The game that could decide the North
No. 9 Washington (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) vs. Stanford (6-3, 5-2 Pac-12) Fri. 11/10 8:30 PM MT FS1
ESPN Matchup Predictor: Washington 63.5%
No. 9 Washington and Stanford both have high-powered offenses with Jake Browning, Myles Gaskin, and Dante Pettis for the Huskies, and Heisman candidate Bryce Love leading the charge for the Cardinal. This should be one of the most entertaining games of the weekend. What is going to set these two teams apart is how they play on defense. Stanford doesn’t have a terrible defense, but they don’t have a good one either as have the No. 68 total defense in the country, while Washington has the No. 1 defense in the country, according to ESPN, which gives the Huskies a significant edge in this game. Washington State held Love to 69 yards on the ground last week and quarterback K.J. Costello will have to step up to resurrect Stanford’s hope of making it to the Pac-12 Championship game. If the Huskies can key on Love as well as the Cougars did then this game could get ugly early.
Final Prediction: No. 9 Washington 38 - Stanford 21
On the brink of bowl eligibility
Arizona State (5-4, 4-2 Pac-12) vs. UCLA (4-5, 2-4 Pac-12) Sat. 11/11 7:30 PM MT PAC12
ESPN Matchup Predictor: UCLA 62.3%
Arizona State is coming off a remarkable comeback win against Colorado, as the Sun Devils scored 24 points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Buffaloes. During the streak when ASU upset then-No. 24 Oregon, then-No. 5 Washington and Utah they were riding high and their confidence was soaring. Then when they got pummeled by USC it was their return to reality, as it looked like the Sun Devil defense from last season. Neither ASU nor UCLA have good defenses as the Sun Devils have the No. 101 total defense in the country and the Bruins have had an atrocious year on defense and are ranked as the eighth worst total defense in the country. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen has been the backbone of the Bruins and leads the conference averaging nearly 340 passing yards per game. Rosen is arguably the best quarterback the Sun Devils will face this season and if Arizona State plays like they did against USC or the first three quarters against Colorado, then it could be a long day for the Devils.
Final Prediction: Arizona State 48 - UCLA 42
Blowouts on Saturday
USC (8-2, 6-1 Pac-12) vs. Colorado (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12) Sat. 11/11 2:00 PM MT FOX
ESPN Matchup Predictor: USC 77.1%
Sam Darnold, Ronald Jones II, and Deontay Burnett are three reasons why USC will win this game with ease. On top of having a three-headed monster on offense, Colorado’s defense is the ninth worst defense in the country. USC doesn’t have a good defense either by any means (No. 99 total defense), but they have a top-10 quarterback, according to ESPN, in the country combined with a one-two punch running game of Jones II and freshman Stephen Carr, along with Burnett, who is a top-15 receiver in the country. Colorado does have a top-five running back in the country in Phillip Lindsay along with receivers Bryce Bobo and Shay Fields, but one problem that the Buffaloes have had this season is inconstant play from quarterback Steven Montez. Montez has been playing his best football these past two weeks as he’s thrown for 692 yards, four touchdowns and only one interception. If Montez continues to play like he has in recent weeks then there’s a slight chance this could be a close game in Boulder.
Final Prediction: USC 42 - Colorado 17
No. 19 Washington State (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) vs. Utah (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12) Sat. 11/11 3:30 PM MT PAC12
ESPN Matchup Predictor: Washington State 54.0%
Washington State and Utah have faced challenges with benching quarterbacks, and despite Luke Falk being a top-10 in the country talent, he has been benched twice during games this season, but has never missed a game or a start. Utah quarterbacks Tyler Huntley and Troy Williams have been started and benched multiple times this season, which also included injuries and hasn’t helped their inconsistency. Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham has handed Huntley the reins as he hopes for leadership from the quarterback position. Falk is coming off one of his better performances this season as he threw for 337 yards, three touchdowns and an interception against Stanford and it seems like Falk is back on track. Washington State and Utah both have fairly good defenses, as the Cougars have the No. 29 total defense and Utah is ranked No. 38 in that category. This game will come down to who plays the best at quarterback and with Falk considered a first round draft pick and how well he has played lately, I will give the nod to the Cougars.
Final Prediction: Washington State 41 - Utah 13
Arizona (6-3, 4-2 Pac-12) vs. Oregon State (1-8, 0-6 Pac-12) Sat. 11/11 8:00 PM MT ESPN2
ESPN Matchup Predictor: 92.5%
The Arizona Wildcats are not the 3-9 team that we saw last year and part of the reason for their burst of success this season has been because of the rise of Heisman candidate quarterback Khalil Tate. The Wildcats are new and improved with Tate taking snaps. Unlike Arizona’s offense, Oregon State has not thrived as much as the Wildcats and they have a horrendous defense and are ranked as the No. 108 total defense in the country. The Wildcats have a disastrous defense as they are ranked No. 117. The Beavers are another team in the Pac-12 that has struggled with inconsistent quarterback play which could spell bad news for the Beavers if they aren’t able to capitalize against Arizona’s bad defense. Offensive execution will be the name of the game since neither team has a good defense. Arizona has the offensive weapon to make this game ugly by the end of the first quarter.
Final Prediction: Arizona 56 - Oregon State 7