2013 Pac-12 Pick’em: Week Five

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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:

  • Corey Buchanan: 31-5 (6-1 last week)
  • Alex Shoemaker: 31-5 (6-1)
  • Franklin Bains: 29-7 (6-1)
  • David Saez: 29-7 (6-1)
  • Isaac Rosenthal: 28-8 (6-1)
  • Ryan Beltram: 28-8 (7-0)

Colorado (2-0, 0-0) at Oregon State (3-1, 1-0) 12 p.m. Pac-12 Network:

This is the first game between Colorado and OSU since the Buffs joined the Pac-12. Colorado leads the nonconference series, 3-2, but the last time they matched up was in 1988 — a 28-21 Buffalo win. The game matches up two of the conference’s best wide receivers in Paul Richardson and Brandin Cooks; Richardson and Cooks rank number one and number two, respectively, in the nation for receiving yards, though the Buffs have missed the last two weeks after the Boulder flooding. Sean Mannion should be once again excellent for the Beavers, but this is a different Colorado defense from years past.

X-factor: Connor Wood vs. Oregon State’s Secondary. Wood has been a revelation for the Buffaloes this season, managing the game well, and getting the ball to Richardson with space to work. The Wood-Richardson connection has four touchdowns in two games; two of them are for 75+ yards and all four are more than 30 yards. Meanwhile, though Oregon State’s secondary has been ball-hawkish, it’s been surprisingly poor at tackling execution. Steven Nelson and the Beavers’ pass defense has to step up against Colorado’s sneakily deep receiving corps or it’ll be a long day.

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

Arizona (3-0, 0-0) at No. 16 Washington (3-0, 0-0) 4 p.m. FOX

Washington announced its presence this fall with a big 38-6 billboard win over Boise State. The Huskies are led by Bishop Sankey (Pac-12 leader with 148.7 rushing yards per game) and Keith Price (Pac-12 leader in pass efficiency), and oh yeah, maybe the country’s best tight end in Austin Sefarian-Jenkins. The three will get a huge test in the intriguing Wildcats. Against three cupcakes, Arizona’s allowed 26 total points and has scored 42.7 per game. Ka’Deem Carey leads the Wildcat attack, and would be ahead of Sankey (149.5 per game) if he didn’t miss week one. Arizona’s defense might be its talking point; the defense has allowed one touchdown and 12 points in non-garbage minutes.

X-factor: Jake Fischer vs. Sankey. Fischer, the senior Wildcat, leads the Arizona defense from the middle linebacker position. He might not total that many stats (12 combined tackles on the year), but he’s well experienced in the 3-3-5 playbook they feature. If Sankey is well contained, this game will be closer than suspected as the two teams both feature solid offenses. But if Sankey scampers, Washington has the advantage.

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

No. 5 Stanford (3-0, 1-0) vs. Washington State (3-1, 1-0) 7 p.m. ESPN (CenturyLink Field, Seattle):

Both teams take to the road as the Cougars welcome the Cardinal to their Seattle game. Very different offensive strategies will clash as Mike Leach’s air attack is starting to warm up, while David Shaw’s power-I grinds forward. Connor Halliday is a turnover machine (8 interceptions to 10 touchdowns), but the Wazzu pass attack is 16th in the nation with 328.8 yards per game. However, it’s been the Cougar defense that’s been a surprise this game, keeping USC to seven points and shutting out Idaho. Stanford is favored (-10) in this one, and have no doubt, they are a superior football team. Ty Montgomery is third in the Pac-12 in all-purpose yardage and will be looking to have a big day against the Cougs, but this one will be on the Stanford defense to keep the Cardinal on offense where they can wind down the clock.

X-factor: Stanford D Line vs. Connor Halliday. Forcing Halliday to make mistakes — something he does well enough on his own — will be huge towards keeping this Cougar offense off the field. In the first half of the USC game, WSU crossed the 50-yard line twice and while there, Halliday was 4-for-7, he had one pick, he was sacked twice, and he had one fumble. WSU is one-dimensional enough already so shaking Halliday’s confidence will be a key to knocking off the electric and eclectic Cougs.

Alex: Stanford  Isaac: Stanford   Corey: Stanford   Franklin: Stanford   David: Stanford   RyanStanford

USC (3-1, 0-1) at Arizona State (2-1, 0-1) 7:30 p.m. ESPN2:

USC is 12-1 in this series since 2000, with the Sun Devils’ one win coming in 2011. USC won last year in the Coliseum and so the Trojans take their trip to Tempe this year with a bit of a shaky entrance. After backing into a win against Hawaii, USC lost to Washington State. They’re led by Cody Kessler under center, though their true strength is on the ground and in defense where HB Tre Madden and DT George Uko have shined thus far. HB Marion Grice, a JuCo transfer, has been huge for ASU through three games, leading the nation in scoring and taking No. 5 with six rushing touchdowns. Sun Devils DT Will Sutton is a sheer force to be reckoned with, so don’t be surprised if this one turns into a defensive battle (no offense intended to ASU’s offense).

X-factor: Morgan Breslin vs. Grice. Breslin, a USC OLB, missed the first game with injury, but leads the Pac-12 in sacks and tackles for loss per game. Grice is the first truly dynamic tailback the Trojans will face this year, so Breslin gets his first big test of the season trying to keep the do-everything back at bay. USC’s offense has been disappointing this year, to say the least, so Breslin’s task is even more key on this day.

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

California (1-2, 0-0) at No. 2 Oregon (3-0, 0-0) 7:30 p.m. Pac-12 Network:

The Ducks have left a trail of smoke in their wake through the lower tiers of the FCS, the ACC and the SEC, and take to their Pac-12 slate with about as much national acclaim they’ve ever had. After a bye week, the Ducks should return Colt Lyerla to an offense that didn’t seem to be lacking for playmakers against Tennessee. Cal brings true freshman Jared Goff to Autzen Stadium as he continues to do outstanding things with the Berkeley offensive slate of talent. But being a freshman in Autzen is no easy task and Cal is seriously lacking on defense; the Bears gave up 139 yards to Portland State HB DJ Adams. For reference, De’Anthony Thomas is a better running back than DJ Adams.

X-factor: Chris Harper/Bryce Treggs vs. Terrance Mitchell/Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. As indicated, Oregon will get their points in buckets in this game. The question is, at will always seem to be this season, will Cal follow up with points on their own. After three rush-heavy attacks, the Ducks finally face an opponent that likes to lob the ball and test the secondary. Oregon probably has the best pair of cornerbacks in the nation, and this week, they’ll get to show it off. If Cal can’t keep up, Oregon’s rushing attack will stomp all over them.

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

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