Half of the teams in the Pac-12 have made it out of their non-conference schedules unscathed, while a few others are recovering from some disappointing results. Let’s take a closer look at last week’s results.
Arizona State facing off against #5 Stanford was billed to the game of the weekend, but unfortunately for Sun Devil fans, it was anything but that. Stanford blanked ASU in the first half, taking a 29-0 lead into the locker room. Running back duo Anthony Wilkerson and Tyler Gaffney combined for 36 attempts for 155 yards and three touchdowns in a statement win by Stanford, who is trying to show Oregon that they have some competition in the Pac-12 North.
Utah managed to pull off what was an underrated big victory for the Pac-12, beating in-state rival BYU 20-13 on the road. While the Utes won’t make front page headlines for the win, it’s a huge step in the right direction for a team that is 3-1 on the young season. Oregon State was also on the road against a mid-major program, and they were able to eek out a 34-30 win at San Diego State thanks to a fourth quarter where they outscored SDSU 20-3. Lastly, UCLA continued to impressive with an easy 59-13 win vs. New Mexico State. The Bruins were slow out of the gate, leading just 7-0 at the end of the first fifteen minutes, but it was all UCLA from there. Rounding out the out of conference games, the Washington schools both scored shutouts: Washington blanked Idaho State 56-0 while Washington State bested Idaho 42-0.
Then, there was USC. The Trojans, who looked downright awful on offense two weeks ago against Washington State, looked like they had solved the offensive issues. USC notched 35 points last week against an albeit subpar Boston College defense, but the high score was promising. Not only that, but Cody Kessler looked great in the first half, notching two first half touchdowns. Then halftime happened, Utah State adjusted, and USC did not, meaning it took a late fourth quarter field goal to lock up an ugly 17-14 win. The result is less than impressive, and they will need to be better next week if they want to have the same result.
Now let’s take a look at the schedule of games next week, with UCLA and Utah enjoying the games from the couch this weekend.
We will get the easier matchups out of the way first. The only question in the Oregon-Cal matchup will be whether the Ducks can cover another astronomical spread. Oregon will have an inevitable slip up against a subpar team before either pulling away or faltering in the fourth quarter, but it won’t be this one. Oregon puts up another huge scoring effort, as they dominate Cal 55-17. We expect a similar result when Stanford travels to Washington State. Though the Cougars were able to knock off USC, Stanford is a much, much better football team. Business as usual for the Cardinal here, who should easily move to 4-0 with a win in the area of 38-14.
There will be two unbeatens in Spokane this week when Arizona travels to Washington to take on the Huskies. So far on the year, Arizona has gone 3-0 winning their games by a combined score of 131-26. However, those games were against Norther Arizona, UNLV, and UTSA. Meanwhile, Washington has dominated Boise State, grinded out a road win against Illinois, before blanking Idaho State last week. One resume is more impressive than the other. You see where I’m going here. Washington takes this one 33-20.
I also like Oregon State to edge out Colorado, due mostly to the fact that the Beavers will be at home. Neither team has played lights out so far this year, but Colorado has only played two games in the first month after a game postponement and a bye week last week. This could either be a shootout or a defensive struggle, and I’m going to lean towards the former. Beavers win 31-21.
Lastly, there is USC and Arizona State. Two years ago, #23 USC came into Tempe, and walked out with a 43-22 thumping at the hands of the Sun Devils. Unfortuantely for Trojan fans, I see a similar result here. I think USC can only beat half of the teams in the Pac-12, and this isn’t one of them. Add on the fact that ASU will be extra motivated after an embarrassing loss to Stanford, and I don’t like SC’s chance in the desert. ASU takes it 24-13.
What do you think will happen in the Pac-12 this week? Can Stanford contend with Oregon for the Pac-12 title? Let us know what you think in the comments!