To call the Pac-12 season wacky would be an understatement. Between the long wait until games finally got underway, multiple cancelations due to Covid-19, and early season upsets, it’s already been a wild ride. Oregon being atop the North division after two games comes as no surprise. However, Colorado is astoundingly tied with USC for first place in the Pac-12 South. Most experts picked Colorado to finish last but it has as good of a chance as any team to win the division with the shortened season. Unfortunately, this Saturday’s Buffaloes game vs Arizona State has already been canceled due to an outbreak in the Arizona State program. Given the way things have gone, other cancelations are certainly possible. But, let’s take a look at some of the online betting lines for this week’s scheduled Pac-12 games.
California at Oregon State
Sportsbook Odds: Cal -4
Both teams are looking for their first win. Cal’s scheduled opener was canceled. The Bears also had multiple players miss their game this past weekend because they had to quarantine after coming into contact with an infected individual. It’s a disappointing development for a Cal team that had high hopes. The Pac-12 improvised the schedule last weekend and Cal, who was originally scheduled to take on Arizona State, traveled south to play UCLA instead. Cal struggled mightily on both sides of the ball, as the Bears only managed 176 yards and was crushed 34-10 by UCLA.
Oregon State lost by 10 to Washington State in its opener after coming in as 3½-point favorites. Last weekend, the Beavers lost 27-21 to Washington in a game that wasn’t as close as the score suggests. Cal QB Chase Garbers will look to bounce back from a rough day vs UCLA. He only completed 18-of-33 passes for 122 yards and an interception. Cal went 7-0 last season in games Garber started and finished and the Bears desperately need to win this one.
Arizona at Washington
Odds: Washington -11½
Arizona saw its opening game with Utah get canceled, then nearly upset No. 20 USC on Saturday. Arizona QB Grant Gunnell opened the game with an interception on the Wildcats’first drive, which USC immediately turned into a 7-0 lead. As USC came into the game as 15-point favorites, it looked like this one could get ugly quickly. Instead, Arizona bounced back with a touchdown on their next drive and played an excellent game. The Wildcats took the lead with under two minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but USC scored a quick touchdown to complete another comeback victory. Gunnell finished with three TD passes and RB Gary Brightwell ran for 112 yards in the 34-30 loss.
Washington’s opener with Cal was canceled and the Huskies defeated Oregon State in their amended opener, 27-21. Redshirt Freshman QB Dylan Morris got the start for the Huskies and there’ll certainly be growing pains for the passing game. But, Washington rushed for 267 yards against a porous Oregon State defense. Arizona should have plenty of positive takeaways from their opener against USC, and will be confident of competing with anybody in the Pac-12. Arizona’s defense struggled against USC’s excellent passing offense, spearheaded by QB Kedon Slovis and WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, but Washington doesn’t present as much of a threat. Still, the Huskies are a solid football team who are Pac-12 North hopefuls.
No. 20 USC at Utah
Odds: USC -3
USC has been down in the fourth quarter in both games it has played and managed two wins. This week, the Trojans will be facing off against a team that has yet to play. Utah won the Pac-12 South last season, but this figures to be a rebuilding year. Plus, there are still questions about the Utes’ Covid situation which could put this game in jeopardy. If it doesn’t improve, there are whispers that the Trojans could face Colorado this weekend instead, which would set up a game between 2-0 teams. Currently, USC is preparing for Utah and, as always, the Trojans will rely on Slovis and Amon-Ra St. Brown to propel their offense. Brown has reached the 100-receiving yard threshold in both games and Slovis has averaged over 350 passing yards per game.
The Trojans will need to improve defensively if they’re going to compete for a Pac-12 title and thankfully they’re playing a team who is replacing their three-year starting quarterback and its running back. It’ll be interesting to see how the Utes perform after such a long wait and with an inexperienced team. They’ll always be well-coached, as Kyle Whittingham boasts a 131-64 record, but their talent level has definitely taken a hit. Whittingham has announced that he knows who’ll be the starter at QB, but it likely won’t be public until game-day. Either way, USC should be confident heading into this one.
Washington State at Stanford
College Football Odds: Stanford -2½
Last year was an unusually poor season for the Stanford Cardinal. They finished the season 4-8 and went 3-6 in the Pac-12. It’s been a disappointing start to 2020 as well, as Stanford dropped its opener to Oregon and lost to Colorado for the second straight season. Through two games the Cardinal have allowed 35 points per game and 464 yards per game.
Washington State has fared worse defensively. Its defense has allowed 516 yards per game, which ranks eighth to last in the NCAA, and Oregon put 43 points on the Cougar. WSU freshman QB Jayden de Laura showed signs of improvement in his second college game and threw two touchdown passes against Oregon. RB Deon McIntosh has been electric, averaging 7 yards per carry, which ranks 12th in the FBS. Washington State’s offense could cause problems for the Cardinal, but Stanford will remain hopeful of picking up its crucial first win.
UCLA at No. 11 Oregon
Odds: Oregon -14
The Bruins put their opening week defensive woes behind them as they held Cal to 10 points en route to a 34-10 blowout victory. UCLA picked up its first win after a 48-42 loss to Colorado in its opener and it’s the first time the Bruins have reached .500 under Chip Kelly. The offense has been humming as the Bruins have averaged 38 points per game. However, they’ll face off against an Oregon team that has been spectacular.
The Ducks lead the FBS in yards per play, with 8.1 and they’ve scored 39 points per game in their first two games. Sophomore QB Tyler Shough had an excellent game against Washington State last weekend, as he threw four touchdown passes. He’s also Oregon’s second-leading rusher and has averaged 83 yards per game on the ground. He’s filling the huge void left by Justin Herbert, admirably. UCLA will have its hands full trying to stop him and RB CJ Verdell, who has totaled over 100 yards in both of Oregon’s games.
Arizona State at Colorado: Canceled