Pac-12 Pick'em

2013 Pac-12 Pick’em: Week Ten

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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:

  • Alex Shoemaker: 53-11 (5-0 last week)
  • Ryan Beltram: 50-14 (5-0)
  • Isaac Rosenthal: 50-14 (4-1)
  • Corey Buchanan: 49-15 (4-1)
  • Franklin Bains: 48-16 (4-1)
  • David Saez: 47-17 (3-2)

Thursday

Arizona State (5-2, 3-1) at Washington State (4-4, 2-3) 7:30 p.m. (ESPN 35)

Both teams have a lot riding on this game. With a win the Sun Devils maintain ts one-game lead over Pac-12 South foe UCLA. For the Cougars, a win moves them closer to bowl eligibility – needing six wins to reach that mark. ASU has dominated this series of late, winners of eight of the last nine. But this Cougs offense might just have enough fire power to keep it close.

X-factorConnor Halliday. Halliday and Mike Leach can start to breath deeply. After taking a 24-17 lead against Oregon State, the Cougs saw the full power of the Beaver State’s secondaries and threw 7 interceptions over the course of the next 5 quarters. Now they get a Thursday date with the Sun Devils and can put some distance between themselves and Steven Nelson, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Terrance Mitchell. That’s not to say that Halliday can’t throw picks to the Sun Devil defense, just that it’s not as likely as it would be against the Beavs and Ducks (first and second, respectively, in the conference in interceptions).

Alex: Arizona State  Isaac: Arizona State   Corey: Arizona State   Franklin: Washington State   David: Arizona State   RyanArizona State

Friday

USC (5-3, 2-2) at Oregon State (6-2, 4-1) 6 p.m. (ESPN2 36)

Friday’s showdown between the Trojans and Beavs is the best game of the week in the Pac-12 by most analysts. Oregon State looks to bounce back from a hard-fought loss to No. 5 Stanford on Saturday, while USC is 2-1 since the firing of then head coach Lane Kiffin and only a four-point loss away from being undefeated in that stretch. While neither one of these teams is out of the running for a conference title, it’d take a great stretch of luck in November. A win on Friday is a must.

X-factorOSU O-Line vs. USC D Front. Oregon State’s offensive line hasn’t exactly impressed through nine weeks. The holes haven’t been there for Storm Woods and so while the rushing game has gone away, the passing game has flourished. That’s not to say, however, that Sean Mannion hasn’t been running for his life at times. He has been. And USC has the athletes throughout the forest of its front 7 to get in Mannion’s head. For OSU to win, they’ll need their own forest to step up and protect.

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

Saturday

Arizona (5-2, 2-2) at California (1-7, 0-5) 12:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network 420)

The Golden Bears and Arizona Wildcats have had one of the most competitive matchups in the league for years. At 14-14-2 all-time and 2-2 over the past four meetings, it wouldn’t be crazy to expect a close game. However, this may be the worst Cal team in a decade while the Wildcats are winners of their last two games and have an outside shot of winning the Pac-12 South. This could be close early, but Rich Rodrigues’ high powered running attack should tear apart the Bears’ defense.

X-factorB.J. Denker. The senior QB has the same amount of rushing and passing TDs (8) this year, and is starting to come into his own as the Wildcats field general. Against the Cal rushing defense though, his job early will be just to hand off to the conference’s best RB in Ka’Deem Carey. If the conference’s worst team by a margin makes a push for its first FBS win this season though, Denker has the ability to tuck and run and will use it.

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

Colorado (3-4, 0-4) at No. 20 UCLA (5-2, 2-2) 4:30 (Fox Sports 1 408)

On paper, the top-25 Bruins should have every advantage against a still rebuilding Buffaloes squad still looking for its fist conference win. However, with the Bruins looking to keep up energy after two loses to Stanford and Oregon its hard to say just what mindset the team will be in. This has textbook upset alert written all over it.

X-factorBrett Hundley. The last two weeks haven’t exactly been kind to the sophomore quarterback. Stanford (219) and then Oregon (136) held him to his lowest total yardage output of his career. Before the Stanford game, he had never been held to less than 250 yards in a game, and in 10 of 19 career games, he recorded over 300 yards. Colorado has nothing to lose this week, but they also don’t have the athletes to compete with UCLA’s skill position players.

Alex: UCLA  Isaac: UCLA   Corey: UCLA   Franklin: UCLA   DavidUCLA   RyanUCLA

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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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2013 Pac-12 Pick’em: Week Four

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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: 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   DavidWashington   RyanWashington

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   DavidUtah State   RyanUSC

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   DavidStanford   RyanStanford

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   DavidOregon State   RyanOregon 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   DavidUtah   RyanUtah

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   DavidUCLA   RyanUCLA

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   DavidWashington State   RyanWashington State

2013 Pac-12 Pick’em: Week Two

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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:

  • Alex Shoemaker: 8-2
  • Corey Buchanan: 8-2
  • Franklin Bains: 8-2
  • David Saez: 8-2
  • Ryan Beltram: 6-4
  • Isaac Rosenthal: 6-4

Sacramento State (0-1) at Arizona State (0-0)

Arizona State LogoSacramento State beat Oregon State to open the 2011 season, which sent the Beavers into a tailspin. 2013 Arizona State is not 2011 Oregon State, and on top of that, the men of Tempe started the season with a bye in week one. While ASU got an extra week to prepare, Sac State got pounded 24-0 by San Jose State. So long as they don’t completely hit the snooze bar, the Sun Devils should easily handle the Hornets in the first matchup between the two schools.

375px-Sacramento_State_Hornets_LogoX-Factor: Will Sutton. The redshirt senior Sun Devil defensive lineman is back to his natural playing weight and looking to “create problems” for Pac-12 teams this season. He should wreak havoc on the FCS squad’s offensive line all game long and leave plenty of wiggle room for returning quarterback Taylor Kelly.

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

Weber State (1-0) at Utah (1-0)

Utah Utes logo pngWeber State joins Sac State as Big Sky teams facing Pac-12 opponents this week. The Wildcats march from Ogden to Salt Lake City to meet the Utes, and where Weber took a 50-40 score to dispatch Stephen F. Austin — incidentally of the Southland Conference with Nicholls — Utah was probably the underdog when they rode an Andy Phillips onside kick to a 30-26 win. Utah will be the favorite in their fourth meeting with Weber (Utah is 3-0), where Tyler WIlson will look to flex his muscles a bit.

Weber-State-LogoX-factor: The Utah Running Game. Wilson was excellent in the season opener going 17-for-28 for 302 yards, throwing two touchdowns against no interceptions. With catches of 51 and 56 yards helping him out, the big play helped him out. In the Pac-12 south race, he’ll need the running game to help him out too, something that these types of opponents are really good practice for. Sophomore James Poole and senior Karl Williams rushed for 47 and 45 yards against Utah State and both should see significant playing time.

Alex: Utah  Isaac: Utah   Corey: Utah   Franklin: Utah   DavidUtah   RyanUtah

No. 2 Oregon (1-0) at Virginia (1-0)

OREGON-LOGO2Oregon faces a much stronger test in week two, but one that still has the Ducks heavily favored. The Ducks put three rushers on the field who gained more than 100 yards on the ground in week one, a season yardage mark that Virginia’s leading rusher Kevin Parks is still 35 yards away from. Granted BYU’s defensive front full of Samoans, keyed by senior weak-side linebacker Kyle Van Noy, is stouter than that of Nicholls, but Virginia’s offense doesn’t have much to write home about. In this first matchup between Ducks and Cavaliers, don’t be surprised if Oregon’s formula is similar to how it put away the Volunteers in 2010 or the Wolverines in 2007.

VirginiaX-factor: Alejandro Maldonado. The maligned kicker has had some disappointing outings over the past couple years, but he has taken over the punting duties for the Ducks this fall, and unlike last Saturday, they’ll likely need him this week. Virginia benefitted from field position thrice against BYU, with both of the Cavaliers’ crucial touchdowns coming with a short field and the Cougars committing a safety. If the Ducks are forced to punt, deep kicks will help out the defense immensely.

Alex: Oregon  Isaac: Oregon   Corey: Oregon   Franklin: Oregon  DavidOregon   Ryan: Oregon

Portland State (1-0) at California (1-0)

CalAnother Big Sky team facing a Pac-12 team, and another one that drubbed their week one opponent but is the strong underdog. Portland State roundly defeated Eastern Oregon (raise your hand if you knew they had a football team), but face a strong and angry Cal Golden Bears team who are ready to show they’re not the Cal teams of the past four years. The one matchup in this series took place in 2006 when Cal won 42-16. True freshman Jared Goff had 445 yards, a Cal freshman record, in their season opener against Northwestern.

Portland State Vikings logoX-factor: Sonny Dykes. The Louisiana Tech transplanted head coach came close to taking the season opener, but Northwestern’s Treyvon Green ran away with that one — running for 129 yards and two TD (including the score that put Northwestern up by two scores). With a game that Cal should have full control of, it’s time for Dykes to prepare the team for a home date with Ohio State on Sept. 14.

Alex: Cal  Isaac: Cal   Corey: Cal   Franklin: Cal   DavidCal   RyanCal

Central Arkansas (1-0) at Colorado (1-0)

Colorado logoCentral Arkansas comes into this game after winning their first game over a school whose actual name is Incarnate Word. That might be the most interesting thing in this game for the newly intriguing Colorado Buffaloes. It’s the first matchup between the Buffaloes and Bears. Connor Wood should look to grow after a strong first showing against Colorado State, and the team will look to improve to 2-0 after coming into the season on an eight-game losing streak.

Central Arkansas Logo PngX-factor: Christian Powell. Wood had 400 yards against Colorado State, but they’ll meet Fresno State on Sept. 14 in a rematch of a game they lost 69-14 last year. Fresno State has had a good start to the season, knocking off Rutgers in OT in week one, and will be the toughest test for Colorado so far. Powell (41 yards in week one) needs to establish a presence against the weaker foe, so that the Bulldogs can’t cheat up or load the box.

Alex: Colorado  Isaac: Colorado   Corey: Colorado   Franklin: Colorado   DavidColorado   RyanColorado

Hawaii (0-1) at Oregon State (0-1)

Oregon StateSuddenly a closer matchup than Beaver fans thought coming into the season. After a loss to Eastern Washington, every game feels tenser, and Hawaii is no longer to be overlooked. Oregon State has won five games in this eight-game series, the last one going the Beavers’ way 45-7 in 2008. Oregon State’s defense will be the focus at practice all week, after last week giving up over 400 yards to opposing QB Vernon Adams, and because Oregon State’s offense looks strong. Brandin Cooks will look to continue a campaign for the Biletnikoff Award after corralling in nearly 200 receiving yards against the Eagles.

hawaii logoX-factor: Oregon State’s secondary. The Beavers are pretty solid up front, but gave up 411 yards through the air to Adams, allowing him four touchdowns without an interception. Jordan Poyer’s departure for the NFL was a big factor in a depleted defensive backfield, but if they want to win, they need to not let opposing quarterbacks easy opportunities. Because the offense isn’t leaving too many missed opportunities on the field.

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

Arizona (1-0) at UNLV (0-1)

ArizonaArizona goes on the road to take on the Rebels, which is a good thing for UNLV who has lost their last 23 road games, with the 23rd a bad loss to Minnesota last week. However, Arizona returns Ka’Deem Carey to the gridiron after his serving a one-game suspension during their hosting of Northern Arizona. The Wildcats ran all over the Lumberjacks and with the addition of their All-American, they should be even better. These teams have met once before, in 2001 when Arizona won 38-21.

UNLV logo pngX-factor: Wildcat Receivers. UNLV didn’t have much trouble moving the ball on the Minnesota Golden Gophers, but still got beat by 28. And with Carey back, the All-American will get his carries and his yards. But with last year’s leading receiver Austin Hill (1,364 yards in 2012) still out with a torn ACL, Denker will need some targets to throw to as the Wildcats take to the road.

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

Washington State (0-1) at No. 25 USC (1-0)

washington state football logoThe first Pac-12 game of the season will feature two of its most confusing teams. USC started the season with a trip to Hawaii where their offense struggled against the Rainbow Warriors’ not-all-that-tricky defense, while Washington State’s air raid pushed Auburn’s SEC defense to the brink. USC leads the series 58-8-4, with the last contest going USC’s way in 2010 — 50-16. Cody Kessler and Connor Halliday will look to make huge steps forward in this matchup, both are nominally the starter, but both could easily be replaced if they replicate the miscues of last week.

USC_Trojan+Logo1X-factor: Kessler. USC’s got the clear talent advantage at all sectors of the field, but the offense gave Trojans fans a stinker of a season opener. Kessler was named the starter this week and now has all the pressure. Silas Redd’s hopeful to return for his season debut, which will remove a lot of pressure. But once again, as it should be in most games, the game will come down to the starter’s ability to get the ball in the hands of Marqise Lee. Battling the air raid, whether USC’s offense works or not should decide the game.

Alex: USC  Isaac: USC   Corey: USC   Franklin: USC   DavidWashington State   RyanUSC

San Jose State (1-0) at No. 5 Stanford (0-0)

StanfordStanford starts the season with the team that tested them early last season. Stanford leads the series 51-14-1, but San Jose State challenged them en route to a 20-17 Cardinal win. Stanford started the season at No. 4, their highest preseason ranking in team history, and thus embarks on a huge campaign this fall, though not playing seems to have unfairly dropped them a spot in the AP poll. They’ll rely on their trademark running game and last year’s revelation in Kevin Hogan, now starting the season, and should put the Spartans away in the first half this go around.

San_Jose_State_SpartansX-factor: Anthony Wilkerson. The senior has played behind the transformative Stepfan Taylor the past four years and now gets his year to shine behind Stanford’s trees on O-line. It’s no secret that the Cardinal will run the ball a lot, as David Shaw has seamlessly kept up the smashmouth offense of Jim Harbaugh. But Wilkerson’s got to show that he can handle the increased load — his 50 carries in 2012 was 5 less than Hogan and 272 less than Taylor.

Alex: Stanford  Isaac: Stanford   Corey: Stanford   Franklin: Stanford   DavidStanford   RyanStanford

2013 Pac-12 Pick’em: Week One

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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:

  • Alex Shoemaker: 0-0
  • Isaac Rosenthal: 0-0
  • Corey Buchanan: 0-0
  • Franklin Bains: 0-0
  • David Saez: 0-0
  • Ryan Beltram: 0-0

Utah State (0-0) at Utah (0-0)

UtahBoth of the Pac-12 newcomers have had a disappointing welcome to the conference. Colorado has gotten demolished several times, while Utah has simply underwhelmed lately. This rivalry game was fully in the Utes’ hands from 1998 to 2009, but Utah State won the 2012 game 27-20 and enters the season with the nation’s fourth-longest winning streak with seven-straight wins.

8T6NDX-Factor: Both teams return quarterbacks who ended last season with the team. If Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton (27 TD, 9 INT in 2012) has anyone to throw to, USU’s defense (seventh in the nation in 2012) should take over the rest.

Alex: Utah   Isaac: Utah   Corey: Utah   Franklin: Utah   David: Utah   Ryan: Utah State

USC (0-0) at Hawaii (0-0)

USC_Trojan+Logo1USC and Hawaii have played this game eight times and USC has won as many times. The closest Hawaii has made this game was in 2010 when USC won 49-36. The Rainbow Warriors return 17 starters from a team that went 3-9 last year. USC will be suspect, trying to replace four-year starter Matt Barkley, but projected starter Max Wittek (who also went to Barkley’s Mater Dei) will have plenty of options to throw to.

hawaii logo

X-factor: Speaking of which, Marquis Lee will be looking to spark Heisman talk. If Lee can go off, Hawaii doesn’t have an answer for him.

Alex: USC   Isaac: USC   Corey: USC   Franklin: USC  David: USC   Ryan: USC

Northern Arizona (0-0) at Arizona (0-0)

ArizonaThis series has been played 12 times and Arizona has won 11 of them. The Wildcats won the last game 41-10 in 2011, and while they too need to replace a starting quarterback, the opposing Lumberjacks are an FCS school. This is a tuneup for Arizona and Rich Rodriguez has the team on an upward trajectory.

NAU_logo_webX-factor: Ka’Deem Carey is a well-known force and he’ll have a great season, but the question in this first 2013 contest is who will replace 2012 senior QB Matt Scott. The Pac-12 blog suspects we’ll see the debut of B.J. Denker, though RichRod won’t spill the beans.

Alex: Arizona   Isaac: Arizona   Corey: Arizona   Franklin: Arizona   David: Arizona   RyanArizona

Nicholls (0-0) at Oregon (0-0)

OREGON-LOGO-150x150Really? Really? Nicholls is one of the worst FCS programs. They’ve won two games in two years, and lost 66-16 to Tulsa last year. We like to have fun here, but come on.

Nicholls StateX-factor: Nicholls players and coaches have been talking about the teaching opportunities here being the real win. If Nicholls’ defense can keep Marcus Mariota on the field in the second quarter, I think they can call that a win.

Alex: Oregon   Isaac: Oregon   Corey: Oregon   Franklin: Oregon   David: Oregon   Ryan: Oregon

Eastern Washington (0-0) at Oregon State (0-0)

Oregon StateAnother tuneup game for a Pac-12 team. Eastern Washington is one of the best FCS teams, but the main thing the Eagles are known for in the FBS world is their bright red turf. The Beavers return deep threat Brandin Cooks and tailbacks Storm Woods and Terron Ward, as well as both quarterbacks in Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz, from a team that went 9-4 last fall. The Beavers have won both games in this series (the last 56-17 in 2006) and should take the third with ease.

eastern_washington_logoX-factor: Like Arizona, Oregon State is looking to decide on their quarterback still. Mannion is the ostensible starter, but Vaz is a quality option that will likely see some playing time in this game.

Alex: Oregon State   Isaac: Oregon State   Corey: Oregon State   Franklin: Oregon State   David: Oregon State   Ryan: Oregon State

Washington State (0-0) at Auburn (0-0)

Washington StateThis game is one of the more intriguing games of the week and harder games to pick. Both teams are in the middle of a rebuilding stage. Cougars head coach Mike Leach, after an abysmal first season, hopes his air-raid offense led by quarterback Connor Halliday. As for Auburn, they enter the first year of the Gus Malzhan era after his brief stint with Arkansas State. The Tigers face one of toughest schedules in the entire country, and a loss to the Cougars would be devastating.

Auburn logoX-factor: Leach is known for his air-raid offense, and you can expect the Cougars will be looking to air the ball out against the Tigers’ secondary. However, all four starting defensive backs returning for Auburn making for a very interesting matchup.

Alex: Auburn   Isaac: Washington State   Corey: Auburn   Franklin: Auburn   David: Auburn   Ryan: Auburn

Nevada (0-0) at UCLA (0-0)

UCLAThe Bruins are one of the dark horse candidates to win the Pac-12 and many expert’s sleeper team to for the season. UCLA returns seven starters on offense in head coach Jim Mora’s second season with the team. Nevada is in the first season under new head coach Brian Polian, replacing one of the best head coaches in Chris Ault. The famous pistol offense run by the Wolf Pack developed quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick into sensational runners, and they have another great in returning starter Cody Fajardo.

Nevada_LogoX-factor: UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, one of the most dominant defensive players in college football, will be key for the Bruins to win. With a mobile quarterback, Barr will be needed to help prevent scrambles and shut down the run game.

Alex: UCLA   Isaac: UCLA   Corey: UCLA   Franklin: UCLA
David: UCLA   Ryan: UCLA

Boise State (0-0) at Washington (0-0)

imgresIt’s yet another year where Washington will try to break through from a mid-tier Pac-12 program to the national rankings. The Huskies return a backfield of Bishop Sankey and senior Keith Price and all-American tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, to match up once more with the Broncos of Boise State. This is the third game of the series, the last one took place in the 2012 Las Vegas Bowl, which Boise won 28-26. Washington took a late lead after trailing 18-3, but returning starting QB Joe Southwick led the team down the field for a game-winning field goal.

1ehqa08bl92kn4e8axbwqovl4X-factor: Sefarian-Jenkins will be one of the best tight ends easily this fall and Price will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2012 campaign. With 20 starters coming back for UW and just 10 back for BSU, this game could come down to a pitch-and-catch game for the Huskies if the Bronco pass defense is not on point.

Alex: Boise State   Isaac: Boise State   Corey: Washington   Franklin: Washington   David: Boise State   Ryan: Washington

Northwestern (0-0) at Cal (0-0)

CalCal’s first-year head coach Sonny Dykes takes over for a program that is in shambles. Former coach Jeff Tedford always had talent, but his inconsistent results earned him the axe after last year. Dykes’ men are once again talented, but this year they have some speed on the edges as well. They mark up across from Northwestern, a team that returns 17 starters from a 10-3 2012 campaign. Two of those starters are the backfield duo of QB Kain Colter and RB Venric Mark, who ran for a combined 2,200 yards last year. The teams have met once before: a 20-14 Northwestern win in 1949.

NorthwesternX-factor: The offenses should shine in this contest which could prove to be high-scoring. Brandon Bigelow, a junior, returns to start at halfback and should be better with speedy wideouts Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs on the outside.

Alex: Northwestern   Isaac: Cal   Corey: Northwestern   Franklin: Cal   David: Northwestern   Ryan: Cal

Colorado (0-0) vs. Colorado State (0-0) (neutral site)

ColoradoThis is a tricky matchup because the recent and more historical past really won’t say anything about this year’s teams. Colorado is the other most recent member (with Utah) in the Pac-12, but despite historical significance in the college football landscape, the Buffaloes have gotten demolished in their two years in the conference. Colorado State went 4-8 last year, but return 18 starters from a unit that won this game 22-17 last year. The last time Colorado lost this game in back-to-back years was ’99 and ’00.

4123057_300X-factor: Colorado QB Connor Wood was named the starter this week and he’ll mark up against Colorado State’s Connor Smith. If Colorado is going to take the long road back to competitive conference play, it will run through the first-time starter who threw 1 TD and 4 INT last fall.

Alex: Colorado   Isaac: Colorado   Corey: Colorado State   Franklin: Colorado   David: Colorado   Ryan: Colorado State

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