Pac-12 Football: Week 8 Previews and Predictions
Last week, I went 5-of-6 straight up and 3-of-6 against the spread. UCLA surprised me, but Oregon State did not. On to this week.
We have a Thursday night game on ESPN between No. 3 Oregon and Arizona State. The Ducks opened as a 12-point favorite, but the line has moved down three points for what it's worth.
Four Pac-12 teams are in the first BCS standings of the 2012 season. Oregon came in at No. 3, Oregon State at No. 8, USC at No. 10 and Stanford at No. 20.
UCLA and Washington State are both on byes this week.
Enjoy the carnage.
Colorado at USC
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The Colorado Buffaloes travel to sunny California, where game-time temperatures are expected to be in the low 80's. Hooray for fall weather in La-La Land.
The Buffaloes are 41-point underdogs. This will get ugly very quickly, but the Trojans haven't covered once against the spread this season. Will they do it against Colorado?
Barkley needs some great stats to keep up with the other Heisman candidates, and this game is ripe for some inflated numbers, as Robert Woods needs five catches to overtake Dwayne Jarrett as the all-time reception leader at USC. But USC's depth is an ongoing and weekly challenge, and head coach Lane Kiffin will probably pull the starters once the game is no longer in doubt.
USC cruises to a victory, but doesn't cover that 41-point spread.
Utah at Oregon State
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The Oregon State Beavers opened as a 7.5-point favorite, but the line has moved to 10.5 points. The reason may not be obvious to some, but Pac-12 fans know why: Corvallis is a nightmare for visiting teams.
The big question mark around the Beavers was how the team would react after quarterback Sean Mannion was injured and Cody Vaz, his replacement, would perform at BYU last week. The Beavers won 42-24, and Vaz went 20-of-32 for 332 yards and three touchdowns,
The No. 8 Beavers are for real. They may be a tad hungover after that fantastic win at BYU, but you can't bet against Mike Riley's success right now.
Utah has a great front four, and it will pressure Vaz, but Oregon State comes out on top and barely covers that 10.5 spread.
Washington at Arizona
Quarterback Matt Scott
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The Arizona Wildcats have lost three consecutive games, with the last two of them being heart-breakers. The Wildcats lost to Oregon State 38-35 three weeks ago and lost to Stanford 54-48 in overtime two weeks ago.
They've had a bye week to collect themselves and try to halt that three-game losing streak, but unfortunately for them, they're hosting the Washington Huskies, who are riding a two-game losing streak.
If the Wildcats lose, their bowl prospects look slim with USC, UCLA, Colorado, Utah and Arizona State left on the slate—Colorado looks like the only sure win at this point.
Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian is 11-9 coming off of a loss, and the Huskies play this game in Tuscon, Arizona, where temperatures are expected around 90 degrees during the day. Kickoff is around 7 p.m. local time, so it will be a little cooler, but still, it will hover near 100 degrees on the field.
I'm going to go with Arizona here because the Huskies struggled to contain Matt Barkley in the first half of their game against USC, and quarterback Matt Scott will throw the ball a lot.
Oregon at Arizona State
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As much as I love what Todd Graham is doing at Arizona State, I just don't think the Sun Devils have enough of a defense to stop Oregon's spread attack.
Interestingly, the spread has dropped from to eight points in the last few days (it opened at 12), so maybe that desert heat will wilt the Ducks' feathers. I do think Arizona State is much improved. But so are the Ducks.
I'm going with the Ducks to build a big early lead and then allow some points later in the second half.
Oregon wins (and covers the spread).
Stanford at Cal
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Cal is riding a two-game win streak while Stanford has dropped its last two of three games. But Stanford runs an offensive set similar to USC, and the Golden Bears lost to USC.
What this comes down to is turnovers and Stanford's front three keeping pressure on Cal's offensive line.
Stanford appears to be more balanced on both sides of the ball, and despite this being a big rivalry game, I think the Cardinal outlast the Golden Bears.
Stanford wins and covers the 2.5 spread.