Most of the contenders are resting up this weekend out West. Last place (that’s right) Stanford is on a bye. USC is licking its wounds. And Arizona State and UCLA are tending to injured stars under center.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to watch in the Pac-12. Oregon, Washington State, Arizona and Cal will open up conference play while Utah, Oregon State, Washington and Colorado will wrap up non-conference play.
Week 4 Previews and Predictions:
ACC| Big 12|Big Ten|SEC
Pac-12 Week 4 Game Power Rankings
1. Oregon (-24) at Washington St
10:30 p.m., ESPN
It might not be the closest game in the Pac-12 this week but it should be the most entertaining. These two combined for 1,278 total yards of offense, 100 points scored, 67 first downs and eight turnovers while Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday set an NCAA record with 89 pass attempts (much to Nick Aliotti’s chagrin) in last year’s meeting in Eugene. With Halliday and Marcus Mariota both back and humming on offense right now — the duo averages a combined 792.4 yards per game — fans on both sides should expect big-time fireworks. Even if the game gets out of hand in the second frame.
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2. Utah (+5) at Michigan
3:30 p.m., ABC
No one in Ann Arbor or Salt Lake City will forget what happened in The Big House in 2008 when Utah came to town. Brian Johnson and the Utes knocked off Michigan 25-23 behind a defensive effort that held the Wolverines to just 203 yards of offense. The Utes never lost that year while Michigan posted its worst season in program history (3-9). While Utah isn’t as talented or deep as it was then, Travis Wilson has led a resurgent Utes offense that is churning out 7.0 yards per play and 557.5 yards per game. Michigan bounced back last week with 34 points and 460 yards (against Miami-OHIO) after being totally embarrassed by Notre Dame. Expect something in between this week from the Wolverines' offense-in-progress.
3. Cal (+9) at Arizona
10 p.m., P12 Net
After another perfect non-conference record for Rich Rodriguez — he’s 11-0 since arriving in Tucson — and a very positive start for Cal that has provided more wins in two games than it did in all of 2013, the Bears and Wildcats will get Pac-12 play started. In what should be an entertaining offensive affair, quarterbacks Anu Solomon and Jared Goff look to match statistics on Saturday night. Solomon is second in the Pac-12 with 351.7 yards of total offense per game in just first three career games while Goff has completed 67.9 percent of his passes with only one interception in two wins for Cal. Both defenses rank in the top half of the Pac-12 but that is due in large part to the level of competition each has faced. This should be the first real defensive test for both.
4. San Diego St (+10) at Oregon St
10:30 p.m., FS1
The Aztecs have had two weeks to think about how they choked away a win at North Carolina. So this team is clearly capable of competing with Big 5 teams and that should have Oregon State on edge (who also has had two weeks to prepare). Especially, considering how the Beavers struggled to put away Portland State and Hawaii thus far in 2014. Sean Mannion was over 300 yards passing in each game and should be able to take advantage of a San Diego State defense that gave up plenty of big plays to the Tar Heels in the second half two weeks ago. Offensive balance will be key as is the case for all of Mike Riley’s good teams. Terron Ward and Storm Woods have each posted a 100-yard game on the ground and if both can get rolling along with Mannion, the Beavers should stay unbeaten.
5. Hawaii (+7.5) at Colorado
2 p.m., P12 Net
The Warriors will be happy to say goodbye to the Pac-12 as they will be facing their third such opponent in four weeks. Narrow losses on the Islands to Washington and Oregon State by a combined nine points should have Colorado focused, but this will be Hawaii’s first trip to the Mainland. Despite losing in its first game at Folsom Field last week to Arizona State, Colorado has increased its offensive production — both in yards per game and per play — in each of its first three games. The Warriors would be a sneaky outright upset pick if this game was in Honolulu but since this game is coming at home, Mike MacIntyre knows this is a must-win situation.
6. Georgia St (+35) at Washington
6 p.m., P12 Net
The Huskies played easily their most complete game last weekend in the blowout win over Illinois. Shaq Thompson is starting to get Heisman buzz and the offense has churned out 1,000 yards in two games with Cyler Miles under center. Georgia State should merely serve as a tune-up for a visit from Stanford in Week 5.
Off: Stanford, UCLA, Arizona State, USC
Oregon (-24) at Wazzu
Utah (+5) at Michigan
Cal (+9) at Arizona
S. Diego St (+10) at Ore. St
Hawaii (+7.5) at Colo.
Ga. St (+35) at Wash.