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2011 Pac-12 Football Predictions: Which Teams Win in Week Five?

Michael TierneyAnalyst IJune 24, 2011

2011 Pac-12 Football Predictions: Which Teams Win in Week Five?

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    This slideshow predicts the Pac-12 conference's Week 5 games. This slideshow is a continuation of:

    The Week 4 predictions.

    The Week 3 predictions.

    The Week 2 predictions.

    The Week 1 predictions.

    Predictions are revealed for all five games (Oregon and Cal have byes). Washington State travels to "mile-high" Folsom Field in a game that will determine the team finishing last in the conference.

Arizona at USC

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    LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 5:  Quarterback Nick Foles #8 of the Arizona Wildcats throws a pass against the USC Trojans on December 5, 2009 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. Arizona won 21-17.   (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

     

    Arizona at USC

    Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011

     

    Game Prediction:

    USC 24 - Arizona 17

     

     

    Arizona will be preseason ranked about 45th—USC will be about 20th.

    Arizona will sleep through Northern Arizona, but the Wildcats will be coming off a difficult three consecutive weeks at Oklahoma State, Stanford and Oregon, finishing 1-3. The Wildcats will be battle-tough.

    USC defeats Minnesota, a fairly good Utah, Syracuse and a decent Arizona State team, finishing 4-0. The Trojans might have to step up their play to match the level the Arizona Wildcats have been playing at recently. On the other hand, Arizona may be beat up a bit. 

    The Barkley-Woods express will out-gain the Foles-Criner hookup. USC's running back rotation of Morgan/McNeal/Tyler/Baxter will outrun Antolin. Both teams have an excellent secondary, but the big difference in this game is USC's superior defensive line, linebacker play, and position depth that will keep the Trojan defense fresher.

    Arizona will be extremely competitive, but USC pulls out close victory.  

Oregon State at Arizona State

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    Oregon State at Arizona State

    Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011

     

    Game Prediction:

    Arizona St. 24 - Oregon St. 17

     

    Oregon State only managed a 5-7 season last year, but the Beavers’ 2010 schedule was one of the toughest in the country with matchups against six ranked teams (TCU, Boise State, Arizona, Stanford, USC and Oregon). Although Arizona State had a 6-6 season last year, they could be a Top 25 team this year. Oregon State will be ranked somewhere around 60th in the nation.

    Oregon State returns eight offensive starters and five defensive starters while Arizona State lost only a few on both sides of the ball. The real battle will be about Beaver quarterback Ryan Katz versus Sun Devil quarterback Brock Osweiler. Katz will have some success against the Sun Devil secondary, but ASU's defensive line and linebackers won't allow the Beavers to develop a decent running game.

    Arizona State won't run away with it, but the home field advantage contributes to the win. 

UCLA at Stanford

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    TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 26:  Head coach Rick Neuheisel of the UCLA Bruins during the college football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona.  The Sun Devils defeated the Bruins 55-34.  (Photo by
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

     

    UCLA at Stanford

    Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011

     

    Game Prediction:

    Stanford 35 - UCLA 6

     

    UCLA quarterbacks Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut combined for a passing attack ranked a dismal 116th (out of 120) in the nation. And they both return to continue to pursue the "pistol with more pass" guided by a whole new coaching staff.

    The offensive line won't be any better this year, as the patched-up line has already lost starters Jeff Back to a broken ankle and Sean Sheller who broke his hand this spring. Most recently, guard Stan Hasiak was dismissed after being ruled academically ineligible for the third time in the last two years.  

    This should be the year that coach Rick Neuheisel's best recruiting class of 2009 would have starting positions. But his 5-star tight end Morrell Presley transferred, his 4-star cornerback Marlon Pollard transferred, his 4-star guard Xavier Su'a-Filo left for a Mormon mission, 4-star quarterback Richard Brehaut has not panned out and now 4-star guard Hasiak was booted out. 4-star wideout Randall Carroll, another recruiting flipper, is still on the team after multiple suspensions and academic issues.

    The Bruins just can't catch a break between talented player departures, academic suspensions, and being severely bitten by the injury bug (especially on the O-line) year-after-year. And 2011 is starting out the same way as last year.

    The Cardinal wins big and UCLA gasps at a third straight loss. 

Washington at Utah

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    Washington at Utah

    Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011

     

    Game Prediction:

    Utah 24 - Washington 17

     

    Utah is 5-1 in bowl games and 30-1 at home under coach Kyle Whittingham. Washington is 1-0 in bowl games, but only 3-8 on the road under coach Steve Sarkisian. Unfortunately for the Huskies, they are on the road for this game.

    Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn had offseason shoulder surgery and will struggle a bit to learn Norm Chow's new offense. They can't fall back on an experienced running attack since the bulk of the carries will be to junior college transfer John White IV and freshman Harvey Langi. 

    Utah's defensive line is deep and the linebackers can get the job done, but the secondary is a concern. Cornerback Brandon Burton left for the NFL, meaning that Utah lost four starters in the secondary, but that might not be a threat against Washington's new quarterback.

    Washington's new quarterback is Keith Price. Given his inexperience, Sarkisian will rely on junior tailback Chris Polk. Utah's defensive line knows this and will stack the box. This will pressure Price into a few picks. Mason Foster will be missed by the Huskies at middle linebacker, but overall, the defense will be solid. Home field will be a definite advantage.

    Utah by a touchdown for a needed win after two straight losses. 

Washington State at Colorado

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    Washington State at Colorado

    Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011

     

    Game Prediction:

    Colorado 24 - Washington St. 21

    This game goes a long way into figuring which team finishes last in the Pac-12.

    Jeff Tuel reminds all Cougar fans of Ryan Leaf and Drew Bledsoe. In 2011, he completed 60 percent of his passes throwing for 18 TDs. Wide receiver Marquess Wilson led all freshman last year with 1,006 yards. But the Cougars' rushing game, offensive line and defensive line need improvement. Their linebackers are in better shape. The secondary only returns three starters because starting cornerback Aire Justin has been suspended for the 2011 season for violating the NCAA’s banned substance policy.

    The Buffaloes have experienced offensive players in quarterback Tyler Hansen, running back Rodney Stewart, tight end Ryan Deehan and receivers Toney Clemons and Paul Richardson. Since Colorado is not deep, injuries could be an issue for those players. The loss of Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown at the corners will hurt defensively, but new head coach Jon Embree has two experienced safeties, Anthony Perkins and Ray Polk, that will help cover. The defensive line and linebackers are solid.

    The edge in this game will come from Colorado's home advantage at Folsom Field in Boulder (the mile-high playing field) and the Buffaloes win by three. 

Week Five Projected Pac-12 North Standings

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    Projected Pac-12 North Standings After Week Five
    Team P-12 North P-12 Conference Overall
    California 1-0  1-0  4-0 
    Stanford  0-0  2-0  4-0 
    Oregon  0-0  1-0  3-1 
    Oregon State  0-0  1-1  2-2 
    Washington State  0-0  0-1  2-2 
    Washington 0-1  0-2  2-3

Week Five Projected Pac-12 South Standings

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    Projected Pac-12 South Standings After Week Five
    Team P-12 South P-12 Conference Overall
    USC  3-0  3-0  5-0 
    Colorado  0-0  1-0  2-3 
    UCLA  0-0  0-2  1-4
    Arizona State  0-1  1-1  3-2
    Utah  0-1  1-1  2-2 
    Arizona  0-1  0-3  1-4

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