The Pac 12 conference schedule continues to heat up as the last team to start conference play kicks off tonight in Seattle. The usual suspects came out in top in Week 4 and look to cement their hold on the top spots in the conference this week.
The Pac 12 North went 2-3 against the Pac 12 South last week, evening the season series between the divisions to 3-3. There are a pair of inter-division matchups this week as both sides try to prove their dominance over the other. Can the North re-establish a thin advantage or is the South charging to take over?
It was an up and down week for the picks last weekend, finishing 3-2 in Week 4, and pushing the season record to 10-5. With five more games on the schedule this weekend, let’s see if we can avoid dropping to .500 on the season, shall we?
Stanford proved what kind of team they were in their upset win over USC. They are strong at the point of attack, tough on both sides of the line, and will run the ball right down your throat before hurting you with play-action pass. The Huskies are three weeks removed from the LSU Tigers running the ball all over them and are still trying to figure out their offensive line, which has surrendered eight sacks already this season. Look for Stepfan Taylor to go for his third straight 100-yard game against the Huskies and pace the Cardinal to a comfortable win. Stanford by 14.
In a pick-em game, the choices are between a team that has looked explosive for flashes at home or a team that has been flat in all but one near-upset bid. I’ll take the flashes from Arizona State, even on the road at Memorial Stadium. Taylor Kelly is coming into his own at quarterback, accounting for 1,147 yards of offense in the first four games and the running game boasts a pair of backs in D.J. Foster and Marion Grice averaging over six yards per carry. Look for the Devils to get their first road win at Jeff Tedford‘s expense. ASU by 4.
Colorado secured its first win of the season with a heroic effort on the road last week, scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter to rally and win 35-34. Don’t undersestimate how much the terrible defense they played against helped them do that. The Buffs will be playing with some belief, but the Bruins will be playing to re-establish some respect they lost after their first loss of the season last week. Jonathan Franklin rushed for less than 50 yards, which the Bruins will make sure is a one-time occurrence. Look for Jim Mora to pour it on to send a message on just how good the Bruins really are. UCLA by 28.
Oregon State proved that it was the real deal with a road-trip to Westwood last week. Now they get another road test against a shell-shocked Wildcats club that was dismantled during their big shot in the spotlight. Look for Rich Rodriguez to get Matt Scott back on track at home, where the Cats have been excellent this season. They won’t have it easy, as the physical Beaver defense will make them work for their points, but Arizona will score just enough to get Rodriguez’s first Pac 12 win. Arizona by 4.
The Cougars are fresh off ruining Homecoming by giving up 21 points in the fourth quarter to give away a game most of the fans in attendance thought un-give-away-able. Their reward? Getting the second ranked team in the country which boasts one of Chip Kelly‘s deepest offenses and most skilled defenses of any of the talented Ducks teams he has overseen. Last week, De’Anthony Thomas was held to just four yards per carry and didn’t score…and Oregon still rushed for 228 yards and won by seven touchdowns. Look for the Ducks to have this spread covered by the start of the second quarter. Oregon by 40.