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Pac 12 Betting - 2011 Pac 12 College Football Preview

Posted by Blake Frazier on 9/2/2011 5:47:23 PM
pac 12 betting

The Pac-10 is now the Pac-12, and along with its new name and configuration, the conference took decisive steps over the past calendar year to enhance its football product and broaden its national appeal. Long viewed as a West Coast entity that few in the East would even bother staying awake to watch, the Pac-12 enters 2011 with much to offer to the nation. Conference play will now unfold within a divisional format, and the league will stage its first championship game. The conference title game will be the first of the BCS conference title games to be played on a Friday, which will gain eyeballs for the league and increase its national profile. With a national media rights deal that will put the league on prime time television in the Eastern time zone beginning in 2012, the future of the Pac-12 is very bright under the leadership of commissioner Larry Scott, who has shown himself to be the most forward-thinking man in his profession. Even MLB baseball betting specialists on the West Coast are probably aware of the things Scott is doing to revamp what was formerly known as the Pac-10 Conference.

The Pac-12 North Division is clearly the strength of the league, a claim that sports betting analysts would not dispute at all. The winner of this division should be the prohibitive favorite in the conference championship game. Oregon returns much of the offensive firepower that fueled its BCS National Championship Game run last season. While the Ducks’ defense will need time to replace some pieces at certain spots, running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas form a dangerous duo that should provide plenty of cover for the defense. Stanford lost head coach Jim Harbaugh to the NFL, but it returns the most NFL-ready quarterback since Peyton Manning in junior Andrew Luck. The Ducks’ trip to Palo Alto should be a de facto Pac-12 North championship game and could feature two unbeaten teams. Cal, Washington, and Washington State should be improved in 2011, but it’s hard to envision any of them being improved to the point of challenging the depth and athleticism Stanford and Oregon will possess this season. Oregon State will have to replace the playmaking Rodgers brothers (Jacquizz and James) that were such a vital part of the offense, and could be in danger of missing the postseason again. However, Mike Riley remains one of the nation’s best coaches and has done more with less before.

The South Division will be as wide open as any division in any of the BCS conferences. With USC still disqualified from postseason play, the division title is open to any of the division’s other five teams. Arizona has steadily improved every year under Mike Stoops, and if quarterback Nick Foles can generate enough offense, the Wildcats can always rely on a nasty Stoops-led defense for support. Utah has been one of the nation’s darlings for its ability to beat up on the nation’s elite and now will have a chance to become one of them. Transitioning to a pro-style offense under offensive coordinator Norm Chow, the Utes have always played good enough defense to contend, but will need more consistent play at quarterback if they hope to get an early jump on the South Division. Colorado will be in rebuilding mode under new head coach Jon Embree, and UCLA has simply never gotten any traction under Rick Neuheisel and his new affinity for the pistol offense; therefore, it is difficult to see either of those two teams winning the South. Arizona State has flatlined under Dennis Erickson and after missing the postseason last year, the Sun Devils will need a senior-laden team to improve dramatically. Nothing less than a quantum leap will be needed in order for ASU to compete with Utah or Arizona.

Ultimately, as much as you might want to pick Arizona, your most logical sports bet is to take Utah in the Pac-12 South. Oregon and Stanford will wage a classic battle in the North, but the Cardinal have home field and should therefore prevail. Stanford will beat Utah for the first Pac-12 title.

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