The 2011 conference and division odds have been out for a week or so and were first released by TheGreek.com. Looking at futures odds is a great way to gauge the perception of the upcoming season as seen by those who really study the game, many much more than the sports media who release season previews and selections.
Let's take a look at the odds and see who we think may be overrated and where some value could be found.
Analysis: This one tends to make the most sense. Most everyone expects the North race to come down to the Ducks and the Cardinal. I'm a bit surprised that they are so close (speaks to how good Andrew Luck is), but Oregon lost some key pieces too. I could have seen Washington over Oregon State, but I think that speaks mostly to the loss of Jake Locker and the step forward that Ryan Katz should take in year two. I'm saying it right now, THE game that will decide our season is Saturday, September 10th when we take on Cal in Boulder. Not that going to Hawaii is going to be easy (in fact, that may be the tougher of the two games), but taking care of Cal at home and having the potential to go into Columbus 3-0 is something that I cannot stop thinking about.
Analysis: The South is unique because of the ineligibility of USC. Everyone's odds are going to be slightly lower than the North with only five teams competing. This division truly is going to be up in the air. The fact that CU has the longest odds and is still only at +800 is pretty telling. Seems like Vegas isn't buying into the Arizona State hype, placing Utah as the favorite to win the division. That's pretty surprising to me. Not that it isn't ASU, because I think they are being overrated as well, but that Utah is at the top. I think I would have Zona tied with the Sun Devils there but I'm a Zona homer so what do I know?
To win the Pac-12:
Arizona State +650
Oregon State +650
Washington State +7500
Analysis: Well obviously you can count out Wazzu. Those are some loooooong odds. Because of the conference championship game being implemented this year, these numbers have to be looked at a bit differently than the division odds. Vegas definitely gives some credence to the idea that once a team gets to that game, they have a decent shot to pull off the upset (as the South winner will almost certainly be a pretty large underdog this season). I'm rather surprised that Oregon State has lower odds than Arizona. The chances that Zona wins the South are MUCH greater than OSU winning the North. Really you can break these up into tiers for a good way to look at it. Tier one: Oregon, Stanford, Utah (again, WTF?). Tier two: ASU, OSU, Zona and UW. Tier three: Cal, UCLA, CU. Tier four: Wazzu (who I still think is going to be much improved this season).
Am i being a homer by thinking that we can be the best team in that third tier? What does everyone think?