The computer modeling of the PAC-12 schedule and the vote of the conference media are in complete agreement of what the final standings will look like from top to bottom. In what looks to be the final season of the PAC-12 , USC appears to be the clear front-runner for the title in the "Conference Of Champions".
Other than Lindy's preseason publication, there is no reputable source we have found that doesn't buy into the Trojan hype, but has a red flag already been thrown?
USC opened in Week Zero with a ho-hum performance against San Jose State, failing to cover the spread, and performing equally bad on defense against the run and pass. The Trojans eventually pulled away for a 56-28 win, but gave up 24 first downs (just one less than the Trojans had), while surrendering 198 yards passing and 198 yards rushing.
On the one hand, you could say it doesn't look good for all of those USC predictions. However, the computer missed the spread by just 1.29 points, and the line only missed by 3-1/2.
Looks like the picks are nearly perfect, so far.
The other conference contenders are Washington, Utah and Oregon who all trail USC by fewer than 6 power points. That means any matchup between those four teams could have a projected spread less than 6 points before home field advantage is considered.
Among the top contenders, USC's schedule sets up more favorably with two of the other three coming to Los Angeles. The only road game is at Oregon in the penultimate game of the regular season and, by that time, Oregon's fate may have already been sealed as the Ducks have to travel to both Washington and Utah within a 3-game period in October.
Utah has to go on the road to face USC and Washington.
USC's odds at the conference are also buoyed by having Caleb Williams back at quarterback. The 2022 Heisman winner could become only the second player in history to repeat the feat. For those with no knowledge of college football, Ohio State running back Archie Griffin holds that distinction for an achievement that has stood alone since 1975. The 89th Heisman Trophy will be awarded on December 7.
By the way, the four teams left behind in the expansion mess are projected to finish 5th (Oregon State), 7th (Washington State), 8th (California) and last (Stanford).
Two historic rivalries could be in jeopardy of continuation, so it will be must-see TV when Oregon State goes to Oregon for the 127th un-Civil War and Washington State visits Washington in the 115th sour-Apple Cup on Thanksgiving Day weekend. You can bet right now that the fan bases of the Beavers and Cougars will be frothing at the mouth to send the Ducks and Huskies off to the B1G as losers, especially when those games will be played on the home field of the defectors.
|CHAMPIONSHIP: USC over Washington|
3 Teams tied at 6-3
- Oregon 1-0 vs. other 2. Beats Oregon State. Does not play UCLA
- Oregon State 1-1 vs. other 2. Loses to Oregon. Beats UCLA
- UCLA 0-1 vs. other 2. Loses at Oregon State. Does not play Oregon
2 Teams tied at 3-6. Cal and Arizona do not play each other
2 Teams tied at 1-8. Arizona beats Colorado