Pac-12 Week 11 predictions. Previous predictions:
The Week 10 predictions.
The Week 9 predictions.
The Week 8 predictions.
The Week 7 predictions.
The Week 6 predictions.
The Week 5 predictions.
The Week 4 predictions.
The Week 1 predictions.
Oregon at Stanford, Washington at USC, UCLA at Utah and more.
Washington at USC
Saturday, Nov. 12, 12:30 PM (PST)
USC 42, Washington 12
The average November high temperature in Los Angeles is 73 degrees. The Washington Huskies will enjoy the sun after a cold, hard-fought game against Oregon the week before. USC will also enjoy the weather at home after victorious visit at lightly-snowing Colorado.
The Husky running back Chris Polk had knee surgery in mid-August. He was the offense for Washington this year. He will be back and hopefully stay uninjured, but after the Oregon game, when Washington faces USC, the one-two punch of Polk and sophomore backup Jesse Callier may be seriously banged up.
Washington is pinning their hopes on the running game after quarterback Jake Locker left for the NFL. They have to rely on sophomore quarterback Keith Price, who took over the position. Price’s job is more difficult since he is working with a rebuilt offensive line after center Ryan Tolar and offensive tackle Cody Habben graduated.
On defense, the Huskies lost some great ones in linebacker Mason Foster, strong safety Nate Williams and defensive tackle Cameron Elisara. In fact, the Huskies have three new players on the defensive line in DE Everrette Thompson, DE Hau'oli Jamora and DT Sione Potoa'e. DT Alameda Ta'amu is a returning starter after recovering from a broken hand in August.
Linebacker Cort Dennison returns and should boost two linebacker newcomers: sophomore Garret Gilliland and freshman Jamaal Kearse.
The secondary returns CB Desmond Trufant and FS Nate Fellner; however, Sean Parker replaces SS Nate Williams, and sophomore Gregory Ducre will fill in for CB starter Adam Long (ACL) and possibly backup Quinton Richardson, who suffered a Leg Injury in August.
USC will be ready to return the favor of the last two beatings they took from Washington. USC wins in a blowout.
Oregon at Stanford
Saturday, Nov. 12, 12:30 PM (PST)
Stanford 35, Oregon 27
Oregon travels to Stanford with both teams probably sporting 8-1 records overall. This game will determine the winner of the Pac-12 North. Oregon opened the season ranked No. 3 in the AP poll while Stanford came in at No. 7.
Auburn exposed Oregon’s offensive weakness against a strong defensive line and their defensive weakness against a short passing game and strong running attacks. LSU will do the same on Sept. 3.
As far as intangibles go, Oregon has the better coaching staff, whereas Stanford’s coaching staff has been revamped. There has been some continuity in the Stanford coaching turnover since much of the hiring was from within.
This will ease the coaching transition. In addition, their schemes will not be changing. Stanford will have home-field advantage.
Oregon’s off-the-field problems will continue, and will be a distraction, no matter what Chip Kelly or Oregon fans say. Now we know Darron Thomas is a stoner (unless you want to believe he doesn’t inhale while smoking-out in cars speeding at 118 mph with his teammates), and this infers questionable integrity and leadership ability.
More importantly, his decision-making ability is retarded by marijuana (just a fact). He may end up like Jeremiah Masoli, who was a great quarterback for Oregon, for some time, but he was also a stoner and lacked good decision-making ability. We have not heard the last of the existing problems, or future problems, for Oregon.
Leadership could be a question on Oregon’s team (other than the questionable integrity of Darron Thomas). Oregon did lose 21 seniors from last year's team. Scholarship juniors and seniors are hard to find on the practice field.
There are only 11 seniors on scholarship; however, there are 69 freshmen and sophomores on scholarship for the 2011 team. Leadership is not a question on Stanford.
Cornerback Cliff Harris will be back for the Ducks (assuming charges are dropped and there is not an NCAA investigation on the use of the vehicle). Oregon’s defensive line losses (DT Brandon Bair, DT Zac Clark, and DE Kenny Rowe), and linebacker losses of Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger, will impact the team.
The losses of CB Talmadge Jackson III (and suspension of Cliff Harris) hurt the secondary. There are quite a few causes for concern on Oregon’s team.
Stanford brings the best quarterback in college football to this meeting, as well as some of the best running backs in the Pac-12 (Stepfan Taylor, Anthony Wilkerson, Jeremy Stewart, and Tyler Gaffney). Fullback Owen Marecic’s replacement, Ryan Hewitt, played in all 13 games last year and the Cardinal won’t miss a beat with Ryan.
“Hewitt, coming into spring, surprised a lot of fans,” Stepfan Taylor said. “Inside the team, we knew that he was just as good as Marecic…Hewitt came in as a tight end and is stepping up in the fullback position, where he has to go head to head against linemen and linebackers every time. That shows he loves the game.”
Stanford’s running game will be hard for Oregon to stop.
But Stanford’s strength will be quarterback Andrew Luck’s passing game. Especially to this three big tight end targets Coby Fleener, Levine Toilolo and Zach Ertz. These three are the best tight ends in the Pac-12 and will all be playing on Sundays.
In addition to them, wide receiver Chris Owusu returns and will be complemented by senior Griff Whalen. Yes, another Whalen will be giving Stanford opponents fits.
Stanford’s offensive line will be playing better together anchored by two of the best linemen in the Pac-12. LT Jonathan Martin and RG David DeCastro will be first-round picks in the NFL.
Center Sam Schwartzstein, LG Kevin Danser, and RT Tyler Mabry will progress to help form one of the best offensive lines in the Pac-12 (along with USC and Cal). Stanford will pass at will on Oregon.
The Ducks return quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James on offense. They had several good backup running backs, but Lache Seastrunk announced that he is transferring in mid-August (recall he is related to the "Lyles/NCAA/Oregon" issue).
The Ducks will have to get by with tight end David Paulson after losing backup Curtis White and Brandon Williams to injuries. The Ducks will be very thin at tight end. Injuries had plagues the Ducks during fall camp and deteriorated their depth.
Those injuries included two wide receivers Blake Cantu and Josh Huff, which is another position that the Ducks were thin at. Last year’s senior wide receiver starters D.J. Davis and Jeff Maehl, graduated. The receiving corps will be a sore spot for Oregon all year long.
Oregon is replacing three starters on the offensive line. They are LT Bo Thran, center Jordan Holmes, and RT C.E. Kaiser. Additionally, the backup center Max Forer graduated and Oregon lost two additional offensive linemen to medical retirement.
Center is the position that is giving Oregon the most trouble with early in the season, but it is assumed that these problems will be worked out by this November game.
Stanford has to replace a few linebackers and a few linemen this year, almost as many as Oregon. Stanford will be replacing nose tackle Sione Fua, DE Brian Bulcke, OLB Thomas Keiser and ILB Owen Marecic.
Just like Oregon, the replacements have seen quite a bit of playing time, but as I have said about Oregon, new guys are new guys, and Stanford’s front seven has mostly new guys.
Oregon’s running game will be hard for Stanford to stop. Oregon’s passing game out of the backfield will be strong, but their downfield passing game to wide outs and tight ends will see a drop off this year.
Both teams have issues on defense. Oregon's issues are bigger. Both teams have issues on offense. Oregon's issues are bigger. Only one team is having a bunch of off-the-field issues this year that will continue to manifest themselves in the form of losses (just like quietly losing five-star RB Lache Seastrunk out the back door). Only one team will win and it won't be Oregon.
Arizona at Colorado
Saturday, Nov. 12, 12:30 PM (PST)
Arizona 48, Colorado 14
Colorado is coming off a tough game at home against USC. Arizona is coming off a home game against Utah. Colorado's secondary is questionable this year. Arizona quarterback Nick Foles will exploit that weakness and rack up some frequent flyer miles to Juron Criner.
On offense, Colorado will still struggle trying to change from a spread offense to a pro-style. Their spread type players will have a hard time with the fit. Arizona's defense will hold Colorado down.
Arizona wins big at home.
Arizona St. at Washington St.
Saturday, Nov. 12, TBD PM (PST)
Arizona State 35, Washington State 13
Both Brock Osweiler and Jeff Tuel are very good developing quarterbacks. Arizona State is just a better team than Washington State. Washington State may be the lowest ranking team in the Pac-12 while Arizona State should finish the Pac-12 South in second place.
Washington State has only seven returning starters on offense and six on defense. Arizona State returns significantly more on both sides. Washington State's offensive line, defensive line, and running backs are weaknesses for the team. The Sun Devils defense will limit the Cougars. ASU wins on the road.
UCLA at Utah
Saturday, Nov. 12, 4:00 PM (PST)
Utah 31, UCLA 28
Utah is going through some of the same changes that Colorado is. Offensive coordinator Norm Chow is changing the offensive scheme from a spread to a pro-style.
Chow has quite a bit more experience with this scheme than Colorado's Eric Bieniemy; however, both teams will be using players recruited for the spread...in a new scheme they don't quite fit.
Utah, also like Colorado, has a unique home field advantage that is about a mile high. This will have UCLA's defense huffing and puffing in the second quarter. Rick Neuheisel really needed this win but he won't get it in Utah.
Norm Chow has a much better quarterback to work with in Jordan Wynn than UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel has in Kevin Prince (or Richard Brehaut).
Where UCLA does have an advantage is in the running game. UCLA running back Jonathan Franklin will keep UCLA in this game.
But Utah's passing game advantage will be the difference in Utah's win. Utah also will have their version of Franklin in running back Harvey Langi, a talented true freshman.
Both teams have questions on the offensive line and at other positions on both sides of the ball, but Utah coach Kyle Whittingham will get his fifth victory of the year while Rick Neuheisel will still be sitting on only two wins.
The Bruin boosters will be putting the pressure on after this loss.
Oregon State at California
Saturday, Nov. 12, 7:30 PM (PST)
California 24, Oregon State 21
California's defense will shut down Oregon State's running game and limit the Katz-to-Rodgers connections. The Beavers will not be as fortunate, as the Berkeley Bears will be successful at both against Oregon State.
California is developing a better record in San Francisco than they had in Berkeley. Cal became bowl-eligible the week before against Washington State, and this win moves them up in stature for a possible Holiday Bowl invitation.
They do have a significant test ahead with games at Stanford and at Arizona State.
|Projected Pac-12 North Standings After Week 11|
|Team||P-12 North||P-12 Conference||Overall|
|Stanford||4-0 ||7-1 ||9-1
|Oregon ||3-1 ||6-1 ||8-2
|California ||3-1||4-3 ||7-3
|Oregon State||1-2 ||2-5 ||3-7
|Washington||0-3 ||1-6 ||3-7
|Washington State||0-4 ||0-7 ||2-8
|Projected Pac-12 South Standings After Week Eleven|
|Team||P-12 South||P-12 Conference||Overall|
|Utah||1-3 ||4-3 ||6-4|
|UCLA ||0-3 ||1-6 ||2-8
|Colorado ||0-3 ||1-6 ||2-9