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Expert Picks: 2013 Pac-12 over/under win totals

By Chris Huston | College Football Writer

Kevin Hogan will lead Stanford to at least 10 wins. (USATSI)
Kevin Hogan will lead Stanford to at least 10 wins. (USATSI)

Media days will begin in the next few weeks, kicking off the 2013 college football preseason. With 5Dimes releasing early over/under win totals last week, the Eye On College Football has decided to break down the wager for each major conference team. Remember, as always, this advice is for entertainment purposes only.

NOTE: The over/under totals listed by 5Dimes does not include any potential conference championship or bowl games. The number is for the 2013 regular season only.

South Division

USC, 10.5

Over (+165)/Under (-215)

The total for the Trojans seems a bit high at first glance, but keep in mind that the addition of Hawaii to the schedule gives USC 13 regular-season games. With the offense breaking in a new quarterback to replace Matt Barkley and the defense switching over to a 5-2 alignment, it seems like a tall order for the Trojans to hit the over, especially with tough road games against Notre Dame, Arizona State and Oregon State on the docket. Also, USC under Lane Kiffin seems to blow one game it should win every year. The good news? No Oregon on the schedule. Still, this is a program that remains under the weight of NCAA sanctions with a coach on the hot seat -- not a good combination for a successful season. VERDICT: Under

Arizona State, 9.5

Over (+200)/Under (-280)

ASU is an intriguing team that should challenge for the Pac-12 South title after coming off a better-than-expected 8-5 record in Todd Graham's first season. However, this win total looks like it will be tough to surpass. The out-of-conference slate is a bear, with Notre Dame scheduled in Arlington and Wisconsin in Tempe. In conference, the Sun Devils have tough challenges on the road at Stanford and UCLA. ASU has a lot of experience returning on both sides of the ball, but it will need to pull off an upset or two to get beyond this total. VERDICT: Under

UCLA, 8.5

Over (+180)/Under (-260)

UCLA has the aura of a team on the rise in the Pac-12 after winning nine games, beating USC and capturing the Pac-12 South last season. While an early-season matchup with Nebraska in Lincoln looms as an early stumbling block, there is a decent chance the Bruins start out the season 5-0, which would make this total well within reach. The key will be if UCLA can weather a brutal stretch of three road games in four weeks in late October/early November that includes back-to-back road match ups with Stanford and Oregon. The Bruins have plenty of firepower on offense but the secondary is a huge question mark. If UCLA can find some answers in that unit, it should once again win the South. VERDICT: Over

Arizona, 7.5

Over (-120)/Under (-120)

Rich Rodriguez stepped into a good situation in his first season at Arizona as senior quarterback Matt Scott was a perfect fit for his offensive system. The Wildcats overperformed expectations and went 8-5. But Scott is gone now and Rodriguez must find a new quarterback to make his offense go. Luckily, the Wildcats start out with a soft slate, with games against Northern Arizona, UNLV and Texas-San Antonio, plus two byes before the meat of the schedule hits. Arizona will need to pull off a road win at either Washington, USC or California to have a chance at this total. With the uncertainty at quarterback and the loss of all-star receiver Austin Hill to a knee injury, it looks like a tall task. VERDICT: Under

Utah, 5.5

Over (+145)/Under (-185)

The Utes are coming off their first losing season since 2002. The quarterback situation is settled with sophomore Travis Wilson, but a replacement must be found for stud defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. The Utes have a favorable early-season slate, with five of their first six at home. If Utah can win three of those five and then take care of Washington State and Arizona on the road, a bowl game should be in the offing. Much will depend on the development of Wilson, who has the potential to be a star in the Pac-12. VERDICT: Over

Colorado, 3.5

Over (-160)/Under (+120)

The good news for Colorado is that the worst is probably over. Jon Embree is gone and Mike MacIntyre is a proven turn-around artist who should get the program back on the right track. He's got enough talent at his disposal to surpass this total, but much will depend on the team's psyche coming off a 1-11 disaster. The Buffaloes have a chance to get three wins right off the bat, with Colorado State, Central Arkansas and Fresno State to start the season. At that point, Colorado might actually start believing in itself and steal a win or two the rest of the way. VERDICT: Over

North Division

Oregon, 10.5

Over (-190)/Under (+150)

Chip Kelly is gone but the offensive system he used to terrorize the Pac-12 remains in place under his succesor, Mark Helfrich. The non-conference schedule should not pose a challenge, with Nicholls State and Tennessee coming to Autzen and the Ducks traveling to Virginia. Indeed, Oregon should be 7-0 heading into a late October home game with UCLA and there is a convenient bye week before the grudge match at Stanford on Nov. 7. Barring some sort of injury bug or major letdown, this is a team that will challenge for the BCS title. VERDICT: Over

Stanford, 9.5

Over (-120)/Under (-120)

The Cardinal still aren't getting much respect despite coming off three-straight 11-win regular seasons. This team is loaded, with Kevin Hogan an emerging star at quarterback, a very talented offensive line and a defense that is among the best in the country. The schedule is favorable, with seven home games and no Arizona, which gave Stanford a ton of trouble last season. The non-conference slate includes San Jose State, Army and Notre Dame to close out the year. This team is a legit national title contender and it should have no problem topping this win total. VERDICT: Over

Oregon State, 8.5

Over (-210)/Under (+160)

The Beavers bounced back from two-straight losing seasons to post nine wins in 2012. Other Pac-12 teams overlook this dangerous squad at their own peril. The non-conference schedule looks favorable, with home games against Eastern Washington and Hawaii to start out. The key to the season could be back-to-back road trips against Washington State and California in mid-October, followed by home games against Stanford and USC. If the Beavers win three of those four, they should be okay. But it's a tall order. VERDICT: Under

Washington, 7.5

Over (-120)/Under (-120)

The Huskies have been consistently mediocre under Steve Sarkisian with three straight 7-6 seasons. This may be his last chance to show he can get it done in Seattle. The talent is certainly there, with all-star recruits on both sides of the ball. But this Husky program is still trying to find its identity. The schedule does Sarkisian no favors, as Washington opens with Boise State, then travels to Chicago to take on Illinois. October is a bear, with a home game against Oregon sandwiched between road games at Stanford and Arizona State. It's going to be tough for UW to break out of its 7-win gulag. VERDICT: Under

California, 4.5

Over (+110)/Under (-150)

The Sonny Dykes Era has begun at Cal and his first season should be an interesting one to watch. The Bears have a lot of talent in place, but it may take a while for it to gel under Dykes. It looks like Cal will start a freshman quarterback, which is not usually a recipe for success. Moreover, the schedule is brutal, with Northwestern and Ohio State coming to Memorial Stadium in September. There's a good chance the Bears start out 2-5 or even 1-5. While this team will get better as the season wears along, it's going to be hard to find many more wins. VERDICT: Under

Washington State, 4.5

Over (-130)/Under (-110)

Mike Leach is in his second season in the Palouse and his team should be much improved after last season's disappointing 3-9 record. Whether that will translate into more wins is the big question. The season starts out rough, with road trips to Auburn and USC, but games against cream puffs Southern Utah and Idaho means the Cougars should be 2-2 heading into a late September game against Stanford in Seattle. WSU doesn't have Colorado on its schedule, but it also misses UCLA. The last three games against Arizona, Utah and Washington will determine the win total and I like Leach's chances to get two of those three. VERDICT: Over.

 
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