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Pac-12 Week 2 Predictions

Royce Freeman

Royce Freeman

For the most part, Week 1 was a forgettable weekend of action for the Pac-12. Utah scored a good win over Michigan on Thursday night, but Stanford lost to Northwestern, Washington State had a bad loss to Portland State, Colorado lost to Hawaii and Arizona State was defeated by Texas A&M.

Luckily for the Pac-12, this Saturday has a few opportunities to rebound. Oregon takes on Michigan State in the biggest game for Week 2, Washington State heads to the East Coast for a winnable game against Rutgers, while USC, UCLA, Arizona State and Washington should win big in non-conference matchups.

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Athlon Sports offers its Pac-12 Week 2 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), David Fox (@DavidFox615), Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch) and Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

Pac-12 Week 2 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

1. Oregon at Michigan State

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ABC

David Fox:

Both defenses gave their fans reason to worry in matchups with directional schools — Oregon against Eastern Washington and Michigan State against Western Michigan. Michigan State over time has shown more reason for us to believe in the Spartans. New Ducks QB Vernon Adams had a nice debut, but Connor Cook is playing the part of a trusty veteran who has been in the system for four years.

Michigan State 31–21

Braden Gall:

Revenge, playoff implications, playing at home and a veteran quarterback gives Michigan State a slight edge against an Oregon team that allowed 549 yards in the opener to an FCS foe. Can Vernon Adams take the beating Michigan State's defense is sure to enforce? Connor Cook is the difference. Michigan State 37-30

Steven Lassan:

The best game of Week 2. Lots of intrigue here, as new Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams takes on his toughest opponent in Michigan State, while the Spartans have revenge on their mind after last year’s loss in Eugene. The Ducks’ secondary was torched by Eastern Washington last week, and that’s a big concern with Connor Cook up next.

Michigan State 38-30

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Mitch Light:

It was only one game, but Oregon has to be concerned about a defense that gave up 491 yards (and 6.4 per play) in a 61–42 win over Eastern Washington. 

Michigan State 37-33

2. Utah State at Utah

Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: ESPN2

David Fox:

Utah has won 13 of the last 14, and Utah State had enough trouble putting away Southern Utah last week.

Utah 24–7

Braden Gall:

Chuckie Keeton vs. that Utah defense should be fun to watch. Hopefully, he survives. Utah is too strong at the point of attack. Utah 23-17

Steven Lassan:

Week 1 went significantly different for these two teams. Utah State struggled to get by Southern Utah, while Utah picked up a solid win over Michigan. The Aggies need a big performance from quarterback Chuckie Keeton and his offensive line against a solid Utes’ defense.

Utah 27-17

Mitch Light:

Utah State has made impressive strides in recent years but has lost 13 of its last 14 to Utah, including seven straight in Salt Lake City. 

Utah 27-24

3. Oregon State at Michigan

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: ABC

David Fox:

The loss to Utah revealed Michigan still has a host of problems on offense. Oregon State is in even deeper trouble than Michigan.

Michigan 28-14

Braden Gall:

The defense was excellent and the offense identified a few nice players in Jake Butt, Amara Darboh and De'Veon Smith but the rest of the Michigan offense needs to develop. Oregon State was solid in its debut but Weber State isn't The Big House. Michigan wins in its home opener. Michigan 24-10

Steven Lassan:

A matchup between two of the best head coach hires for 2015. Jim Harbaugh’s first home game should be a relatively easy win for the Wolverines. Oregon State freshman quarterback Seth Collins is a dynamic playmaker, but the Beavers are in rebuild mode under coach Gary Andersen.

Michigan 31-10

Mitch Light:

Michigan will reward the home folks with the first win of the Jim Harbaugh era. Oregon State isn’t overly talented, but freshman Seth Collins was impressive in his debut (152 yards rushing, 92 yards passing with two TDs). 

Michigan 28-13

4. Washington State at Rutgers

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

David Fox:

Rutgers is a different team with the pass-catch tandem of Chris Laviano and Leonte Carroo. Not necessarily a good team, but a different one.

Rutgers 35–28

Braden Gall:

One team lost as a 31-point favorite to an FCS school and the other's athletic department is an episode of Law and Order. Take the Knights at home. Rutgers 35-31

Steven Lassan:

Both teams are dealing with some turmoil, albeit for two different reasons. Rutgers has an ongoing investigation about coach Kyle Flood, and four defensive backs were kicked off the team last week. Washington State is reeling after last Saturday’s surprise defeat against Portland State. This one should see its share of fireworks between the two offenses.

Washington State 38-34

Mitch Light:
Washington State lost at home, 24–17, to FCS foe Portland State in Week 1. Not a good start for Mike Leach. Things aren’t going great at Rutgers, either, but at least the Scarlet Knights won their first game. 

Rutgers 33-30

5. UMass at Colorado

Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

David Fox:

UMass didn’t play in Week 1. Colorado probably wishes it hadn’t. Now the Buffs face another solid quarterback and passing game.

Colorado 28–24

Braden Gall:

Nothing will be easy for the Buffaloes but this is one of few games they should win this fall. Colorado 38-30

Steven Lassan:

Upset alert? The Minutemen nearly defeated the Buffaloes last season and are a better overall team in 2015. Expect a close one, but Colorado should find a way to erase last week’s disappointment against Hawaii to edge UMass.

Colorado 34-31

Mitch Light:
Colorado has returned to the mainland after a tough loss at Hawaii on Thursday night. UMass has yet to play. I smell upset. 

UMass 34-30

6. San Diego State at California

Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

David Fox:

Jared Goff faces a tricky Rocky Long defense. An interesting storyline, but Cal should win.

Cal 38–24

Braden Gall:

This is one of the games against a quality mid-major program that Cal has to win easily if it wants to prove it belongs in the national conversation again. Jared Goff is awesome and he needs to eliminate the Aztecs quickly to make a statement. Cal 48-20

Steven Lassan:

San Diego State’s defense is one of the best from the Group of 5 ranks, but I’m not sure the Aztecs will be able to generate enough offense outside of running back Donnel Pumphrey to win this one.

California 38-17

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Mitch Light:
California leads the nation in passing (471 yards) after one week of action. 

California 37-21

7. Arizona at Nevada

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS Sports Network

David Fox:

Arizona’s defense was lost once Scooby Wright went down last week against UTSA. The Wildcats will need to learn to live without him for the next few weeks.

Arizona 35–24

Braden Gall:

The Wildcats gave up a lot of yards and points in the opener to UTSA and Nevada hasn't had issues scoring historically. Give me Arizona but RichRod's bunch better be focused. Arizona 38-28

Steven Lassan:

The Wolf Pack defeated the last Pac-12 opponent (Washington State) to visit Reno. Going on the road to face a Group of 5 opponent always has the potential to be a trap game, but the Wildcats – even with linebacker Scooby Wright sidelined – won’t be upset.

Arizona 38-24

Mitch Light:

Arizona gave up 525 yards of total offense to a UTSA team that returned zero starters. That could be an issue going forward. 

Arizona 38-33

8. UCF at Stanford

Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

David Fox:

Two teams are trying to bounce back from deflating season-opening losses. Stanford’s defense will keep the Cardinal ahead in this game. Will the defense have any life to it?

Stanford 21–14

Braden Gall:

Both teams were upset in Week 1 and Stanford needs to prove its performance was just a fluky early kickoff, opening weekend walk through. Otherwise, this team is in trouble. Kevin Hogan needs to play with some pride here. Stanford 27-3

Steven Lassan:

After Week 1 losses, there’s urgency on both sidelines for this one. Points will be at a premium between these two teams, as Stanford and UCF combined for just 20 points last week. The Cardinal shows some life on offense, while the defense holds the Knights in check.

Stanford 31-13

Mitch Light:

Stanford must regroup after its surprisingly lethargic performance at Northwestern. The Cardinal looked good on their first drive of the day — which ended in a field goal — but struggled to move the ball the rest of the day, ending with 240 total yards. 

Stanford 21-13

9. UCLA at UNLV

Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS Sports Network

David Fox:

UCLA’s quarterback was in high school this time last year. So was UNLV’s head coach. Other than that, the two teams don’t have a ton of similarities.

UCLA 42–20

Braden Gall:

What does the D-Line look like without Eddie Vanderdoes and how quickly can this O-Line come together? UCLA 40-17

Steven Lassan:

UCLA is the second Pac-12 team to hit the road against a Group of 5 opponent on Saturday. UNLV showed improvement in coach Tony Sanchez’s debut last week, but the Bruins have too much firepower on offense and talent on defense to slip in Las Vegas. How will quarterback Josh Rosen follow his impressive debut against Virginia?

UCLA 45-13

Mitch Light:

UCLA freshman Josh Rosen was one of the breakout stars of the opening weekend. UNLV lost its opener, 38–30 at Northern Illinois, but the Rebels look to be much improved under first-year coach Tony Sanchez. 

UCLA 37-20

10. Idaho at USC

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

David Fox:

USC may like to brag that it doesn’t play FCS teams. The Trojans play Idaho instead.

USC 52–7

Braden Gall:

What? USC 55-10

Steven Lassan:

This one will be ugly. USC was sharp in its opener and won’t have much trouble with the Vandals.

USC 55-10

Mitch Light:

USC was impressive in its 55–6 win over Arkansas State, but the Trojans did give up 401 yards of offense. Not a big deal in such a decisive win, but it’s something to watch. 

USC 51-0

11. Cal Poly at Arizona State

Kickoff: 11 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

David Fox:

Arizona State goes from facing the Texas A&M Air Raid to the Cal Poly triple option. That’s probably not fun.

Arizona State 35–17

Braden Gall:

The Sun Devils need an easy win after that performance in Houston last weekend. Arizona State 41-17

Steven Lassan:

The Sun Devils take some frustration out on Cal Poly after last week’s loss to Texas A&M.

Arizona State 48-17

Mitch Light:

It’s a long season, but Arizona State was a bit underwhelming in its loss to Texas A&M in Houston. 

Arizona State 43-13

12. Sacramento State at Washington

Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

David Fox:

Freshman quarterback Jake Browning has a chance to get back into a groove against an FCS team.

Washington 27–10

Braden Gall:

Any signs of life on offense would be a positive step in the right direction for Chris Petersen's bunch. One of few easy wins for the Huskies this year. Washington 31-10

Steven Lassan:

True freshman quarterback Jake Browning is going to be a good one for coach Chris Petersen. The Huskies break into the win column this week.

Washington 40-10

Mitch Light:

Sacramento State was outgained by 254 yards in a 41–20 loss to Eastern Oregon last week. Washington will break through and pick up win No. 1. 

Washington 41-10