Last week the tables turned on my Pac-12 predictions. I went 8-4 picking winners which is respectable but a far cry from my 10-1 week one tally. Competition and a few upsets helped pave the way for the less successful prognostications. This week will have several tough match-ups. Notably, the first in-conference game will be played with the USC Trojans travelling to Palo Alto to tangle with the Stanford Cardinal.
All other Pac-12 programs in action are still in their non-conference schedules. Below are this week’s installment of my Pac-12 predictions.
Washington State (1-1) at UNLV (0-2) Friday 4pm Pacific
After letting the Eastern Washington Eagles hang around in Pullman last Saturday, Mike Leach’s bunch are still trying to get the offense going on all cylinders. A trip to Sin City will help because the Rebels struggle to score. Expect a heavy dose of running back Tim Cornett by UNLV as they try to shorten the game playing to their strength of running the football. Just don’t expect Cornett to find the endzone much.
Prediction: Washington State: 31 UNLV: 13
California (1-1) at 12 Ohio State (2-0) 9am Pacific
The Cal Bears had some much needed reps against a sub-par FCS school in the Southern Utah Thunderbirds last week. Jeff Tedford’s defense has failed to help him out giving up an average of 31 points in two games. Bears offensive lineman Matt Summers-Gavin will be out for yet another weekend with an MCL injury. In The Horseshoe, this is the Bucks game to lose.
Prediction: Cal 20 Ohio State 40
Tennessee Tech (2-0) at 4 Oregon (2-0) Noon Pacific
The question this weekend in Eugene isn’t who will win, but how much will the victor put on the scoreboard. How the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles expect to keep up with Chip Kelly’s Ducks for one quarter let alone four is beyond me. TTU is going to a racetrack with a turtle.
Prediction: Tennessee Tech 6 Oregon 70
Portland State (1-1) at Washington (1-1) 1pm Pacific
Yet another FCS program will face the Pac-12. The Portland State Vikings will most likely be chasing Huskies quarterback Keith Price around all day with little success. After being mauled by the LSU Tigers, Steve Sarkisian’s bunch get a needed confidence boost.
Prediction: Portland State 14 Washington 48
Arizona State (2-0) at Missouri (1-1) 4pm Pacific
So far so good for Todd Graham’s Sun Devils. Two games and two wins. The Illinois Fighting Illini represented a step up in competition last week from Northern Arizona. Week three will provide another evolution in competition for ASU. A road test in Columbia to play the Missouri Tigers will challenge the Devils defense, as they must slow down quarterback James Franklin and his spread option attack. Freshman linebacker Carlos Mendozza is out for the year with a shoulder injury suffered in the win against Illinois. Edge to the home team.
Prediction: Arizona State 35 Missouri 38
2 USC (2-0) at 21 Stanford (2-0) 4:30pm Pacific
Not a bad way to begin Pac-12 Conference play this Saturday. A top 25 showdown in Palo Alto features the high powered Trojans led by quarterback Matt Barkley and his cast of talented receivers. Funny things can happen to USC when they meet the Cardinal but I’m not convinced Stanford can match the Men of Troy score for score sans Andrew Luck. New quarterback Josh Nunes had a great game against the Duke Blue Devils. However, it wasn’t a basketball game. Fight On! will be stuck in your head by the 4th quarter.
Prediction: USC 35 Stanford 14
Colorado (0-2) at Fresno State (1-1) 5pm Pacific
For the first time this year the Buffs play outside of their home state. The past two Saturdays have not been kind to CU and the Fresno State Bulldogs aren’t shedding any tears. Head coach Jon Embree has a team with almost no bright spots. The Buffs offense is out-of-sync missing a deep passing game and consistent rushing. The Dog days continue in Boulder.
Prediction: Colorado 17 Fresno State 30
25 BYU (2-0) at Utah (1-1) 7pm Pacific
Utes quarterback Jordan Wynn retired from the game rather than face a fouth shoulder surgery after his re-injury in last week’s loss to the Utah State Aggies. Enter either freshman Travis Wilson or senior Jon Hays. Hays filled in for Wynn last season due to injury so he seems the likely candidate to start, although both are listed as c0-starters. To this point the Cougars defense has been stout.
Prediction: BYU 27 Utah 17
South Carolina State at 24 Arizona (2-0) 7:30 Pacific
The Wildcats are coming off a huge win taking down the Oklahoma State Sooners. Rich Rodriguez appears to have a squad that has bought in to his style of coaching from the start. Matt Scott has been racking up yards both in the passing and rushing. Even the distraction of playing Oregon the next week won’t matter.
Prediction: South Carolina State 6 Arizona 60
Houston (0-2) at 22 UCLA (2-0) 7:30pm Pacific
Houston Cougars QB David Piland is coming off of a 53 completion 580 yard performance. Those numbers are just in one game, with no interceptions. As long as UCLA shows up to play, quaterback Brett Hundley and back Jonathan Franklin will make quick work of the Cougs D.
Prediction: Houston 30 UCLA 55
James Gomez is a Pac-12 and Mountain West columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America
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