Pac-12 Conference Football: Week Thirteen Predictions

By James Gomez
Arizona State Sun Devils Washington State Cougars
Allan Henry-US Presswire

As you enjoy your turkey this week, don’t forget about the huge and I repeat huge slate of Pac-12 games that are about to grace your TV set. If last week taught us anything, it should be to remember there’s always a surprise lurking around the corner, especially during rivalry week. Here are the Pac-12 predictions for week thirteen. Three games are on Friday. As always, enjoy the games!

All times Pacific

Utah Utes (4-7) (2-6) at Colorado Buffaloes (1-10) (1-7) Friday Noon

This is the new geographic rivalry the Pac-12 is selling. Last year the Buffs pulled off an upset. An even larger upset would have to be in the works if CU is going to nab their second conference win and finish 2012 on a positive note.
Running back Christian Powell is questionable which isn’t good news for the Buffs who depend heavily on his services. Utah has had its fair share of issues on offense but defensively is one of the better squads in the conference. The last time CU went winless at home in a season? 1920.

Prediction: Utah 34 Colorado 17

25 Washington Huskies (7-4) (5-3) at Washington State Cougars (2-9) (0-8) Friday 12:30pm

It was a shaky beginning but the Huskies have turned things around during the second half of the season. Coming off a lopsided win over Colorado the Huskies get another struggling program in their in-state rival.

It doesn’t look good for the Cougars. Offensively they have failed to fully adapt to Mike Leach’s system in year one. Defensively WSU struggles each week to keep opponents out of the endzone. Plus star receiver Marquess Wilson abruptly quit the team citing abuse from the coaching staff. Unless the Cougars have a surprise lurking inside them, this should be ugly.

Prediction: Washington 45 Washington State 21

Arizona State Sun Devils (6-5) (4-4) at 24 Arizona Wildcats (7-4) (4-4) Friday 7pm

We’ve been waiting all year for this one. Both schools have looked improved under their first year head coaches. Todd Graham has given the Devils life and an identity on offense. Rich Rodriguez has done the same in Tuscon. Both offenses are equally potent and are a wash. Defensively the ASU has clearly been the better team.

Arizona is banged up for the game and that includes a questionable running back Ka’Deem Carey. I’ll go with Sparky in this one.

Prediction: Arizona State 44 Arizona 41

5 Oregon Ducks (10-1) (7-1) at 15 Oregon State Beavers (8-2) (6-2) Noon

Oregon finally ran into a team that could throw a monkey wrench into their offense. While the Stanford Cardinal have a nasty front seven, the Beavers think they can match the effort. The Ducks have to hope that Stanford beats the UCLA Bruins for a chance to represent the North Division.

Oregon State went back to Sean Mannion at quarterback after a Cody Vaz injury. Mannion looked at his early season best tossing four TD passes and compiling 325 yards in last weeks win. With Oregon, it all comes down to stopping their offense if you want a chance.

Prediction: Oregon 42 Oregon State 35

8 Stanford Cardinal (9-2) (7-1) at 17 UCLA Bruins (9-2) (6-2) 3:30pm

Oddly, these teams could play each other in the Pac-12 Championship game with a Stanford win. UCLA has already locked up the South Division. How motivated will the Bruins be compared to a Stanford squad that has to win the game?

Both teams are also coming off big emotional wins. I expect Jim Mora to have his team ready to win a tough slug-fest against a physical Stanford team. The problem for Stanford is their young QB Kevin Hogan who is still susceptible to freshman miscues.

Prediction: Stanford 24 UCLA 30

1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-0) (4-0) at USC Trojans (7-4) (5-4) 5pm

Before the season began, if I were to tell you one of these teams would be ranked one in the country and the other would be unranked, who would you have thought would be playing the respective roles? Notre Dame is riding the wave of its best season in years thanks to an elite defense.

USC has fallen off the rails, and will now be without quarterback Matt Barkley. Freshman Max Wittek will have a tall task against Manti Te’o and company. I don’t trust the Trojan offensive line giving Wittek much time against the Irish defensive line.

Prediction: Notre Dame 24 USC 16

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.

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