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PAC-12 Football: Week 2 Preview and Predictions

We take you through Week 2 of Pac-12 football with predictions for how the conference will fare

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Washington
The Washington Huskies have jumped up to #8 in the week 2 Top 25 AP Poll
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

COIN TOSS

BYU (1-0) vs. Utah (1-0) 4:30 p.m. MT Sept. 10 FOX—ESPN Matchup Predictor: Utah 57.7%

In the 87th competition of the Holy War, both Utah and BYU look solid and are out to compete. Though the Utes are 5-0 against the Cougars since 2010, the last three match ups have been decided by a touchdown or less. The two quarterbacks featured in this game are very different, but could both be equally effective and ultimately decide who wins this game.

Taysom Hill of BYU is a hybrid quarterback since he is known to make big plays with his feet and in the air. Hill threw for 202 yards with a touchdown along with 37 yards on the run, but the whole team had a mediocre game offensively as they barely nipped the Wildcats 18-16 on a game-winning field goal. The brightest spot for the offense though was the run game by senior Jamaal Williams who ran for 162 yards on 29 attempts.

Troy Williams of Utah is also a dual threat quarterback, but he stayed in the pocket for most of the game against Southern Utah and got good results. The junior QB threw for 272 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Utes leading rusher, junior Troy McCormick only ran for 55 yards last week, so be ready for a big game in the air.

This will be a close one, but with Utah owning home-field advantage, the Utes will just get by the Cougars.

Utah 27 BYU 23

Southern Utah v Utah
Quarterback #3 Troy Williams of the Utah Utes
Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

GAMES TO WATCH

Texas Tech (1-0) vs. Arizona State (1-0) 7:00 p.m. MT Sept. 10 MT FS1—ESPN Matchup Predictor: Texas Tech 51.1%

These might be the two most bipolar strategized teams to matchup this weekend. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Manny Wilkins and the Sun Devils who rely much on the run, go up against junior quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Red Raiders who rely on an Air Raid offense.

Wilkins along with junior running backs Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage combined for 223 yards on the ground last week and scored three of ASU’s five touchdowns. In fact, all five of ASU’s touchdowns were scored on the run. The Sun Devils will remain with a run-friendly approach against a depleted Texas Tech defensive line that lost four seniors after last season.

Mahomes and the Red Raiders will pass the ball, pass it some more, and then pass it again. With the success they had against Stephen F. Austin last week and a Sun Devil secondary that struggled all of last season, passing is the game plan for TTU.

Last week, Mahomes had 483 yards in only two and a half quarters through the game and was taken out early to rest his arm for another big performance against ASU. Whether senior linebacker Laiu Moeakiola is healthy for this game or not, the Sun Devils still gave up 369 yards against NAU's sophomore quarterback Case Cookus. This one will be high scoring, but not in the Devils' favor.

Final Prediction: Texas Tech 38 Arizona State 27

California (1-0) vs. San Diego State (1-0) 7:30 p.m. MT Sept. 10 CBSSN—ESPN Matchup Predictor: California 52.8%

The no-longer jet lagged California Golden Bears took a two week break from Saturday football after outscoring Hawaii in Sydney, 51-31 on Aug. 27. SDSU is coming off a shutout victory against the University of New Hampshire 31-0.

Cal, and most especially its quarterback Davis Webb, is in for his first test of the season against an Aztec football team that has been undefeated since Sept. 26, 2015. The Bears had a great offensive showing in their first game, but gave up 31 points to Hawaii who scored three points their next game to Michigan and averaged 17.6 points per game last season.

It will be a tough task for Cal to stop senior running back Donnel Pumphrey and the rest of the red hot Aztecs at home.

Final Prediction: San Diego State 32 California 28

New Hampshire v San Diego State
The San Diego State Aztecs take the field
Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images

UPSET ALERT

Washington State (0-1) vs. Boise State (1-0) 7:15p.m MT Sept. 10 ESPN2—ESPN Matchup Predictor: Boise State 83%

Just about everyone has ruled Washington State out of another nine win season after its 45-42 loss to Eastern Washington last Saturday. Remember, last season Wazzu lost to Portland State by a touchdown and then won eight straight games against non-ranked opponents and seven of the eight were Power Five conference teams.

Just as this game is so important for coach Mike Leach and WSU not to drop to 0-2, it is incredibly important for Boise State to win because they have two games all season against power five conference teams. This game and then next week vs. Oregon State.

Boise State is legit, and hasn't lost a home opener since 2001, but when they did lose, they fell to Washington State. The Broncos have a sophomore quarterback in Brett Rypien who already has a 3,353 yard 20 touchdown season under his belt (2015) and a junior running back in Jeremy McNichols who had an 1,337 yard rush season with 20 TD's as well in 2015.

BSU has experience and so do the Cougars. Junior Luke Falk is not going to disappoint on the road this Saturday just as he shined on the road last year beating Oregon and then #19 UCLA.

Falk will take this game over as he throws for nearly 500 yards with around 5 touchdowns. There will be too much raw offense in this game to comprehend and Wazzu will make a huge statement with a demanding win on the road.

Final Prediction: Washington State 48 Boise State 42

LAND SLIDE VICTORIES

USC (0-1) vs. Utah State (1-0) 11:00 a.m. MT Sept. 10 PAC12—ESPN Matchup Predictor: USC 83.8%

The Trojans look to rebound off an embarrassing loss in Dallas. USC and its offense that was nowhere to be found last week against the Crimson Tide, is just waiting to erupt this Saturday in the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Redshirt junior quarterback Max Browne will shine in his first home start in LA with wide receivers junior JuJu Smith and senior Darreus Rogers there to help him. The SC running game that was simply ineffective against Alabama will be revived by sophomore Ronald Jones II who still averaged 6.6 yards in seven carries against the Tide. He should be an X-factor against Utah State.

The Aggies are coming off a 45-6 win against Weber State last weekend that will fuel their confidence to try to steal a victory against the Trojans. USU ran for a total of 428 yards against the wildcats and will most likely stay with the same run-first approach against a much more talented USC defense. This game could be close at the half, but a hungry USC football team will come out strong in the Coliseum.

Final Prediction: USC 43 Utah State 21

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Southern California
The Los Angeles Coliseum
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Idaho (1-0) vs. #8 Washington (1-0) 2:00 p.m. MT Sept. 10 PAC12—ESPN Matchup Predictor: Washington 98.6%

The Huskies are now a top-10 football team and are in position to be a serious contender for either a College Football Playoff appearance or a possible Rose Bowl birth. The Dawgs offense sparked early last week against Rutgers putting up 34 points at the end of the first half. The defense held Rutgers without a touchdown until there were just six minutes left in the game.

UW sophomore quarterback Jake Browning is going to heave the ball all game to his lightning fast junior wide receiver John Ross. Ross caught five balls last game for two touchdowns along with a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that blew Husky Stadium off it's feet.

The Idaho Vandals, own a home win this season against FCS opponent Montana State 20-17. Interestingly, the Vandals belong to the Sun Belt Conference where after playing Washington, Washington State and UNLV, they will travel down to the South to play some games they realistically can compete in. The Huskies win big at home once again.

Final Prediction: Washington 45 Idaho 7

Idaho State (1-0) vs. Colorado (1-0) 2:30 p.m. MT Sept. 10—ESPN Matchup Predictor: Colorado 99.2%

Colorado shined under the lights at Mile High Stadium last week stomping Colorado State 44-7. Head coach Mike MacIntyre has put together something special in Boulder, Colo. in his fourth season with the Buffs. The offense looked fantastic last week led by senior quarterbac Sefo Liufau .

Liufau threw for 318 yards along with a touchdown and ran for 66 yards. The CU run game was on point last week racking up 260 total yards as junior running back Phillip Linsay carried the ball for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

Playing a home game against Idaho State might actually hurt the Buffaloes if anything. The Bengals are arguably one of the FCS's worst as they went 2-9 last season and ended the year tied for last in the Big Sky conference. Colorado should run up the numbers this weekend once again, but don't want to get too confident before going on the road to play #5 Michigan and #24 Oregon in the following weeks.

Final Prediction: Colorado 66 Idaho State 3

USC v Colorado
Colorado Football Head Coach Mike MacIntyre
Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Virginia (0-1) vs. #24 Oregon (1-0) 7:30 p.m. MT Sept. 10 ESPN—ESPN Matchup Predictor: Oregon 90.1%

Oregon strolled past UC Davis last week offensively, but defense was a concern as the Ducks gave up four touchdowns to the Aggies. If UO were to play a PAC-12 opponent this week people would raise eyebrows, but they have another free pass against the Cavaliers who just lost their home opener to FCS opponent Richmond 37-20. Senior quarterback Dakota Prukop and junior running back Royce Freeman will dance all over Virginia in Auzten Stadium. Look for improvement from the Ducks on the defense.

Oregon 52 Virginia 10

Grambling State (1-0) vs. Arizona (0-1) 7:45 p.m. MT Sept. 10 PAC12—ESPN Matchup Predictor: Arizona 99%

The Wildcats will put on a show in Tuscon following an 18-16 loss against BYU where neither team could get the offense rolling. U of A is hungry to score some points and a home game against Grambling State is the perfect solution to do so.

Junior quarterback Anu Soloman is questionable for the game following an ankle injury this week, which might make room for sophomore Brandon Dawkins to take over the quarterback position that he fought for the entire offseason. The Wildcats established a good run game last week against the Cougars as junior Nick Wilson ran for 132 yards with a pair of touchdowns. U of A wins this game big time. No question.

Final Prediction: Arizona 49 Grambling State 7

Arizona v BYU
Running Back #28 Nick Wilson of the Arizona Wildcats
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

UNLV (1-0) vs. UCLA (0-1) 5:00 p.m. MT Sept. 10 PAC12—ESPN Matchup Predictor: UCLA 95.9%

After just one game, the UCLA Bruins have already been booted out of the AP Top 25, and coach Jim Mora is not happy about it. They made a late comeback, scoring 15 points in the last five minutes of the game in College Station, TX to tie things up with Texas A&M, but fell in overtime by a touchdown.

In those last five minutes, the Bruins proved how talented they are offensively, and will put it to the Rebels this Saturday in the Rose Bowl. Despite sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen’s three interceptions, he still threw for 343 yards including a 62 yard missile of a touchdown pass thrown to senior wide receiver Kenneth Walker III to tie the game. UNLV is coming off a blowout win to Jackson State, but stands no chance against an angry UCLA Bruin football team.

Final Prediction: UCLA 52 UNLV 17