September 8, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley (17) drops back to pass against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
Earlier today, we published our weekly in-depth preview of the important Arizona State battle with Utah, as each team opens their conference schedule.
Now, let's take a look at the other Pac-12 action of the weekend.
Oregon State at No. 19 UCLA
It's a quirk of fate, weather and scheduling that the Beavers enter Week 4 with just a single game under their belt, but that one was a doozy. They stunned then-No.13 Wisconsin 10-7 in an ugly game in which the OSU defense was extremely impressive, holding Montee Ball to just 61 yards. Sean Mannion also played well, and the strong armed sophomore continues to climb the ranks of the Pac-12's quarterbacks.
That Beaver defense will get a very tough challenge from UCLA's offense, led by former ASU offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. With Heisman-contending running back Johnathan Franklin leading the nation in rushing and quarterback Brett Hundley making plays in the air and on the ground, the Bruins have the nation's second-ranked offense. UCLA is on too much of a roll right now for the Beavers to handle.
Prediction: UCLA 38 Oregon State 21
Colorado at Washington State
Colorado sucks. Bad. Not a whole lot to say beyond that, to be frank. They rank outside the top 100 nationally in every key offensive and defensive statistical category. But hey, they rank 21st in punting!
The Mike Leach era at Washington State has been somewhat of a disappointment. They were smoked in the opener by BYU and had closer-than-they-should-have-been wins over Eastern Washington and UNLV. The passing game has yet to get on track under Jeff Tuel or Connor Halliday, and the defense is pretty bad. However, that's still good enough against Colorado.
Prediction: Washington State 42 Colorado 7
Cal at No. 13 USC
The Bears come into this game after a hard fought and disappointing loss at Ohio State last week. Their offense has been good, led by a surprisingly effective Zach Maynard at quarterback, the always Keenan Allen and a tough ground game. However, the usually stout defense has crumbled, and has been especially vulnerable to the pass.
That doesn't bode well against a pissed off USC team that is coming off a stunning loss to Stanford. That Cal pass defense has no answer for Matt Barkley, Marqise Lee and Robert Woods. In the Coliseum, this has statement game written all over it.
Prediction: USC 56 Cal 24
No. 22 Arizona at No. 3 Oregon
It hurts to say it, but Arizona has been impressive this season. They shook off an overtime win over Toldeo to stun Oklahoma State and leap into the rankings. Leading the way has been quarterback Matt Scott (seven touchdowns, one interception) and a dynamic running game led by Ka'Deem Carey (344 yards, five touchdowns). Currently, the Wildcats have the nation's fourth ranked offense.
But they have a huge challenge this week in Eugene. They will take on the still-elite Oregon Ducks, who are no slouches when it comes to offense. Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas are about as lethal a 1-2 punch as their is in the game, and new quarterback Marcus Mariota has done well in taking over the job.
This game is going to be a track meet, but Oregon is just too good to be beat at home.
Prediction: Oregon: 56 Arizona 38