Since the conference has been known as the Pac-12 (2011), the USC Trojans have played in the title game twice and won once. But if you include the Pac-10 days, no one has come close to winning the conference championship more than them (39 times; Washington and UCLA are second with 17).
After their last conference win in 2017, the Trojans slipped to 4-5 in conference play the next year but then went 7-2 last year. With much of a great offense coming back, fans are excited for what the future could bring for the team this year.
According to the oddsmakers at WilliamHill.com, it could be an excellent season for USC fans:
2020/21 Pac 12 Conference Championship Game Winner
- USC Trojans, Oregon Ducks +220
- Washington Huskies +400
- Utah Utes +650
- Arizona State Sun Devils +1000
- Washington State Cougars +1800
- UCLA Bruins, California Golden Bears, Stanford Cardinal +2500
- Arizona Wildcats +3000
- Colorado Buffaloes, Oregon State Beavers +10000
On the offensive side of the ball, the Trojans look to be in great shape. If they can click from the start, they could run the table. Defensively, they were not great last year, and it is hard to get excited about their prospects this year with Todd Orlando in charge.
Their stiffest competition is expected to come from Oregon. However, while the Ducks have a great defense coming back, they have a lot of work to do on their offense. With only six regular-season games, they can’t afford to get off to a slow start and lose one to Stanford or Washington State.
Hopes are high for the Washington Huskies this season. But they will have a few additional challenges to deal with than other Pac-12 teams—like a new head coach, defensive coordinator, and offensive coordinator. With only a handful of starters back on offense, the unit will essentially have to be rebuilt.
Utah had a great shot at winning their first conference title last season only to see the Oregon Ducks win instead. Longtime head coach Kyle Whittingham should have another great team this season. But with lots of holes on both sides of the ball, it is hard to know just how good they may be—yet.
Beyond the top four, a lot has to right for anyone else to become a contender. Herm Edwards will have a good team at Arizona State, but it hard to say whether it will be good enough until they take the field. It isn’t clear how Washington State is going to look with Mike Leach now in the SEC.
Chip Kelly doesn’t seem to have his mojo anymore. Cal could be competitive if Chase Garber can remain healthy. Health will factor into how Stanford fares this season as well.
It is easy to say who you absolutely should not bet on—Colorado, Oregon State, Arizona, Stanford, and UCLA. Washington State, Cal, and Arizona State are longshots at best, as is Utah. Keep an eye on the Huskies, but the best bet right now appears to be USC.