Offseason Analysis: 2012 Pac 12 NCAA Football Projections
The NHL is getting a lot of attention now, along with the NBA, college hoops and the beginning of the baseball season, but college football has also started in the Great northwest with spring practices. These four programs are looking ahead to the regular season, which kicks off in September.
The Ducks finished 12-2 last season, winning the Pac-12 with an 8-1 record and then they went on to beat Wisconsin 45-38 in a thoroughly entertaining Rose Bowl (it was the highest-scoring Rose Bowl ever).
A BetOnline.com review of the early odds would also show that the Ducks are one of the national-title favorites two years removed from losing to Auburn in the BCS championship game, but they have some questions, notably, who is going to replace quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James?
Those two were the lynchpins of Oregon’s high-paced offense and their replacements will have big shoes to fill.
They were an all-around bad team, coming in 89th in points allowed and 100th in points scored, which is a recipe for disaster. Sean Mannion is back after an inconsistent freshman year, but he lost receiver James Rodgers.
There are a lot of returning defensive players, led by safety Anthony Watkins, but he is coming off shoulder surgery and there are questions at the corners.
While many March Madness betting players were still following the Huskies’ hoops team even though they didn’t make to the big dance, the football team was reloading after a 7-6 season that saw them go 5-4 in the Pac-12 and lose 67-56 to Baylor (who were led by Heisman-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III) in the highest-scoring bowl game ever.
Running back Chris Polk has moved on as we all know but STUD quarterback Keith Price is back. The Huskies have to find more consistency on the offensive end, where they sputtered down the stretch of the regular season.
The Cougars made the biggest move of the offseason, hiring Mike Leach after a 4-8 season which included a 2-7 mark in the Pac-12.
Leach is known for his high-powered offense at Texas Tech, leaving under controversial circumstances, but the Cougars had to take a chance to turn things around.
Washington State doesn’t have much in the way of talent, outside of receiver Marquess Wilson, and it’ll take time to implement Leach’s system.
The defense may be in worse shape than the offense, so it’ll be a year or two before the Cougars are a real consideration for sport betting sharps.