Pac-12 Football: Week 7's Previews and Predictions
Last week I went five-for-five straight up and four-of-five against the spread—I missed on the Oregon State vs. Washington State game's point spread.
This week we have a Thursday night game as well as one Saturday night game. I'll give you the current spreads and my picks for each game as well as the reason(s) for each choice.
I don't have a tout service, so don't hold me responsible for any wagers gone bad.
Note: Arizona and Oregon are on a bye this week.
Enjoy the carnage.
Arizona State at Colorado
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The Arizona State Sun Devils are a 22.5 point favorite at Colorado. Normally, a road trip tends to give you pause but Folsom Field has been very kind to visiting Pac-12 teams.
Head coach Todd Graham only has eight returning starters to work with but he has been very impressive so far. I like the lethal offense and I like the discipline of the team.
The Sun Devils may have the point spread covered by half time.
USC at Washington
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This is the second consecutive road trip for USC. Head coach Lane Kiffin's teams are 12-7 on the road—not exactly overwhelming.
The Huskies, under head coach Steve Sarkisian, are 11-3 coming off of a loss—the Huskies got drilled by Oregon 52-21 last week.
One mitigating factor in all of this is that the Huskies beat Stanford, the team that beat USC. However, I'm not a believer in the transitive theory. What does make a difference in this game is that USC finally had a complete game last week against Utah. the Trojans ran and passed the ball well, and Matt Barkley looked like his old self again.
USC wins in Seattle. The spread is 12.5 points, and I think the Trojans finally cover the point spread.
UCLA vs. Utah
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UCLA has dropped two of its last three games. I'll give the Bruins a hall pass in the Oregon State loss because the Beavers are a very good team, but the manner in which they lost to Cal is disturbing.
UCLA is favored by 7.5 points and frankly, this is a tough one. This game's outcome hinges on which UCLA team shows up—the excited and motivated team that beat Nebraska or the six turnovers, 12-penalty team that lost to Cal.
As much as I hate to pick against UCLA, the Bruins are going in the wrong direction halfway through the season. I'm going with Utah's defensive line wreaking havoc against the Bruins' offensive line.
Utah wins in an upset.
Stanford at Notre Dame
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The Fighting Irish are riding high after starting out 5-0. Stanford is 4-1, with its one loss occurring at Washington.
No. 7 Notre Dame is an 8.5-point favorite, and while that's quite impressive, I think that's off. Notre Dame has beaten one ranked team (Michigan), and I don't think that the 3-2 Wolverines should even be ranked No. 25 after their humiliating loss to Alabama.
So there you have it. I like Notre Dame's team this year, but I think the team is a tad too confident hosting the Cardinal. Note: I love Stanford's offensive and defensive lines.
Notre Dame gets the win, but doesn't cover the spread.
Cal at Washington State
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If you take a look at the Washington State Cougars' league games, Leach is slowly getting the scores closer and closer, not counting Oregon, of course.
That shows the offense is starting to click, and the team is gaining more confidence. The Cougars are hosting a 2-4 Cal team coming off a win against UCLA, but the Golden Bears are 0-2 on the road.
Both Cougar quarterbacks—Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday—had a rough day against Oregon State's defense, getting picked a combined four times. But Cal's passing defense is No. 90 against the pass. Washington State's defense is pretty porous, but in a shootout, I like the Cougars in this one.
Could this be Leach's first conference win? Cal is favored by 7.5 points.
I flipped a quarter on this one, and it came up heads. For Washington State. For the win.
Oregon State at BYU
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The Oregon State Beavers got some bad news this week; quarterback Sean Mannion is out and will have surgery on his knee. Cody Vaz, his replacement, hasn't taken a snap in about a year-and-a-half.
BYU has the best rushing defense in FBS, but that stat is deceiving because the best rushing team the Cougars has faced (Utah State) isn't even in the top 50.
What this comes down to is Mike Riley vs. Bronco Mendenhall. The Beavers' defense is legit, and Riley should come up with a manageable game plan for Vaz. The kid's been waiting a long time for his shot.
Provo, Utah is a hostile venue, and BYU is favored by three points, but I like Oregon State here in a very tight game.