The Pacific-12 Conference has an interesting weekend ahead in college football action. Four teams have bye weeks, and the league schedule also starts in earnest now that most schools in the conference have played their three out-of-conference games already.
(We’ve switched platforms, so to look back at the first three weeks, click here.)
So far this season, our predictions have produced a 26-8 record. That’s Vegas worthy, really. No guarantees going forward, of course, but here’s a quick look at the four games coming up in Week 4 as the Conference of Champions tries to crack the College Football Playoff again.
Washington State at USC (7:30 pm Friday): Last season in Pullman, the Cougars pulled off a 30-27 upset that launched their season toward a legitimate shot at the Pac-12 North Division title. The Trojans ended up winning the Pac-12 South and the Pac-12 title game, despite the loss. This is a rematch, but the two teams are very different. Both have new quarterbacks, and in addition, this USC team is not last year’s squad. The Trojans desperately need a win here to avoid a three-loss month, but WSU looks good on both sides of the ball so far this year, despite playing weaker competition than USC has faced. Look for the Trojans to squeak this one out at home. USC 35, Washington State 31.
Arizona at Oregon State (1 pm Saturday): Both teams are 1-2, but needless to say, the Wildcats were not supposed to be. The Beavers are what we thought they would be. If either team wants a bowl bid in 2018, this is a key game toward achieving that goal. No one would have picked OSU for a bowl game before the season began, but Arizona was supposed to be a “good” team with a new coach and QB Khalil Tate. This is where the Wildcats get their season going again. Arizona 41, Oregon State 31.
No. 7 Stanford at No. 20 Oregon (5 pm Saturday): This is the Game of the Week in the conference, obviously. Both teams are undefeated, but Stanford’s victories have been more impressive in terms of competition—although not by much. The Ducks have played literally no one yet, so this is there first test. Oregon is lucky this game is at home, where the fans will be rocking Autzen Stadium. This also is Stanford’s first road game. Preseason Heisman Trophy favorite Bryce Love has run for just 165 yards this season so far, missing one of Stanford’s three games in the process. The Ducks run defense has been stout, but it hasn’t seen a team like the Cardinal yet. Stanford 27, Oregon 24.
Arizona State at No. 10 Washington (7:30 pm Saturday): Reality hit the Sun Devils hard last week after they got a little too big for their britches after a fortunate home win over Michigan State in Week 2. The reality will continue to hit hard this week in Seattle for ASU. The Huskies are going to steamroll the Sun Devils; seriously, this one could get ugly, and all that love for Herm Edwards will be gone. Washington 45, Arizona State 9.