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: 36-5 (5-0 last week)
- Alex Shoemaker: 36-5 (5-0)
- David Saez: 34-7 (5-0)
- Franklin Bains: 33-8 (4-1)
- Isaac Rosenthal: 33-8 (5-0)
- Ryan Beltram: 33-8 (5-0)
No. 12 UCLA (3-0, 0-0) at Utah (3-1, 0-1) 7 p.m. Fox Sports 1 (Comcast 408)
A matchup of two of the top teams in the Pac-12 south division should be pretty even. Both teams have above average rushing games and really good passing games led by smart QBs and athletes catching the ball. Dres Anderson is a sleeper pick for first-team all-conference at wideout and should be a lock for the second-team if he keeps making big plays for the Utes. On the other side, Shaq Evans leads a deadly efficient Bruin squad of skill players, but Jordan James has received notice as he ranks No. 5 in the nation and No. 3 in the conference in rushing yards per game.
X-factor: Brett Hundley vs. Travis Wilson. Hundley’s among the conference’s elite among QBs, but Wilson hasn’t been too bad himself. Though Wilson is thought of as more of a pocket threat, he had a breakout game against the Beavers choosing he can tuck and run if he sees a crease. In a battle of good quarterbacks, you tend to favor the team with better skill players — which would be UCLA — but don’t count out Wilson in a duel.
Alex: UCLA Isaac: UCLA Corey: UCLA Franklin: UCLA David: UCLA Ryan: UCLA
Washington State (3-2, 1-1) at California (1-3, 0-1) 1 p.m. Fox Sports 1 (Comcast 408)
From a battle of the best in the south, we take to probably the worst of the north. Make no mistake, Cal and Washington State aren’t terrible; however, they just lost by a combined score of 110-33 on Saturday and 13 of their points came in the last minute. The Cougs and Bears are led by a pair of trigger-happy quarterbacks who fit the mold of their coach’s brains. Both Connor Halliday and Jared Goff are among the conference leaders in passing yards per game, but both got benched on Saturday as their teams got walloped. Cal’s defense is not very good, but Wazzu’s is on the rise, so that might just be the difference.
X-factor: Cal Front 7 vs. Teondray Caldwell/Marcus Mason. Wazzu’s running game, by Mike Leach‘s design, is not performing anywhere near the rest of the conference. Though Cal’s defensive line got gashed in the Oregon game, they have a lot of tenacity and will come to play angry after that display. Cal knows that to hang with WSU, it will have to take the running game completely out of the picture, force the shaky QB play to take more chances and drive the barely positive running game into the negative with tackles for loss. That all starts up front.
Alex: Washington State Isaac: Washington State Corey: Cal Franklin: Washington State David: Washington State Ryan: Washington State
No. 2 Oregon (4-0, 1-0) at Colorado (2-1, 0-1) 3 p.m. Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)
In Colorado’s two years in the league, the Buffaloes have started with 45-2 and 70-14 beatdowns at the hands of Oregon. The first one featured a Ducks team that missed starting QB Darron Thomas and RB LaMichael James — and the only Buffalo points scored were on a bad punt return from troubled CB Cliff Harris. To be clear this is neither of those Colorado teams, but they’re still in the middle of a rebuilding process. Paul Richardson and Connor Wood should test the Oregon secondary, but Colorado’s defense won’t leave enough breathing room for a Colorado offense that only mustered 14 against Oregon State.
X-factor: Don’t Get Hurt. We’d like to see a good Colorado team as much as the next sports team, but it’s just not the case for this year. The first half will be another test of how quickly the Ducks can put points up on the board, but it’s another case of get in, get out and move on.
Alex: Oregon Isaac: Oregon Corey: Oregon Franklin: Oregon David: Oregon Ryan: Oregon
No. 22 Arizona State (3-1) vs. Notre Dame (3-2) at AT&T Stadium, 4:30 p.m. NBC
Arizona State and Notre Dame battle on a neutral site this week in the first of three games the Pac-12 gets with the Catholic football power school. The teams have matched up twice, a home and home in 1998-1999 that went to the Irish both years. Taylor Kelly‘s squad has had a bit of a bumpy road, but the Sun Devils remain ranked in the top 25, mostly thanks to the sheer force of Marion Grice. He’s ASU’s main weapon and expect Kelly to go to him early and often against an unpredictable ND team.
X-factor: Grice vs. the world. The senior halfback does a little bit of everything for Sparty — sitting at 11th in the nation for all-purpose yards and tied for 20th for points responsible for. Being that it’s Notre Dame, the defense is probably a bit overrated, so the shifty Grice will test every edge of the Irish, trying to add to his 12 touchdowns on the season.
Alex: Arizona State Isaac: Arizona State Corey: Arizona State Franklin: Arizona State David: Arizona State Ryan: Arizona State
No. 15 Washington (4-0, 1-0) at No. 5 Stanford (4-0, 2-0) 7:30 p.m. ESPN (Comcast 35)
Keith Price and co. take to the road in one of the first forks in the road of this Pac-12 season. Stanford had some question marks early but put most of them to bed with a complete effort against Washington State in Seattle last Saturday. Price and Stanford’s Kevin Hogan are two of the conference’s most efficient quarterbacks and the two defenses are suddenly a pair of the conference’s best. Expect an exciting finish much like last year and an unexpected turning point, much like last year.
X-factor: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins. ASJ remains the key for Washington to pull off an interesting upset pick. The teams match up remarkably well, as Justin Wilcox has the Husky defense playing about as well as anyone, and neither squad lacks for offensive weapons. But if ASJ can get back to firing on all cylinders, Stanford might not have an answer for the matchup problem. The team that springs a leak first is the game here in what should be a low-scoring affair that Washington’s TE could have a lot to say in.
Alex: Stanford Isaac: Stanford Corey: Washington Franklin: Stanford David: Washington Ryan: Stanford