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USC Favored to Win Pac-12 Behind Arm of Sam Darnold

June 29, 2017

At the start of last season, things did not look too promising for the USC Trojans football program. The Trojans started the season 1-2 including being manhandled by Alabama.

Following the team’s poor start, Clay Helton the head coach decided to shake up his offense and start freshman quarterback Sam Darnold. The young star turned the team’s season around.

Darnold went on to finish 9-1 as the starter throwing 31 touchdown passes and just 9 interceptions.

Entering the 2017 season, expectations are high for both Darnold and the Trojans. Odds makers have made USC the odds on favorite to win the Pac-12 with 6 to 5 odds and Darnold is one of the top five preseason favorites to win the coveted Heisman Trophy.

Although Darnold and Ronald Jones the Trojans star running back have returned, the team must find a new top wideout and replace three members of its offensive line.

The Washington Huskies led by returning signal caller Jake Browning have the Pac-12s second shortest odds to win the conference at 11 to 4. Browning put up excellent numbers under center last season. However, most of last year’s top defensive players for the Huskies were lost to the NFL draft.

The remainder of the Pac-12 consists of big question marks. At UCLA the question is if quarterback Josh Rosen is healthy or good enough to carry the Bruins to the title.

At Washington State, Luke Falk is an excellent quarterback, but two of his top three receivers left.

Colorado should once again be competitive but still lacks the players to be an elite team in the conference.

Stanford is an unknown due to its conundrum at the quarterback position, while the Oregon offense likely will put up big numbers but the defense may allow the same or more.

Other teams such as Utah, Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon State and Cal are a big step below the rest of the conference even though each one could play spoiler as the season wears on.

2017 Pac-12 Championship Odds

USC 6 to 5

Washington 11 to 4

Stanford 9 to 1

UCLA 12 to 1

Oregon 12 to 1

Washington State 12 to 1

Utah 16 to 1

Colorado 20 to 1

Arizona State 50 to 1

Arizona 80 to 1

California 80 to 1

Oregon State 80 to 1

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