College football fans won’t have to wait much longer as the new season is just days away. To get you set for the season, we are previewing all the major conferences, so you have what you need to bet on Saturday’s finest. With the Big Ten and SEC done and dusted, we now turn our attention to the Pac-12 conference.
The Pac-12 exceeded expectations last year when it sent a record nine teams to bowls and tallied a record six victories. This year, the conference will once again be stacked with loaded teams, but will the likes of defending conference champs Stanford, Oregon and UCLA be good enough to reach the inaugural College Football Playoff?
Pac-12 College Football Preview and Predictions
The Stanford Cardinal once again reigned supreme in the Pac-12 in 2013, as they defeated the Arizona State Sun Devils in the championship game. The Cardinal had a heated battle with the Oregon Ducks last year in the North Division; the teams were tied at the top of the standings at the end of the season with both finishing with identical 7-2 records. Check out our preview of the Ducks’ season here.
[sc:NCAA240banner ]The Cardinal, however, advanced by virtue of their 26-20 win over the Ducks. The Sun Devils had a better conference record (8-1) heading into the title game, but they were no match for the unrelenting Cardinal, led by quarterback Kevin Hogan.
The departure of eight defenders from the Cardinal team that appeared in the Rose Bowl last time out could give their rivals the opportunity to overtake Stanford and stake their claim to the Pac-12 title.
Favorites – Oregon Ducks and UCLA Bruins
Even though they failed to reach the Pac-12 title game last season, the Oregon Ducks have been installed as the favorites to win the tournament this year and end the Cardinal’s two-year reign at the top. Led by quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Ducks were relentless on the offensive end last campaign, scoring 45.5 points per game which was fourth in the NCAA.
Mariota was impressive in the Ducks’ final game last season, as he compiled 386 total yards in their 30-7 demolition of the Texas Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl. Oregon fans were delighted to find out that Mariota opted to return for the Ducks this season. With their Heisman-calibre quarterback back at the helm, Oregon is pegged at +700 to win the National Championship this season.
Another team who is hungry to regain its standing atop the Pac-12 is UCLA. The Bruins, who went 6-3 last season in the Pac-12 South, will have Brett Hundley returning as their quarterback and Bruins fans are expecting much improvement from their 21-year-old playmaker. Hundley struggled at times last season, as his numbers plummeted from the year before; his passing numbers fell to 3,071 from 3,745 in his freshman campaign.
Much of the media attention has been focused, however, on linebacker Myles Jack and the impact he will bring not only on the defensive end but also on the Bruin offense. Jack proved last season that he was a two-way phenomenon when he also played as a running back for the UCLA attack. This unique versatility makes the Bruins one of the favorites to win not only the Pac-12 title but the NCAA championship as well. UCLA is currently priced at +1,400 to deliver a national title to Westwood.
Create a betting account now and see if you can predict who will reign supreme in the college football wars.
Player to Watch – Marcus Mariota (Oregon)
Marcus Mariota had another stellar season in his sophomore year with the Ducks as he became the only player in Oregon’s history to record more than 4,000 yards in a season. The dual-threat quarterback compiled a total of 4,380 yards (3,665 yards passing and 715 yards rushing) on the offensive end for the Ducks last year. Mariota is pegged at +650 to win the Heisman Trophy in his junior year for Oregon.
Best Game on the Schedule
November 1 – Stanford Cardinal @ Oregon Ducks
Either Stanford or Oregon have been the Pac-12 champions for the past three seasons and this game will once again prove crucial not only in determining who will rule not only the Pac-North, but the Pac-12 as a whole. Aside from that, this titanic battle would strengthen either team’s chances of advancing to the very first College Football Playoff.
Oregon (+700) has the best player of the conference in Marcus Mariota at their disposal and the Heisman favorite will make sure the Oregon Ducks win the Pac-12 title in 2014.[sc:NCAA490banner ]
2,626 total views, 1 views today