The UCLA Bruins look to defend their Pac-12 South title in 2013 but they will have competition across town from USC and from both schools in the desert. I can see a scenario where any of those four schools could win the South. Colorado and Utah will continue to struggle but should be a little better.
Let’s move forward and take a look at the win totals for the six teams in the Pac-12 South.
Arizona 7.5 (-130 over/EVEN under) – Year two under Rich Rodriguez has Wildcats’ fans hoping for big things. RichRod must replace his QB and do something about a defense that gave up over 35 points per game last year. Heisman hopeful Ka’Deem Carey returns at running back which is great news. Arizona should be 3-0 with an easy non-conference schedule before playing at Washington and at USC. The ‘Cats also get UCLA and Oregon at home. I’m going to go with the over here.
Arizona State 7.5 (-155 over/+125 under) – Todd Graham and the Sun Devils enter 2013 having won their last three games. The defense is expected to be vastly improved while the offense will look for balance. The schedule is not exactly friendly however for ASU out of the gate. They host Big Ten Champ Wisconsin and play Notre Dame in Dallas and have to travel to LA to play UCLA in the Rose Bowl later in the season. My gut tells me this team can get to eight wins.
Colorado 3.5 (-115 over/-115 under) – The rebuilding Buffs under Mike MacIntyre will look to make the offense up tempo in an effort to earn some wins in Boulder. It won’t be easy. CU opens with three at home including rival Colorado State and Mountain West contender Fresno State. Colorado does get Oregon and USC at home, but has to go to Oregon State and UCLA. I just don’t see more than three wins this year.
UCLA 7 (+110 over/-140 under) – Jim Mora, Jr and the Bruins must replace running back Jonathan Franklin but do return QB Brett Hundley who threw for over 3,700 yards last year. The Bruins open with Nevada at home and then travel to Nebraska. 0-2 is not impossible here. The conference road slate is daunting. They must travel to Stanford and Oregon in back-to-back weeks and also play at Arizona and USC. The schedule alone is keeping me from liking the Bruins. Go with the under.
USC 9.5 (+105 over/-135 under) – Lane Kiffin and the Trojans lost their last three games to finish 7-6 last season. With Matt Barkley at QB, it was supposed to be a National Title contender. Barkley is gone but some still think this could be a surprise BCS team. There is obviously all kinds of talent on the roster but if Kiffin can’t get to the Pac-12 Title game he may be in trouble. The schedule is not difficult. The non-conference schedule is not difficult with a trip to Hawaii and home games against Boston College and Utah State. They also have Notre Dame, Arizona State and Oregon State on the road. Against my better judgment, I’m going with the over.
Utah 5.5 (+120 over/-150 under) – The Utes come off of a very disappointing 5-7 season under Kyle Whittingham. The quarterback situation last year was a mess at times so this year there should be more stability. They must improve both the passing and running game which ranked 100th and 93rd respectively in the country. The schedule does them no favors. They have road games at BYU, Arizona, USC and Oregon. I’m taking the under.