It is unlikely that the Pac-12 will be represented in the College Football Playoff, but there are still important games to play toward crowning a conference champion. Both division titles remain up for grabs with the Week 8 schedule providing plenty of sport betting opportunities. A pair of crossover contests – No. 10 Oregon at UCLA and Utah at Oregon State – feature North and South contenders clashing. And there is also one of the most iconic rivalries in college football on this week’s slate: USC-Notre Dame.
Washington Huskies at Arizona Wildcats
Odds: Washington – 18 (45)
Prediction: Washington 42-14
Washington (2-4) and Arizona (0-6) get a head-start on their conference brethren with a Friday night game in the desert. The Huskies are in danger of enduring their first losing season since 2009, but it seems a free square has shown up on the schedule. Washington suffered its second loss in a row, 24-17 against UCLA last week. The situation is much more bleak for the Wildcats. They have lost 18 straight after a 34-0 verdict at Colorado and are expected to be heavy underdogs for the rest of the season. The Huskies have piled up 179 points in winning the last four meetings. This could turn out to be one of the easiest college football lines to cover all week.
USC Trojans at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Odds: Notre Dame -7 (57½)
Prediction: Notre Dame 27-17
World War II and the COVID-19 pandemic were the only obstacles in the USC-Notre Dame rivalry that began in 1926 and has been renewed every year except 1943-45 and 2020. The No. 13 Fighting Irish lead the series 49-37-5 after taking the last three meetings, and have claimed seven of 10 since the Trojans uncorked an eight-game win streak from 2002-09. Notre Dame (5-1) must win out to keep its slim CFP hopes alive. USC (3-3) is fighting to stay above water as it has alternated wins and losses all season. This one could be a shootout highlighted by Trojans junior wide receiver Drake London, who has 64 receptions for 835 yards and five touchdown. The Irish may try a different approach with a battering ram in sophomore running back Kyren Williams. And it looks like Notre Dame will have another offensive threat back on the field as coach Brian Kelly told reporters that sophomore tight end Michael Mayer is ready to play after missing a game because of a hip injury.
Oregon Ducks at UCLA Bruins
Odds: UCLA -2½ (59½)
Prediction: UCLA 34-31
It is unusual for a ranked team to be an underdog in the college football odds, but that’s the case with No. 10 Oregon (5-1) as it takes a trip to the Rose Bowl to face UCLA (5-2). This is a possible Pac-12 title game preview. The Ducks share the North lead while the Bruins are one-half game off the pace in the South. Oregon has won eight of the last nine meetings, with UCLA prevailing at home in 2017. The Ducks continue to play without star injured players on both sides of the ball, including junior safety Bennett Williams and junior running back CJ Verdell. The Bruins are led by senior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and his 18 total touchdowns. Thompson-Robinson tossed two TD passes and ran for another in a 24-17 triumph at Washington last week. Oregon, meanwhile, survived California 24-17 with senior quarterback Anthony Brown accounting for two scores.
Utah Utes at Oregon State Beavers
Odds: Utah -3 (56½)
Prediction: Oregon State 31-27
Here’s another potential Pac-12 title game preview. Utah (4-2) is the only undefeated team in conference play as it leads the South Division. Oregon State (4-2) has one Pac-12 loss and is tied with rival Oregon atop the North. The Utes boast a three-game win streak after throttling then-No. 18 Arizona State 35-21 last week. Sophomore quarterback Cameron Rising survived his first two interceptions of the season by throwing for two touchdowns and running for another. Oregon State had a four-game win streak – its longest since 2013 – snapped in a 31-24 setback at Washington State. Beavers junior running back B.J. Baylor leads the Pac-12 with 113 rushing yards per game and shares the conference lead with nine TDs on the ground. Utah has won five straight meetings to even the series 11-11-1, but this could prove to be one of the toughest college football picks of the week.
BYU Cougars at Washington State Cougars
Odds: BYU -4½ (55½)
Prediction: BYU 24-13
The outlook for this meeting of the Cougars changed dramatically Monday when Washington State coach Nick Rolovich and four of his assistants were fired for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. This will certainly add another challenge to Washington State’s plate as it contends for its first Pac-12 crown since 2002. Washington State (4-3) has won three straight behind quarterback Jayden de Laura. The sophomore has a conference-best 15 touchdown passes after tossing three in a 34-31 win over Stanford last week. BYU (5-2) was ranked as high as 10th with thoughts of perhaps crashing the CFP party before losing to Boise State and at Baylor. BYU sophomore running back Tyler Allgeier has rushed for nine touchdowns. For those who bet online, this one could be hard to decipher.
Colorado Buffaloes at California Golden Bears
Odds: California -9 (43)
Prediction: California 21-10
Colorado (2-4) and California (1-5) are a pair of teams trying to find their way. Colorado snapped a four-game slide by sending Arizona to its 18th straight loss, 34-0 last week. Buffaloes freshman wide receiver Brenden Rice, son of Hall of Famer Jerry, caught a 62-yard pass for his first touchdown of the season and third of his career. The Golden Bears gave No. 10 Oregon all it could handle in a 24-17 road loss. California has won four of the six meetings since Colorado joined the Pac-12 in 2010.