Week number eight has Oregon State, Washington, and Stanford getting the week off while USC steps outside of the Pac-12 to play at Notre Dame. With a 4-2 result with the last batch of picks before we attempt further damage to our season tally of 42-10 here is a quick review of last week’s slate of games.
Friday, October 13
California 37 – Washington State 3 (pick: WSU 44-18)
The Cougars’ Renard Bell took the opening kick-off the length of the field only to have the celebration cut short via a holding penalty that instead gave Washington State their first possession on their own 10-yard line. That was about as good as it got for the Cougs as Cal knocked off a top-10 ranked team for the first time since an upset over third-ranked USC in 2003. Five Luke Falk interceptions and two lost fumbles left the Ducks wondering “where was THAT team the week before?”
Saturday, October 14
USC 28 – Utah 27 (pick: USC 35-28)
The Trojans stuffed a two-point conversion with less than a minute left in the game to preserve a hard fought win in the Coliseum. Quarterback Sam Darnold tossed three touchdowns, completing 27 of 50 attempts for 358 yards against the Utes but also coughed up three fumbles. Utah quarterback Troy Williams scored on a two-yard keeper to bring the Utes to within a point at 28-27, but was stopped a yard short of the goal line on the conversion attempt when he was unable to find an open receiver.
Arizona State 13 – Washington 7 (pick: Washington 47-23)
If anyone looked worse than the Cougs it was the Huskies. The Sun Devil defense held 5th-ranked Washington to 230 total yards and after averaging 43 points per game, was held scoreless until the 4th quarter. It was the seventh straight defeat for the Huskies in Tempe.
Stanford 49 – Oregon 7 (pick: Stanford 33-17)
So much is so wrong with the Ducks it is hard to know where to begin. Head coach Willie Taggart should be happy that his friend David Shaw was on the other sideline and didn’t want to embarrass him; had it been Chris Petersen and the Huskies the score more likely would have been 70-7. Offensively Oregon has proven itself unable to throw the ball without Justin Herbert at quarterback and stupid penalties indicate a team with a shockingly low football IQ. What progress has been seen this season has been on the defensive side of the ball but when the offense can’t move the chains or a penalty extends a defensive series, it gets to be a long row to hoe.
Arizona 47- UCLA 30 (pick: Arizona 45-38)
All of a sudden the most electric offense in the conference belongs to the Wildcats. Of course given the Bruins problems on defense the fireworks aren’t that big of a surprise. Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate carved up the Bruin defense for 148 yards passing and ran for 230 yards on 15 carries. The Wildcats rolled up 605 yards of total offense to improve to 4-2 overall and insert themselves into the southern division race with a 2-1 Pac-12 mark.
Colorado 36 – Oregon State 33 (pick: Colorado 28-13)
Every coach will tell you there is “no such thing as a moral victory.” They are wrong, this was just that. For the first time this season the Beavers looked enthused to be on the playing field and for once appeared to have a game plan they could execute. Colorado is anything but a world-beater and the game will still show up in the loss column, but for the first time this season there were signs of life in Corvallis.
Saturday October 21
Colorado @ Washington State
If this game were in Boulder, the pick would be with the Buffs. In Pullman and with a week to put their lackluster showing against California behind them the Cougs come away with a fairly easy win, 43-27.
Arizona @ California
Khalil Tate has energized the Arizona offense and will present a two-pronged threat to the California defense. While the Bears did shut down a formidable passing attack in their upset of Luke Falk and Washington State, it will be Tate’s ability to scramble and gain yards out of broken plays that will be the difference. Arizona 45-35
Arizona State @ Utah
Going to go with the hot hand with this one. ASU has frequently underperformed in Pac-12 play but so far in 2017 the Sun Devils appear to have developed into a reasonably well rounded football team. With a boatload of momentum after knocking off the Huskies, Rice-Eccles Stadium won’t be quite the challenge it often can be for the visiting team. ASU 35-17
Oregon @ UCLA
If the Ducks hope to earn bowl-eligibility they probably need to find a way to win this game. A porous UCLA defense will give them a chance to snap their three-game losing streak but Oregon’s defense will have to rise to the challenge of stopping the Bruins’ Josh Rosen. The junior QB has tossed for over 2300 yards so far this year and has 17 touchdown passes to his credit. He has also thrown eight picks and if the Ducks are able to add to that total, a mild upset could be the result. Oregon by a field goal, 27-24
USC @ Notre Dame
The Domers are favored by just over a field goal and if the Trojans don’t put together one of their better games, the final margin might actually be worse. That said, USC is in position to take advantage of the spotlight and reignite their College Football Playoff ambitions with a marquis win in South Bend over the 13th-ranked Irish. Opportunity taken; USC 37-28.
~ Rick Morgan