One more week of Pac-12 play and one more piece of the puzzle is revealed. Your humble columnist was a respectable 4-2 for week seven in picking winners. Last week I missed on the Oregon State Beavers with Sean Mannion sidelined because of injury. Mike Riley has a talented team, but as usual he’s coaching them up to a high level.
My other miss was the Stanford Cardinal and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. It was largely a toss up game and played out as such. Anyone see that controversial goal line stand by the Irish? I was almost right.
Here are my predictions for week eight. Will there be any surprises? Enjoy the games!
All times Pacific.
It took eight weeks into the 2012 season and the Ducks are finally going to play a true road game. Outside of Autzen and neutral sites, redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota brings his high flying offense to what will likely be the biggest test of the season. Oregon has won seven strait games against the Devils.
It would be easy to predict another Chip Kelly blowout win, but keep in mind ASU has the conferences’ best defense including the most tackles for a loss. There is a chance that the Devils could disrupt the Oregon game-plan and get to a young QB. We’ve got a good old barn burner on our hands Thursday night.
Prediction: Oregon 45 Arizona State 43
20 Stanford Cardinal (4-2) (2-1) at California Golden Bears (3-4) (2-2) Noon
Traditionally an end of the year rivalry game, both Cal and Stanford become the victims of the new Pac-12 schedule. So who gets the Stanford Axe? Like most rivalry games, this one has the makings of a classic. Stanford lives off of playing physical football utilizing two future NFL tight ends, and running back Stepfan Taylor who will play on Sundays as well. Quarterback Josh Nunes has looked good, but overall, he has struggled to stay efficient.
Cal is just flat out unpredictable. The Bears are riding a two game win streak and might be beginning to put it together on offense. Quarterback Zach Maynard has an array of options in the skill positions, so expect a stiff challenge to the Cardinal front seven. In the end, whatever I pick the Bears to do, the opposite will probably happen.
Prediction: Stanford 27 Cal 24
This is not a difficult game to analyze. In short, the Trojans are very good and the Buffs are very bad. When it comes to giving up points, CU is as good as anyone. Opponents are averaging over 40 a game on Jon Embree’s squad. Las Vegas has Colorado as 40 point underdogs.
USC should have an easy day against a team that is in the bottom 20 nationally in total offense and defense. As long as the Trojans show up, this should be over faster than a 5 cent nickelodeon movie.
Prediction: Colorado 14 USC 49
On the injury front the Wildcats come into the game a bit more beat up than the Huskies. With that being said, UA should have their key players in place for this all important Pac-12 match-up. After a 3-0 start and national attention the Wildcats have stumbled to lose three consecutive games. The last two losses were to Stanford and Oregon State, who are both currently ranked.
Washington is licking its wounds from USC and could reignite their season with a big win on the road. Simply put, the Keith Price led Huskies haven’t been nearly effective on offense as I predicted. At home, ‘Zona gets it done.
Prediction: Washington 25 Arizona 34
Utah Utes (2-4) (0-3) at 8 Oregon State Beavers (5-0) (3-0) 7:30pm
Even without starter Sean Mannion the Beavers were able to pull away on the road in Provo. While Cody Vaz (above) was effective as a replacement, the OSU defense continues to impress in their ability to shut down the opposition’s run game. While the defensive line should get credit for this, it’s the starting corners Jordan Poyer and Rashaad Reynolds that are taking pressure off the front seven.
Utah went from being a dark horse pick in the Pac-12 South to a lame horse with a limp. Down to true freshman quarterback Travis Wilson, Utah has been living off defense and special teams. Offensively the Utes are 11th in the conference in both run and pass offense. Not good news going up against a team like the Beavers who have home run hitting receivers Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks.
Prediction: Utah 17 Oregon State 34