It’s the first week for the Pac-12 as the college football season arrives int November. The Pac-12’s seven-game season is the latest weird and unprecedented development in a season unlike any other. Multiple Pac-12 openers are worth looking at, but there are two really huge games that take precedence over everything. Those games lead the list of the biggest games of Week 10 in college football. Let’s take a look at the online betting lines for those.
Clemson Tigers at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
College Football Odds: Clemson -6
The game everyone has been waiting for will be played without the highest NFL draft pick on either roster. Trevor Lawrence is expected to be a top-two pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, probably No. 1 but possibly No. 1 behind Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. He is out of this game at Notre Dame due to testing positive for Covid-19. In his place is elite quarterback recruit D.J. Uiagalelei, who is expected to be a great college quarterback, but whose learning curve as a freshman has been steep. Uiagalelei was thrown into the fire this past weekend against Boston College. He struggled in the first half before reducing mistakes in the second half. Uiagalelei has A-grade arm strength and all the physical talent a quarterback could hope to have, but he is inexperienced and figures to make mistakes. The fear that he will make big mistakes against Notre Dame’s strong defense — led by a tough front four — is real. It’s a great reason to think Notre Dame will win the game outright. However, Uiagalelei is playing in front of a tiny crowd, as opposed to the 81,000. which would have attended the game had there not been a pandemic. The reduced crowd will create a more comfortable environment for Uiagalelei, which might be enough for Clemson to win. If Uiagalelei doesn’t commit big mistakes, the focus will shift to Clemson’s erratic defense (especially in the secondary) against a Notre Dame passing game that has been inconsistent but was brilliant in a recent blowout of Pittsburgh. Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book — not Uiagalelei — might be the more important quarterback in this game.
Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Sportsbook Odds: Georgia -3.5
This is Florida’s big chance to beat archrival Georgia and change the equation in the SEC East. Georgia has won the last three SEC East titles, due to winning this game. The reason Florida has more hope is quarterback Kyle Trask has developed into a top-flight passer. Trask is clearly better as a quarterback than his Georgia counterpart, Stetson Bennett. If Florida can get into a shootout, it is well-positioned to win and cross an important threshold under coach Dan Mullen. However, the Georgia defense will have something to say about this. Florida has handled opposing defenses from Missouri, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss, but none of those defenses are anywhere close to Georgia’s level. Georgia is extremely physical and nasty. The Bulldogs were outclassed by Alabama’s offense, but Alabama’s offense exists on another level, a few notches higher than Florida’s attack. Georgia still has ample reason to think that it can once again bottle up the Gators’ passing game. If it can, it’s going to be the same song all over again, with Georgia winning the game called the Cocktail Party.
Arizona State Sun Devils at USC Trojans
Odds: USC -10
When Arizona State and USC play the occasion will be marked by a lot of uncertainty, since this is the season opener for both teams after a long and weird offseason. That alone puts a lot of question marks into this game. However, what is more, difficult to process about — in terms of making any finite or confident projection – is that the contest will start in Los Angeles at 9 a.m. local time. The Pac-12 wanted this game to be a morning game so that it could get on FOX television and hopefully haul in big television ratings. This means the athletes on each team will have their pregame meal around 4:30 or 5 a.m. That’s crazy. This game could spin in so many different directions, just because this game preparation situation is entirely unprecedented. If one had to evaluate the teams, though, USC and Arizona State both have great quarterbacks – Kedon Slovis for USC and Jayden Daniels for ASU – who should get into a shootout. Arizona State should be able to score consistently enough to keep the game close, but if it gets into a “who-has-the-ball-last?” scenario, Slovis is the better quarterback. USC will want to avoid a bad start; if it does, it should be able to gain the upper hand in the fourth quarter of what promises to be a close game.
Michigan Wolverines at Indiana Hoosiers
Odds: Michigan -3.5
The Jim Harbaugh story endured another nightmarish chapter this past Saturday, losing as a 23-point home favorite to Michigan State. Michigan could either be depressed and miserable heading into Indiana, or the Wolverines could snap back into focus and eagerly take the field, delivering a sharp performance that gets the season back on track. It’s hard to know which way that dynamic will go, especially since Indiana is 2-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1991. However, Michigan has historically dominated Indiana. The Hoosiers sometimes put up a good fight, but Michigan regularly figures out how to win games between the schools. The burden of proof is more on Indiana.
Stanford Cardinal at Oregon Ducks
Odds: Oregon -11
The Pac-12 opener between these teams features new starting quarterbacks. Davis Mills has started games before for Stanford, but K.J. Costello (now with Mississippi State) had been the man usually running the show for the Cardinal. He had dealt with injuries and other hardships. Mills enters knowing he is the unquestioned leader of the Stanford offense. Oregon quarterback Tyler Shough is replacing Justin Herbert, who everyone can see is a dynamic NFL quarterback with the Los Angeles Chargers. There are uncertainties surrounding the quarterbacks, which could make this game become quite volatile, but Oregon has brought in a top-five recruiting class and — despite losses on the offensive line, such as standout offensive tackle Penei Sewell – has more than enough quality depth and overall defensive prowess to shut down Stanford’s offense and win comfortably at home.
Washington Huskies at California Golden Bears
Odds: California -1.5
The Washington Huskies have failed to score multiple touchdowns against Cal each of the last two seasons, tallying only one in each of the last two meetings. California head coach Justin Wilcox has figured out how to contain the Huskies’ offense and with veteran quarterback Chase Garbers leading a solid if not spectacular Golden Bear offense, California has the weapons and the know-how to beat Washington for a third straight time.