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NCAA Futures - The PAC-10 (Top 4)

7-01-09

NCAA Football Futures Betting
A QUICK LOOK AT THE PAC-10 (Top 4)

As expected, USC again comes in as a heavy favorite in the PAC-10 with their ability to constantly grab the most sought after recruits from around the country. This year may be a little more challenging as they are replacing some key losses and the experience of Cal and Oregon may make things difficult for the Trojans this coming season.

NCAA Football Picks
To Win Pacific 10 Conference

Arizona +3000
Arizona State +2000
California +500
Oregon +500
Oregon State +1000
Stanford +3300
UCLA +1000
Southern Cal -375
Washington +7500
Washington State +10000

SOUTHERN CAL (-375 at BetUS) is listed as a rather prohibitive favorite, but don't lose sight of the fact that it only takes one conference loss to put a whole season in doubt. If you recall, the Trojans went to Corvallis last year and lost to an Oregon State team that had no business winning. Now they have to break in a new quarterback after Mark Sanchez bolted for the NFL. It's a good thing for them that they are well-stocked in this respect. Aaron Corp has the lead in the QB race, and all indications are that he can get the job done. If he can't, there's a fabulous frosh on board, as Matt Barkley was impressive in the spring. Veteran Mitch Mustain, the Arkansas transfer, is held in high regard by some NFL scouts, but he has been going through some academic issues. All five starters return from the offensive line, as do running backs C.J. Gable, Stafon Johnson and Joe McKnight. Patrick Turner is the only receiver of consequence who was lost. Last season USC's defense allowed ten points or less on ten different occasions. They have lost nine starters from that defense, so some rebuilding is in order. With the recruiting prowess of Pete Carroll and staff, they are always going to have great athletes to step in. Keep a close eye in Chris Galippo, who assumes the middle linebacker role after Rey Mauluga's departure and was one of the best high school players in the country. In the end, they may be easier to run on than last year, since the defensive line is very inexperienced, and there is a new coordinator in Rocky Seto, but this Trojan team is indeed the class of the conference and should be a prime contender for the national title.

CALIFORNIA (+500 at BetUS) has Kevin Riley at quarterback, which isn't all bad but doesn't offer a lot of downfield explosiveness. Riley had 14 TD passes and six interceptions last season, but he needs more accuracy, having completed less than 51% of his throws. There was some balance in the receiving corps but no one, aside from Verran Tucker, who could possibly scare enemy defensive coordinators. To a large degree, this offense will be dependent upon running back Jahvid Best, who scampered for 1580 yards last year (averaging an incredible 8.1 per carry) and is a prime Heisman contender. His running mate, Shane Vereen, isn't so bad either. Expect improvement on the defensive side, as Cal brings back eight starters. One of them is a true playmaker in the secondary, All-America candidate Syd'Quan Thompson. Best may indeed BE the best, but there is only so much he can do; the defense will keep this team in the hunt for a good bowl game, but Riley's development (or lack thereof) could hold this team back. They’re not strong enough to overtake USC.

OREGON (+500 at BetUS) will have a new coach this season, as Chip Kelly, the offensive coordinator, takes the place of the retired Mike Bellotti. The Ducks lost top running back Jeremiah Johnson but should still be able to run it down a lot of people's throats. LeGarrette Blount, the other 1000-yard rusher, is back, and quarterback Jeremiah Masoli truly gives the spread offense a double threat. Center Max Unger and tackle Fenuki Tupou, both drafted by the NFL, must be replaced on the offensive line, and that could be an ongoing project. The defense was stingy against the run (3.1 ypc allowed), but sieve-like against the pass, and that is how they allowed over 28 points a game. Now with six starters lost, they face a process of rebuilding, and they have to do it without Nick Reed, who was their big pass rusher. The good news is that they get to play Cal, USC and Oregon State at home.

OREGON STATE (+1000 at BetUS) was good enough to beat USC, California, Arizona and Arizona State last season, not to mention Pitt in a dreary Sun Bowl. Jacquizz Rodgers (1253 yards) is one of the top running backs in the country, his brother James is a dual rushing and pass catching threat, and Lyle Moevao (19 TD's, 2534 passing yards) did better than expected at quarterback. Some good wideouts have to be found. The Beavers' defense, which allowed only 3.8 yards a rush and 51.7% completions, loses eight starters and they have to replace the entire secondary, as well as both players at the defensive end spots. It should be smoother sailing for the more proficient passing teams, and OSU has its toughest Pac-10 games on the road. How much magic can coach Mike Riley really work

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