Oregon State at #19 UCLA
While Arizona at Oregon is by far the most high profile game in the conference this week, I believe this match-up is the most intriguing. UCLA is on the rise, and this is an opportunity for them to keep the good times rolling. For Oregon State, it is about proving that the intensely physical 9-6 win over Wisconsin wasn’t a fluke. I’m still not sold on UCLA’s defense, but Oregon State’s offense looked pitiful against Wisconsin. If you flip the situation, the UCLA offense has been effective, and looked good doing it, but also occasionally sloppy, so it will be a terrific chance for Oregon State’s defense, which pretty much won the Wisconsin game without any real help from the offense, to shut down a team that has not been shut down yet. In the end, I’m pretty confident that UCLA will win, I’m just thinking it will be ugly.
UCLA 20, Oregon State 17
Colorado at WSU
WSU is improving, while Colorado looks like the worst team in the conference, and it’s not even close. The Buffaloes have given no indications that they have the ability to get a win on the road against Mike Leach’s team. I think this is the time for Leach’s unit to finally put it together and score at will. Whether or not doing that against Colorado really represents progress is another story, however. Also worth watching the WSU defense, as whether or not they give up points to the anemic Colorado offense will be a good indicator of how bad they really are.
WSU 45, Colorado 17
September 15, 2012; Stanford, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley (7) passes the ball against the Stanford Cardinal during the second quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
Cal at #13 USC
I fully expect USC to show the nation that one loss on the road to a ranked rival isn’t necessarily the end of the line. They can still win the Pac-12, and they can still win at home against Cal. It will be important for Matt Barkley to step up and have an efficient game, not only to win, but to put a stop to those that are beginning to talk about Barkley not being a “winner” just because he never beat Stanford. Now, he may not get that chance if USC’s offensive line continues to struggle in pass protection in the same way they did against the Cardinal, and though Barkley will be the center of attention, how well the offensive line performs both in opening holes for the run-game and protecting number 7 will be the real indicator of where the Trojans are at as a team.
USC 31, Cal 17
Utah at Arizona State
Give me Arizona State in this one, though I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Utah pulled out the win. Either way, it should be a closely contested game, and in those situations, the home team often has the edge.
ASU 28, Utah 20
#22 Arizona at #3 Oregon
Writing these weekly picks isn’t any fun if I take zero risks, so I’m going to go ahead and run with a hunch and say Oregon will lose this game. I believe Matt Scott will step up against a good, but not great, Oregon defense and throw for over 300 yards and at least three scores. Of course, it would take a huge performance from Arizona’s defense to let that be enough to beat Oregon, or at least a very bad day from Oregon’s offense, but it’s possible. I could very well be full of crap here, but I just have a feeling that Arizona might just be good enough to beat a great team if said team has a bad day and the Wildcats play terrifically. Either way, remember Matt Scott.
Arizona 38, Oregon 35