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NCAA Football Pac 12 Football

Pac-12 Previews and Predictions for Week 5

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Pac-12 Previews and Predictions

pac-12
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Week four of the college football season has come and passed and it looks like teams’ personnel are starting to shape up heading into conference play. The Pac-12 season is about to begin and that means one thing: can anyone catch up to the Stanford Cardinal and Oregon Ducks?

It’s pretty easy to see that the Ducks are the top team right now in the conference with De’Anthony Thomas and Marcus Mariota dominating the opposition. In fact, the running back-quarterback duo ranks second in the nation in rush yards per game as well as points per game as a team. Mariota leads the 18th best national pass attack as his chase for the Heisman Trophy is just getting started. The Ducks are 3-0 and haven’t won by less than 45 points this season, but Pac-12 play will tell a lot about how good this team really is.

The Stanford Cardinal are not too far behind the Ducks in terms of talent and if they reach their full potential, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cardinal came out of conference play with the best record of all. The only thing that needs to be worked on is defense for Stanford.

There are two more ranked teams that look like they are serious contenders. The UCLA Bruins and Jim Mora are playing inspired ball as of late following the death of teammate Nick Pasquale. Mora even started the week four game with 10 men on the field to honor him – that’s class. Also ranked, the Washington Huskies offense is looking scary behind quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey.

Take a look at the previews and predictions for each week five Pac-12 game.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at muldown5@gmail.com.

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Colorado at Oregon State

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado has been a notoriously-poor team in the past few years. However, the Buffaloes are sitting at 2-0 so far in 2013 -- one win shy of their total from 2012. First-year starting quarterback Connor Wood has been solid through two games, but traveling to a tough Oregon State squad after three weeks off will not be easy.

PREDICTION: Colorado 24, Oregon State 41

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Arizona at No. 16 Washington

washington
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona has a poor defense -- usually -- under Rich Rodriguez. This comes as no surprise either as the Wildcats have a great run game on offense. However, Washington has a defense that can slow down the run game and an offense with quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey that is scary-good.

PREDICTION: Arizona 20, Washington 34

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No. 5 Stanford at Washington State

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Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford is led by a young man that goes by the name Kevin Hogan at quarterback. He is the guy that was chosen to replace Andrew Luck, but so far has underperformed in 2013 after a strong finish in 2012. Washington State's defense was solid against opponents with poor offenses, and Hogan is about to expose that.

PREDICTION: Stanford 30, Washington State 14

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USC at Arizona State

arizona state
Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

USC has been in the spotlight all season long for being a mediocre team. The offense is not what it once was two seasons ago when Matt Barkley was on his game and Marquise Lee actually had a quarterback who could throw to him. That being said, Arizona State is a tough team at home and will be able to take down the Trojans -- turning up the heat on Lane Kiffin's hot seat.

PREDICTION: USC 20, Arizona State 30

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California at No. 2 Oregon

oregon
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Cal is one of those teams that can be really good on offense and then really poor drive after drive. Freshman quarterback Jared Goff has potential to be one of the best in school history, but he has yet to face team like Oregon -- yes, not even Ohio State's defense was as good. Marcus Mariota will have a field-day against the Bears and it might get really ugly.

PREDICTION: Cal 13, Oregon 51