A Pac-12 team hasn't been a serious threat to win college football's national championship since Chip Kelly was roaming the sidelines at Oregon five years ago. That's not expected to change this season.
Washington, Utah, and Oregon have the best odds to win the College Football Playoffs out of the Pac-12, but all three teams come in at a distant 50-1. Washington has been given the highest win total in the Pac-12 at 9.5, with Utah (9) and Oregon (8.5) following.
While the Pac-12 isn't expected to produce a serious national title contender again this year, the conference is deep. Ten of the 12 teams enter the campaign with projected win totals of six-plus games.
The two Pac-12 teams with the lowest win totals are Colorado (four) and Oregon State (2.5). The Buffaloes are coming off a disappointing 5-7 season and Mel Tucker is their new head coach. However, Colorado has posted at least four wins in each of the last four seasons. Oregon State, meanwhile, is expected to be Pac-12 bottom-feeders again. The Beavers have failed to top two wins in three of the last four years.
Here's the complete list of projected Pac-12 win totals and some bets to consider:
Odds courtesy of the Westgate LV SuperBook
UCLA Over 6.5 (+110)
I expect UCLA to be one the nation's most improved teams after stumbling to a 3-9 record in Chip Kelly's first season as head coach.
The Bruins were young in 2018, with players adjusting to new offensive and defensive systems. But this year UCLA returns a conference-high 19 starters. While the defense struggled last season, the Bruins were much more competitive over the second half of the campaign, going 3-4 with two close losses to Arizona State and Stanford.
The defense must get better for UCLA to seriously contend for a Pac-12 title, but the offense will be one of the conference's best. Sophomore quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a perfect fit for Kelly's spread system. The Bruins averaged 25 points per game last season, and they scored over 30 in four of their final seven contests with Robinson and the departed Wilton Speight splitting time under center.
Kelly took over a declining program under Jim Mora, then lost more games during his first season with the Bruins (nine) than in four years at Oregon (seven).
UCLA will be much improved during Kelly's second year, and the Bruins are a dark horse to win the Pac-12 at 14-1.
Oregon State Under 2.5 (+140)
I typically don't go under a number this low. While Oregon State will be better in 2019 with 16 returning starters, the Beavers face a lot of ground to make up on the rest of the Pac-12. Oregon State was outscored by 20 points per game last year and needed a 31-3 comeback against Colorado to avoid going winless in conference play for the second straight season.
The Beavers will play a winnable home game against Cal Poly. Their other two non-conference contests are at Hawaii and against Oklahoma State, a game when Oregon State will be a big underdog. Even if they defeat Cal Poly, the Beavers will likely need two upsets in the Pac-12 to win three games.
The team has won two conference games in a season just once over the last four years. Last season, OSU was outgained by 178 yards in nine Pac-12 games while allowing over 40 points six times. Statistically, the program was even worse than its 2-10 record.
Oregon State is expected to be an underdog in 11 of its 12 games this season. It's going to be another long year in Corvallis. Don't be afraid to go under 2.5 wins.
California Over 5.5 (-130)
California went a surprising 7-6 last year thanks to its conference-leading defense that allowed 20 points and 344 yards per game. Expect more of the same this season, with the Golden Bears returning seven defensive starters.
Cal is being undervalued, but that often happens because of the Bears' style of play under head coach Justin Wilcox. This is a tough, hard-nosed team that isn't flashy, and teams like that typically don't resonate with the public. Cal's offense was downright painful to watch at times last year, but the Golden Bears' defense always kept them in games. The Bears gave up more than 24 points just three times in 2018.
Cal is an interesting team at 50-1 to win the Pac-12. Wilcox came from Wisconsin, so he brings a style not seen often in the Pac-12 outside of Stanford. The Bears play winnable non-conference games against UC Davis, North Texas, and Ole Miss. The offense won't dominate, but look for Cal to reach six wins and go bowling for the second straight year with one of the nation's top defenses leading the way.