The whole landscape of Pacific-12 Conference football changed in Week 2, with Southern California blasting Stanford and California upsetting Washington on the road. Just like that, two of the conference’s best teams already have a league loss. Combined with Oregon’s Week 1 loss on the road to Auburn in the final seconds, the Conference of Champions suddenly seems like it is on the outside of the national focus.
However, there are still six undefeated teams in the conference, and some of them have the potential to run the table: USC and Utah in the South Division, along with Washington State in the North Division. Whether those schools will capitalize remains to be seen, of course. The point is not to write off the entire Pac-12 just yet.
Now, on to this weekend’s games … starting Friday night, all times Pacific. This is an eclectic mix of games that never should have been scheduled, that’s for sure.
No. 20 Washington State at Houston (6:15 pm Friday): It is Cougars versus Cougars in the Deep South. This should be a high-scoring affair, and WSU might struggle on the road a bit after two cushy games at home to start the year. But the talent for the Cougars from the North is superior. Washington State 45, Houston 37.
Air Force at Colorado (10 am Saturday): The Buffs are riding high after their emotional comeback last week at home against Nebraska, and the Falcons are no easy out. It is very difficult to prepare for the service academies on short notice, and even though Colorado is at home, this is not a true road game for Air Force at all. Air Force 31, Colorado 28.
Stanford at No. 17 Central Florida (12:30 pm Saturday): Kudos to Stanford for scheduling this game, but it’s not going to be pretty for the Cardinal. The Knights are a good team playing at home, and Stanford has not had a lot of success going east to play road games. Central Florida 35, Stanford 21.
No. 24 Southern California at BYU (12:30 pm Saturday): The Trojans ran over Stanford last week and now get a road game against (yet another team named) the Cougars. BYU will be a good measuring stick for USC in its battle with Utah in the Pac-12 South. Look for the Trojans to win … eventually. Southern California 31, BYU 21.
Arizona State at No. 18 Michigan State (1 pm Saturday): Last year, the Spartans went to Tempe and blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead, losing a few key players to injury in the process. Payback isn’t going to be pretty for the Sun Devils, a team that has not looked good against bad competition this year so far. Michigan State 35, Arizona State 13.
California Poly-San Luis Obispo at Oregon State (1:15 pm Saturday): The Beavers might get a win here, although it takes scheduling a small California school to do it. That’s not good. The Mustangs hopefully got paid well for this trip to Corvallis. This kind of game does not help the conference profile at all. Oregon State 48, Cal Poly SLO 21.
Idaho State at No. 11 Utah (1:15 pm Saturday): It would be interesting to see the Utes make a run at the College Football Playoff, yet this is a game that isn’t going to look great on the schedule-strength indicator. The Bengals are not good. Utah 51, Idaho State 17.
North Texas at California (1:15 pm Saturday): Despite beating the Huskies in Seattle, the Golden Bears are not big favorites to beat the Eagles. That could mean doom for Cal, even though it’s at home and riding high right now. However, we see the Golden Bears scraping this one out. Barely. California 24, North Texas 21.
Hawaii at No. 23 Washington (4:30 pm Saturday): Speaking of U-Dub, this could get ugly. The Rainbow Warriors have two wins already against Pac-12 teams, but both were at home. Traveling themselves this time, look for the Huskies to take out their frustrations from last week on Hawaii this week. Washington 48, Hawaii 21.
No. 5 Oklahoma at UCLA (5 pm Saturday): Considering the Bruins have lost their first two games, while the Sooners are favored to win the Big XII again … yeah, this is one of those games that is just going to hurt the Pac-12 very badly in the eyes of national viewers. Should there be a mercy rule? Oklahoma 63, UCLA 14.
Texas Tech at Arizona (7:30 pm Saturday): Will the Red Raiders wilt in the desert heat? You never know. A lot of good teams have played in the September ‘Zona heat and paid the price. However, the Wildcats have not looked good yet this year, so we think the visitors pull it out in the end. Texas Tech 35, Arizona 31.
Montana at No. 15 Oregon (7:45 pm Saturday): Another game the Pac-12 should not be scheduling, and if you think the Ducks’ 77-6 win last week over Nevada was ugly, you should expect more of the same against the Grizzlies. Oregon 56, Montana 10.
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