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: 25-4 (9-1 last week)
- Alex Shoemaker: 25-4 (9-1)
- Franklin Bains: 23-6 (7-3)
- David Saez: 23-6 (6-4)
- Isaac Rosenthal: 22-7 (8-2)
- Ryan Beltram: 21-8 (7-3)
Idaho State (2-0) at No. 17 Washington (2-0), 12 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)
The first meeting between these two border schools is all about Washington. The Huskies have had two tough non-conference games thus far against Boise State and Illinois, passing those hurdles, and get one cupcake matchup before hitting the Pac-12 slate. Washington RB Bishop Sankey is the nation’s leading rusher, and Sankey and the Huskies rank fourth in the nation in total offense.
X-factor: Don’t Get Hurt. Idaho State leads the Big Sky conference after winning resounding games over the powerhouses of Dixie State and Western State. But this is the best Huskies team in at least a decade, so as long as they don’t stub their toe, the Bengals shouldn’t pull any Appalachian State nonsense.
Alex: Washington Isaac: Washington Corey: Washington Franklin: Washington David: Washington Ryan: Washington
Utah State (2-1) at USC (2-1), 12:30 p.m., ABC
USC answered a lot of questions with its solid win over Boston College, but several still remain. None of them are on defense, however, which should be what wins or loses the Trojans this contest. Chuckie Keeton, one of my favorite players in non-AQ college football, leads the Aggies to Los Angeles. If Keeton’s allowed to run wild, I’m not sure Cody Kessler has an answer for him. Watch for a low-scoring affair that the Trojans dominate or a shootout that leans in Utah State’s favor.
X-factor: USC Defensive Backfield. USC’s top-notch defense is led by safety Dion Bailey, who leads the team in tackles and interceptions, adding one assisted sack. Ordinarily, secondary tackles are a sign of weakness, but USC’s first-team defense has allowed just 15 points on the year and no touchdowns outside of garbage minutes. Bailey and the cornerbacks get their first test of the year in the transcendent Keeton.
Alex: USC Isaac: USC Corey: USC Franklin: Utah State David: Utah State Ryan: USC
No. 23 Arizona State (2-0, 0-0) at No. 5 Stanford (2-0, 0-0), 4 p.m., Fox
The first matchup this year between ranked Pac-12 teams features two very even teams with very dissimilar methods of attack. Arizona State is led by scatback Marion Grice who had four touchdowns in their controversial win over Wisconsin. They have a balanced attack featuring even-handed signal caller Taylor Kelly. Stanford’s defense is prominent, but their offensive attack is nothing to sneeze at — especially when it chokes the life out of you. Arizona State needs to score when they have the ball and force Stanford to take chances.
X-factor: Will Sutton. Arizona State’s pit bull of a nose tackle has to be on point and force Stanford into the air. Kevin Hogan is a solid quarterback — as he proved when Josh Nunes was not an option — but forcing him throwing the ball is not in the Cardinal’s best interests. Sutton having a big night is the first step towards the Sun Devils leaving Palo Alto with a win.
Alex: Stanford Isaac: Stanford Corey: Stanford Franklin: Stanford David: Stanford Ryan: Stanford
Oregon State (2-1) at San Diego State (0-2), 4:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network (Comcast 412)
The Beavers didn’t start the season with a very fun night. However, a win over Hawaii and a big conference tilt with Utah going in their favor has distanced them slightly. OSU takes to the road against Mountain West Conference foe San Diego State, led by a coaching staff with heavy Beaver ties. OSU is favored in this contest, but as they well know, they can’t quite take any enemy lightly this year. Sean Mannion’s performance should be huge again as he continues to lay out a case for the O’Brien award.
X-factor: Terron Ward. OSU shouldn’t have troubles moving the football and scoring on SDSU; the Aztecs are one of the few FBS programs behind the Beavers in scoring defense. But the OSU running game, already nothing to write home about, was dealt a heavy blow when Storm Woods had to be carted off the Utah game with what was revealed to be a concussion. Ward takes over the starting job and will get his chance to shine (or not).
Alex: Oregon State Isaac: Oregon State Corey: Oregon State Franklin: Oregon State David: Oregon State Ryan: Oregon State
Utah (2-1) at BYU (2-1), 7:15 p.m., ESPN2 (Comcast 36)
The “Holy War”, as they call it in Beehive State, has already started heating up on Twitter. Utah has won the last three in the rivalry game, including one with a crazy finish last year, but the rivalry will take a two-year hiatus after this game. So, as if every iteration wasn’t big enough, this one will be huge for bragging rights. Travis Wilson will march the Utes the short 45-minute journey from Salt Lake City to Provo, where Utah should be favored thanks to Wilson’s quick thinking. BYU’s rushing game took a week off after tearing through Texas.
X-factor: Taysom Hill. BYU’s sophomore quarterback almost led the Cougars to victory in Virginia before absolutely demolishing the Longhorns. For independent BYU, though they have two more ranked teams on the schedule, there is no game bigger than this one and Hill will decide their fate.
Alex: BYU Isaac: BYU Corey: BYU Franklin: Utah David: Utah Ryan: Utah
New Mexico State (0-3) at No. 13 UCLA (2-0), 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)
UCLA enters their second emotional week after the death of a freshman wide receiver, Nick Pasquale. The Bruins put up 38 straight after falling behind 21-3 last week to Nebraska, and beat the Huskers to breach the top 15. In their first contest as a highly ranked team in years, they face the FBS-worst scoring defense in the Aggies. New Mexico State gave up 56 to Texas and 44 and 42 to the high-flying Minnesota and UTEP squads. Too snarky? I don’t think so. Brett Hundley probably won’t start the third quarter.
X-factor: Don’t Get Hurt. Another cupcake for the Pac-12, one of the last ones of the season. This one is up against probably one of the most solid offenses in the conference. Bruins are the standout leaders for the Pac-12 South crown and shouldn’t struggle with the men of New Mexico State.
Alex: UCLA Isaac: UCLA Corey: UCLA Franklin: UCLA David: UCLA Ryan: UCLA
Idaho (0-3) at Washington State (2-1), 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)
The first iteration of the Battle of the Palouse since 2007, and probably the first competent Wazzu team since that game. Washington State is better than just two FBS team at running, putting up a third-worst 60.3 yards per game, but holds the 17th-best passing offense. After losing a tough game to Auburn, they stood toe-to-toe with USC and won before trouncing Big Sky Southern Utah. The Cougars are 11th in the nation in total defense, and their Vandal opponents are 117th (120th in scoring defense). With a win, Wazzu is halfway to bowl eligibility — if they reach six wins, it’ll be their first bowl game in a decade. Their last bowl game was 2003, the Holiday Bowl against Texas.
X-factor: Skill Positions. RB Teondray Caldwell and WRs Gabe Marks and Dom Williams have a chance to dominate this Idaho team. Remember how I said WSU hasn’t been to a bowl game in 10 years? Well, they haven’t exactly been entirely competent in that span. This is the first Cougar squad since then to be, like, heavy odds-on favorites to win a game. If the guys around Connor Halliday are on point, they can put the Vandals away early and start focusing on their date with Stanford in Seattle.
Alex: Washington State Isaac: Washington State Corey: Washington State Franklin: Washington State David: Washington State Ryan: Washington State