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Pac-12 Football: Week 8 Preview and Predictions

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

NCAA Football: Utah at California
California wide receiver #8 Demetris Robertson celebrates a touchdown
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon (2-4, 0-3) vs. California (3-3, 1-2) 7:30 p.m., Oct. 21, ESPN — ESPN Matchup Predictor: California 61.6%

The Ducks sit at dead last in the Pac-12 North, have lost four in a row, and to make things worse, they’ve lost their last two games by a combined 67 points. For nearly a decade, Oregon’s high-speed run-first offense was its specialty that brought the Ducks to two national championship games and three Rose Bowl’s in the past eight years. This season has been deemed a rebuilding year for the Ducks after dropping redshirt-senior quarterback Dakota Prukop and replacing him with true freshman Justin Herbert.

The Golden Bears have won and then lost three consecutive times this season and coming off a loss, they are poised to win another game. The Golden Bears have beaten the likes of then-No. 11 Texas and then-No. 18 Utah at home. California has not beaten Oregon in eight seasons, but senior quarterback Davis Webb and the Golden Bears should put on a show on Oregon’s defense that ranks last in the Pac-12.

California has a better, matured quarterback who will pick apart Oregon’s lackluster defense.

Final Prediction: California 48, Oregon 31

Oregon State (2-4, 1-2) vs. No. 5 Washington (6-0, 3-0) 3:30 p.m., Oct. 22, Pac-12 Network —- ESPN Matchup Predictor: Washington 98%

Washington stands as a 37 point favorite in this game, and it’s not hard to see why. The Huskies have smashed opponents this season by an average score of 35.3 points and are especially dominant at home.

Oregon State put up a fight against Utah last Saturday, but the Beavers are still trying to figure out their quarterback situation. Three quarterbacks played for Oregon State last week, and it will be tough to experiment players and positions this week against a deadly Washington defense.

The Huskies simply have too much talent. Washington wins big at home helping its College Football Playoff spot come closer to a reality.

Final Prediction: Washington 41, Oregon State 10

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington
#3 quarterback Jake Browning and the Washington Huskies
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

No. 19 Utah (6-1, 3-1) vs. UCLA (3-4, 1-3) 1:00 p.m., Oct. 22, FOX —- ESPN Matchup Predictor: UCLA 73.9 %

This is simple. If sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen starts, UCLA is a seven-point favorite (which they are now). If backup senior quarterback Mike Fafaul starts, the Bruins are highly endangered of dropping their third game in a row.

Utah’s defense is arguably the best in the conference averaging .71 forced turnovers per game, but its offense has looked mediocre as of late. Nineteen points pushed the Utes past Oregon State last week as junior quarterback Troy Williams totaled 40 yards passing leading an offense that turned the ball over twice. Utah will have to be twice as good offensively this week against UCLA to come away with a win.

Rosen’s health should dictate the outcome of this game. Either way, the Bruins are primed to enjoy a home win after two rough road losses.

Final Prediction: UCLA 23, Utah 21

Colorado (5-2, 3-1) vs. Stanford (4-2, 2-2) 12:30 p.m., Oct. 22, Pac-12 —- ESPN Matchup Predictor: Colorado 50.4%

Junior running back Christian McCaffrey “feels better” going into this weekend and might play. Whether he does or not, McCaffrey does not control Stanford entirely and definitely can’t change Colorado. The Buffaloes are playing the best football they’ve played all season.

Senior Sefo Liufau is back in command as quarterback after suffering an injury, but junior running back Phillip Lindsay has been Colorado’s most vital weapon. He averaged 8.4 yards per run last week against Arizona State, gaining 219 yards in 26 touches with three touchdowns. Colorado averages 210 more yards per game than the Cardinal and have the No. 1 defense in the Pac-12.

This one could be close at the half, but Colorado will pull away in the fourth quarter to win.

Final Prediction: Colorado 31, Stanford 24

NCAA Football: Colorado at Southern California
#23 running back Phillip Lindsay of the Colorado Buffaloes
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State (4-2, 3-0) vs. Arizona State (5-2, 2-2) 7:00 p.m., Oct. 22, Pac-12 —- ESPN Matchup Predictor: Washington State 66.1%

The Sun Devils are undefeated at home this season. ASU has beaten two teams who play very much like Washington State. California and Texas Tech both run pass-heavy offenses, and somehow ASU, who ranks dead last in the nation in pass defense, has remained unbeaten at home. Arizona State stands at a perfect 4-0 at home because its offense has battled a series of poor defenses. Washington State brings a legitimate defense with them into Sun Devil Stadium making this ASU’s toughest test at home yet.

The Sun Devils have struggled offensively as of late and offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey said ASU needs to run the football, considering it was the backbone during its 4-0 start, but the Sun Devils face Washington State’s rush defense that ranks 11th best in the nation and first-best in the Pac-12. Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Manny Wilkins will face deep pressure from the Cougars defensive line all night and prove if he can be an efficient playmaker despite battling an ankle injury.

The Cougars Air-Raid offense should score enough on ASU for its defense to hold the Sun Devils’ offense just enough for a win.

Final Prediction: Washington State 35, Arizona State 28