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 David: Utah Ryan: USC
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-factor: Derrick 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 David: Oregon Ryan: Oregon
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 David: Arizona Ryan: Arizona
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-factor: Ed 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 David: Oregon State Ryan: Stanford
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-factor: Bishop 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 David: Washington Ryan: Washington