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2013 Pac-12 Pick’em: Week Eleven

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Pac-12 football is back and we at EDN Sports will do a weekly Pac-12 Pick’em. Each week we’ll give you our picks and track how we’ve done so far.

Season Pick’em Standings:

  • Alex Shoemaker: 57-11 (4-0 last week)
  • Ryan Beltram: 53-15 (3-1)
  • Isaac Rosenthal: 53-15 (3-1)
  • Corey Buchanan: 52-16 (3-1)
  • Franklin Bains: 50-18 (2-2)
  • David Saez: 50-18 (3-1)* editor’s note below

Thursday

No. 3 Oregon (8-0, 5-0) at No. 5 Stanford (7-1, 5-1) 6 p.m., ESPN (Comcast 35)

All eyes will be on Palo Alto Thursday night for the showdown between the Ducks and Cardinal, two BCS experienced teams with huge national title game implications. The Ducks sit at No. 3 in the BCS standings behind Florida State and need a victory to stay in the hunt for the coveted crystal football.

X-factor: Trent Murphy vs. Byron Marshall. The rushing battle between these squads will determine the outcome. Both Marshall and Stanford’s Tyler Gaffney rank among the nation’s best ball-carriers, but with Stanford end Ben Gardner out, the task falls solely to Murphy who has possibly the tougher task in taking down the surging sophomore and his sturdy line.

Alex: Oregon  Isaac: Oregon   Corey: Oregon   Franklin: Oregon   RyanOregon

Saturday

USC (6-3, 3-2) at California (1-8, 0-6) 12 p.m., Fox (Comcast 5)

Following a disastrous start to the season, the USC Trojans are winners of three of their last four games and on the outside looking in at a potential Pac-12 title game appearance should they run the table. Meanwhile for the Bears, this season is lost beyond recovery. With the worst record in the conference, an upset win could spark some momentum for next season.

X-factor: Chris Harper vs. USC Secondary. The battle in the defensive backfield is Cal’s opportunity to strike as they are heavily overmatched in this one. The Bears will need freshman Jared Goff on point, but more importantly their receivers to work into open space, to have a chance against the Trojans that they haven’t beaten in nine years. There have been a lot of good Golden Bear teams in that time; Sonny Dykes and co. will need to take some chances in this one — this isn’t one of them.

Alex: USC  Isaac: USC   Corey: USC   Franklin: USC   RyanUSC

No. 22 Arizona State (6-2, 4-1) at Utah (4-4, 1-4) 1 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)

Utah has been one of the difficult teams in the Pac-12 to figure out all season. With impressive performances against Stanford and UCLA, this team has shown promise of being one of the best second-tier teams. But bad losses to Arizona and USC the past two games, this team could be on the verge of crumbling. However, a bye week to prepare for the Pac-12 South leading Sun Devils could be exactly that they need to turn this season around.

X-factor: Utah Defensive Front vs. ASU O Line. Utah’s first seven on defense are a quality bunch and they can get some damage done up front, especially against an ASU line that hasn’t really been tested. Utah has been known to keep games interesting this season and that won’t change this week if the Ute linebackers keep spark plug Marion Grice in front of them.

Alex: ASU  Isaac: ASU   Corey: ASU   Franklin: Utah   RyanASU

Colorado (3-5, 0-5) at Washington (5-3, 2-3) 5 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)

The Washington Huskies appear to have stopped the bleeding after three straight losses to Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State with last weekend’s win over Cal. Not that a win over Cal really says much at all. While it wouldn’t be nice to cal the Bu

X-factor: Keith Price vs. CU Secondary Depth. Colorado HB Michael Adkins and DB Kenneth Crawley have missed practice this week and early on it was unclear whether they would be able to play Saturday. They returned late Tuesday, but how much will that drama affect an already questionable Buffalo defense? Knowing Sankey will get his yards (look for him to outgain Byron Marshall’s 122 by a distance), Price and the receivers should take advantage of the second level.

Alex: Washington  Isaac: Washington   Corey: Washington   Franklin: Washington   RyanWashington

No. 19 UCLA (6-2, 3-2) at Arizona (6-2, 3-2) 7 p.m., ESPN (Comcast 35)

Besides Oregon at Stanford, this game is clearly the matchup of the week for the conference. Both UCLA and Arizona are a game behind ASU in the South and a loss will more than likely spoil any chances of competing in the Pac-12 title game, baring complete anarchy. Both of these teams have backloaded schedules. UCLA faces Washington, ASU and USC following this game while Arizona has games against Washington State, Oregon and ASU. Neither team can afford to lose again.

X-factor: Ka’Deem Carey vs. Anthony Barr. Can anyone stop Carey? If anyone, it’ll probably be Barr, one of the country’s best defensive players. In a battle between an unstoppable force and an immovable object, the immovable object that happens to wear the same colors as Brett Hundley will have an advantage. The Arizona rushing game is something else this year, but it likely won’t be enough against UCLA’s cabal of linebackers led by fearsome Anthony. But if they have a chance it all goes through Carey.

Alex: UCLA  Isaac: UCLA   Corey: UCLA   Franklin: UCLA   RyanArizona

Note: David Saez is no longer with EDN and no longer participating in our weekly Pac-12 Pick’em. EDN is sad to see such a good writer go, but wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.

Recapping the Pac-12 in Week Ten

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Here at EDN, we give you a weekly rundown of what happened in the Pac-12 Conference the past weekend, highlighting the big moments that made it another exciting set of games.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss (Again. Sorry.)

It’s my piece of advice to the Pac-12 teams who lost this week. You all had chances to win, you all had moments of glory, but now, you wake up Sunday morning and realize that it’s all gone. And now, those teams have a hard road toward another win. For Cal, Colorado and Wazzu, that means missing out on a bowl game after a strong nonconference. For Oregon State that means falling backwards into the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

But there’s still a lot of season left for those four teams. So don’t cry because that first part of the season is over, be happy that — it seems like — significant rebuilding is happening in your programs.

Thursday

Arizona State LogoArizona State Sun Devils 55, Washington State Cougars 21

Taylor Kelly is in midseason form, and he let the Cougars know it throughout the first half. It’ll take a thorough assault to defeat this Mike Leach-led team, and an assault is what Kelly gave them — scoring twice on the ground early and tossing four TDs before halftime. Down 42-7, Wazzu scored twice to pull within a manageable 21-point deficit, but D.J. Foster collected his second touchdown dart from Kelly to put the Cougs away. The ASU defense kept WSU on their own half for all but two of the remaining plays, punching the Sun Devils a ticket to bowl season.

Friday

USC_Trojan+Logo1USC Trojans 31, Oregon State Beavers 14

USC went out and got a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter, looking much like the Trojans of old as Marqise Lee went yard on a pass from Cody Kessler. Within a minute in the second quarter, the tides started to turn as Ryan Murphy returned a Kessler interception to the house to tie the game at 14. However, the USC defense and run game worked the Beavers after this point and took a 21-14 halftime advantage to a 31-14 final.

Saturday

arizona logo Arizona Wildcats 33, Cal Golden Bears 28

It wasn’t as easy as a win over the floundering Bears probably should have been, but after the 8:19 mark in the first quarter, B.J. Denker made sure the Wildcats never trailed. Denker scored four times — thrice on the ground — and outperformed his Cal counterpart through the air to lead Arizona to a bowl-clinching win. Said counterpart found Kenny Lawler three times towards the end, each time to pull within 5, but nation-leading running back Ka’Deem Carey’s 152 rushing yards were enough to keep Arizona just out of reach.

The Cal safety and the 53-yard Arizona field goal helped a bit too.

ucla_logoNo. 20 UCLA Bruins 45, Colorado Buffalos 23

Colorado led twice, 3-0 and 10-7, making it appear that UCLA’s Stanford-and-Oregon hangover would continue punishing. But Brett Hundley’s three first-half touchdowns meant UCLA would never again trail, and two unanswered third-quarter touchdowns for UCLA put the Buffs away. Devin Fuller’s three touchdowns were excellent, but Hundley led all rushers in addition to only throwing five incompletions and the sophomore QB scored four times. This is a better Colorado team, you can sense it in the fight that they continue to bring every week, but it’s still not good enough to keep a very good UCLA team from clinching a bowl game.

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Trail Blazers Bounce Back With 113-98 Road Win Over Denver Nuggets

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DENVER – The story of the Portland Trail Blazers’ (1-1) 113-98 win over the hosting Denver Nuggets (0-2) is simply the win itself. Portland snapped a five year drought of failing to capture a victory in the mile high city, which dated back to the 2007-08 season.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Blazers’ forward LaMarcus Aldridge said of the win back in December of 2007. Aldridge missed the trip due to an injury at the time. “I stayed home and watched the game… in my theatre. And I haven’t won here since.”

Portland Trail Blazers vs Denver Nuggets
Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge posts up against Denver’s J.J. Hickson. Hickson was acquired by the Nuggets this offseason from the Blazers. | (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Aldrdige had himself an impressive game all around, finishing 12-of-26 with 25 points and nine rebounds. However, the star of the show was guard Wesley Matthews who finished with his first double-double of the season collecting 21 points and 12 boards. Most impressive was his 7-of-13 shooting and 4-of-4 from three point range.

“Top to bottom, solid win for us,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said.

More importantly than snapping the mile-high drought, Portland captured its first win of the season. The Blazers now sit at the .500 mark with a tough remaining stretch ahead. Saturday the Blazers will host the San Antonio Spurs (2-0) then the Dwight Howard-led Houston Rockets (2-0) on Tuesday.

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2013 Pac-12 Pick’em: Week Ten

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Pac-12 football is back and we at EDN Sports will do a weekly Pac-12 Pick’em. Each week we’ll give you our picks and track how we’ve done so far.

Season Pick’em Standings:

  • Alex Shoemaker: 53-11 (5-0 last week)
  • Ryan Beltram: 50-14 (5-0)
  • Isaac Rosenthal: 50-14 (4-1)
  • Corey Buchanan: 49-15 (4-1)
  • Franklin Bains: 48-16 (4-1)
  • David Saez: 47-17 (3-2)

Thursday

Arizona State (5-2, 3-1) at Washington State (4-4, 2-3) 7:30 p.m. (ESPN 35)

Both teams have a lot riding on this game. With a win the Sun Devils maintain ts one-game lead over Pac-12 South foe UCLA. For the Cougars, a win moves them closer to bowl eligibility – needing six wins to reach that mark. ASU has dominated this series of late, winners of eight of the last nine. But this Cougs offense might just have enough fire power to keep it close.

X-factorConnor Halliday. Halliday and Mike Leach can start to breath deeply. After taking a 24-17 lead against Oregon State, the Cougs saw the full power of the Beaver State’s secondaries and threw 7 interceptions over the course of the next 5 quarters. Now they get a Thursday date with the Sun Devils and can put some distance between themselves and Steven Nelson, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Terrance Mitchell. That’s not to say that Halliday can’t throw picks to the Sun Devil defense, just that it’s not as likely as it would be against the Beavs and Ducks (first and second, respectively, in the conference in interceptions).

Alex: Arizona State  Isaac: Arizona State   Corey: Arizona State   Franklin: Washington State   David: Arizona State   RyanArizona State

Friday

USC (5-3, 2-2) at Oregon State (6-2, 4-1) 6 p.m. (ESPN2 36)

Friday’s showdown between the Trojans and Beavs is the best game of the week in the Pac-12 by most analysts. Oregon State looks to bounce back from a hard-fought loss to No. 5 Stanford on Saturday, while USC is 2-1 since the firing of then head coach Lane Kiffin and only a four-point loss away from being undefeated in that stretch. While neither one of these teams is out of the running for a conference title, it’d take a great stretch of luck in November. A win on Friday is a must.

X-factorOSU O-Line vs. USC D Front. Oregon State’s offensive line hasn’t exactly impressed through nine weeks. The holes haven’t been there for Storm Woods and so while the rushing game has gone away, the passing game has flourished. That’s not to say, however, that Sean Mannion hasn’t been running for his life at times. He has been. And USC has the athletes throughout the forest of its front 7 to get in Mannion’s head. For OSU to win, they’ll need their own forest to step up and protect.

Alex: USC  Isaac: Oregon State   Corey: Oregon State   Franklin: Oregon State   DavidOregon State   RyanOregon State

Saturday

Arizona (5-2, 2-2) at California (1-7, 0-5) 12:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network 420)

The Golden Bears and Arizona Wildcats have had one of the most competitive matchups in the league for years. At 14-14-2 all-time and 2-2 over the past four meetings, it wouldn’t be crazy to expect a close game. However, this may be the worst Cal team in a decade while the Wildcats are winners of their last two games and have an outside shot of winning the Pac-12 South. This could be close early, but Rich Rodrigues’ high powered running attack should tear apart the Bears’ defense.

X-factorB.J. Denker. The senior QB has the same amount of rushing and passing TDs (8) this year, and is starting to come into his own as the Wildcats field general. Against the Cal rushing defense though, his job early will be just to hand off to the conference’s best RB in Ka’Deem Carey. If the conference’s worst team by a margin makes a push for its first FBS win this season though, Denker has the ability to tuck and run and will use it.

Alex: Arizona  Isaac: Arizona   Corey: Arizona   Franklin: Arizona   DavidArizona   RyanArizona

Colorado (3-4, 0-4) at No. 20 UCLA (5-2, 2-2) 4:30 (Fox Sports 1 408)

On paper, the top-25 Bruins should have every advantage against a still rebuilding Buffaloes squad still looking for its fist conference win. However, with the Bruins looking to keep up energy after two loses to Stanford and Oregon its hard to say just what mindset the team will be in. This has textbook upset alert written all over it.

X-factorBrett Hundley. The last two weeks haven’t exactly been kind to the sophomore quarterback. Stanford (219) and then Oregon (136) held him to his lowest total yardage output of his career. Before the Stanford game, he had never been held to less than 250 yards in a game, and in 10 of 19 career games, he recorded over 300 yards. Colorado has nothing to lose this week, but they also don’t have the athletes to compete with UCLA’s skill position players.

Alex: UCLA  Isaac: UCLA   Corey: UCLA   Franklin: UCLA   DavidUCLA   RyanUCLA

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Blazers Crushed 104-93 in Season Opener Against Suns

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After an incredibly exciting offseason, or so we thought, for the Portland Trail Blazers (0-1) a 104-93 opening night loss to the Phoenix Suns (1-0) has fans and analysts alike scratching their respective heads.

“œThe Phoenix Suns outplayed us,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said. “They were ready from the get-go. They got out and ran. All the things that we were working on, we had a setback today. Transition defense; we were slow reacting to that. Their guards did a good job of penetrating.”

Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers big man Robin Lopez drives to the hoop in the team’s loss to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. Lopez finished the game 1-of-4 with three points and two rebounds | (Christian Peterson/Getty Images)

As was the issue last season, the Blazers’ bench failed to help out and a lack of depth sill seems present. Only two Portland players scored in double-digits – LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard – and the collective bench only managed 12 points.

“We were not ready,” Blazers SF Nicolas Batum said. “We can talk about how much better we are and all the things we want to do, but we’ve got to be ready. We had a good preseason. We had a good training camp. But the preseason is over.

“œThat was a good warning for us.”

Batum was the next leading scorer for the Blazers behind Aldridge and Lillard with nine points on 3-of-9 shooting and seven rebounds.

Nicolas Batum
Blazers’ small forward Nicolas Batum dives for a loose ball against the Suns | (Christian Peterson/Getty Images)

But as has been mentioned, the two bright spots were Portland’s two stars in Aldridge and Lillard who finished with 28 and 32 points respectively. Should the Blazers find a way to get the rest of its players more involved, this team is talented enough to make a playoff push. It’s only game one.

“We have 81 more games — that was only one,” Batum said. “But we have to correct things now. We can’t wait.”

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Why Tim Tebow Would be the Fix for Eagles Quarterback Problems

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Tim Tebow
Tim Tebow photoshopped on the body of Michael Vick | (Business Insider)

With Chip Kelly being hired as the Philadelphia Eagles head coach the first question out of the mouths of everyone was, could Michael Vick run Kelly’s offense? The answer is both yes and no. Vick showed us in their first game against the Washington Redskins that for a half he could run the offense and the score on anyone.

The problem with Vick is he cannot stay healthy for an entire season. Since being drafted in 2000 by the Atlanta Falcons, Vick has only played one complete 16 game season. Then we looked at Nick Foles. Not as mobile as Vick and no where near the speed. He won 2 games for the Eagles then went down with an injury.

That left Matt Barkley to run what is clearly the fastest offense in football – not the prototypical read option quarterback. He ran a pro style at USC and didn’t need to make the quick reads and decisions needed to effectively run the offense the Eagles and Kelly wanted. Many experts said that the Eagles read option quarterback for the future was not on their roster, meaning they would have to find someone other than who they had to run it.

Looking around the NFL at the quarterback position there are not many that can run the offense the way Kelly wants. Or is there? My suggestion for Kelly and the Eagles is to contact the New York Jets and ask for Tim Tebow‘s phone number. He ran the read option at Florida and was very successful at it. He won a National championship and the Heisman Trophy with the read option. His quarterback rating at Florida was 201.73 in 2006 and 172.47 in 2007.

The first thing people say is he does not have an NFL arm. True he doesn’t. He wont need one to throw bubble screens and dump passes over the middle. His longest pass completion in college was 65 yards. What he does bring to the table is a determination to win, the ability to read a defense and physicality on the ground.

Tebow could make the Eagles a winner and allow the coaching staff to be creative with Vick. Have both in the backfield and let the defense guess what is coming next. Then they could trade Barkley for a guard or tackle that can actually block.

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Recapping the Pac-12 in Week Nine

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Here at EDN, we give you a weekly rundown of what happened in the Pac-12 Conference the past weekend, highlighting the big moments that made it another exciting set of games.

“I don’t scratch my head unless it itches and I don’t dance unless I hear some music. I will not be intimidated. That’s just the way it is.” Herman Boone, Remember the Titans

Oregon struggled through one half. Then, they asserted their dominance in a way that set the Pac-12 standings as Oregon…Then The Rest. Again. Oregon made plain: It’s going to take a four-quarter effort for anyone in the nation to beat them. Likewise, USC is not going to go easy into this cold night and Washington is still a force to be reckoned with. And the Arizona rushing game? Still assertive. As Miami and Clemson got tested, Mizzou and Texas Tech lost their perfect season, and the Pac-12 remained competitive.

But they will not be intimidated.

USC_Trojan+Logo1USC Trojans 19, Utah Utes 3

Steady-footed Trojan kicker Andre Heidari didn’t blink and neither did banged-up running back Tre Madden as USC out-gritted Utah in a battle of less-than-100-percent teams. Utah QB Travis Wilson missed the fourth quarter of this one, still struggling from an injury he suffered against Arizona, and as a result the Utes couldn’t muster anything after their first-quarter field goal. Heidari and the Trojans, however, had four field goals in the second and third quarters to put the Utes away.

arizona logo Arizona Wildcats 44, Colorado Buffaloes 20

It doesn’t take too much to topple the floundering Buffs, but if you get 405 yards on the ground alone, you’ve got an advantage. Both B.J. Denker and all-American Ka’Deem Carey piled up at least 100 rushing yards, with Denker nearly reaching 200 rushing yards by himself. The not-exactly-surehanded Denker added 265 yards on 21-of-32 passing, and Carey put up 14 straight points for the Wildcats that ballooned their lead from 27-20 Arizona to a 40-20 stranglehold.

OREGON-LOGONo. 3 Oregon Ducks 42, No. 12 UCLA Bruins 14

Good god, the second half. UCLA stayed strong on defense throughout the first half and it looked a lot like the Ducks’ disaster against Stanford last year. Jordan Zumwalt was intimidating and Anthony Barr was every bit the “best defender in college” he was made out to be. But UCLA accumulated just 94 total yards in the second half as Nick Aliotti’s bunch completely shut them down throughout the third and fourth quarter.

imgresWashington Huskies 41, Cal Golden Bears 17

Washington stopped the skidding slide of three straight losses by beating down on the woeful Bears. The Huskies were led by Keith Price and Bishop Sankey who both accounted for at least 2 touchdowns, putting up silly numbers against the overmatched Cal team. Sankey got back in the conversation of the conference’s best running backs with 241 rushing yards and Price added a ground score to his 20-of-32—376—2 TD air barrage. The Husky defense got gashed by Jared Goff’s return to form, but his 336 yards only turned into one score.

stanford logoNo. 6 Stanford Cardinal 20, No. 25 Oregon State Beavers 12

Beavs field general Sean Mannion nearly outgained the Cardinal by himself on Saturday night, but it wasn’t enough as Oregon State’s 1-for-5 performance on fourth down allowed Stanford to close out. It was the epitome of Stanford football, even though David Shaw’s men only held the ball for 21:27, as they simply made less mistakes and rode Tyler Gaffney’s 3 touchdowns to victory. Oregon State’s mistakes caught up to them on the last drives and time ran out on them.

2013 Pac-12 Pick’em: Week Nine

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Pac-12 football is back and we at EDN Sports will do a weekly Pac-12 Pick’em. Each week we’ll give you our picks and track how we’ve done so far.

Season Pick’em Standings:

  • Alex Shoemaker: 48-11 (4-3 last week)
  • Isaac Rosenthal: 46-13 (6-1)
  • Corey Buchanan: 45-14 (3-4)
  • David Saez: 44-15 (3-4)
  • Franklin Bains: 44-15 (3-4)
  • Ryan Beltram: 45-14 (4-3)

Utah (4-3, 1-3) at USC (4-3, 1-2), 1 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)

USC and Utah meet as equals in an odd way. USC has improved from a pitiful start that forced Lane Kiffin’s exit, but seem to at least have found their way. Utah, however, stands among its conference opponents after a couple mediocre years to start their membership in the Pac-12, having toppled Stanford two weeks ago. Look for this one to come down to which team can establish the run.

X-factor: Travis Wilson’s Status. Wilson indicated he will try to play Saturday against the up-and-down Trojans, and he’s the biggest key to any game the Utes play this season. But especially now, as they take to the road against an angry USC team, Wilson will need to hit Dres Anderson and the other above average skill players to stay together against the streaky Trojans. The Utes front lines are underrated and they’ll test Silas Redd and Tre Madden, especially with USC missing the talents of Marqise Lee.

Alex: USC  Isaac: Utah   Corey: USC   Franklin: Utah   DavidUtah   RyanUSC

No. 12 UCLA (5-1, 2-1) at No. 3 Oregon (7-0, 4-0), 4 p.m., ESPN (Comcast 35)

Oregon’s first big test will come a week after UCLA’s initial exam. Where the Bruins failed theirs, the Ducks are in prime position to excel. The Bruin defense might have a tougher task than the offense here, as stopping the Ducks — the Cardinal proved last year — takes a task of bringing the Oregon offense back down to earth. Brett Hundley and Marcus Mariota will impress occasionally, but the defenses should pitch an impressive battle in this one.

X-factorDerrick Malone vs. UCLA Running Game. UCLA needs a strong push with its running offense to get the wheels spinning against the Oregon defense. If they can hold the ball and keep it moving without opening up chances against the Duck secondary — eager after some success in the INT category last week — they’ll have a chance to stay in the game, but the Ducks are just too good to be slowed down, even by the best linebacker in the country.

Alex: Oregon  Isaac: Oregon   Corey: Oregon   Franklin: Oregon   DavidOregon   RyanOregon

Arizona (4-2, 1-2) at Colorado (3-3, 0-3), 5 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)

Arizona is impossible to predict this year, which makes their game against the confusing Buffs all more confusing. B.J. Denker is a solid enough option threat, but that’s about it as USC proved his downfield threat pretty moot. Arizona has the athletes to put Colorado away, but Colorado has the excitement factor that might bring this one down to the wire.

X-factor: Ka’Deem Carey. The last time Carey played this team, he ran for a career high and 366 yards. This is a different Colorado team than it was a year ago, but it’s still one that’s giving up yards in bunches to FBS teams and that’s not going to work well against the nation-leading back (161 yards per game). Colorado has a couple good young linebackers, but they’ll be run over by the Arizona run game.

Alex: Arizona  Isaac: Arizona   Corey: Colorado   Franklin: Arizona   DavidArizona   RyanArizona

No. 6 Stanford (6-1, 4-1) at No. 25 Oregon State (6-1, 4-0), 7:30 p.m., ESPN (Comcast 35)

A top-10 opponent, strolling into Corvallis to improve on their national championship hopes, while an angry Beaver squad is licking its chops. Stop me if you’ve heard this one. It’s a popular pick for everyone’s upset bids this weekend, and for good reason. The Beavers can score in bunches, but have some sneaking suspicions on defense and that ominous FCS loss hanging over them. Don’t be surprised if Brandin Cooks starts knocking on the door of 1,500 season receiving yards as he enters the weekend with a ridiculous 1,176.

X-factorEd Reynolds vs. Sean Mannion. Let’s state some things that are facts: Oregon State’s near-league-worst rushing is not going to be effective against Stanford’s near-league-best rush defense. The Cardinal’s rushing attack is going to be very effective against the Beavs’ tacklers. Kevin Hogan is not a good quarterback. This game will come down to how many times (not if) Mannion can connect with his All-American split end Cooks. If Reynolds can keep the ball in front of him, Stanford can choke out the confusing Beavers.

Alex: Stanford  Isaac: Stanford   Corey: Stanford   Franklin: Stanford   DavidOregon State   RyanStanford

California (1-6, 0-4) at Washington (4-3, 1-3), 8 p.m., Fox Sports 1 (Comcast 408)

One of these things is not like the other. Despite the fact that Washington is looking a four-week losing streak straight in the face, the chances of them blinking against the winless-against-the-FBS Cal Golden Bears is not likely. Washington still has the athletes, still has the prestige, but now they have the anger and something to prove that should give them the edge over conference-worst Cal. (Psst, Sonny Dykes, you can’t draft Andrew Wiggins after the season in college football.)

X-factorBishop Sankey. Sankey did not have a very good week last week as the Huskies got pounded for their third loss in a row — the second-straight by at least 21 and third of the season. After scoring the first points of the game, putting the Huskies up 7-0, Sankey added just 13 more rushing yards and one catch for 26 yards. Washington needs a big statement against a bad Cal team to avoid continuing to swirl the drain in the direction of a seven-win season. That starts with a big day for Sankey.

Alex: Washington  Isaac: Washington   Corey: Washington   Franklin: Washington   DavidWashington   RyanWashington

Listen to EDN Sports Editor on Alabama Radio Station: Wednesday at 6:30 PM

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Alabama Radio Station

EDN Sports Editor Alex Shoemaker will be making an appearance on Alabama “BAMS RADIO” Wednesday October 23rd at 6:30 p.m. PST.

To listen live: CLICK HERE

To call in and join in on the conversation call:  (714) 510-3707

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Pac-12 Pick’em: Week Eight

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Pac-12 football is back and we at EDN Sports will do a weekly Pac-12 Pick’em. Each week we’ll give you our picks and track how we’ve done so far.

Season Pick’em Standings:

  • Alex Shoemaker: 44-8 (4-2 last week)
  • Corey Buchanan: 42-10 (4-2)
  • David Saez: 41-11 (4-2)
  • Franklin Bains: 41-11 (4-2)
  • Ryan Beltram: 41-11 (4-2)
  • Isaac Rosenthal: 40-12 (3-3)

Charleston Southern (7-0) at Colorado (2-3), 11 a.m., Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)

In a make-up for Fresno State – cancelled due to flooding earlier in the season – the Colorado Buffaloes will take on Charleston Southern in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. While the Buffs will be hosting an undefeated Buccaneers team, they are an FCS and not an elite level team at that. Colorado is a pretty heavy favorite and has the man power to run away with it.

X-factor: Confidence. After a successful start to the season and Mike McIntyre’s rebuilding project, Colorado has backslid in three straight conference losses that have been wider than the final score suggested. The Buffaloes have a lot of raw talent on their roster and this game against an FCS school (that shares a conference with Jerry Falwell’s university) should provide an opportunity for them to get back on track a bit. A couple of big plays for star players, and a healthy squad at game’s end, should be the most important part of this matchup for Buffs fans.

Alex: Colorado  Isaac: Colorado   Corey: Colorado   Franklin: Colorado   DavidColorado   RyanColorado

No. 9 UCLA (5-0, 2-0) at No. 13 Stanford (5-1, 3-1), 12:30 p.m., ABC

The Stanford Cardinal, coming off a heart-breaking loss to the Utah Utes still control their destiny in the Pac-12. But in order to represent the North, they’ll almost certainly need a win over UCLA who looks like will run away with the South. This game could very well be a preview of the conference title game.

X-factor: Brett Hundley vs. Stanford Defensive Front. Shayne Skov and the Stanford defense is menacing, but the UCLA offense is brutal. Take away Hundley’s running and decision making and you leave yourself plenty of leeway as Stanford is a scrappy bunch and the Cardinal’s special teams play will keep them alive. But if you let him step all over you and run wild, you run the risk of letting a game get away from you, as the Utes found out a couple weeks ago.

Alex: Stanford   Isaac: Stanford   Corey: UCLA   Franklin: UCLA   DavidUCLA   RyanStanford

No. 20 Washington (4-2, 1-2) at Arizona State (4-2, 2-1), 3 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)

Here’s two teams in desperate need of a win. The Washington Huskies, coming off of back-to-back loses to Stanford and Oregon travel down to the desert to face an ASU team just a game behind UCLA in the Pac-12 South. With huge implications around this game, the winner’s season will be back on track while the loser could completely drop from relevance.

X-factor: Washington’s Defensive Energy vs. Marion Grice. Grice has had the tendency this fall to take games on his back and split them wide open. Washington’s defense should be up to the task of containing such threats as Justin Wilcox has them very stout — however, should is the key word here. On paper, Washington’s defense is better in what lines up as a defensive battle. But, in the real world, Washington’s defense just whiffed on two grueling tests from the Cardinal and Ducks. Are the Huskies dog-tired (sorry) or can they hold against the explosive slot back.

Alex: Washington   Isaac: Arizona State   Corey: Washington   Franklin: Washington   DavidWashington   RyanWashington

USC (4-2) at Notre Dame (4-2), 4:30 p.m., NBC

Notre Dame and USC is one of college football’s best non-confernece rivalries with 83 games since 1928. The Trojans have dominated the series as of late, winners of eight of the last 10, but the Irish have taken two of the last three. With the Trojans entering game two of the post-Lane Kiffin era, here will be a big test in the maturation of the program.

X-factor: Cody Kessler. Ed Orgeron’s newly adopted team has a lot of problems. One of those problems — the defense being exposed against Arizona State — won’t be tested this week against a member of college football royalty that would have trouble moving the football against a wet towel. But the Irish are still stout on defense and Kessler will get his first test of the new system against Notre Dame. He has just about all the tools in the world at his disposal, so it’s time for him to step up.

Alex: USC  Isaac: Notre Dame   Corey: USC   Franklin: USC   DavidUSC   RyanUSC

Utah (4-2, 1-2) at Arizona (3-2, 0-2), 7 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)

The Utes enter this game against Arizona on top of the world after a big win over Stanford. Travis Wilson and Dres Anderson are both incredibly hot coming into this matchup and will be a threat to connect for bunches of yards at any point. But the Wildcats are still looking for a conference win and have a week-plus between themselves and a late comeback attempt didn’t work against USC. Arizona is 112th nationally in passing yards, but 14th in rushing yards and they’ll be looking to get RichRod’s rushing attack really going.

X-factor: Ka’Deem Carey vs. Trevor Reilly. The Utah defensive end/linebacker leads the Utes in solo and total tackles, and holds 5.5 tackles for loss on the season. He’ll be a big part of a Utah defensive front trying to slow down Carey, the best chance the Wildcats have at keeping it even with the red-hot Utes. Carey has 569 rushing yards this year, but will be looking to finish this game with a lot more as he’s still looking for his statement game.

Alex: Utah  Isaac: Utah   Corey: Utah   Franklin: Utah   DavidUtah   RyanUtah

Washington State (4-3, 2-2) at No. 2 Oregon (6-0, 3-0), 7 p.m., Fox Sports 1 (Comcast 408)

The Ducks return to Autzen Stadium, having defeated their toughest test so far this year on the road in Seattle. It’s a game that completely favors Oregon as Mike Leach takes his air raid into a venue that might be home of the nation’s best secondary. The Cougs haven’t tried very hard to get any rushing going in the first half of this season, and this won’t be the week to start, as the Ducks’ defensive front isn’t exactly friendly. Wazzu might have some success early as both teams are learning each other out, but Oregon’s depth will be huge.

X-factor: Connor Halliday vs. Oregon Secondary Depth. A lot of college football analysts ponder, is it excessive pressure or excessive coverage that forces guys into mistakes? With Halliday, it seems to be coverage — the Beavs proved as much last week with four picks, all coming in the fourth quarter. Unluckily for him, the Ducks have plenty of options at DB, and the front line of Ifo-Mitchell-Jackson-Patterson should be joined by large doses of Erick Dargan, Issac Dixon and others. Halliday will have to find breaks in the coverage, or the Cougs fall behind.

Alex: Oregon   Isaac: Oregon   Corey: Oregon   Franklin: Oregon   DavidOregon   RyanOregon

Oregon State (5-1, 3-0) at California (1-5, 0-3), 7:30 p.m., ESPN2 (Comcast 36)

Cal is wallowing in its rebuilding effort, Oregon State has two big conference wins and might be the hottest unranked team in the country. They just got done beating down on Wazzu, where they had four picks in the fourth quarter, and now they get the weaker variation of that air raid with Jared Goff and Sonny Dykes’ Bear Raid. Cal will test the poor tackling of Oregon State’s second level and might stay closer than their record should indicate, but OSU is better than their loss to an FCS program indicates.

X-factor: Storm Woods vs. Cal Defense. Oregon State will get their yards and points in buckets, courtesy of the wood-chipper known as Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks. If it comes down to rushing the football, Storm Woods has had trouble getting into space and has a season long of 9 yards. Oregon State is at an advantage, to be sure, but the Beavers might need a rushing option to put the Bears fully away.

Alex: Oregon State  Isaac: Oregon State   Corey: Oregon State   Franklin: Oregon State   DavidOregon State   RyanOregon State

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