The Pac-12 may have one in all faculty soccer’s most intriguing title races in 2022, as three groups – Utah, USC and Oregon – seem like shut within the combat to win the convention this fall. The Utes are the reigning Pac-12 champs and return 13 starters from final yr’s squad, together with quarterback Cameron Rising, cornerback Clark Phillips and operating again Tavion Thomas. USC is trending in the correct path beneath new coach Lincoln Riley, and a handful of transfers – together with quarterback Caleb Williams – ought to permit this group to push for double-digit wins. The North needs to be Oregon’s to lose, and new coach Dan Lanning inherits sufficient expertise to push for the convention crown. The Geese carry again 5 starters up entrance, landed quarterback Bo Nix as a switch from Auburn, and return seven starters on a protection poised to enhance in ’22.
Is Utah the front-runner to win the Pac-12 as soon as once more? Or can Oregon return to the highest of the convention beneath Lanning? Or will USC discover the correct solutions in Riley’s first yr to say the Pac-12 title? Athlon editors and faculty soccer contributors debate which group will win the Pac-12 in ’22.
Pac-12 Soccer: USC, Utah or Oregon: Which Workforce is the Favourite to Win the Convention in 2022?
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
I will take Utah to win the Pac-12 in 2022. The Utes return quarterback Cameron Rising and operating again Tavion Thomas to anchor an offense that averaged 36.1 factors a sport final season. So, coach Kyle Whittingham’s group paced the Pac-12 by holding groups to 19.2 factors in convention play final yr. Linebacker Devin Lloyd might be missed, and some different voids must be crammed, however Utah persistently finds the correct solutions on protection. USC ought to present important enchancment beneath new coach Lincoln Riley, and if the protection is best than anticipated, pushing for the convention title is not out of the query. New Oregon coach Dan Lanning inherits 14 returning starters, together with 5 alongside the offensive entrance and standout linebacker Noah Sewell. The Geese are a heavy favourite within the North, and with out one other top-25 group popping out of that division, Lanning’s squad has a positive path to Las Vegas. USC’s enchancment needs to be speedy however enjoying on the highway in opposition to Utah may resolve the division. The Utes have received the South in three out of the final 4 years and claimed the convention title final fall. Proper now, the trail to win the Pac-12 goes by means of Salt Lake Metropolis.
Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
Understandably there’s loads of buzz surrounding USC with Lincoln Riley’s arrival together with a number of high-profile transfers. However earlier than the Trojans can get again to profitable nationwide championships they should win their very own convention and proper now the king of the Pac-12 is Utah. The Utes are the defending champions and whereas they’ve misplaced some huge items (specifically All-American and convention defensive participant of the yr linebacker Devin Lloyd), the cabinet is much from naked in Salt Lake Metropolis. Additionally, head coach Kyle Whittingham provides Utah one thing that USC would not have, teaching continuity. The Utes are loaded within the backfield with quarterback Cameron Rising and operating again Tavion Thomas main the best way whereas the protection has a a lot stronger observe document than the Trojans in current seasons. Oregon often is the favourite within the North however the Geese have a first-year head coach main them in Dan Lanning and are turning to Auburn switch Bo Nix at quarterback. There is a cause Utah has received three of the previous 4 South titles and I do not suppose the Utes are about able to cede both the division or the convention to some other group simply but.
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Ben Weinrib (@benweinrib)
They have not received double-digit video games since 2017 — hell, they’ve solely received 22 mixed video games the final 4 years — however the USC Trojans have not had expertise like this in a really very long time. It might take some time for the offense to totally click on, however Caleb Williams’ familiarity with Lincoln Riley’s system is a serious plus. The excellent news is the entrance half of USC’s schedule is pretty manageable with Oregon State as the toughest sport till the pivotal Week 7 matchup at Utah. If the Trojans make it to the Pac-12 Championship Sport, they would be the favorites. They simply have to verify they’re on the identical web page early on sufficient to keep away from trap-game losses. I will take an opportunity on this expertise.
John Coon (@johncoonsports)
Utah is the plain selection in the event you’re on the lookout for a group to crown because the 2022 Pac-12 champion. The Utes will possible be an AP top-10 group coming into the season. Cameron Rising returns at quarterback and the offense is dynamic sufficient with him on the controls to maintain up with any group on the scoreboard. Utah would not have to get right into a observe meet with opponents although. Defensively, the Utes are flush with expertise, depth, and expertise at so many positions. Clark Phillips III is a future NFL star within the secondary and Florida switch Mohamoud Diabate will make an instantaneous impression at linebacker. USC and Oregon are each going by means of turnover at key positions and coming into yr one beneath new teaching staffs. It would take the Trojans and the Geese longer than one season to shut the hole with the Utes.
Kane Webb (@FightOnTwist)
Utah was earlier than the season and the Utes ought to stay so now. Conferences aren’t received within the offseason, they’re one whenever you play by means of the accidents and depth chart struggles. USC would not know what is going on to occur with the previous and isn’t ready for the latter. I additionally suppose there are far too many unknowns with Oregon placing collectively a totally new teaching employees and elegance of play. The one factor Utah has finished is what Kyle Whittingham’s group usually does and does properly. That is it. No lengthy write up, no ballyhoo. The Utes have continued to do what they all the time do and might be prepared after they face the Trojans on Oct. 15 in addition to earlier than that sport and after. On paper, proper now, the clever cash stays the place it was.
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