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2011 Pac-12 Football Predictions: Which Teams Win in Week 8?

Michael TierneyAnalyst IJuly 29, 2011

2011 Pac-12 Football Predictions: Which Teams Win in Week 8?

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    This slideshow is Pac-12 Conference "Week 8" game predictions. Arizona State has a bye. This slideshow is a continuation of:

    The Week 7 predictions.

    The Week 6 predictions.     

    The Week 5 predictions.     

    The Week 4 predictions.

    The Week 3 predictions.     

    The Week 2 predictions.    

    The Week 1 predictions.

UCLA at Arizona

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    UCLA at Arizona

    Thursday, Oct. 20, 6 PM (PST) on ESPN

    Game Prediction:

    Arizona 31, UCLA 21

     

    UCLA kicks off Week 8 with a Thursday night meeting in Tucson. The Bruins are coming off a bye with possibly only two wins to their credit this season. Arizona may be in a very similar position (after playing at Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon and at USC), coming off a bye with two wins in the bank.

    This game will feature quarterback duos Nick Foles-to-Juron Criner vs. Kevin Prince-to-Nelson Rosario. Running backs dueling each other are Keola Antolin vs. Jonathan Franklin. Middle linebackers Sean Westgate vs. Derek Earls will see who can make better stops. All in all, these teams are closer than preseason polls split them (Arizona near 50 and UCLA at around 75).

    Yes Arizona has a much better passing game, but UCLA has a better running game. This one will be close, like last year, with Arizona taking advantage of their home crowd on a crazy night. The Wildcats win.  

     


USC at Notre Dame

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    USC at Notre Dame

    Saturday, Oct. 22, 4:30 PM (PST) on NBC

    Game Prediction:

    USC 35, Notre Dame 31

     

    USC backup quarterback Mitch Mustain handed this game to Notre Dame last year (and USC receivers literally dropped the ball on this one).

    The Fighting Irish have their choice of Dayne Crist or Tommy Rees at quarterback, but lack depth at running back. Running back talent Cierre Wood returns and augments the outstanding passing attack to Michael Floyd, Theo Riddick and tight-end Tyler Eifert. Jonas Grey is the bruising back they use in short situations. Notre Dame can also depend on their returning O-line. The Irish return eight starters at defense including Manti Te'o. Their D-line is young and this will be a learning season for them. Overall, this could be a very good season in Coach Brian Kelly's second year.

    USC has more talented depth than Notre Dame at every skill position on offense or defense. One huge difference this year is that USC will have Matt Barkley at quarterback (he was out last year and Mitch Mustain was inept). USC's defensive line is better this year; however, Notre Dame's offensive line has the experience to give Crist or Rees time.

    With better O-line play (Martinez, Coleman, Graf), the Trojans will have one of the best pro-style offenses in college football. All signs from spring indicate that the defense has overcome the learning curve of Monte Kiffin's defensive schemes and should finally be able to exploit all their 4- and 5-star talent. Notre Dame will throw more interceptions than last year's game.

    Notre Dame has lost every home game to USC since 2001 (four straight), by an average score of 39-18. The Irish will actually be very shocked to lose yet another close game at home because the USC quarterback play will be like night (2010) and day (2011). 

Washington at Stanford

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    Washington at Stanford

    Saturday, Oct. 22, 5:00 PM (PST) on ABC

    Game Prediction:

    Stanford 35, Washington 20

     

    Last year at Husky Stadium, Stanford played Washington. Do you remember the score with the Huskies having home field? It was a Stanford 41-0 shellacking of Washington.

    Andrew Luck's leadership, ability, recognition, athleticism, etc., went a long way in winning that game. Harbaugh's coaching played a big role too. The good news for Washington is that Harbaugh left for the NFL. The bad news for Washington is that Luck did not.

    This year Luck will have underestimated tight-end targets Coby Fleener and Zach Ertz on quick patterns and Chris Owusu deep. RB Stepfan Taylor and company will keep Washington's defense honest. For Washington it will all be about RB Chris Polk, and that is what Stanford's linebackers (Thomas, Murphy, Skov and Bergen) will be waiting for. This is Chris Polk's black-and-blue year (not purple-and-gold). Stanford has success at home and wins with ease.

Utah at California

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    Utah at California

    Saturday, Oct. 22, TBD PM (PST) on TBD

    Game Prediction:

    Utah 31, California 27

     

    These two teams met just two years ago on December 23, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium, in San Diego, CA at the Poinsettia Bowl.  Utah, ranked  No. 23 in the nation then, came away a 37-27 winner led by quarterback Jordan Wynn. In that game, Utah gave up a bunch of rushing yards and Cal gave up a bunch of passing yards. This year, Cal's defense will be much improved, but their offense needs help. Utah is ranked outside the top-25 this year and their defense is not quite as good as Cal's, but their offense could be a bit better than the Bears.'

    This was a hard game to call. These are very even teams and it is easy to call it Cal's way. It will be a game of momentum and field position in each quarter. Both teams will struggle at times; however, Utah will have just enough offense to get the win in San Francisco.

Oregon at Colorado

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    Oregon at Colorado

    Saturday, Oct. 22, TBD PM (PST) on TBD

    Game Prediction:

    Oregon 55, Colorado 16

     

     

    In the 2002 Fiesta Bowl, Oregon defeated Colorado 38-16.

    That was the year Colorado had a 10-2 record while Oregon was a 10-1 team.

    This year Oregon may still be a 10-1 team, but Colorado will invert their record to 2-10.

    So yes, this will be a blowout, but Colorado running back Rodney Steward will still gain some good yardage on the Ducks while keeping the ball away. The trouble is that Oregon will still score quickly. Oregon will build a lead quickly and will play their backups in the fourth quarter.

    This game might not be shown on national TV. 

Oregon State at Washington State

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    Oregon St. at Washington St.

    Saturday, Oct. 22, TBD PM (PST) on TBD

    Game Prediction:

    Oregon St. 31, Washington St. 27

     

    These two teams, ranked fifth and sixth in the Pac-12 North, will meet at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington, to help decide who may finish last in the division.

    Washington State may be 2-4 going into this game, while Oregon State will probably have the same record. Both teams have very difficult schedules remaining, so the winner should end up with at least three wins (overall) for the season. 

    Both teams feature developing quarterbacks and, although the Cougars have home-field advantage, the Beavers might just have one or two more weapons than Washington State. Last year Washington State took it to Oregon State winning on the road 31-14 at Reser Stadium in an upset.

    This is another hard game to predict. I'm calling for another upset (this time the Cougars may be favored), and Oregon State will have to battle for this close win.

Week 8 Projected Pac-12 North Standings

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    Projected Pac-12 North Standings After Week 8
    Team P-12 North P-12 Conference Overall
    Stanford 2-0  5-0  7-0 
    Oregon  1-0  4-0  6-1 
    Oregon State  1-0 2-2  3-4 
    California  1-1  1-3  4-3 
    Washington  0-2  1-3  3-4 
    Washington State 0-2  0-4  2-5

Week 8 Projected Pac-12 South Standings

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    Projected Pac-12 South Standings After Week 8
    Team P-12 South P-12 Conference Overall
    USC  3-0  4-0  7-0 
    Arizona State  1-1  2-2 4-3 
    Arizona  1-1  2-3 3-4
    Colorado  0-0  1-3  2-6
    UCLA  0-1  1-3  2-5 
    Utah  0-2  2-2  4-3

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