It starts tonight for the Pacific-12 Conference, as Week 9 of the football season rolls in on a Friday night in Los Angeles. The league has five ranked teams in the Associated Press poll but little chance of seeing the miracle happen to land one of those teams in the College Football Playoff.
That’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes when your conference is too good for its own good. The Pac-12 has depth, and that can be a curse. Eight different teams could still win the conference, so it’s going to be fun watching more exciting games over the next handful of weeks to see what happens.
Our predictions have come in at a 46-12 clip in 2018, which we are proud of … but every week brings with it new challenges, so here’s the rundown for Week 9 in the Conference of Champions!
No. 23 Utah at UCLA (7:30 pm Friday): The Utes are proving to be one of the best teams in the conference, while the Bruins have won two straight after a rough 0-5 start to the season. On paper, it’s a mismatch, yet in reality, Utah may have to work a lot harder in this game than it wants to in order to secure another victory and stay atop the Pac-12 South Division. At a neutral site, this is a double-digit win for the Utes. But at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, it’s closer than that. Utah 30, UCLA 24.
Oregon State at Colorado (12 pm Saturday): The Buffaloes have lost two straight after opening the season with five consecutive victories. They get back on track here at home, easily, against the Beavers—who somehow lost at home to California by 42 points last Saturday. This will be a blowout. Colorado 45, Oregon State 21.
Arizona State at USC (12:30 pm Saturday): The Trojans are tied atop the Pac-12 South with Utah, although last week’s loss to the Utes means USC loses the tiebreaker, currently. This is a game the Trojans have to win. The Sun Devils are winless away from home, and that’s a bad combination for this matchup. USC 31, Arizona State 28.
No. 15 Washington at California (3:30 pm Saturday): The Huskies got a favor last week from their cross-state rivals in Pullman, and now Washington can win out to secure the Pac-12 North. That will be on the minds of the Huskies in Berkeley on Saturday afternoon, for sure. The Golden Bears have four wins and need two more to secure a bowl bid, but this game won’t add to the total. Washington 37, California 24.
No. 14 Washington State at No. 24 Stanford (4:00 pm Saturday): This is one of the games that just shows how tough the conference is. Last week, it was Oregon playing on the road after an emotional win at home, and the Ducks got flattened by the Cougars. Now, WSU goes on the road after an emotional win at home, and we suspect the Cardinal—even without a healthy Bryce Love—will beat the Cougars, thus eliminating the Pac-12 from the CFP officially. It is what it is. Or is it? This is the game that will break the curse. Watch. Washington State 38, Stanford 35.
No. 19 Oregon at Arizona (7:30 pm Saturday): The Ducks get a breather, of sorts, by not having to face a ranked team for the first time since Week 3. It is never easy to win in the night heat of Tucson, but Oregon will be focused after taking the first half off last weekend in Pullman. Plus, the Wildcats still might not have a healthy Khalil Tate at quarterback, and that’s huge. Oregon 27, Arizona 20.
Check back here frequently for new Pac-12 content!