Pac-10 Predictions: Week Eight

Brad Vipperman@TeamVip33Correspondent IOctober 23, 2009

CORVALIS, OR - SEPTEMBER 25:  James Rodgers #8 of the Oregon State Beavers runs for a touchdown against Taylor Mays #2 of the Southern California Trojans at Reser Stadium on September 25, 2008 in Corvalis, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

No. 11 Oregon @ Washington (+10)

The big question on everyone's mind heading into this game is, "Will Jeremiah Masoli play?"  As of now, the answer is still, "maybe." 

If you ask me, however, I feel pretty confident that he will.  Masoli has practiced with the first team offense the entire week, something I don't think head coach Chip Kelly would have allowed if he was still planning on starting backup Nate Costa.

Regardless of who starts on offense for the Ducks, the bigger question is will their defense be as dominant as it has been in recent weeks.

Washington quarterback Jake Locker is, according to Kelly, the best player Oregon has faced thus far this season and he will certainly test the Ducks all day.

As the Huskies proved against USC, winning in Washington is a tough thing to do for any team, and you can be sure that Oregon isn't taking this game lightly.

Despite the question mark at quarterback, I believe that Oregon will have enough offensively to win the game on Saturday.  However, I think the Huskies will keep it close, as they have in many games this season (five of their seven games have been decided by eight points or less), and will cover the spread at home.

Pick: Oregon, 27-20

Washington State @ Cal (-35.5)

Yikes.  This game could get ugly really fast.  Washington State's defense has been practically non-existent this season as they have allowed 210 points in their six games so far.  They have allowed at least 27 points in every game.

The one glimmer of hope for this team is freshman quarterback Jeff Tuel, who played fairly well two weeks ago in just his second start (it was essentially his first true start, as a hip-pointer knocked him out of his first one after just two passing attempts).

The Cougars run into a Cal team that has been rejuvenated after a big win over UCLA last weekend.  Both Cal running backs, Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen, went over 100 yards on the ground against the Bruins as the offense made several big plays to end a horrible streak of poor play.

That same offense must be licking their chops at a chance to play Washington State at home this week and we should all expect the Bears to put up points in bunches on Saturday.

It is always difficult to pick a team that is laying five touchdowns, even one as bad as the Cougars.  Despite that fact, I am going to pick Washington State to cover.  Although I still expect Cougar fans to spend most of the day covering their eyes.

Pick: Cal, 48-17

UCLA @ No. 22 Arizona (-7.5)

I think this spread is way too low after watching the way the Wildcats have been playing recently.  This team is coming together in a big way and building a huge head of steam behind the arm of Nick Foles.

Because of the stellar play of the quarterback, many people are forgetting that Arizona also has a nice, young playmaker at running back in Nic Grigsby.  Grigsby has been slowed in recent weeks by a shoulder injury but I am expecting bigger things from him as the season goes on. 

Against a UCLA defense that has allowed rushing yards of, 289, 221, and 174 against them in the last three weeks, he should have more than his share of opportunities. 

For UCLA, the one thing they will be looking for this week is more consistency out of their quarterback.  Head coach Rick Neuheisel has stuck by freshman Kevin Prince all season but has mentioned that he needs to see more consistency out of the young quarterback.

Not to be glib, but Prince has actually been pretty consistent in his play this year.  Unfortunately, that play has been pretty mediocre.

If the Bruins expect to hang with the Wildcats in Tucson, Prince is going to have to execute Neuheisel and offensive coordinator Norm Chow's gameplan to perfection.

Even if Prince plays at a higher level than he has been, I just don't think UCLA has the weapons this year to compete with the explosive Wildcats.  Arizona should win this one by double-digits no problem.

Pick: Arizona, 38-20

Oregon State @ No. 7 USC (-21)

Game of the week in the Pac-10, and perhaps the country.  Oregon State has a very talented team this year and you can be sure that Pete Carroll, and the holdover Trojans from last season, are going to be out for revenge.

Although, freshman quarterback Matt Barkley was in high school when these two teams played last season, there is no doubt that he understands the magnitude of this game.

Barkley has started to come into his own recently, especially last week as he torched the Notre Dame secondary for 380 yards and two touchdowns in South Bend.  He is going to need to play another fantastic game this week if the Trojans are going to squash the bug that has been annoying them for the last couple seasons.

The biggest thorn in the Trojans side will be Oregon State sophomore running back Jacquizz Rodgers.  Quizz was amazing in last year's victory, as he ran for 186 yards and two touchdowns against the Trojans.

Another player who must have a big game for the Beavers is Quizz's brother, James.  Remember, it was James Rodgers' touchdown reception, on a deflected pass, that gave the Beavers a 21-0 halftime lead.  A lead the Trojans would never recover from.  James finished the day with six catches, 36 and two touchdowns of his own.

If the Trojans can keep the Rodgers brothers in check then they should be able to take care of business against Oregon State in the Coliseum, a place the Beavers haven't won in since 1960.

When the dust clears, I think the Trojans will emerge with the victory although I don't like anything about that 21 point spread.  I fully expect the Beavers to cover and for this game to be fairly close the whole way.

Pick: USC, 38-27

Arizona State @ Stanford (-6.5)

Arizona State pulled off a huge victory last weekend against a tough Washington team but receive no break when they travel to Stanford this week.

The Cardinal are still reeling from losing their dogfight with Arizona last weekend but should be fired up and ready to go from the start of this one.

From the reports coming out of Stanford, star running back Toby Gerhart, the nation's fourth leading rusher, will be ready to go on Saturday which means bad things for the Sun Devils.

With Gerhart at full strength and freshman quarterback Andrew Luck getting better by the game, the Cardinal should have more than enough firepower to score points against the talented Sun Devil defense.

Offensively for ASU, quarterback Danny Sullivan silenced a few critics with his clutch play last weekend, and, for at least one more week, has held off freshman Brock Osweiler for the starting job.

He is going to need to play his best game of the season, however, this weekend if he wants to keep his team in the game against Stanford.  Running back Dimitri Nance was a little banged up in last week's game but he should also be a "go" on Saturday.  This is crucial for the ASU passing game which is going to depend on play-action and balanced play in order to move the chains.

The Sun Devils have been an improving team this year but I just think the Stanford Cardinal will be too much for them this Saturday.  As long as that spread is less than a touchdown for the Cadinal at home, I am going to jump all over that.

Pick: Stanford, 31-20


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