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Pac-12 Football: Week 7 Preview and Predictions

Week take you through week seven in Pac-12 football with predictions for how the conference will fare.

Oregon v Washington State
#9 Gabe Marks of the Washington State Cougars
Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

UCLA Bruins (3-3, 1-2) vs. Washington State Cougars (3-2, 2-0) 7:30 p.m. ESPN --- ESPN Matchup Predictor: Washington State 58.8%

It will be a cold and rainy night in Pullman, Wash., and without sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen, the UCLA Bruins may be in deep trouble. Rosen was hurt last week against Arizona State and his replacement, senior Mike Fafaul, threw two interceptions in 11 pass attempts against the Sun Devils. Rosen is still uncertain whether he will play in this game or not.

Meanwhile, Washington State has completely turned its season around. Without a loss in Pac-12 play and coming off a 42-16 road victory over Stanford, the Cougars look like a seriously dangerous opponent. Junior quarterback Luke Falk is one of the most elite QB’s in the nation with 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions with a 74.1 percent completion rate. On the flipside, the Cougars defensive line will wreak havoc to either UCLA quarterback. Washington State had four sacks and five tackles for loss against the Cardinal last weekend.

If UCLA is at full strength this one could be close, but a healthy Washington State team will stick it to the Bruins in a high-scoring affair.

Final Prediction: Washington State 35, UCLA 17

USC Trojans (3-3, 2-2) vs. Arizona Wildcats (2-4, 0-3) 12:30 p.m. MT FOX --- ESPN Machup Predictor: USC 65.3%

Though the Trojans come into this game as a 10-point favorite, they should ask No. 5 Washington how hard it is to win a game in Tucson, Ariz. The Huskies were neck-and-neck with the Wildcats all game until they won in overtime 35-28.

Redshirt-freshman Sam Darnold has saved USC’s season; he is 2-1 as the starter, but the Trojan defense has been among the best in the Pac-12 recently. USC has given up no more than two touchdowns in their two past games. They held Colorado to 17 points after the Buffaloes had averaged 35 points per game prior to playing the Trojans.

The Wildcats, who are suffering from a load of injuries, may not have the offensive strength to get by USC.

Final Prediction: USC 24, Arizona 20

Colorado v USC
#14 Sam Darnold of the USC Trojans
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Stanford Cardinal (3-2, 2-1) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-4) 4:30 p.m. MT NBC --- ESPN Matchup Predictor: Notre Dame 52.2%

The last time two unranked teams matched up in this game was in 2009, when the iPhone 3Gs was Apple’s newest product. Both teams, desperate for a win, are meeting for the 17th time in South Bend in a series that Notre Dame leads 14-2 at home.

The Fighting Irish are still searching for a true identity this season after starting the year as a top-10 squad and now in jeopardy of even being bowl eligible. The Cardinal at least hold a winning record and have two quality wins against USC and UCLA. Junior running back Christian McCaffrey is questionable for this Saturday, but whether he plays or not, Notre Dame has given up an average of 181 yards per game rushing. The key to this game for the Cardinal is to take advantage on the ground.

This one will not be pretty, but Stanford should muscle out a win on the road in South Bend.

Final Prediction: Stanford 27, Notre Dame 23

Arizona State Sun Devils (5-1, 2-1) vs. Colorado Buffaloes (4-2, 2-1) 5:00 p.m. MT PAC12 --- ESPN Matchup Predictor: Colorado 76.2%

The return of redshirt-sophomore quarterback Manny Wilkins completely changes the dynamic of this game as he is expected to play this Saturday. His ability to run the ball and pass efficiently allows for the high-powered Sun Devil offense to play to its full capacity.

Colorado has two great quarterbacks. Redshirt-freshman Steven Montez is expected to start, and he will be facing ASU’s pass defense that still ranks dead last in the country. UCLA had 444 yards in the air against the Sun Devils last week and still managed to lose because the Bruins rushed for minus-one yards. The Sun Devil rush defense that ranks at the 12th best in the nation will have to come up clutch to hold the Buffs from outscoring them.

ASU will be in full force with Wilkins in command leading the offensive shootout. The Sun Devils surprise the Buffaloes on the road.

Final Prediction: Arizona State 37, Colorado 34

Texas Tech v Arizona State
#5 Manny Wilkins of the Arizona State Sun Devils hurdles a defender
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

No. 21 Utah Utes (5-1, 2-1) vs. Oregon State Beavers (2-3, 1-1) 1:00 p.m. PAC12 --- ESPN Matchup Predictor: Utah 77.2%

The Beavers had a big home win last week against California and dodged a last-place spot in the Pac-12 North as it was awarded to in-state rival Oregon. Utah manipulated a convincing home win against Arizona last week to maintain tied first-place spot in the Pac-12 South.

The Utes prides themselves on their defense which ranks fourth-best in the Pac-12 and are third-best against stopping the run, which happens to be Oregon State’s specialty. The Utes have only allowed five rushing touchdowns which is the lowest in the conference and just 119 rushing yards per game. The Beavers average 206.2 rushing yards per game and will face their toughest defensive opponent of the season yet this Saturday at home.

The Beavers may jump out to an early lead, but ultimately the better team will win this game.

Final Prediction: Utah 31, Oregon State 23