Pac-12 Football: Previews and Predictions for Week 5
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It's hard to believe that 25 percent of college football's regular season is already in the books. So far, the Pac-12 looks to be the most improved among BCS conferences, and like the Big 12, the Pac-12 looks deep. Want proof?
Two of Saturday's Pac-12 conference games have point spreads of less than three points.
Do you take the favorite or the underdog? Who's going to win?
We've got your back with each game's prediction—including the point spreads—right here.
Enjoy the carnage.
Odds via Vegas Insider.
No. 8 Stanford (-7) at Washington
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Husky Stadium is a hostile venue, but that stadium is currently being renovated. So how full will CenturyLink Field be at 6 p.m. PT on a Thursday? I'm betting it won't be very full at kickoff.
The stadium has some unique nuances to its home-field advantage. A former Seattle Seahawks kicker said that attempting a field goal at CenturyLink Stadium is "like kicking through gravy."
I don't think this game is going to come down to a field goal.
The Huskies will have to grapple with Stanford's formidable defensive line and Stepfan Taylor's punishing running attack. In the Cardinal's 21-14 upset over USC, Taylor racked up 152 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Huskies' defense, meanwhile, was sporadic against San Diego State and didn't even show up against LSU.
Prediction: Stanford wears down Washington in the second half and covers the seven-point spread.
Arizona State at California (even)
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Cal (1-3) opened as a two-point favorite over Arizona State, but right now Las Vegas oddsmakers have made this a pick game.
The Golden Bears are currently riding a two-game losing streak (Ohio State, USC) and no one is shocked—they've developed a nasty habit of losing back-to-back games. Last year, Cal lost six of its final nine games, including three consecutive games.
Arizona State (3-1) has looked very good, but in its first road trip of the year (at Missouri), lost 24-20. Head coach Todd Graham has this team looking much more disciplined than last year's penalty-happy team; the Sun Devils are averaging only 35 penalty yards per game. Cal is averaging almost 64 penalty yards per game.
I'm not putting much stock in Cal's home-field advantage because they lost at home to Nevada in its home opener.
Prediction: Arizona State.
UCLA (-20) at Colorado
Quarterback Brett Hundley
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UCLA (3-1) is coming off a shocking 27-20 loss to Oregon State. Colorado, on the other hand, is coming off a shocking 35-34 win over Washington State; the Cougars were favored by 18.5 points over the visiting Buffaloes.
Honestly, Colorado doesn't pass the eyeball test. On the other hand, UCLA looked fantastic against Nebraska before Oregon State exposed UCLA's porous pass defense.
The Buffaloes don't have much of a passing attack (223.3 yards per game) and their running game (125.5 yards per game) is almost non-existent. UCLA should win this game, but that Oregon State debacle gives me pause.
Prediction: UCLA wins, but Colorado covers the spread.
No. 18 Oregon State at Arizona (-2.5)
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Playing in the desert in September has its usual drawback of intense heat, but this game between the Oregon State Beavers and Arizona Wildcats has a projected temperature of 77 degrees at kickoff.
Advantage: Oregon State.
I'm not completely sold on the Beavers but they did look very good at home against Wisconsin and on the road at UCLA. The Beavers' defense looks to be the strength of the team.
Arizona looked like the real deal after blowing out Oklahoma State 59-38 and South Carolina State 56-0, but they lost 49-0 to the Oregon Ducks. Ugh.
The big question is whether or not the Beavers will be hung over from their upset over the Bruins. There's also this: The Wildcats lost to a 3-9 Beaver team last year at Corvallis.
Prediction: Since Oregon State looks a lot better than last year's team and Arizona lost to a Ducks team that has fairly good defense, I'm going with Oregon State to not only cover the two-point spread, but win in a mild upset.
No. 2 Oregon (-30.5) at Washington State (Seattle)
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The Oregon Ducks (4-0) opened as 28.5-point favorites over the Washington State Cougars (2-2), but the line has moved up to 30.5. To put that in perspective, the Ducks would not have covered that 30.5-point spread in their wins over Arkansas State (57-34) and Fresno State (42-25).
Washington State isn't playing in Pullman. It's playing in Seattle, a good 285 miles away. It's hard to believe, but the Ducks may actually have home field advantage, since Seattle is only 248 miles away from Eugene, Ore.
Washington State has kept three of its four games fairly close. The problem is that those close games were against Eastern Washington, UNLV and Colorado.
Prediction: Oregon Ducks in a big win, but the Cougars score enough points against the Ducks' reserves in the fourth quarter to cover the spread.