West coast football time my friends! #Pac12AfterDark is back for yet another magical season! Hopefully Mike Leach hasn't retired to become a full time eclipse chaser!
Do I even need to bother writing this? USC has already won the conference, haven’t they? Or do they even play football here anymore? From what I’ve heard this offseason, this is a learned conference of knowledge only. That’s what Josh Rosen would have you to believe anyways (Yes, the same Josh Rosen who thought it was smart to put a hot tub in a dorm room).
In all reality, the Pac-12 should be interesting yet again in 2017. Washington won last year, but not before they took a beating at home to USC that probably got everyone started on the 2017 USC Hype Train.
Washington was the Pac-12’s playoff representative, who then fell flat on their face against Alabama. Lots of people thought USC’s magical end to the season should have gotten them in, but 3 losses is hard to forgive.
Let’s set our eyes to 2017 here are the odds:
- USC +110
- Washington +180
- Stanford +600
- UCLA +900
- Washington State +1600
- Oregon +1600
- Utah +3300
- Colorado +3300
- Arizona State +5000
- Arizona +5000
- Oregon State +10000
- California +50000
First off, holy hell how bad do the folks in the desert think Cal is going to be? Outside of that, there are a few other things that caught my eye. Utah at +3300 could offer some decent value, as Kyle Wittingham will always have the Utes ready to play. Oregon being sixth might seem a bit surprising, but Willie Taggert might be a year away from having Puddles and the boys ready to take home a conference championship.
We’ll get back to the conference champions in a minute; let’s now take a look at week one out west.
Despite what the media wants you to believe, there is actual real life College Football THIS SATURDAY and two PAC-12 members are playing!
First off is bad football team Oregon State taking on other bad football team Colorado State. This game opened at Colorado State -2 and now it’s CSU around -4. I’m not going to lie to your face and tell you I’m an expert on these two teams, but I would probably lean towards the Beavers in this one.
Stanford is also playing on Saturday and they’ve got Rice and they’re playing in Australia (was that really that big of a success last year that we’re going back down under for more terrible football?). Stanford is a 31 point favorite as of writing and honestly, I don’t know who I like in this one. Check back later in the week on Twitter or the Deep Fried Bets Podcast and I’ll have a pick for you (talk about a lead teaser!).
In actual week one play, I see exactly zero games of note on Saturday. UCLA is the conference’s saving grace though, as they host Texas A&M Sunday night. That should be a fun one, as these two went to overtime in College Station last year. Most lines for this one have UCLA as a 3.5 point home favorite. I’d probably lean TAMU right now considering I think they should have a skill advantage almost everywhere outside of QB, and it’s still before October so Kevin Sumlin is a good coach right now.
Now let’s move on to my early buy and my early sell teams.
Washington State is a team I think folks are sleeping on a little bit early. If you’ll remember, this team was undefeated in conference play until the middle of November last year when they went to Colorado. Granted they also lost to Eastern Washington and Boise State to start the year, but let’s forget about that for this exercise. Luke Falk returns for the Cougs this year, and if Mike Leach has a QB his team will always be a threat. I like Wazzu to potentially knock off Boise in a rematch game week two.
USC is a team I’m not going to be as high on early-on as some folks will be. I know they’re the media darlings right now, but tell me since Pete Carroll has been gone when that’s worked out for them? Weren’t people calling for Clay Helton to be fired like week four of last year? Are we really willing to forget all of that just because Sam Darnold looked like the second coming of college Matt Leinart? Not I my friends, not I. They open with Western Michigan before hosting Stanford and Texas. Obviously they should beat Western Michigan, but that will definitely be a spot I look to back the underdog, knowing USC has two tough opponents the next two weeks. I’m calling my shot now; when we wake up on Sunday, September 17th, USC will be 2-1.
Let’s get to some season win totals:
Stanford Over 8.5 Wins (-140) - Here is one I feel pretty good about. I think the Cardinals are back on the upswing and 2017 will prove that. I don’t think 9-3 is too much of a stretch and I wouldn’t be surprised with a 10 win season. As I mentioned above, they’ve got USC week two on the road. If they can somehow pull that one out, then I think 9 wins is a lock. Even if they don’t, they’ve got UCLA, Oregon, Washington and Notre Dame all at home. If they go 2-2 in that stretch they should be able to win the rest of their games.
Washington State Over 7.5 Wins - Another over here for you, as again I think folks are sleeping too much on the Pirate and his crew (see what I did there?). Washington State went 8-4 a year ago with a loss to Eastern Washington. I’ve got faith they can at least do that again in 2017. I think they’ll get by Boise in week two (hopefully they can actually beat an FCS team this year in Montana State), and if they avoid any colossal upsets they should get it done. If they go 1-4 against USC, at Oregon, vs Stanford, at Utah and at Washington, then 8-4 shouldn’t be that tough to do.
Arizona Over 5.5 Wins (+120) - Here’s my big risk in the PAC12 in 2017. I know I usually try and give at least one under in this section, but I’m switching it up this time around. I think Rich Rod will find a way to stick around in the desert one more year. It’s not going to be by much, but I think the Wildcats find a way to go 6-6 this year. I broke down their schedule into three 4-game stretches and I think they go 2-2 in all of those. Simple math tells us that gets them to 6 wins and the over.
STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN LOCK OF THE Pac-12:
USC’s first three opponents and the points. So I know I’ve picked on USC quite a bit in this (I promise I think they’ll end up just fine- I’ve just seen this “USC is supposed to be great again” movie too many times before). As I said earlier, I really don’t think they’ll get out of week three unbeaten, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they don’t cover a spread the first three weeks. The public will be all over them and this will be your time to take advantage. Look. Sam Darnold is really damn good, and he’s got a good supporting cast, but it might take them a little while to get going after losing guys like Adoree Jackson and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
2017 Pac-12 Champion:
The USC Tro...just kidding, I can’t do it. I’m not ready to forget that people were really calling for Clay Helton’s job less than a calendar year ago. One team no one’s talking about is Washington and, believe it or not, I think they’ll repeat as Pac-12 Champions in 2017. That’s right, I’m taking Washington +180 to win the conference. Jake Browning is back, and he may not be as flashy as Sam Darnold, but he is perfect for what Chris Petersen wants to do there. They rarely ever beat themselves and like I said, until I actually see USC capitalize on some of this preseason hype, I’m not taking them. Stanford at +600 was a really intriguing option as well, and I’ll probably lay a little on them to hedge my bet some.