1,334 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns last season. Charbonnet had PFF’s third-best rushing grade in the FBS last season, and the Bruins averaged over 220 rushing yards per game last year with the seventh-best rushing offense in the country by EPA.

The losses in the passing game are somewhat concerning for the Bruins. Leading receivers from last season, Kyle Phillips and Greg Dulcich, were drafted by NFL teams after combining for 101 catches for over 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns. Jake Bobo transfers from Duke after 74 catches in 2021, and Charbonnet will help in the receiving game. Kam Brown and Kazmeir Allen will also get the ball more this season.

The offensive line was much improved in 2021, but starting tackles Sean Rhyan and Alec Anderson have moved on. Rutgers transfer Raiqwon O’Neal has drawn mixed reviews, but veterans Jon Gaines and Duke Clemson will help with the transition.

The UCLA defense was fine last year, but they are getting some serious help in the form of big-time transfers. The Murphy brothers – Gabriel and Grayson – come in from North Texas after combining for 128 tackles, 23.5 sacks, and 36 tackles for loss over the past two years. Hawaii transfer Darius Muasu will be a leading tackler in the middle of the defense, and he can also provide a massive boost to the pass-rush – he racked up 37 pressures on 131 rushes last year.

With all of the new transfers in the front seven, it’s easy to see a significant improvement for UCLA in both run defense and the pass-rush. Jacob Sykes also transfers from Harvard as an imposing interior presence with a knack for getting to the quarterback. Sykes is also a steady run defender who is a sneaky candidate for all-star honors in the Pac-12 this season.

The secondary is more problematic as both starting corners, leading tackler Qwuantrezz Knight, and Quentin Lake has moved on. However, Azizi Hearn transfers from Wyoming after a shutdown season in which he allowed fewer yards per coverage snap than any FBS cornerback other than Ahmad Gardner per PFF.

The non-conference game is beautiful, with Bowling Green, Alabama State, and South Alabama all at home as their first three games of the year. With Colorado and Washington up next before a game against Utah, the Bruins could have a 5-0 record heading into a home game against the Utes. They also have the luxury of facing USC at home late in the season.

Even if the Bruins lose their games against Utah, Oregon, and USC, they could go over this win total. If they pick one of those games off, they’re in business as a sleeper for the Pac-12 title. There is significant upside baked in here with DTR capable of taking yet another step forward and the defense likely much-improved due to all of the transfer talent coming in.

Best Bet: Over 8.5 wins, sprinkle on Pac-12 title futures at +1000 or better

Washington Huskies Odds

Odds to Win National Championship:
Odds to Win Pac 12:
Regular Season Win Total:

What to Know:

  • 2021 Record: 4-8
  • Head Coach: Kalen DeBoer
  • Key Players: QB Michael Penix Jr., OT Jaxson Kirkland, DE Zion Tupuola-Fetui, S Asa Turner
  • Key Losses: RB Sean McGrew, WR Terrell Bynum, CB Trent McDuffie, CB Kyler Gordon
  • Key Transfer: QB Michael Penix Jr.
  • Game to Circle: Michigan State, September 17

Washington’s offense was pitiful in 2021 as they finished outside of the top 100 teams in the country in scoring. However, new head coach Kalen DeBoer is expected to turn the offense around after leading Fresno State to the 26th-ranked scoring offense in the country.

DeBoer hand-picked Michael Penix Jr. as his quarterback. Penix went 12-5 as Indiana’s starter with DeBoer as his offensive coordinator, and he should provide a significant upgrade if he can stay healthy. Despite having one of the worst offensive lines in the country at Indiana, Penix ranked fourth in big-time throw rate (8.3%) over the 2019 and 2020 seasons per PFF.

The offensive line will be critical for the effort to keep Penix healthy, but elite offensive tackle Jaxson Kirkland dropped out of the NFL draft due to his own ankle injury. He obtained clearance from the NCAA to return for his sixth and final season and has ranked 23rd among Power Five offensive tackles in pass-blocking grade since 2020 per PFF.

The Huskies surprisingly have a solid receiving corps despite the offensive struggles as they return Jalen McMillan and Rome Odunze, who combined for 885 yards and seven touchdowns last year. However, deep threat Terrell Bynum transferred to USC, and tight end Cade Otton left for the NFL. Tight end Delvin Cup will be the starter in Otton’s spot, and McMillan will fill Bynum’s role as the deep threat.

While leading rusher Sean McGrew is gone, the running back room is deep. Wayne Taulappa transferred from Virginia, Aaron Dumas transferred from New Mexico, and former four-star recruit Emeka Megwa, who picked Washington over Alabama, should debut this year.

The defense has talent, but health will be a significant concern, like the offense. Zion Tupuola-Fetui was on the field for just two games last year, but he had seven sacks in three games in 2020 – he could be due for a massive breakout as he works to boost his NFL draft stock. His 24.8% pass-rush win rate since 2020 is elite, and he has game-wrecking ability when on the field.

The linebacker room lost Jackson Sirmon to Cal, and Edefuan Ulofoshio will lead the linebacker room as a former walk-on who has improved every year. Ulofisho enters the 2022 season with an injury that will likely keep him out of a few games. Tuli Letuligasenoa returns as a stout run-defending interior defensive lineman.

The secondary will be the big concern as elite cornerback tandem Trent McDuffie and Kyler Gordon were top-40 NFL draft picks. UC Davis transfer Jordan Perryman has big shoes to fill at cornerback, but the presence of free safety Asa Turner is significant. Turner broke out down the stretch last year and was the Pac-12’s highest-graded safety after Week 5 per PFF.

While there are significant question marks for the Huskies in DeBoer’s first season as head coach, the schedule is laid out nicely for them. Three overwhelmingly difficult games – home to Michigan State, at UCLA, and at Oregon – are likely losses. The rest of the schedule features plenty of winnable games, and Washington avoids playing Utah and USC, so I understand why the oddsmakers have put the line at 7.5 wins.

The injury risk with Washington is more of a factor than with any other team in this conference. The range of outcomes is significant, but sharp money is on the over. I’d also lean in that direction. At the very least, the Huskies should be going bowling again this season.

Best Bet: Over 7.5 wins

Washington State Cougars Odds

Odds to Win National Championship:
Odds to Win Pac 12:
Regular Season Win Total:

What to Know:

  • 2021 Record: 7-6
  • Head Coach: Jake Dickert
  • Key Players: QB Cameron Ward, OT Grant Stephens, DE Ron Stone Jr., DE Brennan Jackson
  • Key Losses: OT Abraham Lucas, RB Max Borghi, LB Jahad Woods, LB Justus Rogers
  • Key Transfer: QB Cameron Ward
  • Game to Circle:

The Nick Rolovich situation hung over last season for Washington State, but Jake Dickert, the former defensive coordinator, excelled as the interim coach and earned the full-time job. Now, Dickert’s team has a new quarterback Cameron Ward who transferred from Incarnate Word.

Ward’s meteoric rise has been fascinating as he threw for 4,648 yards and 47 touchdowns last season. He has top-20 Heisman odds on BetMGM despite never taking a snap in the FBS. Ward’s big-time arm talent and athleticism are highly enticing, but there is work to do with his turnover-prone nature and decision-making.

Ward is joined by former UIW receiver Robert Ferrel who had 74 catches for 815 yards and nine touchdowns last year. De’Zhaun Stribbling also returns after catching 44 passes for 471 yards and five touchdowns. Lincoln Victor, a former high school quarterback and walk-on at Washington State, should also be more involved after 35 catches last season.

The ground game could be problematic after losing Max Borghi and Deon McIntosh and doing little to replace their production. Former Wisconsin back Nakia Watson will step into a more significant role, but Washington State will likely live and die by the arm of Ward.

The offensive line loses Abraham Lucas to the NFL and Brian Greene to Michigan State. Northern Colorado transfer Grant Stephens will fill in for Lucas at left tackle, but he has big shoes to fill. Jarrett Kingston will also likely move to tackle, but pass protection will not be a strong suit for this offense.

The defense is built on the strength of two fantastic pass-rushers in Ron Stone and Brennan Jackson, who combined for 17.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks last year. Stone ranked third in pressures generated (43) and first in defensive stops (41) among Pac-12 edge defenders in 2021.

The team’s two leading tacklers, linebackers Jahad Woods and Justus Rogers (183 combined stops), have moved on after a school record 56 career games for each. Nevada transfers Daiyan Henley and Jordan Lee will help replace some of their production. Henley ranked seventh among all FBS off-ball linebackers in coverage last year per PFF.

The Cougars also poached safety Jordan Lee from Nevada, who has 142 tackles and a ton of big plays over the last three seasons. He’s capable of making plays from all over the field but has a knack for playmaking in the box – he had five forced fumbles in 2021.

Washington State has been to six bowl games in the last seven seasons, and Dickert’s team should be capable of making that seven in eight seasons. An early season road game against Wisconsin is far from ideal, especially for a team whose run defense may be problematic.

Still, non-conference home games against Idaho and Colorado State should be wins. Games against Oregon, USC, and Utah should be penciled in as losses, but the Cougars play a relatively easy schedule outside of those. Assuming Cameron Ward can transition from the FCS successfully, I like betting on this program going bowling again.

Best Bet: Over 5.5 wins

Oregon State Beavers Odds

Odds to Win National Championship:
Odds to Win Pac 12:
Regular Season Win Total:

What to Know:

  • 2021 Record:
  • Head Coach: Jonathan Smith
  • Key Players: QB Chance Nolan, RB Damien Martinez, LB Omar Speights, S Kitan Oladapo
  • Key Losses: RB B.J. Baylor, WR Trevon Bradford, TE Teagan Quitoriano, LB Avery Roberts
  • Key Transfer: DE Andrew Chatfield Jr.
  • Game to Circle:

The Pac-12 North feels wide open, and Oregon State has plenty of momentum after its first bowl appearance in eight years. Can they take advantage? Chance Nolan is back for another season after a solid campaign with 2,677 yards and 19 touchdowns. The depth behind him is solid, with senior Tristan Gebbia and redshirt freshman Ben Gulbranson capable of pushing for playing time as they both return from injuries.

Leading receivers Trevon Bradford, Champ Flemings, and Zeriah Beason are gone after combining for 77 catches, 1,137 yards, and seven touchdowns last year. However, tight end Luke Musgrave returns after coming down with 22 catches for 304 yards last year. Tre’Shaun Harrison, likely the team’s top wideout, is a significant breakout candidate after finishing second on the team with 29 catches for 401 yards and three touchdowns in 2021.

However, the strength of the offense will be the run game, despite B.J. Baylor leaving for the NFL. Baylor had 1,337 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. Freshman Damien Martinez is set to take over as the lead dog in the backfield, while Deshaun Fenwick and Trey Lowe combined for over 800 yards and five touchdowns last year.

The offensive line returns three high-level starters – Joshua Gray, Marco Brewer, and Brandon Kipper. PFF graded the offensive line as a top-five unit in the Power Five last year, and it could be even better this year if Gray can establish more consistency and Brewer can continue to be a mauler in the run game.

Defensively, Oregon State should be much better, especially given their talent in the secondary. Returning starters Rejzohn Wright and Jaydon Grant are among the best at their positions in the conference, while Alex Austin is back after a solid season starting as a freshman. Kitan Oladapo also returns after a breakout season in which he tied for second in the country in pass breakups (7) at his position.

Leading tackler Avery Roberts (123 stops, 9.5 for a loss) has moved on, but Omar Speights is coming off an 89-tackle season. The pass rush is more of a concern with Andrzej Hughes-Murray leaving for the NFL after leading the team with six sacks. Florida transfer Andrew Chatfield Jr. will have big shoes to fill in that regard.

I like the roster for Oregon State this season, but the schedule looks brutal. Non-conference games to start against Boise State and Fresno State are problematic for a team that has been 1-5 against the Mountain West since 2016. From there, they play a Montana State team that was one of the best in the FCS last year in what sets up as a classic trap game ahead of games against USC and Utah.

The Beavers will go bowling if they can get through that early season onslaught with a winning record. However, that start could derail their season from a momentum standpoint. Still, I’ll bet the over on the six games here, with a push being a strong possibility.

Best Bet: Over 6 wins

Arizona State Sun Devils Odds

Odds to Win National Championship:
Odds to Win Pac 12:
Regular Season Win Total:

What to Know:

  • 2021 Record: 8-5
  • Head Coach: Herm Edwards
  • Key Players: QB Emory Jones, RB Xazavian Valladay, DT Nesta Jade Silvera, LB Kyle Soelle
  • Key Losses: QB Jayden Daniels, RB Rachaad White, WR Ricky Pearsall, OT Kellen Diesch
  • Key Transfer: QB Emory Jones
  • Game to Circle: Utah, September 24

The steady improvement that Arizona State had seen under Herm Edwards hit a speed bump last year with the unexpected NCAA investigation that led to the departure of several assistant coaches and a stunning 17 players in the transfer portal this spring. That off-field tumult led to Arizona State losing tons of talent in the transfer portal.

The offense could be in trouble following leading passer Jayden Daniels’ transfer to LSU and leading rusher Rachaad White’s departure to the NFL. The team’s top four receivers – White, Ricky Pearsall, LV Bunkley-Shelton, and Curtis Hodges – are no longer on the roster. Top offensive linemen Kellen Diesch and Dohnovan West have also left for the NFL.

However, things aren’t all doom and gloom. Florida transfer Emory Jones can play – he had over 3,000 total yards in 13 games last year – and Xazavian Valladay is another critical transfer from Wisconsin who will shore up the run game. Valladay averaged 5.2 yards per carry over four seasons with two 1,000-yard campaigns.

The Sun Devils will rely on a breakout after losing the bulk of the team’s passing offense last year. Andre Johnson, Chad Johnson Jr., and Elijhah Badger are high-upside players on the roster, and Andre Johnson is particularly enticing as a downfield target who comes in at 6’3”, 206 pounds.

The offensive line remains solid on paper with talented returning players, most notably LaDarius Henderson, who ranked eighth among guards in the conference in pass-blocking grade last season per PFF. However, the losses could be tough to overcome.

Things are much less rocky on defense, where sixth-year linebackers Kyle Soelle and Merlin Robertson return after combining for 152 tackles last year. Robertson has played more Pac-12 football than any other returning defender in the conference, with 2,488 snaps over the past four years.

B.J. Green had five sacks and five tackles for loss in just six games as a freshman last year and should be ready for a breakthrough campaign as a top player on this defense. Miami transfer Nesta Jade Silvera joins him upfront after ranking top-five in the ACC in both run defense and pass-rush grade last year per PFF.

The secondary is tasked with replacing four starters, including Jack Jones and Chase Lucas, who tied for the team lead with six pass breakups last year. However, Khoury Bethley transferred from Hawaii after playing all over the field and registering 28 pressures from 119 rushes as a box safety last year.

The Sun Devils have tons of talent to replace on both sides of the ball, and the start to the season could be brutal with matchups against Utah, Oklahoma State, and USC in the first five games, the latter two being on the road. Arizona State has made a habit of stealing games it shouldn’t win and losing games it shouldn’t in recent years, so consistency has to be essential.

Jones and Valladay will spearhead one of the best rushing offenses in the conference, and the returning talent provides plenty of stability on defense. Still, the distractions from the NCAA investigation and the massive outpouring of talent will be challenging to overcome.

Best Bet: under 6 wins

Arizona Wildcats Odds

Odds to Win National Championship:
Odds to Win Pac 12:
Regular Season Win Total:

What to Know:

  • 2021 Record: 1-11
  • Head Coach: Jedd Fisch
  • Key Players: QB Jayden de Laura, WR Jacob Cowing, S Christian Young, CB Christian Roland-Wallace
  • Key Losses: WR Stanley Berryhill III, LB Anthony Pandy, DT Trevon Mason
  • Key Transfer: QB Jayden de Laura
  • Game to Circle: Arizona State, November 25

The Wildcats are 1-23 since early in the 2019 season, and that record may not even do justice to how bad this program has been as of late. However, Jedd Fisch’s aggressive recruiting landed the program the best class in the Pac-12 this year, per Rivals.com. In addition, Arizona hit the transfer portal hard with several big-time additions, including quarterback Jayden de Laura and wide receiver Jacob Cowing.

Jayden de Laura was last year’s Pac-12 Offensive Freshman in 2020 and further improved as a big-time playmaker last season. His accuracy is inconsistent, however, and it will be interesting to watch his transition from Washington State’s run-and-shoot offense to Jedd Fisch and Brennan Carroll’s more traditional offense.

Cowing had 69 catches for 1,354 yards and seven touchdowns last season for UTEP. He’s joined by four-star recruit Tetairoa McMillan, the program’s most heavily recruited player since Rob Gronkowski. McMillan was the number 51 overall recruit in the 2022 class and will be a significant part of the offensive revival in Arizona.

The Wildcats could also get significant contributions from fellow freshman running back Jonah Coleman and tight end Keyan Burnett. This might be one of the few teams in the Pac-12 to rely on its highly talented recruiting class.

While the offensive line lost two longtime starters, the tackle duo of Jordan Morgan and Paiton Fears have a combined 39 starts between them. Arizona’s offensive line wasn’t outstanding last year, and it has to be better if the rejuvenated attack can be consistent throughout the year.

The Arizona defense improved last season and finished fifth in the Pac-12 in total defense. With eight starters returning and plenty of incoming talent from the recruiting class and the transfer portal, the defense could be pretty solid next year.

Christian Young is a strong hybrid safety, and the cornerback tandem of Christian Roland-Wallace and Treydan Stukes looks very solid on paper. Roland-Wallace has been remarkably steady as a top-ten coverage corner since 2019 per PFF and a reliable tackler.

However, the pass-rush has to improve, and the Wildcats will rely on USC transfer Hunter Echols and his four years of experience to boost that aspect of the team. Jaelan Harris will hope to continue a solid finish to his 2021 season into the 2022 campaign. Kyonn Bars will also be a big-time contributor up front after a top-five finish among Pac-12 interior defensive linemen in both pressures (21) and defensive stops (23).

It’s difficult to look past the recent results for Arizona, but this is an entirely different roster than the one that has lost to rival Arizona State by a margin of 86 points over their last two meetings. Even last year, this team was much more competitive than its 1-11 record suggests, as it had one-score losses to BYU, Washington, and USC and a nine-point loss to eventual Pac-12 champions Utah.

Arizona also ranked dead last in FBS in turnover margin per game, which screams positive regression. With the injection of talent on both sides of the ball, I’m betting on Arizona to get off to a hot start and – here’s a hot take – get to 3 wins before its home game against USC on October 29.

Best Bet: Over 3 wins

California Golden Bears Odds

Odds to Win National Championship:
Odds to Win Pac 12:
Regular Season Win Total:

What to Know:

  • 2021 Record: 5-7
  • Head Coach: Justin Wilcox
  • Key Players: QB Jack Plummer, RB Damien Moore, LB Jackson Sirmon, DE Brett Johnson
  • Key Losses: QB Chase Garbers, WR Kekoa Crawford, WR Trevon Clark
  • Key Transfer: LB Jackson Sirmon
  • Game to Circle: at Washington State, October 1

The roster turnover in Berkeley is immense this year as only eight of the 22 players who started Cal’s final game last year are still on the roster. Chase Garbers is out after four seasons with the program, and Purdue transfer Jack Plummer will replace him. Plummer isn’t a star talent, but he’s an accurate passer who has 15 touchdowns to just two interceptions in limited time over the last two seasons.

Damien Moore has a 100-yard rushing game in each of the previous two seasons as a part-time starter, and he’ll get a chance to be more of a full-time player this year after the offense lost leading rusher, Christopher Brooks, to BYU. The offensive line is also thinner now with two starters gone in McKade Mettauer and Will Craig. However, Ben Coleman returns after an impressive season at guard. The offensive line also features center Matthew Cindric.

The Golden Bears lost their top two leading receivers from last season – Kekoa Crawford and Trevon Clark – who combined for 73 catches for 1,171 yards. In addition, they lost tight end Jake Tonges and his 22 catches for 278 yards. However, Jeremiah Hunter averaged over 18 yards per catch last year, and he’ll be more of a consistent pass-catching presence for the offense. At 6’2”, 200 lbs, he has the size and speed to do so.

Defensively, Cal was solid last year, but the inability to get stops on third down was a significant issue. The front seven is sneaky good this year, especially with Brett Johnson returning from a significant hip injury in a car accident. Orin Patu joins him on the edge with expectations of more pass-rush production in a full-time role.

Washington transfer Jackson Sirmon is coming off a 91-tackle season, and he joins his father, Cal’s defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon. Sirmon should help the linebacker corps go from a weakness to strength this season.

Leading tackler safety Daniel Scott returns after 82 stops and three interceptions last season. Scott ranked 18th among Power Five safeties last year in PFF’s coverage grades. Scott is joined by two very solid cornerbacks in Collin Gamble and Lu-Magia Hearns III, making the Cal secondary one of the most underrated in the conference.

In five seasons as the head coach, Justin Wilcox’s Cal teams have gone 26-28 and just 15-25 in the Pac-12. His alma mater Oregon came calling over the offseason with a head coaching offer, and he surprised everyone when he turned it down. Wilcox believes this team is on the cusp of a breakthrough season, but it’s difficult to shake off the fact that Cal gave a pitiful Arizona team its only win last season.

Cal has a handful of winnable home games to start the season against UC Davis, UNLV, and Arizona, along with their road game against Notre Dame. They could be 4-2 following their ensuing road games against Colorado and Washington State. However, the back end of the schedule is brutal, and I’m not inclined to bet on either side of this line. I’ll give the slight edge to the under.

Best Bet: Under 5.5 wins

Stanford Cardinal Odds

Odds to Win National Championship:
Odds to Win Pac 12:
Regular Season Win Total:

What to Know:

  • 2021 Record: 3-9
  • Head Coach: David Shaw
  • Key Players: QB Tanner McKee, TE Benjamin Yurosek, CB Kyu Blu Kelly, S Patrick Fields
  • Key Losses: DT Thomas Booker, RB Austin Jones, RB Nathaniel Peat
  • Key Transfer: S Patrick Fields
  • Game to Circle: USC, September 10

Stanford’s 3-9 record in 2021 was its worst since 2006, and the seven straight losses to end the season were deflating after early-season wins against USC and Oregon. While the Cardinal returns a ton of starting production, much of that production was not good last season.

The dominant run game Stanford became known for early in the David Shaw era disappeared, but there is hope for the backfield. E.J. Smith, son of the legendary Emmitt Smith, stands to be a breakout candidate as a former four-star recruit. Smith had 14 broken tackles and five runs of 10+ yards last year on just 26 total carries.

The offensive line returns all five starters, but that’s not necessarily a good thing for a unit that had a brutal year in allowing 31 sacks and producing a rushing attack that ranked last in the conference and 126th of 130 D1 teams in rushing yards per game. Walter Rouse must replicate his career year, and Branson Bragg’s return to health will be significant.

Tanner McKee will get plenty of national praise as a top prospect at the quarterback position, but he can’t do it on his own. McKee is excellent at throwing over the middle of the field, particularly against a zone defense. He performed admirably despite the poor circumstances last year with 2,327 yards and 15 touchdowns with seven interceptions.

The team’s two leading receivers, Benjamin Yurosek and Elijah Higgins return after combining for 1,158 yards and seven touchdowns last year. Yurosek ranked 11th nationally among tight ends in receiving grade per PFF from Week 5 on last year. They’re joined by two intriguing receivers in Michael Wilson and Brycen Tremayne, who both suffered season-ending injuries last year.

While the offense can at least bank on experience in key spots, the defense is essentially starting over after losing several key pieces. Of course, a reboot is needed for a defense that allowed a mind-numbing 236 rushing yards per game and ranked 127th in run defense EPA.

The linebacker group is the one spot returning key players with leading tacklers Levani Damuni (88 tackles) and Ricky Miezan (68 tackles). Kyu Blu Kelly is likely the lone NFL-caliber defender on this defense, and he had two interceptions and ten pass breakups last year. Oklahoma transfer Patrick Fields helps shore up the safety position.

While it’s natural to expect improvement from Stanford – they can’t be that bad again, right? – the schedule does them no favors. Road games against Oregon, Notre Dame, UCLA, and Utah are all likely losses, as is their Pac-12 opener against USC at home. A late-season game against BYU will hardly be a cakewalk, and the Cardinal misses likely the two worst teams in the Pac-12, Arizona and Colorado. While the on-field product should be better, it’s tough to find five wins on this schedule for Stanford.

Best Bet: under 4.5 wins

Colorado Buffaloes Odds

Odds to Win National Championship:
Odds to Win Pac 12:
Regular Season Win Total:

What to Know:

  • 2021 Record: 4-8
  • Head Coach: Karl Dorrell
  • Key Players: OT Tommy Brown, WR R.J. Sneed II, LB Quinn Perry, DE Terrance Lang
  • Key Losses: WR Brenden Rice, RB Jarek Broussard, CB Christian Gonzalez, LB Carson Wells
  • Key Transfer: WR R.J. Sneed II
  • Game to Circle: UCLA, September 24

This Colorado program is in rebuilding mode, with tons of talent leaving through the transfer portal following a disappointing season. There are very few positive takeaways for a program that was arguably worse than its four-win record suggests and lost significant contributors on both sides of the ball.

Colorado had the worst offense in the country by some metrics and lost its only consistent skill position player Jarek Broussard who transferred to Michigan State. Alex Fontenot should lead the backfield after Sam Houston State transfer Ramon Jefferson backed out of his commitment and went to Kentucky instead. Fontenot had just 406 yards from scrimmage in 12 games last year.

The wide receiver room is revamped with R.J. Sneed II transferring in from Baylor, where he caught 133 passes. He’s likely an upgrade over Brenden Rice and Dimitri Stanley, who moved to USC and Iowa State, respectively. Sneed is joined by a solid deep threat in Daniel Arias and a consistent pass-catching tight end in Brady Russell.

However, it’s unclear who will throw the ball to that group as Brendon Lewis struggled through 12 starts last year and will battle for his job with JT Shrout, a former Tennessee transfer. Shrout didn’t see any time last year, but given Lewis’s struggles, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him play much more. New offensive coordinator Mike Sanford’s RPO-heavy offense should help, regardless of who is under center.

The Buffaloes lost six of their best players on defense, and the secondary was especially hit hard as starters Mark Perry (TCU), Mekhi Blackmon (USC), and Christian Gonzalez (Oregon) are no longer with the team. Nikko Reed enters his true sophomore season and will be relied upon as a starter on the boundary and a return man. This year, Isaiah Lewis will need to play better at free safety, given the losses of starting talent in the secondary.

Carson Wells is also gone after leading the team in sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (13.5) last year. Mark Perry will be significant in the middle of the defense, and West Virginia transfer Josh Chandler-Semedo will be among the top tackle leaders. Chandler-Semedo was tied for fourth in the Big 12 in defensive stops (45) last year per PFF.

Terrance Lang should have a substantial uptick in pass-rushing production, but he’s unproven and a clunky fit for the new 4-3 scheme. PFF tracked Lang with fewer pressures and stops last season than in 2020 despite playing almost twice as many snaps last year.

Somehow, Colorado’s schedule this year features no easy wins as non-conference games against TCU, Air Force, and Minnesota to open the season all present potential losses. It would also be shocking if they found a win in a four-game stretch against Oregon, USC, Washington, and Utah to close the season. Rebuilding teams aren’t supposed to have schedules this difficult, and the Buffaloes are far from being competitive enough to beat most of the teams on deck this season.

Best Bet: under 3.5 wins

Pac-12 Predictions 2022

You’ll read plenty of expert analysis suggesting you fade USC at their current price this offseason. The public market will fall in love with the big-market team chock-full of offensive superstar talents. I understand the argument that things could take a bit to come together, but there isn’t a team I’m highly confident in unseating the Trojans atop this conference. Oregon has a stout defense but ambiguous situations at the skill positions, and Utah has significant losses to overcome on both sides of the ball. This is USC’s conference to lose, and I’d grab them at 2-to-1 value while you can.

Oregon is the team that I’m most bullish on the outside of USC. Still, the opening game against Georgia is most likely a loss – that sets up a fascinating betting situation. I’d wait to place your Oregon bets until after the first game, as the odds will be more friendly after that loss. As Dan Lanning hopes to inject more physicality and toughness into the Ducks, the meeting against Georgia could be a great measuring stick opportunity where Lanning’s players can see where they need to go.

In terms of sleepers teams, I like UCLA to win the conference. Their odds should not be as far behind Oregon and Utah as they currently are. The Bruins return Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet, and the defense should be much-improved with their injection of talent from the transfer portal. My two favorite under bets are Colorado and Arizona State. The Buffs have a brutal schedule for a rebuilding team and have a lot of turnover on both sides of the ball. The Sun Devils are coming off a strong season, but with tons of turmoil and a demanding schedule, I’m fading them this year.

Championship Prediction: USC over Oregon

Favorite Over: UCLA over 8.5 wins

Favorite Under: Colorado under 3.5 wins

Biggest Sleeper Team: Arizona Wildcats

Due for Regression: Arizona State Sun Devils

I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. With my educational background in the sports business and a strong knowledge of the inner workings of professional and collegiate sports, I hope to tell enthralling stories about the world of sports as it unfolds around me.

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