Pac-12 Picks: Week Six


Sep 28, 2013; Corvallis, OR, USA; Oregon State Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion (4) hands the ball off to running back Terron Ward (28) against the Colorado Buffaloes at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

As always, I’ll have my prediction for Washington’s game up Saturday morning in the Gameday Guide.

Total Record This Year: 38-3 (Counting all UW games)

Record Last Week: 5-0 (Counting UW Game)

#12 UCLA (3-0) at Utah (3-1) Thursday 7:00pm

Utah has won three games, and the one loss came in overtime, at home, 51-48 to Oregon State. The Utes are three points away from being undefeated. While that is wonderful for Utah fans, it may not matter against a UCLA team that ruthlessly dispatched then-#23 ranked Nebraska on the road just over two weeks ago. With plenty of time to prepare fresh off of a bye, I expect to see quarterback Brett Hundley light up the Utah defense. If Travis Wilson and Co. can stand up to the terror of Anthony Barr and the UCLA defense and score a few touchdowns, it could stay competitive, but a decisive victory seems more likely.

UCLA 38, Utah 17

WSU (3-2) at Cal (1-3) Saturday 1:00pm

Despite neither team looking likely to compete for the Pac-12 North title, this game is hugely important for both sides. WSU was looking resurgent before the setback blowout at the hands of Stanford. Unlike UW, Washington State is at a stage where a solid winning season would be something to celebrate. Seven or eight wins would be a great next step for Coach Leach in his second year, and that means following up the rough loss with a steadying road win. For Cal and Coach Dykes it’s about keeping the season from reaching disaster status. Rough losses to #4 Ohio State and #2 Oregon have been disheartening for the Golden Bears, especially with Jared Goff’s struggles against the Ducks leading to a benching. If the Cougars travel down to Berkeley and shut down Goff’s Bear Raid passing attack en route to a win, and the record is 1-4 with a road trip to UCLA on October 12th. Cal may be more desperate, but WSU is the better team with much more forward momentum as a program. Oh, and Cal’s defense stinks.

WSU 31, Cal 16

#2 Oregon (4-0) at Colorado (2-1) Saturday 3:00pm

You’re heartless if you aren’t a little sad for Colorado. They showed new life in starting 2-0, but they looked outclassed on the road against Oregon State and now they have to host the most offensively explosive team in the nation. What comes next? A road trip to Arizona State. Life in the Pac-12 is brutal for Buffaloes.

Oregon 59, Colorado 13

#22 ASU (3-1) at Notre Dame (3-2) Saturday 4:30pm

We tend to learn a lot about the Pac-12 schools based on watching them play Notre Dame. Even with the Fighting Irish struggling so far this year, this road trip will certainly reveal more about the Sun Devils, who as of right now are a tough team to predict based on losing badly at Stanford before putting an end to Lane Kiffin’s tenure at USC with a blowout win. Above USC but below Stanford isn’t exactly a slim window, and a win here would indicate that the Sun Devils belong in the upper half of that wide hierarchical chasm. As long as you honestly put the success of last year’s team out of your mind, ASU looks to be the better team and it’s not even close. Most of all, ASU possesses an explosive offensive attack with NFL-level weapons at QB (Taylor Kelly), RB (Marion Grice), and WR (Jaelon Strong) that Notre Dame cannot match. That will likely be the difference here.

ASU 31, Notre Dame 20