Pac-12 Conference Football: Week Five Predictions
Pac-12 Predictions Week Five
The first full week of Pac-12 play had a few surprises. Among the unexpected was a Colorado Buffaloes win in Pullman. How is this for irony, the Buffs went 0-3 in non-league play, looking as apathetic and horrid as a program possibly could. Now CU is tied for first in the Pac-12 South after defeating the Washington State Cougars by one point.
After the Utah Utes pulled out a dramatic win over their rival BYU Cougars, it appeared that Kyle Whittingham's team had some life after losing quarterback Jordan Wynn to retirement. Apparently the Arizona State Sun Devils didn't get the memo blasting the Utes 37-7 in the desert.
Folks in Corvallis are one win away from equaling their 2011 total after the Oregon State Beavers upset the UCLA Bruins in Pasadena. What did last week show? The Pac-12 is arguably the most competitive conference top to bottom.
In predicting winners I went 3-2 for week four. Week five should present a healthy dose of competition around the Pac-12.
Stepfan Taylor Josh Nunes Stanford Cardinal
Thursday night provides a Pac-12 gem with the 8th ranked Stanford Cardinal in Seattle to meet the Washington Huskies. Quarterback Keith Price hasn't lived up to preseason expectations. So far UW has hasn't been able to establish a run game, and has been suspect in defending the run. Against Stanford that is bad news. I want to pick the Huskies at home, but they haven't given me reason to.
Prediction: Stanford 28 Washington 24
Taylor Kelly Arizona State Sun Devils
This might be the toughest pick of the Pac-12 weekend. The Sun Devils looked incredible at home against Utah, especially young QB Taylor Kelly. ASU had 20 more offensive plays than the Utes. The sophomore passed for 326 yards and three touchdowns.
It could be argued that the California Bears best performance was their loss in Columbus. Defensively this team has struggled to get off the field with opponents converting 47% of third downs.
Prediction: Arizona State 34 Cal 27
Brett Hundley UCLA Bruins
The Buffs could completely turn their season around with a two game Pac-12 winning streak. The task will be tall in Boulder Saturday with a talented UCLA squad led by stud running back Johnathan Franklin. While I am impressed that Embree hasn't lost the locker room, his squad doesn't match up talent wise on either side of the ball.
A return to reality is on the menu in Folsom this weekend.
Prediction: UCLA 44 Colorado 20
Sean-Mannion Oregon State Beavers
Oregon State isn't looking half bad after wins over Wisconsin and UCLA. Last weekend Sean Mannion had a coming out party as he put up 379 yards and two TDs. It will be interesting to see how the Arizona Wildcats respond at home after being pasted in Eugene. The Beavers D has been mightily impressive thus far.
Both Mannion and Cats QB Matt Scott are beat up coming into the game. I'm not sure Arizona matches up very well with OSU, and any injury to Scott running the ball would be catastrophic. Expect an exciting ball game.
Prediction: Oregon State 38 Arizona 37
Colt Lyerla Oregon Ducks
After demolishing Arizona, the Oregon Ducks travel for the first time this season. Washington State is a mess on defense and has been unable to get off the field on 3rd down. Opponents are averaging 127 yards a game on the ground against WSU. I've heard the Ducks have a decent run game.
Any advantage the Cougars would have had was their homefield of Martin Stadium in Pullman. That has been taken away as this game will be played in Seattle.
Prediction: Oregon 51 Washington State 24
James Gomez is a Pac-12 and Mountain West columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America. You can follow James on Twitter as well.