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 David: Colorado Ryan: Colorado
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 David: UCLA Ryan: Stanford
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 David: Washington Ryan: Washington
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 David: USC Ryan: USC
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 David: Utah Ryan: Utah
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 David: Oregon Ryan: Oregon
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 David: Oregon State Ryan: Oregon State