By B Bains
In this two division conference of the PAC-12, the north division is projected to be stronger than the south division this year. With that in my, I believe the winner of the PAC-12 conference will be a battle between the Stanford Cardinals and Washington Huskies. Despite, being in the same division I see the Stanford Cardinals edging the Washington Huskies to make the PAC-12 final and ultimately, winning it all.
With the best odds to win the PAC-12 conference at +320, the Stanford Cardinals will be looking for another repeat performance like last year which saw them defeat the USC Trojans in the PAC-12 final by score of 41 to 22. With the return of running back Christian McCaffrey for another season the Cardinals should once again be favorites even with, speculation at the quarterback position. Likewise, the USC Trojans with a +450 to win the conference will be looking for another impressive season and hopefully, reach the final to avenge last year’s loss in the PAC-12 final. In addition, the Trojans will have to overcome a tough schedule which sees them play Alabama, Stanford, Washington and UCLA. Odds don’t seem to be in their favor.
The Washington Huskies and UCLA Bruins had relatively good seasons last year in the competitive PAC-12 and will look for more of the same in 2016. At odds of +350 to win the conference, the Huskies will look to improve on a 7-6 season through more big plays out of the defense. Essentially, the Huskies should be a team to beat in the 2016 season. Similarly, the Bruins at a +400 to win the conference will look to improve on an 8-5 season through quarterback Josh Rosen and a favourable schedule.
The Arizona Wildcats, the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers all have one thing in common for the 2016 season, a new defensive coordinator. With odds of +1600 to win the conference and a capable offense it will be up to the defense in order for the Wildcats to have a shot in the PAC-12 conference. On the other hand, the Oregon Ducks with a +500 odds to win the conference will look for an improvement on the defensive side through the hiring of Brady Hoke and in the end, the Ducks will look to give the Cardinals and Huskies a difficult time for the top spot in the north division. With the worst odds to win the PAC-12 conference at +12500 the Beavers will look to improve on a 2-10 season through changes to the quarterback position and the offensive and defensive coordinators.
The California Golden Bears and Colorado Buffaloes will have to adjust on the offensive side of the football through changes at the quarterback position. With Jared Goff leaving for the NFL, the Golden Bears are at a +2200 to win the conference will look for big performances on the offensive and defensive sides of the football to improve on an 8-5 season. At a +6600 to win the conference, the Buffaloes will be in tough again in 2016 with a non-favorable schedule and most importantly, a quarterback recovering from an foot injury.
Lastly, the Arizona State Sun Devils, the Utah Utes and finally, the Washington State Cougars will be looking to stay competitive in the PAC-12 conference this year. With a +2000 odds to win the conference, the Sun Devils will be looking to remove uncertainty at the quarterback position and replacing players at the wide receiver position. With a +1000 odds to win the conference, the Utes will be looking to get over 10 wins and improve on a 10-3 season in 2015. With a skillful defense the Utes will be looking to the offence to provide support to the defense who have been struggling of recent terms. Washington State odds to win at +6600, they have efficient depth throughout the teams lineup and additionally, should be one of the PAC-12 dark horses ready to emerge in 2016.