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Pac-12 Football: Week 12 Preview and Predictions

Six ranked Pac-12 teams play and two rivalry games take flight this weekend in Pac-12 football. 

NCAA Football: UCLA at Colorado
Ralphie the Buffalo and the Colorado football team run onto Folsom Field. 
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

No. 22 Washington State (8-2, 6-0) vs. No. 10 Colorado (8-2, 6-1) 1:30 p.m. FOX -- ESPN Matchup Predictor: Colorado 59.2%

The two most unlikely first-place teams from the north and south match up in Boulder, CO. The Cougars were predicted in the Pac-12 media poll to finish fourth in the Pac-12 North, while Colorado was selected to finish last in the Pac-12 South. Now, the two stand head-to-head in possibly the conference’s biggest game of the season.

Washington State has the better offense, while the Buffaloes hold the best defense in the Pac-12. Junior quarterback Luke Falk currently holds the second-most passing yards in the country (3,610), and he is arguably playing his best football. In his last four games, he has not let up an interception and thrown 17 touchdowns. Falk’s excellence can only be stopped by a few teams and Colorado serves as one. The Buffaloes only give up an average of 176.3 passing yards per game and let up an average of 9.2 points per game when at home.

Home dominance and defense will prevail in this monumental Buffaloes win.

Final Prediction: Colorado 31, Washington State 27

No. 13 USC (7-3, 6-2) vs. UCLA (4-6, 2-5) 8:30 p.m. ESPN -- ESPN Matchup Predictor: USC 63%

In the 79th matchup of these two cross-town rivals, UCLA is a 14-point underdog. But don’t count the Bruins out. UCLA hasn’t lost a game by more than 10 points this season and sure don’t want to lose at home against its arch-rival. A win would have to come with backup senior quarterback Mike Fafaul on senior night.

The healthy and triumphant USC Trojans are coming off a statement 26-13 victory over Washington last Saturday and jumped seven spots deeper in the rankings. Not only did the Trojans beat Washington, but they put up 400 total yards of offense and held the Huskies 35 points below their game average of 48.3. USC should be even more explosive against the Bruins while steaming on a six-game win streak.

This game will be closer than many expect.

Final Prediction: USC 28, UCLA 23

NCAA Football: Southern California at Arizona
#28 running back Aca’Cedric Ware of the USC Trojans carries the ball
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State (5-5, 2-5) vs. No. 6 Washington (9-1, 6-1) 5:30 p.m. FOX --- ESPN Matchup Predictor: Washington 94.4%

Last season, the Sun Devils marched their back from 17 points to win 27-17 at home over the then 4-6 Huskies. This time around, Washington is more experienced, they’re at home and have brought back junior wide receiver John Ross. Ross, who suffered a knee injury that ruled him completely out of 2015’s season, has been a key piece in the difference in seasons for the Huskies.

Sophomore quarterback Jake Browning was man-handled by the Sun Devil secondary last season. He threw for 405 yards and a touchdown, but his three interceptions cost the Huskies the game. Three INT’s is already more than half of what he’s thrown this season (five). Browning has not just improved from last season, he has become one of the best quarterback’s in the nation. His 87.6 quarterback rating is third-best in the country as he stands heavily as a Heisman candidate.

Final Prediction: Washington 41, Arizona State 23

No. 24 Stanford (7-5, 4-3) vs. California (4-6, 2-5) 3:30 p.m. PAC12 --- ESPN Matchup Predictor: Stanford 73.3%

The first ever matchup between these two Bay Area foes in 1891 was played in a 10,000-seat baseball stadium called the Haight Street Grounds that ended in a 14-10 Stanford victory. Now, 125 years later, the oldest western football rivalry takes place in Berkeley, CA in what should be another exciting contest.

The Golden Bears are 3-1 at home where they’ve won both their conference games. But Stanford has won their last three games by an average of 16.67 points and are a perfect 6-0 when junior running back Christian McCaffrey runs the ball for over 100 yards. Cal’s rushing defense that ranks at dead-last in the Pac-12 is in for a treat against Stanford’s run-first attack.

The Cardinal win this one for the seventh year straight.

Final prediction: Stanford 27, California 17

NCAA Football: Stanford at Oregon
#5 running back Christian McCaffrey of the Stanford Cardinal
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona (2-8, 0-7) vs. Oregon State (2-8, 1-6) 8:30 p.m. ESPN Matchup Predictor: Oregon State 63.4%

Finally, the two bottom feeders of the north and south collide in a game where one team must win. Both teams have played around with their quarterback options and struggled to ever find some consistency.

The Oregon State Beavers rely on the run. They average 178 yards per game in that category. Their defense is about a touchdown better than Arizona’s. While the Wildcats allow 38.3 points per game, the Beavers allow 32.5. The Beaver’s run-first offense will prevail to possibly get their first win since Oct. 8.

Final Prediction: Oregon State 35, Arizona 32

Oregon (3-7, 1-6) vs. No. 12 Utah (8-2, 5-2) 12:00 p.m. PAC12 --- ESPN Matchup Predictor: Utah 78.1%

The Oregon Ducks have no business spoiling the Utes’ Pac-12 title hopes at home on senior day. Or do they? The Ducks still have the No. 1 rush offense in the Pac-12 and average six more points and 60 more yards per game than the Utes. But Oregon’s defense ranks 126th of 128 teams in the nation.

Utah will celebrate their last home game in a dominate fashion.

Final Prediction: Utah 43, Oregon 28