The race should be close in the Pac-12 North once again in 2016 with Washington edging it's way into the pack. The Huskies went 7-6 last year, but have the team capable of taking a step forward this fall. What we do know is that it's going to be another rough year for Oregon State.
Related: Pac-12 Football 2016 Predictions
There are six teams in the Pac-12's North Division. This article will apply the win totals from one Vegas casino and discuss if there is any value in these numbers. A selection is made based on the team's schedule, in which the games are broken down into three categories - easy wins, toss-ups and certain losses. Most conference games are in the toss-up category unless there is a clear difference in talent.
Note: Over/under odds courtesy of South Point Casino
Pac-12 North Division
California Golden Bears
(Over 4 wins -135...Under 4 wins +110)
Record Last Year: 8-5, 4-5
Returning Starters: 8 (3 on offense, 5 on defense)
Offense:Things are going to be real different with Jared Goff in the pros. The addition of Davis Webb, a graduate transfer from Texas Tech, should help things out although he'll have to use a rebuilt WR corps that lost 265 catches from last season. There should be several RBs as part of the offense as well.
Defense: The defense allowed more than 450 yards per game in 2015 and that could be around the same this fall. The front four features DeVante Wilson and James Looney. Injuries at safety will greatly test the depth there.
Schedule: California opens up the season down under in Sydney, Australia against Hawaii. The Golden Bears also play at San Diego State and host Texas as part of the non-conference slate. Sonny Dykes’ team ends its slate with three of four at home although the opponents are Washington, Stanford and UCLA.
Selection: Slight lean to the over here although I don't love it. Webb's arrival potentially makes the offense a factor, but Cal’s defense is still light years behind.
(Over 8.5 wins +110...Under 8.5 wins -135)
Record Last Year: 9-4, 7-2
Returning Starters: 8 (4 on offense, 4 on defense)
Offense: The transfer QB train brought over Dakota Prukop from Montana State to take over the offense. There is talk of a two-quarterback system with freshman Travis Jonsen involved. Prukop was a solid runner for the Bobcats although that's what Royce Freeman is on the roster for. Freeman ran for almost 2,000 yards in 2015. Dwayne Stanford, Charles Nelson and Darren Carrington are back at WR so the cupboard isn't bare there.
Defense: New coordinator Brady Hoke has his work cut out for him with most of the stars gone from last year's defense. That presents a problem considering the unit was already 117th in the nation in total yards allowed. The secondary is pretty much back led by Tyree Robinson.
Schedule: Oregon plays three of its first four at home with UC Davis, Virginia and a trip to Nebraska representing the non-Pac-12 opponents. The Ducks finish with three of their last four on the road with the home contest coming against Stanford.
Selection: The under is the play here although not at this price. The defense is going to struggle big time and there is going to be a boatload of overs on this schedule.
(Over 3.5 wins +115...Under 3.5 wins -135)
Record Last Year: 2-10, 0-9
Returning Starters: 10 (6 on offense, 4 on defense)
Offense: Utah State transfer Darell Garretson comes over to play quarterback. Last year's starting signal-caller, Seth Collins, is moving to a more hybrid role where his skills can be better used. Jordan Villamin and Victor Bolden come back on the outside as well so the passing game could click if the right QB is used.
Defense: The Beavers’ defense welcomes new coordinator Kevin Clune, who is tasked with trying to fix the 114th-ranked defense. This group is going to be very young with six of the front seven needing to be replaced. Special teams should be better.
Schedule: Oregon State gets four of its first six at home although it may not help. The Beavers play at Minnesota to go with home matchups against Idaho State and Boise State for their non-conference slate. The final two road games are at Stanford and UCLA.
Selection: No official pick on this one although I think the under is the play. The Beavers are the only team in the North that has no shot at winning the division. Gary Andersen is just trying to build this program up.
(Over 8 wins -135...Under 8 wins +115)
Record Last Year: 12-2, 8-1
Returning Starters: 9 (4 on offense, 5 on defense)
Offense: Christian McCaffrey looks to build off a 2015 campaign where he accounted for almost 4,000 total yards. He will be running in front of an offensive line with just two returning starters. Keller Chryst and Ryan Burns are dueling for the QB job and there's talk that they may end up both playing.
Defense: Stanford's defense figures to take a step back after some personnel losses, including linebacker Blake Martinez. Solomon Thomas had 10.5 tackles for a loss last season and will need to get some pressure to help out a secondary that is replacing half of its starters.
Schedule: The Cardinal spread their non-conference games out playing Kansas State in September, Notre Dame in October and Rice in November. They have three of their final five on the road and play at Washington and Oregon.
Selection: I think the price is right for the under. Stanford has a couple of tough road trips which could be an issue for a team breaking in a new quarterback. This will be a test for David Shaw.
(Over 9 wins -110...Under 9 wins -110)
Record Last Year: 7-6, 5-4
Returning Starters: 17 (9 on offense, 8 on defense)
Offense: The Huskies have the best offense in the Pac-12 North led by the sophomore combination of QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin. Browning had 16 touchdown passes in 2015 to just 10 interceptions. The offensive line took it's lumps last year, but is going to be strong in 2016. Expect improvement here.
Defense: The Huskies defense held opponents to just 18.8 points per game last year. They return key contributors at every level in tackle Elijah Qualls, linebacker Azeem Victor and safety Budda Baker. Special teams is going to be stellar too with Dante Pettis expected to return punts.
Schedule: UW has four of its first five at home including three straight to open up the year. They host Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State so a fast start is expected. The Huskies’ toughest stretch is in October when they play three of four Pac-12 games on the road.
Selection: Nine is the number I continue to come up with. The Huskies have the talent to win any game on their schedule but I think road trips to Arizona, Oregon and Utah could be tough.
(Over 7.5 wins +105...Under 7.5 wins -125)
Record Last Year: 9-4, 6-3
Returning Starters: 14 (8 on offense, 6 on defense)
Offense: Luke Falk is back for another season after throwing it a whopping 644 times in 2015. Falk has the majority of his WR group back with Gabe Marks, River Cracraft and Robert Lewis all returning. The right side of the offensive line is set, and this offense should have another good season.
Defense: The Cougars showed some improvement on this side of the ball last year with 24 takeaways and 27.7 points per game allowed. Wazzu has the majority of it's linebackers and secondary back, but it could struggle up front. Peyton Pelluer is a real good player to have at MLB.
Schedule: Washington State plays four of its first six at home with non-conference matchups against Eastern Washington, Boise State and Idaho. Three of the final four are at home including the Apple Cup matchup against Washington.
Selection: The over isn't a bad play here. Outside of playing at Boise State and Stanford, the road tilts aren't that tough. I think Mike Leach’s team could approach nine or 10 wins.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.