There are just five games on the schedule this week in Pacific-12 Conference football, and none of them have major implications. However, a few teams probably need to win, and a few other definitely must win to keep 2018 dreams alive.
Isn’t that always the way it goes, even on a “lesser” week of action? Oregon and USC have byes this week, and there are no out-of-conference games. So it’s all Pac-12 action on Saturday, with three ranked teams in action that should continue their winning ways.
Our predictions have produced a 36-9 record; we feel like we should have been betting. But that’s never a good idea, wagering on the emotional mood swings of 19-year-old boys.
Arizona State at No. 21 Colorado (1 pm Saturday): These might be the best two teams on paper right now in the Pac-12 South Division. But the Sun Devils are 0-2 away from home, although both losses were by just seven points apiece. Really, though, a lot of ASU’s street cred comes from that last-second win over Michigan State a month ago. After all, the Sun Devils lost to San Diego State, too. Meanwhile, Colorado’s road win over Nebraska looks less impressive every week. The teams are somewhat even, but the home-field edge goes to the Buffs right now, until ASU proves it can win on the road. Colorado 35, Arizona State 31.
No. 10 Washington at UCLA (4:30 pm Saturday): This is the biggest mismatch of the season in conference play, as the Huskies rate out as the best team in the North Division, while the Bruins are the worst in the South Division. This would be a monumental upset for UCLA to win this game, and we don’t see that happening, of course. No one ever does in advance. Washington 56, UCLA 24.
Washington State at Oregon State (6 pm Saturday): The Beavers aren’t good, and the Cougars are good enough. That may be the best way to sum up this game. The outcome probably will not be in doubt much after the first quarter, but WSU is not as good as it was last year, and OSU is probably a little better than it was in 2017. That was a 28-point margin in Pullman, so this will be closer. Washington State 35, Oregon State 17.
California at Arizona (7 pm Saturday): Both teams need to win this game, and we will leave it at that. The Wildcats have the edge being at home, although it did not help them last week in a narrow loss to USC. The Golden Bears are not as talented as the Trojans, however, and Cal is still smarting from getting blown out at home by Oregon. Look for the home team to squeak this one out. Arizona 35, California 31.
Utah at No. 14 Stanford (7:30 pm Saturday): Again, this is a matchup where both teams need to win. The Cardinal got creamed last week in South Bend, and to keep any hopes alive of a CFP berth, Stanford needs to win out. The Utes are a better team than people give them credit for, but for some reason, the schedule is brutal this year. Utah has lost two straight in conference and doesn’t want to start out 0-3 in Pac-12 play. That makes for desperation on both sides of the ball. Stanford 31, Utah 24.
Check back here frequently for new Pac-12 content!