Picks, Predictions and Prognosis for Every Week 9 Pac-12 Football Game
Just one unbeaten remains in the Pac-12 Conference heading into Week 9. Can anyone derail No. 2-ranked Oregon?
The UCLA Bruins will certainly try. And coming off a loss at Stanford, Brett Hundley and Co. need this win to keep any hope of factoring into the BCS Championship race alive.
UCLA-Oregon takes center stage, but it's not the only high-stakes matchup on the Week 9 Pac-12 slate.
Stanford travels to Oregon State for a late-night rendezvous between two teams ranked in the initial BCS standings. The Beavers are winners of six straight since dropping their season opener but have yet to command national attention.
A win over Stanford would shine a bright spotlight on Corvallis, Ore. for the remainder of the season.
All lines are courtesy of VegasInsider.com.
Record Last Week: 5-2 (2-5 against the spread)
Record This Season: 51-7 (36-22 against the spread)
Utah at USC (-6)
Saturday, Oct. 26, 4 p.m. ET
Utah has not beaten two of its Pac-12 South counterparts since joining the conference, and they are the Utes' next two opponents.
Arizona State is one; USC, which hosts Utah Saturday in the Coliseum, is the other.
The Utes played the Trojans close in their last two dates, but last season in Salt Lake City got more Marqise Lee than they could handle (192 yards and a touchdown).
Lee will try to play Saturday, The Los Angeles Times reports, but his continued knee issues are problematic for the USC offense.
Leading rusher Tre Madden is questionable, and dynamic freshman Justin Davis is done of the season. Silas Redd has been great since returning, but without Lee, Madden or Davis, the Trojans are too one-dimensional.
Utah poses a similar challenge to USC as Notre Dame did last week with its defensive front. Ends Trevor Reilly and Nate Orchard can wreak havoc in the backfield.
Prediction: Utah 21, USC 17
No. 12 UCLA at No. 2 Oregon (-17.5)
Saturday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m. ET
UCLA has its issues coming into Autzen Stadium. The inexperience on the offensive line, with tackle Torian White lost for the season, was evident against Stanford.
Against Oregon, the Bruins get no reprieve. The Ducks have been adept at harassing opposing quarterbacks this season, so UCLA sophomore Brett Hundley must be ready to think and move quickly.
Running back Jordon James could return to the lineup, but the running game's uncertainty puts a heavy burden of Hundley's shoulders.
The UCLA defense is the most athletic Oregon has faced this season, and the Bruins will make quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Ducks offense earn everything they get.
However, the quicksand-like way Oregon operates should eventually wear down UCLA, and the Ducks pull away in a manner similar to their win over Washington two weeks ago.
Prediction: Oregon 38, UCLA 24
Arizona (-17) at Colorado
Saturday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m. ET
Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey had his best game in a stellar 2012 season against Colorado. Carey set a Pac-12 record with 366 yards rushing in a Wildcat romp.
"I get a headache the more I watch him on film," Buffaloes' first-year head coach Mike MacIntyre said on Tuesday's Pac-12 coaches teleconference call. "If there's a better running back in America, I'd like to see him."
Carey is coming off his best performance of 2013, a 236-yard outing against Utah.
Gang tackling and "him maybe spraining his ankle getting of the bus" are Colorado's hopes for slowing Carey Saturday, MacIntyre joked.
Prediction: Arizona 42, Colorado 21
No. 8 Stanford (-6.5) at Oregon State
Saturday, Oct. 26, 10:30 p.m.
One of the marquee showdowns in this year's Pac-12 race, Stanford must slow the high-flying Oregon State passing offense if it's to keep its aspirations of another conference championship alive.
That's easier said than done. Oregon State boasts the conference's, if not nation's premier quarterback-receiver combination in Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks.
Ironically, Stanford did not see Mannion in last year's 27-23 win. He was benched because of interception issues that have become a thing of the past.
Stanford head coach David Shaw commended Mannion's improved decision-making on Tuesday's Pac-12 teleconference.
Reser Stadium will be rocking for what should be a classic. Stanford's tenacious defense and veteran savvy should make the difference down the stretch.
Don't be surprised if a big play from wide receiver Ty Montgomery, either on a pass or in special teams, buoys the Cardinal.
Prediction: Stanford 34, Oregon State 31
Cal at Washington (-23)
Saturday, Oct. 26, 11 p.m. ET
FOX Sports 1
For you night owls, Cal and Washington provide the latest Pac-12 kickoff of the season. But if this one goes as many first halves have for the young Golden Bears, the outcome will be apparent by halftime.
Cal has been outscored in first quarters this season 110-34. With the Husky Stadium crowd anxious for a Washington win and the Huskies coming out angry, expect the Golden Bears' early struggles to continue.
The primary area for concern for Washington is the health of quarterback Keith Price. Head coach Steve Sarkisian said on Tuesday's teleconference call a decision hasn't been made regarding Price's thumb injury.
Having Price in the lineup would certainly help the Huskies exploit a struggling Cal defense.
Prediction: Washington 42, Cal 17