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Pac-12 Week 10 Preview and Predictions

Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks

The Pac-12 is getting no respect from the Playoff Committee.

Oregon isn’t ranked in the top four and one-loss teams Arizona, Arizona State and Utah rank significantly down the list of one-loss teams (No. 12, No. 14 and No. 17 respectively).

With marquee showdowns for all four this weekend, that could soon change.

Week 10 Previews and Predictions:
ACC|Big 12|Big Ten|SEC

Pac-12 Week 10 Game Power Rankings

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1. Stanford (+7) at Oregon

7:30 p.m., FOX

Marcus Mariota has yet to beat Stanford and if he cannot do it this year, the Pac-12 could be left out of the inaugural playoff. Since Jake Fisher returned, the offense has been surging along at nearly 48.7 points and 537.3 yards per game in three wins. David Shaw’s defense has been electric all season and excellent in two wins over Mariota, holding Oregon to season lows in total offense each of the last two meetings. The weakness-on-weakness matchup, however, will be the more intriguing one. Stanford’s offense was solid last weekend but still lacks any playmakers other than Ty Montgomery. Meanwhile, the Ducks' defense hasn’t been much better, giving up at least 490 yards or 30 points in four of the last five games. It’s must-see TV when Mariota takes the field but Kevin Hogan will likely be the deciding factor.

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2. Utah (+5) at Arizona St

11 p.m., FS1

The JUCO Bowl has developed quickly into one of the more critical Pac-12 South showdowns, as both teams enter with just one loss and plenty of tiebreakers already in their pocket. While the playmakers in this game — Jaelen Strong, Devontae Booker, Kaelin Clay — hail from the junior college ranks, it’s the QBs that will be under the microscope. Travis Wilson might have cemented himself as the starter for Kyle Whittingham with his late-game heroics last weekend, but he will have to be efficient on the road like he was against Michigan to beat ASU. Not having star wideout Dres Anderson for rest of the year only makes it more difficult on whoever is under center for Utah. Todd Graham also has been forced to use multiple quarterbacks and done so effectively, but folks in Tempe are excited to have Taylor Kelly back for a reason. Like Wilson, he led his team to a late game-winning TD last weekend and should be back to form, as long as he has time to operate against one of the best defensive fronts in the nation.

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3. Arizona (+6.5) at UCLA

10:30 p.m., ESPN

All-American-caliber linebacker Scooby Wright versus Heisman-caliber quarterback Brett Hundley is as good as it gets in college football. Wright has been stuffing the stat sheet all season (78 tackles, 14.0 TFL, 8.0 sacks, 5 FF) and Hundley is one touchdown pass away from tying Cade McNown for the most in school history (68), but the bigger question comes on the other side of the ball. How will UCLA’s defense, one that is allowing more than 30 points per game, stop Rich Rodriguez' offense led by Anu Solomon? Behind a veteran offensive line with 139 combined starts, Solomon should have room to make plays against a defense that doesn’t pressure the quarterback — UCLA ranks last in the Pac-12 and 112th nationally in sacks — and doesn’t create turnovers (85th with 10 takeaways). If Solomon stays upright and Arizona protects the ball, UCLA will have to play extremely well on offense to simply hold serve at home.

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4. USC (-7) at Washington St

4:30 p.m., P12 Net

This was an ugly and sloppy Wazzu upset in The Coliseum last season and there isn’t much reason to think this year’s edition will be much different. Washington State is dead last in the league in turnover margin and these two are 10th and 12th respectively in Pac-12 play in penalty yards given up. The biggest difference between this year and last will be in the USC backfield. Cody Kessler has taken huge strides and is one of the more underrated players nationally and no one in the nation has rushed for more yards in conference play than Buck Allen (846). If good USC shows up, Connor Halliday and WSU could play perfect football and still lose easily. If wildly inconsistent USC shows up, Halliday has already proven he’s capable of knocking off the mighty Trojans.

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5. Cal (+3) at Oregon St

10:30 p.m., P12 Net

Against Cal, Oregon State has won two in a row, six of the last seven and three straight in Corvallis. But these two programs feel like they are heading in different directions. The Beavers can change that perception with a win over the Bears at home. Stopping Jared Goff is a good place to start, as the Cal signal-caller is fourth nationally with 2,842 yards, second with 26 TDs and has thrown just four interceptions all season. Oregon State has its own star in Sean Mannion but he’s been much more inconsistent, throwing just three touchdowns in his last five games combined. Oregon State is a team in desperate need of finding an identity after being held to 221 yards and 3.3 yards per play last weekend and falling for the third time in four weeks.

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6. Washington (-4) at Colorado

1 p.m., P12 Net

The Buffs have been close but have yet to break through in a Pac-12 game. If Washington isn’t careful (which it hasn’t been of late) then Colorado could easily pull the home upset. Mike MacIntyre’s bunch has lost three of its last four by five points or fewer and this weekend might be their best shot at a win. The Huskies were without Cyler Miles last weekend but he is supposed to start for UW this weekend. There is no excuse for the league’s worst scoring offense (18.5 per game in conference play) not to get rolling against the league’s second-worst scoring defense (45.8 ppg).

Pac-12 Predictions:

 

Braden Gall

Mitch Light

David Fox

Steven Lassan

Stan. (+7) at Ore.

Ore., 27-21

Ore., 31-17

Ore., 31-10

Ore., 31-24

Utah (+5) at ASU

ASU, 28-27

ASU, 28-14

ASU, 35-28

ASU, 30-20

Arizona (+6.5) at UCLA

Zona, 34-33

Zona, 27-20

Zona, 41-38

UCLA, 38-34

USC (-7) at WSU

USC, 34-20

USC, 34-20

USC, 31-21

USC, 38-30

Cal (+3) at OSU

Cal, 35-34

Cal, 36-27

Cal, 44-31

Cal, 34-31

Wash. (-4) at Colo.

Wash., 29-27

Wash., 23-10

Wash., 17-14

Wash., 34-27

Last Week:

5-1

6-0

6-0

5-1

YTD:

46-17

51-12

50-13

46-17