By Nick Pellegrino
For those of us who lived or worked in Las Vegas, we inherently know that the preseason predictions by the media possess absolutely no correlation with the odds placed on any of the teams.
Sure, Alabama was selected as the best team in the ACC West by both the media and the bookmakers, but what about the remaining six schools. Do you really know the difference between Ole Miss and Mississippi State?
This brings us to the Pacific-12 Conference, which announced it will return to a fall football schedule, starting Saturday, Nov. 7 with a 7-game schedule. Each school will play the five remaining clubs in their respective division, one game with a program from the other division to account for the first six games.
Following Week 1, there will be at least one Friday night contest (the road team must play at home the previous week), including three Rivalry Week featuring rivalry matchups in the North Division; over the Thanksgiving holiday.
The season will be capped with the Pac-12 Championship on Friday, Dec. 18. The remaining 10 schools will play a North-South “position round”(the second-place teams meet, third-vs. third, etc.) to conclude the regular season on Saturday, Dec. 19. There will be no on-conference contests until the bowls and the national championship series.
All times are to be determined depending on the game site and television. All games will be shown on either ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FS1, and other others.
Here is the complete Pac-12 schedule:
The consensus odds at the top of the Pac-12 list match the media rankings — they usually do — but the value can be found elsewhere.
– Oregon +200
– USC +200
– Washington +500
– Utah +700
– Arizona State +1000
– Washington State +1600
– UCLA +2500
– Arizona +5000
– California +5000
– Stanford +5000
– Colorado +10000
– Oregon State +10000
One example: the Arizona schools have been practicing for five weeks and can start tomorrow if they needed to. Meanwhile, the California schools just strapped on the shoulder pads on Wednesday, leaving them far behind.
Another problem can be found at Stanford. The Cardinal will not be allowed to practice on campus — for that matter, in all of Santa Clara County, too — so must bus some 20 minutes each way to a high school field. Meanwhile, the Stanford opener is against North Division favorite Oregon, a club that has been practicing for several weeks.
Oregon State and USC are co-favorites to claim the Pac-12 championship game at +200 each. If you prefer “Implied Probability,” each program owns a 33.3% chance of taking the top prize, while the balance of the conference owns a combined one-third chance at the title. Thus, don’t expect any school in double-digits to truly compete for the crown.
Meanwhile, California gets to end its season at Washington State; what will the weather be like in the Palouse region of the Pacific Northwest? The liberal Stanford administrator is hoping Global Warming is real.
The Pac-12 will be celebrating its 10th football title game after the inclusion of Colorado and Utah as member schools, its first expansion since the Arizona schools joined in the mid-1970s.
Following six seasons at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, the Pac-12 title game, the conference has changed the venue to brand-new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, which is the new home of the NFL Las Vegas Raiders