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Pac-12 Football: Week six preview and predictions

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Will we gain any idea of who’s for real in the Pac-12? Read on to find out

NCAA Football: Utah at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve somehow made it to week six of the college football season.

With just one half of the 2017-18 campaign remaining, let’s take a look around the Pac-12:

Chalk talk

No. 14 USC (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12) vs Oregon State (1-4, 0-2 Pac-12)

Sat. 10/7, 1:00 PM MT

PAC12

ESPN Matchup Predictor: USC 97.7%

Injuries have been the story for the Trojans this year, but their biggest blows have been to their offensive line. USC has replaced three upperclassmen starters with two true freshmen and a redshirt sophomore. The Trojans had a lengthy injury report against Washington State and it didn’t get much shorter this week.

USC should still win this game by a large margin, but there’s no doubt the injuries have set them back — as was evidenced last week in Pullman.

Wide receiver Deontay Burnett was listed as probable before the game and did play against the Cougars. Burnett is expected to play against Oregon State, but likely won’t be 100 percent, per conquestchronicles.com. USC should still win this game, but if the Trojans can’t overcome injuries it will be costly against better teams later this season.

Final Prediction: USC 42 – Oregon State 17

No. 11 Washington State (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) vs Oregon (4-1, 1- 1 Pac-12)

Sat. 10/7, 5:00 PM MT

FOX

ESPN Matchup Predictor: Oregon 67.2% (yes you read that correctly, Oregon is somehow favored over No. 11 WSU.)

Despite not having quarterback Justin Herbert, backup quarterback Taylor Alie or starting running back Royce Freeman, the Ducks are still favored against No. 11 Washington State which has a top-30 defense, is ranked No. 11 in total offense and has a healthy Luke Falk.

This will be Washington State’s first road game of the season, however, and Oregon has the No. 5 total offense in the country. But then again the Ducks are on their third string quarterback, Freeman is out with a shoulder injury and the Oregon defense has allowed nearly 1200 passing yards and eight passing touchdowns (ranked No. 57 in the country.)

Despite ESPN picking Oregon as a clear favorite, I’m going to pick No. 11 Washington State to win this game.

Final Prediction: No. 11 Washington State 45 – Oregon 17

Flip a coin?

Arizona (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) vs Colorado (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12)

Sat. 10/7, 5:00 PM MT

ESPN Matchup Predictor: Arizona 51.2%

Colorado quarterback Steven Montez has had an up-and- down year for the Buffaloes so far. He has thrown for over 1200 yards and seven touchdowns, but has also tallied six interceptions. Montez hasn’t had a great season, but he is still a dual-threat quarterback and Arizona can’t overlook him.

Running back Phillip Lindsay has been a key weapon for Colorado this season as he’s scored a touchdown in every game this season and has rushed for more than 140 yards twice

The biggest threat to Colorado’s defense is Arizona quarterback Brandon Dawkins, who leads the team in rushing yards through the first half of the season. The Wildcats have the better defense on paper, and other than maybe Utah, the Wildcats haven’t faced a tough opponent such as a Washington, Washington State, or USC. Colorado has faced tougher opponents in Washington and UCLA — who they only lost to by four — which gives them the advantage.

Final Prediction: Colorado 35 – Arizona 24

Game of the Week

No. 20 Utah (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) vs Stanford (3-2, 2-1 Pac-12)

Sat. 10/7, 7:15 PM MT

ESPN Matchup Predictor: Stanford 76.1% (yes, another unranked team favored over a ranked team.)

Utah is undefeated, but the hasn’t really faced a tough team. The Utes will get their first test this week against Stanford.

Stanford running back Bryce Love has yet to be held to under 150 rushing yards in a game. Love has scored in every game and had a career game against Arizona State as he rushed for 301 yards and three touchdowns. You could also argue that Stanford has one of the best offensive lines in the country considering not only Love’s production but also the fact that its’ only allowed eight sacks on the season.

Second-string quarterback K.J. Costello has been a nice transition for the Cardinal since Keller Chryst went down. Costello has tallied 376 yards through the air along with three passing touchdowns and hasn’t thrown an interception this season. However, Stanford head coach David Shaw was asked this week if K.J. Costello would start and Shaw said, “good question,” according to sfgate.com.

One of the weaknesses for the Cardinal is their defense and they will have their work cut out for them trying to contain Utah dual-threat quarterback Tyler Huntley. Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham was also asked about if Huntley or Troy Williams will start and Whittingham said, “we’ll see.” This may be the coaches playing a chess match or we might actually see two quarterbacks that didn’t start for their team last week.

Final Prediction: Stanford 35 – Utah 31

This One Could Get Ugly

No. 6 Washington (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) vs California (3-2, 0- 2 Pac-12)

Sat. 10/7, 7:15 PM MT

ESPN

ESPN Matchup Predictor: Washington 96.1%

Washington has a high-powered offense with quarterback Jake Browning, running back Myles Gaskin and wide receiver Dante Pettis to go along with a stout top-20 defensive unit.

California quarterback Ross Bowers has had some trouble with interceptions this season and will face a tough Washington defense which has the fifth most interceptions in the country.

However, Cal has more than enough weapons on offense including running backs Patrick Laird and Vic Enwere and receivers Vic Wharton III and Jordan Veasy, who both have three receiving touchdowns. Both teams have very good offenses, but UW has one of the best defenses in the country, not to mention Cal’s defense is ranked No. 113 in the country. Unless Cal can contain Washington on offense, Washington should win this one easily.

Final Prediction: Washington 49 – California 24