Pac-12 Football Preview and Predictions: Week 3
Last week I predicted the Pac-12 would go 8-3 (Utah had already lost a game and were not factored into my predictions), and the Pac-12 went 9-2 (9-3 overall). The Pac-12 proved that it was one of the best in the nation with big wins against Wisconsin (OSU Beavers) and Nebraska (UCLA Bruins).
This week the Pac-12′s non-conference schedule isn’t as tough as last week’s as it features 3 FCS teams, and 2 winless FBS teams. Conference play opens up with with USC visiting Stanford, while Cal, Utah, and Arizona State have tough non-conference games.
This week my predictions have the Pac-12 going 6-3 against other conferences, and my record for predicting football games last week is 8-3.
Oregon 63 Tennessee Tech 7
After all the injuries the Ducks sustained last week this FCS-cupcake team might be just what the doctor ordered. This will provide a great opportunity for the replacements to get comfortable as starters. The game will also give the offense a chance to get back on track after a sluggish second half against Fresno State. Don’t expect Tennessee Tech to put up much of a fight. The Ducks will fly away with this one handily.
Oregon State (Bye)
OSU was rewarded with a bye week for beating the Badgers. You can count on the Beavs to use this extra week to get ready for their battle with the Bruins at the Rose Bowl next week.
Washington State 30 vs UNLV 25
Washington State travels to Vegas for a Friday match-up with UNLV, a perennial Mountain West Conference doormat. The Rebels have won 4-games dating back to the 2010 season, and the cougars have won 7. Both teams have a knack for proving their futility year in and year out. If Wazzu has any hope of going bowling and proving that they’re on their way out of the Pac-12 basement they have to win this game. It will be a close game but the Cougars should be able to defeat the Rebels.
Washington 45 Portland State 10
Keith Price shouldn’t have as much of a problem moving the offense against PSU this week. After being held to just 3 points by LSU last week, and playing an ugly game against San Diego State in week one, the Huskies need to figure their offense out before Pac-12 play begins. The cupcakes are arriving just in time. The Huskies won’t lose this one.
Cal 10 Ohio State 40
I have no confidence in the Bears coming close to pulling off an upset. Last week they gave up 31 points to FCS Southern Utah, and now they’re traveling to the Horseshoe to face dual threat QB Braxton Miller and an Urban Meyer-coached spread offense. The Bears will hang with the Buckeyes early but the game will run away from them in the second half.
Stanford 38 USC 45
Stanford has won this match-up 4-times in the last 5-seasons. This will be USC’s first true test of the season as they play in Palo Alto. Stanford’s offense came alive last week but that was against Duke. USC’s defense isn’t special, but it will better than Duke’s. This will be a test for Stanford’s offense and the Trojan’s defense. This game will be a shootout, but in the end the Trojans will prevail because they have Matt Barkley.
UCLA 60 Houston 7
If you saw Jonathan Franklin run against Nebraska last week than you understand how different this UCLA team has become under Jim Mora. They looked scary good against a great Nebraska team. Last year the Cougars beat the Bruins by 4. But this year victory belongs to the Bruins. Houston is looking terribly weak this year (losses to Texas State and Louisiana Tech), and UCLA has too many skilled players for this not to be a blowout.
Arizona 69 South Carolina State 3
The Wildcats proved themselves as a formidable team last week. I see nothing happening hear but a blowout. Rich Rod’s spread offense will gain momentum in this game as it prepares for a clash with the Ducks at Autzen Stadium next week.
Arizona State 23 Missouri 35
ASU travels to Columbia to play the Mizzou. The Tigers are hungry for a victory after a tough loss to Georgia and they have a great receiving corps. ASU will have to stop 6’5″, 215 pound WR Marcus Lucas if they want to slow down the Tiger offense. ASU will have plenty of momentum after dismantling Illinois, and they will RB Marion Grice to continue running hard but will it be enough? I don’t think it will be.
Colorado 10 Fresno State 20
Last week I said Colorado was bad, and they ended up losing to Sacramento State. This week I am saying that the Buffaloes are the worst team in the Pac-12 and I predict that they finish the season 0-12. Maybe we can trade the Buffaloes to the Mountain West conference and get Fresno State. The Bulldogs played tough football last week against the Ducks. I don’t see Colorado winning this one.
Utah 28 BYU 20
Last year Utah won this heated rivalry game, nicknamed The Holy War, 54-20 due to BYU’s 7 turnovers. Ute QB Jordan Wynn was injured last week and Senior Jon Hays will fill his shoes. Last year Hays threw for 1,459 yards, 12 TDs, and 8 interceptions while replacing Wynn. Utah will host BYU at Rice-Eccles-Stadium in Salt Lake City and hope to right the ship after turning in a garbage performance against Utah State. BYU enters the game with a solid 2-0 season; however, Rice-Eccles is a rough atmosphere for BYU and you can expect that to be a factor. Utah is also the best team BYU has played this season. The Utes will win a close one.