Pac-12 Football: Game Times, Previews, Predictions and More
Pac-12 football, along with the rest of the country, is ready to start separating the pretenders from the contenders.
With a full slate of six games of conference play, "Separation Saturday" begins at 1:30 p.m. ET and goes late into the night with the final game starting at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Five teams are currently ranked in the latest BCS poll, with the Oregon Ducks leapfrogging the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to secure the No. 3 spot.
I will break down the games on the slate today with everything you need to know to enjoy your football Saturday.
Colorado at Arizona
The formerly ranked Arizona Wildcats are reeling after an embarrassing 66-10 loss to the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl last weekend and are looking to become bowl eligible with a win today.
Where: Arizona Stadium; Tucson, Arizona
When: 1:30 p.m. ET
Forecast: 60-percent chance of rain, high of 61 degrees
It's Homecoming Weekend at the University of Arizona, and alumni are welcomed back to Tucson by something they aren't too familiar with—high possibility of rain. Leave it to the Wildcats to have Mother Nature rain on their parade...literally.
Arizona quarterback Matt Scott took a big hit late in the game two weeks ago against the USC Trojans and was seen vomiting on the sideline and didn't return to action. He returned to play last week at UCLA, but was knocked out again with a concussion. He is listed as doubtful and hasn't practiced all week. Junior B.J. Jenker will play if Scott is out.
This good news for the lowly Buffaloes, who are 1-8 on the season. Scott currently leads the Pac-12 with 357.44 passing yards per game for a season total of 2,848 yards with 369 rushing yards.
Colorado's defense is porous, giving up 50-plus points four times with their lone win being a one-point victory against the Pac-12 North cellar dweller Washington State Cougars.
Prediction: Colorado 14, Arizona 35
Arizona State vs. No. 19 USC
The USC Trojans are on high alert. The preseason No. 1 team is looking to avoid its first three-game losing streak in 11 years and salvage its hopes to win the Pac-12 South Division.
Where: Los Angeles Coliseum; Los Angeles, California
When: 3 p.m. ET
Watch: Pac-12 Network
Forecast: Mostly sunny, high of 66 degrees
This matchup had great implications at the beginning of the year, as both teams were believed to be neck and neck fighting for the Pac-12 South crown. Unfortunately, the only only thing the teams have in common now is they are both on losing streaks.
The Arizona State Sun Devils under new head coach Todd Graham are looking like the same old Sun Devils of late. With another quick start out of the gate at 5-1, Arizona State has lost their last three games and today doesn't look to change much in that regard.
The Sun Devils have been looking for that elusive sixth victory to become bowl eligible for almost a month, but hope still remains with Washington State visiting Tempe on Nov. 17.
For USC, this is a game that they need to win to keep their season alive with two tough games to finish out the season against their crosstown rival, the No. 18 UCLA Bruins, then back home against their longtime rival, the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Prediction: Arizona State 21, USC 42
No. 11 Oregon State vs. No. 14 Stanford
The marquee matchup of the weekend pits the upstart Oregon State Beavers against the seasoned Stanford Cardinal. Unfortunately for these teams in the Pac-12 North Division, neither of them will most likely see the Pac-12 Championship Game due to the dominance of the Oregon Ducks.
Where: Stanford Stadium; Stanford, California
When: 3 p.m. ET
Forecast: Sunny and breezy, high of 59 degrees
The only conference game matching up two of the five ranked teams has them fighting to keep their Pac-12 Championship hopes alive. Both teams still have to face the offensive juggernaut Oregon Ducks in the coming weeks, and the winner of this game will need a big win over Oregon to be in consideration for the Pac-12 North Division title.
In the battle of backup quarterbacks, Kevin Hogan and Cody Vaz have a lot to prove to maintain their starting roles. A matchup of the conferences two best run defenses will most likely increase the scrutiny on the two backups. Stanford's run defense is tops in the nation, allowing minus-34 rushing yards in their past three games.
Oregon State's receivers are top-notch, with Brandin Cooks at second in the conference with 113.3 yards per game and Markus Wheaton at fourth with 98.4 yards per game.
Prediction: Oregon State 17, Stanford 14
No. 3 Oregon at California
Will this be another blowout waiting to happen, or a case of taking the home team too lightly? All fingers point to the former, so don't get your hopes up in Berkeley.
Where: Memorial Stadium; Berkeley, California
When: 10:30 p.m. ET
Forecast: Cool and breezy with a temperature of 51 degrees at kickoff
The Cal Golden Bears have always given the Oregon Ducks a fight: They were tied last year at halftime and eked out a 15-13 win the year prior.
Cal is reeling from three straight losses and may also be without starting quarterback Zach Maynard, who is nursing an injured left knee.
The potent Oregon offense will likely keep to the script of this season by playing their starters the first half and depending on the score, allowing the second team to get some reps. This will most likely be the last game where the backups will get to play, as they face two ranked teams fighting to take over the Pac-12 North Division in Oregon State and Stanford.
Heisman Trophy candidate Kenjon Barner and redshirt quarterback Marcus Mariota had explosive games last week at USC. Barner set the school record for rushing yards with 321 and scored five times. Mariota threw for four more and the Ducks accumulated 730 total yards.
They are looking to break the school record for most consecutive wins with 13 today, and they will do so in grand fashion.
Prediction: Oregon 56, Cal 14
No. 18 UCLA at Washington State
This looks to be another snoozer, with the surging UCLA Bruins traveling to Pullman to take on the Washington State Cougars. It's a late game, so maybe watch it if you're having insomnia.
Where: Martin Stadium; Pullman, Washington
When: 10:30 p.m. ET
Watch: ESPN 2
Forecast: Cold, downright freezing with a temperature of 23 degrees at kickoff
Washington State is used to playing in the cold and UCLA is not. That is the only way that I see the Cougars pulling out this victory tonight.
With UCLA taking over the top spot in the Pac-12 South Division with three straight victories over the Arizona schools and Utah, the Bruins know that they need to win this game to stay on top with USC coming to visit next week.
Will they overlook the lowly Cougars and get caught off guard? It is not likely with new coach Jim Mora keeping them focused on the task at hand—winning on the Palouse.
UCLA is 10th in the nation in total yards, posting 514.9 yards per game and looking to maintain or better that average this evening.
Johnathan Franklin became UCLA's career rushing leader last week en route to gaining 162 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Brett Hundley passed for 288 yards and three touchdowns, demolishing the then ranked No. 22 Arizona Wildcats.
Prediction: UCLA 41, WSU 21
Utah at Washington
Another late-night snoozer with the only people watching being die-hard fans of both teams. The Washington Huskies need this win to become bowl eligible.
Where: Century Link Field; Seattle, Washington
When: 10:30 p.m. ET
Watch: Pac-12 Network
Forecast: Cold with a temperature of 39 degrees at kickoff
The Washington Huskies had a tough beginning of the season, but are now on the downslope of the schedule, including three teams with seven wins between them.
After shocking the then No. 7 Oregon State 20-17, the Huskies have won two straight and look to end the season with a respectable 8-4 record.
The Utes are also riding a two-game winning streak, but I don't see them continuing that today, and with Arizona next week, I don't them securing their sixth win to become bowl eligible.
Prediction: Utah 10, Washington 28