A 3-1 result last go ’round brings the season total to 40-14 as we enter week eight of the 2018 campaign. No major surprises to this point but with a full slate of games on tap the fight to finish at the top of the standings is in full swing. Oregon at Washington State will go a long way toward deciding the north, while USC travels to Utah in a match-up that could define the south. But first a quick review of last week’s results.
Friday, Oct 12
Utah 42 – Arizona 10 (pick: Utah 33-23)
The Utes jumped to a 28-0 halftime lead and never looked back. Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley completed 14 of 19 pass attempts for 201 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the easy home win. Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate completed only one of three pass attempts before leaving the game with an injury.
Saturday, Oct 13
Oregon 30 – Washington 27 (pick: Oregon 35-23)
A classic college football game from start to finish, C.J. Verdell’s six yard touchdown run in overtime will been seen for years to come during the pre-game video at Autzen.
USC 31 – Colorado 20 (pick: Colorado 31-28)
Colorado’s soft preseason schedule came back to bite them in the Coliseum. The Trojans built a 28-7 third quarter lead before surrendering 13 fourth quarter points to make the final score appear more respectable that it was.
UCLA 37 – California 7 (pick: UCLA 32-27)
California’s offensive struggles have gone from bad to worse. After a 3-0 non-conference showing, the Bears have been outscored 103-48. Running back Joshua Kelly did most of the damage for the Chipsters, scoring three touchdowns with 157 yards on 30 carries. Oh… and the Bears turned the ball over five times.
Thursday, Oct 18
Stanford @ Arizona State
An ASU upset wouldn’t surprise. Playing at home and while both teams will be coming into the game off a bye neither team has fully lived up to potential so far in 2018. Still smarting after a disappointing road loss to Notre Dame followed a 40-21 faceplant at home against Utah, the Cardinal need to win to avoid the first ever three game losing streak under head coach David Shaw. By the skin of their teeth, Stanford escapes with a 31-30 win in Tempe.
Saturday, Oct 20
Colorado @ Washington
Had the Buffaloes knocked off USC a week ago, this pick would be reversed. But with the sting of their loss to Oregon still fresh and with game film of Colorado’s struggles last week in the Coliseum, the pick here is for the Huskies to rebound with a 37-24 win.
USC @ Utah
Despite all the four and five star talent on their roster the Trojans have yet to impress. Washington State should have beaten them, a very pedestrian Arizona team took them to the wire the week before and while they did have their way with Colorado that result is more on the Buffs than because USC finally figured things out. Still if USC comes home with a win from Salt Lake they will be difficult to displace as the southern division champion while a Utah victory would put the Utes in the driver’s seat. Let’s go with the latter… Utah 33-28
Arizona @ UCLA
Winning cures all and after breaking the ice with their win over California, the Bruins will face the Wildcats with a renewed sense of purpose and enthusiasm. Add to the mix Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate is expected to be sidelined with an injury suffered in last week’s loss to California and UCLA is poised to double their win total for the season, 45-13
California @ Oregon State
Yes, the Oregon State defense has been atrocious. But so has the California offense… the Bears committed 14 turnovers on the year and in Pac-12 play outscored 103-48 in three games. Scoring points hasn’t been the problem in Corvallis and if the Bears want to beat themselves with turnovers and poor quarterback play, the Benny’s should let them. Oregon State 38-23
Oregon @ Washington State
Martin Stadium can be a house of horrors. Mike Leach and the Cougs are going to throw the ball 50 times and their defensive front seven will be after Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert from the jump. Time of possession and ball control will be key if the Ducks hope to escape Pullman with a victory that would put them front and center in the northern division race. As was seen last week against the Huskies, it is a formula that works. Oregon 35-30.
~ Rick Morgan