We’ve hit week seven in the Pac-12.
There’s six games on the slate this weekend, including
what appears to be the national game of the week in
Arizona State’s visit to Eugene to take on Oregon.
Here’s a quick preview of what to watch for this week in
the Conference of Champions.
The Game of the Week
#18 Arizona State (5-1, 3-0) at #9 Oregon (4-1, 2-
0) – Saturday at Autzen Stadium – Eugene, OR –
It’s been a while since the Sun Devils beat the Ducks–
seven years in fact. In their six consecutive losses to
the Ducks, ASU has yielded an average of 42.3 points and
466 yards. And they’ve been careless with the football,
averaging nearly 3 turnovers per game (they coughed it up
seven times in last year’s loss in Tempe.
LaMichael James won’t play on Saturday (at least if Darron
Thomas’ Twitter feed is to be believed), but the Sun
Devils’ defense will still have to deal with Kenjon Barner
(6.2 ypc), De’Anthony Thomas (7.6 ypc) and Tra Carson (5.6
ypc). If there’s hope for the Devils, it’s that the Oregon
defense is human–they rank 9th in the conference in yards
allowed. The bad news is, they don’t allow a lot of
points. The Ducks give up only 22.6 points per game.
Oregon 37…Arizona State 24
The rest of the slate…
USC (4-1, 2-1) vs. California (3-2, 0-2)- Thursday
at AT&T Park – San Francisco, CA – Two Thursday
nights in a row for the Golden Bears? They’re becoming
college football’s version of “Must See TV”–or maybe not.
The Bears actually led Oregon at halftime of last week’s
Thursday night game before getting outscored 29-0 after
halftime, forcing many viewers to seek out the latest
episode of “Whitney”. The Bears come in a desperate
football team as an 0-3 conference mark would throw the
last bit of dirt on their coffin in the Pac-12 North race.
USC is well-rested after beating Arizona 48-41 two weeks
ago. Look for the Trojans to win their 8th straight over
USC 34…California 20
Utah (2-3, 0-3) at Pittsburgh (3-3) – Saturday at
Heinz Field – Pittsburgh, PA – Hey look everyone,
it’s a rematch of the 2005 Fiesta Bowl! OK, not really.
But it will be tough for the Utes to repeat their
dominance over the Panthers they enjoyed in Tempe six
years ago. In fact, it’ll be tough for them to win at
all. Pittsburgh boasts tailback Ray Graham, the nation’s
leading rusher in terms of yardage (899) and Utah’s run
defense has shown cracks against USC and Washington this
season. Offensively, Jon Hays played well early in his
first major college start last week in a loss to Arizona
State, but when things started going south, the wheels
came off in a hurry. Utah turned the ball over on three
consecutive possessions in a pivotal stretch of the 2nd
half, and has committed ten turnovers in back-to-back
Pittsburgh 24…Utah 17
Colorado (1-5, 0-2) at Washington (4-1, 2-0) –
Saturday at Husky Stadium – Seattle, WA –
Colorado playing away from home? The analysis should stop
right there. The Buffs have lost 20 in a row on the road.
And Washington is a good football team, led by quarterback
Keith Price, whom Rivals.com named the Pac-12 Midseason
Player of the Year, beating out two guys named Luck and
James for the honor. Washington cruises.
Washington 44…Colorado 14
BYU (4-2) at Oregon State (1-4, 1-2) – Saturday at
Reser Stadium – Corvallis, OR – Oregon State
finally got their first victory of 2011 last Saturday, a
feat apparently believed to be so impossible, the team
they beat, the Arizona Wildcats, fired their coach on
Monday. Can the Beavers keep it up? Probably not.
Although redshirt freshman quarter Sean Mannion is looking
more and more comfortable taking snaps. And the Beavs may
actually get RB Malcolm Agnew back from injury this week
(although we’ve thought that for the last three weeks).
BYU has won three straight after getting embarrassed by
Utah last month. The resurgence has been led by
quarterback Riley Nelson, who has stepped in for Jake
Heaps and thrown for 5 tds in the last two games.
BYU 31…Oregon State 27
#7 Stanford (5-0, 3-0) at Washington State (3-2,
1-1) – Saturday at Martin Stadium – Pullman, WA –
The Cardinal head to the Palouse with the longest winning
streak in the nation (13 games ) in tact. Andrew Luck and
company just do what they do, run the football, throw to
the tight ends, play solid defense and win football games.
Washington State is one of the most improved teams in the
country and may have quarterback Jeff Tuel back in the
fold. Not that they need him. Marshall Lobbestael has
been terrific in relief–in fact he’s third in the
conference in passing yards per game and 4th in passing
efficiency. The Cougs will hang early, but ultimately run
out of gas against a superior football team.
Stanford 45…Washington State 16