This slideshow is Pac-12 Conference Week Seven game predictions. Predictions are given for each game (UCLA and Arizona have byes). This slideshow is a continuation of:
USC at California
Thursday, Oct. 13, 6 PM (PST)
USC 27, California 10
Cal's inexperienced quarterback, tailback, and receivers (outside of Jones and Allen), along with a questionable O-line might, struggle for points. Defense is Cal's strength. Three years of landing top defensive recruits will pay dividends in 2011.
The Bears will be solid on the defensive line, have one of the better linebacking crews in the Pac-12, and are in good shape at secondary positions. Cal is a top-50 team this year.
Trojan junior quarterback Matt Barkley continues to improve. The offensive line has a larger rotation of top talent. USC has a plethora of great wide receivers and top tight ends. Running backs Dillon Baxter, D.J. Morgan, Marc Tyler and Curtis McNeal would start on any Pac-12 team. USC will be back to scoring a ton of points this year.
USC's defensive line will be one of the strongest in the Pac-12. The linebackers will be as good as any three Cal or Arizona State puts on the field. This will be the best secondary in the Pac-12. USC is a top-20 team this year.
Cal's defense limits USC to 27 points, but USC wins the game in SFO.
Arizona State at Oregon
Saturday, Oct. 15
Oregon 38, Arizona State 27
Oct. 15 at Autzen Stadium could be a preview of the Pac-12 Championship game. ASU will challenge Oregon for best dressed in Nike's backyard.
ASU's starting wideout Kerry Taylor graduated and their best receiver, T.J. Simpson tore his ACL. The replacement WRs are capable and the running attack is their best asset. Most of the O-line returns.
The linebacking unit is one of the best in the Pac-12. In the secondary, CB LeQuan Lewis graduated and one of their best players on defense, CB Omar Bolden, tore his ACL.
The Ducks return the dynamic duo of Darron Thomas and LaMichael James. They have a full house of running backs and are set with tight ends but are a little thin at the wideout position. Oregon lost two offensive linemen to medical retirement recently and three more to graduation.
They also lost three starters on the defensive line, but the linebackers are the biggest concern. One returning starter there and depth is questionable.
Losing Cliff Harris in the secondary is a fairly big blow to the Ducks. Despite the loses, the Ducks will pull out the victory in a game that is close for four quarters.
Utah at Pittsburgh
Saturday, Oct. 15
Utah 21, Pittsburgh 20
This is the most important game of Utah's season. It may determine whether Utah has a good 8-4 season (Holiday Bowl), or an average 7-5 season (Kraft Bowl), considering probable losses to Arizona State, at Arizona, at USC, and at BYU.
Pittsburgh and Utah may both be ranked as top-40 teams. But pre-season rankings are guesses. Pitt is changing to an "Oregon-style Attack." Tino Sunseri is a good QB who had a 64 percent completion rate last year (2,572 yards 16 TDs 9 INTs).
RB Ray Graham could make All-Big East and Pitt's offense will be better this year.
Wannstedt's replacement, Head coach Todd Graham, has redesigned the defense to a 3-4 scheme that uses up to five linebackers at times in an effort to force turnovers. Their linebacking crew is average, but the D-line and secondary are stout.
Utah also changed their offense to OC Norm Chow's pro-style offense. QB Jordan Wynn (shoulder surgery), will work on the new schemes in fall camp. Coach Chow is a successful coach and will improve Utah's offense. Wynn also had stats similar to Sunseri (2,334 yards 17 TDs 10 INTs).
The offense may have to rely on Harvey Langi, a true freshman, at running back. The Utes lost Eddie Wide and Matt Asiata, who combined for over 1,412 rushing yards last season.
Utah’s defensive line is as capable as Pittsburgh's, but their secondary may have questions. Pittsburgh has the home advantage, but Utah wins by a point.
BYU at Oregon State
Saturday, Oct. 15
BYU 28, Oregon State 17
Oregon State's offense, ranked a mere 94th in the nation last year, is degraded this year with the loss of Jacquizz Rodgers. Quarterback Ryan Katz is developing into a very good quarterback, but needs significant improvement in protection from the offensive line. That may not come this year.
The defense wasn't much better last year (86th in the nation), and defensive tackle Stephen Paea's loss will be hard to replace. The linebackers and secondary might be a concern. The last time these two team met in the 2009 Las Vegas Bowl, BYU came away with a 44-20 victory.
BYU's defense was impressive last year, earning a national ranking of 24th. BYU may have one of its best defenses in over a decade this year.
Perhaps the most impressive in spring was USC transfer Uona Kaveinga. The secondary has only one returning starter, which could be a concern, considering Ryan Katz cannon for an arm.
Oregon State will be hard pressed to improve on last year's 5-7 season. BYU could be a top-25 team with 10 wins this year, despite their two toughest games at Texas and TCU. BYU wins on the road.
Stanford at Washington State
Saturday, Oct. 15
Stanford 42, Washington State 31
Last year, Stanford survived Jeff Tuel's three fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat the Cougars by 10 points.
Yes, a win is a win...but a cellar-dweller playing a BCS game winner this close points to how tough games are in the Pac-12. Washington State can not be overlooked.
This year, Tuel will turn a few heads with his passing performances. In fact, Washington State turnovers are really what helped Stanford to win the game last year.
This year Washington State will have the home field advantage, a better quarterback, and the possibility of evening up their record with a win.
On the other hand, Stanford has Andrew Luck, some great running backs and the best tight-ends in the conference.
Even with the Cardinal coaching changes and the Cougars playing their hearts out, Stanford wins this game.
Colorado at Washington
Saturday, Oct. 15
Washington 24, Colorado 17
The Washington-Colorado saga continues.
In 1985 Colorado fumbled the game away at the goal line and lost to Washington 20-17 in the Freedom Bowl. The Buffaloes got their revenge in 1990 when they beat Washington 20-14 and went on to win the National Championship.
Colorado beat Washington again in the 1996 Holiday Bowl with a 33-21 victory. Four years later, Washington triumphed over Colorado by a score of 20-14.
This year, both teams feature a very good running back. Husky Junior Chris Polk has had two consecutive 1,000 yard seasons (2,561 yards total).
The Buffaloes feature Rodney Stewart who ran for 1,318 yards as a junior and racked up more than 1,600 yards of total offense.
This game might see both running backs gain over 200 yards each, but Washington will come away with the victory in a packed home stadium.
|Projected Pac-12 North Standings After Week Seven|
|Team||P-12 North||P-12 Conference||Overall|
|Projected Pac-12 South Standings After Week Seven|
|Team||P-12 South||P-12 Conference||Overall|