My record from last week: 8-3. I did not pick the Arizona win over Oklahoma State, the Oregon State win over Wisconsin, or Utah’s loss to Utah State.
WSU at UNLV
I’m sticking to the idea that Mike Leach’s team will improve each week, and that for the most part the early season struggles will be forgotten by the end of the year. An entirely new offensive system takes time to implement. Who knows about the defense, but even if they give up a few too many points, I believe Leach will win his first road game as a (WSU) Cougar against UNLV.
WSU 34, UNLV 31
Cal at #12 Ohio State
Cal was one of the trendy picks to usurp Stanford for 2nd place in the Pac-12 North, but so far they have lost to Nevada and banged out an ugly win against Southern Utah. Nothing about those two games lead me to believe that the Bears can head down to Columbus and earn the upset. Expect Braxton Miller to continue to play his way into the Heisman conversation with another dominant game. The man already has seven total touchdowns in two games, as well as over 300 rushing yards. As a quarterback!
Ohio State 42, Cal 21
Tennessee Tech at #4 Oregon
Arkansas State, Fresno State, and now Tennessee Tech. Good job Ducks, you really know how to bake a nice, warm batch of cupcakes. I mean really. How much better would this Saturday be for college football fans if Oregon had taken the risk and scheduled Ohio State on the road? Either way, the Ducks offense has looked great through two weeks, and even though the defense has given up far too many points, it won’t matter in this one. There’s something to be said for the idea that the Oregon defense will always give up a misleading number of points just due to the breakneck speed of their offensive allowing more possessions for the opposing team. I wouldn’t be shocked if De’Anthony Thomas outscores the Golden Eagles singlehandedly. He already has five total touchdowns and is averaging 16.6 yards per carry on the ground. That’s just not right.
Oregon 56, Tennessee Tech 28
Arizona State at Missouri
This is, for me, the toughest game to predict this week. Arizona State has looked very good in beating Northern Arizona and Illinois, but they haven’t had to go up against any good teams yet. Missouri just lost to Georgia 20-41, but Georgia is extremely good. So, this is the game that will teach us more about both teams. If the Sun Devils are able to win convincingly on the road, expect them to be ranked the next morning. If Missouri wins, then it will be clear that Arizona State isn’t quite ready for that sort of attention. Right now I’m thinking ASU is capable of the win, but it will be very close.
ASU 35, Missouri 31
#2 USC at #21 Stanford
This is certainly the most exciting matchup of the week for all sorts of reasons. While Stanford doesn’t appear to be in the same league as USC at the moment, I’m sure this one will stay close all the way until the end. The Cardinal knows how to fight, and over the past few years the Trojans have struggled to win this game. You could even say it has been their Achilles heel (I am hilarious.) Still, even playing on the road, I believe Matt Barkley will put this one on his back and get the signature win. USC is on a mission, and Barkley is playing his final season. I don’t think he’ll let this one slip through his fingers.
USC 38, Stanford 31
Colorado at Fresno State
Colorado is by far the worst team in the Pac-12. I picked them to lose last week, and they did. No reason to expect them to beat Fresno State either. These terrible nonconference losses really have me worried about how the Buffaloes will fair this year against the elite Pac-12 teams.
Fresno State 41, Colorado 17
#25 BYU at Utah
Even more so than Cal, Utah was expected to be the sort of team that would challenge USC in the Pac-12 South and outplay Stanford as the third best team in the league. Well, that hasn’t gone so well. Last week, they lost by seven points to Utah State, and they lost their starting quarterback, Jordan Wynn, forever. After yet another shoulder injury, he has decided to retire, leaving all sorts of question marks hovering over this team. BYU is the type of school that finds a way to win when they are expected to win, and I think that’s exactly what they will do against a Utah team that is still trying to figure things out.
BYU 31, Utah 24
Houston at #22 UCLA
In case you haven’t heard, UCLA is the real deal. I called the upset of Nebraska, though I can’t act like I was the only one, and I’m confident that UCLA will finish the year as a top-15 team. Houston’s all-out offensive attack might test the UCLA defense, but the Bruins will stand the test and put up serious points themselves. I’m not worried about this one at all, and neither is Brett Hundley.
UCLA 45, Houston 24
SC State at #24 Arizona
Arizona, like their in-state rivals, have been a pleasant surprise so far. They beat Oklahoma State! I certainly didn’t pick that upset, and I don’t know anyone who did. Matt Scott has played incredibly well as a senior after red shirting in 2011. 707 yards in two games is nothing to sneeze at. No reason why the Wildcats can’t keep the momentum going by taking care of business at home against a mediocre team.
Arizona 38, SC State 21
Note: I referred to Arizona Quarterback Matt Scott as a “first time starter” when this article first went up. Clearly that isn’t true, and it was a lapse in memory on my part. Scott was red shirted last year, so he did not play, but in 2009 and 2010 he did start several games and played often as the backup as well. He even played in mop-up duty in 2008 for the first two weeks. My mistake.