Pac-12 Football: Week 6 Previews, Predictions and Upset Alerts
It's week six of college football and, like last week, the Pac-12 will be playing a full conference slate.
Obviously, this is another crucial week for bubble teams and those with one conference loss so early in the season; one more conference loss and some teams may be out of contention for the Pac-12 Championship.
Two teams are on byes this week: Arizona State and Colorado.
The rest of the Pac-12 games are previewed here with keys to winning the games, one upset alert and final predictions.
Arizona State at Colorado
The Arizona State Sun Devils are favored by 22.5 points at Colorado for good reason.
The Buffaloes hit a new low losing to UCLA 42-14 two weeks ago. You have to feel for head coach Jon Embree but this is football and Sun Devil head coach Todd Graham has a lethal offense, despite only having eight returning starters.
Yes, it's at Colorado. But the Sun Devils' offense will be too much for the Buffaloes.
Arizona State cruises to a victory and may cover the spread by the half.
USC at Utah
The USC Trojans travel to Salt Lake City, Utah for a Thursday night game.
The Trojans are 1-3 coming off of byes under head coach Lane Kiffin. The Utes, on the other hand, are 12-2 coming off of byes under their head coach Kyle Whittingham.
The key to this game is whether or not USC's offensive line can handle the pressure from the Utes' front four. Having center Khaled Holmes back would be a huge boost, but the Trojans still need to find a way to protect quarterback Matt Barkley's blind side.
USC is still reeling from its 21-14 loss to Stanford and while the Trojans did get a bounce from the following week's 27-9 win over Cal, they still haven't played a complete game.
USC should win by double-digits, but this game will not be a runaway for the Trojans.
Prediction: USC 31 Utah 20.
UCLA at Cal
UCLA has already turned a few heads after its 36-30 upset of Nebraska on September 8. Head coach Jim Mora has the Bruins looking more physical and more competitive.
Cal head coach Jeff Tedford, however, is sitting on the hot seat. His Golden Bears are 1-4 with their lone victory over FCS school, Southern Utah.
One more loss and Tedford will have to win five of his six remaining games just to get bowl eligible. That's some serious motivation for the team.
Cal has won three of its last four meetings with UCLA, and to boot is their Homecoming game. This is also UCLA's second leg of a back-to-back travel week.
I'm going with Cal in a mild upset (UCLA is favored by three points).
Prediction: Cal 24 UCLA 21.
Arizona at Stanford
The Arizona Wildcats' pass offense—averaging over 343 yards per game—will be facing a Stanford pass defense that is averaging 251.5 yards per game. There will be a lot of passing in this game. But the real question is whether or not Arizona can run against a stingy Cardinal defense that is only yielding an average 65 rushing yards per game.
If Arizona is forced into giving up the running game, we could see a lot of sacks from the Cardinal's front three. Conversely, the Cardinal should be able to run on the Wildcats; Oregon rushed for 228 yards against the Wildcats two weeks ago.
Stanford is favored by 10 over Arizona and while that spread looks a tad high, I think the Cardinal come away with a win.
Prediction: Stanford 36 Arizona 31
Washington at Oregon
Can the Huskies pull out another upset this week in Eugene, Oregon? I don't think so.
Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian has had an extra two days to get his game plan prepared, but there are some things you cannot fix.
The Huskies' defense is ranked No. 58 in FBS and that defense will be pitted against an Oregon offense that is averaging over 300 rushing yards per game.
The Huskies need to run the ball a lot to keep the Ducks' offense off the field but they are averaging a paltry 118.5 rushing yards a game; that's good for a No. 108 ranking in rushing offense.
This could get ugly very fast.
Prediction: Oregon 49 Washington 20
Washington State at Oregon State
The Oregon State Beavers have faced two very good passing offenses on the road, in the shape of UCLA and Arizona, and came away winners in both games. Now back home in Corvallis, the Beavers face Washington State's air raid offense.
Oregon State's pass defense is yielding an average 315.7 yards per game, while Washington State is averaging around 333 passing yards per game.
If the Beavers can win games allowing that many passing yards then logic says they should beat Washington State.
The Cougars will score some points but October in Corvallis is too much of an obstacle to overcome.
Prediction: Oregon State 42 Washington State 28