Arizona (3-1) at USC (3-2) 7:30pm Thursday
How do you pick this sort of game? First you have to wrangle with the multiple factors in play for the Trojans. They started the year with a great defense and a terrible offense. Against Arizona State, the offense put up 41 points on the road, but the defense was suddenly so awful that the Sun Devils tallied 62 points and Lane Kiffin got fired. You also have to wonder if the replacement of Kiffin with interim head coach Ed Orgeron will energize the team, or distract them into playing like they did to start the year. I honestly have no clue what USC is going to do. Arizona is a very beatable team, given that this game is in LA and that starting quarterback B.J. Denker has not been all that impressive. USC really just needs to focus on stopping Ka’Deem Carey. If they do that and score 20 or so points on a solid but not great Arizona defense, they have it. I’ll go with Coach O winning his first game, but don’t expect me to look shocked if the Trojans come out flat and get run over by Ka’Deem Carey.
USC 31, Arizona 24
#5 Stanford (5-0) at Utah (3-2) 3:00pm Saturday
People label way too many contests as trap games. But in this case, with Stanford traveling down to Utah fresh off of a tough, tough win over the Huskies, I think the label is appropriate. Utah is 3-2, but one loss was a 51-48 overtime thriller to Oregon State while the other was last week’s 34-27 defeat at the hands of #11 UCLA. Now, it’s possible that Utah won’t be ready for the physical power of Stanford fresh off such a rough loss, but at home, against a premier opponent, expect Stanford to escape Utah with a hard-earned victory.
Stanford 35, Utah 28
Colorado (2-2) at Arizona State (3-2) 7:00pm Saturday
The Sun Devils torched USC and knocked off Lane Kiffin the last time they played in Tempe, and they’ll have something to prove after dropping one to Notre Dame on the road last Saturday. Colorado is improved this year, but it will take time before they’re ready for this kind of game.
ASU 45, Colorado 20
California (1-4) at #11 UCLA (4-0) 7:30pm Saturday
This is obviously a pretty pivotal game for freshman quarterback Jared Goff. He was benched midway through a rough game against Oregon, and now he travels down to the Rose Bowl to take on an undefeated UCLA team loaded with the kind of play-making defenders designed to feast on his porous offensive line. It’s certainly too much to ask him to win this game, really, but if he can keep the game respectably close with his arm, it will help to steady the team and cement his shaky starting spot. Honestly, I’m not sure UCLA will let that happen.
UCLA 45, Cal 17
Oregon State (4-1) at WSU (4-2) 7:30pm Saturday
Washington State can definitively shift the rankings in the Pac-12 North with a victory here. It’s clearly Oregon, Stanford, and Washington at the top of the division, with Colorado and Cal fighting it out at the bottom. It’s been awhile since the Cougars have been looking down at the Beavers, but riding high off a fantastic performance at Cal, Connor Halliday will be ready to throw his team to victory. Leach and Co. would be wise to watch ton of Oregon State vs. Utah tape to avoid defeat in an overtime shootout at home, as Sean Mannion will also come prepared to throw the ball forty, fifty, or sixty times if necessary. Halliday vs. Mannion. In this case, I’ll go with the home team.
WSU 38, Oregon State 35
Prediction of UW vs. Oregon game will come Saturday morning in the Gameday Guide. Evan’s prediction will be in his game preview tomorrow morning.
Total Record This Year: 42-4