The last week of predominantly out-of-conference play is here, and once we get through it the really good stuff starts. We’ve got the PAC 12 going 7-2 in the games displayed here- there’s one conference match up and we’ll bring you in-depth coverage of UCLA Memphis (Saturday kickoff 10:00 am Mountain, 9:00 Pacific) tomorrow, which is our Game of the Week. Most of these games are pretty much done deals, but there are a few gems hidden in the slate.
UTEP at Arizona:
8:15 pm Mountain, 7:15 Pacific.
G.A.W.P. : Arizona at 95.6% to win.
Coming off a tough loss, the Wildcats have the opportunity to get right against a Miners team that brings very little to the table.
Arizona should coast to the finish line in this one, and with a good performance fans ought to get a good look at the second string on offense and defense.
UTEP has allowed 88 points and scored only 21 on the season. This is basically a gimme, and it’s a good thing with the PAC 12 slate right around the corner.
Prediction: Arizona 35, UTEP 10
Saturday Morning Slate:
Northern Colorado at Colorado
12:00 pm Mountain, 11:00 am Pacific.
G.A.W.P. : Colorado at 96.15% to win.
Another dog game here, as an FCS tomato can heads to Boulder to pick up their paycheck. This one should proceed as expected.
We’re projecting a dressing-down of the Bears here, and there’s no reason to suspect otherwise. There’s virtually no result in this game that can raise the estimation of the Buffs, but a lackluster performance will crystallize concerns that this team isn’t quite ready for prime-time.
Prediction: Colorado 38, Northern Colorado 6
Saturday Afternoon Contests:
Oregon State at Washington State
3:30 pm Mountain, 2:30 Pacific.
G.A.W.P. : WSU at 99.6% to win.
The lone conference tilt of this weekend’s games is not a captivating game. The Beavers have somehow managed to lower the bar each week, from terrible, to abysmal, to some new special designation there isn’t a word for. Minnesota is a bad team, and Oregon State got worked over.
WSU, meanwhile, didn’t look as good as Cougar fans had hoped in a narrow, come-from-behind win over Boise State. They righted the ship late, however, and did just enough to win, looking as good in that stretch as they had in other games this season. Even a lackluster showing against the Beavers ought to be more than enough for the W.
Prediction: Washington State 52, Oregon State 24
Oregon at Wyoming
5:00 pm Mountain, 4:00 Pacific.
G.A.W.P. : Oregon at 88.8% to win.
This game looked like it might be interesting during the preseason, but early returns for both of these teams suggest that it will be a blowout. The Ducks have looked excellent on offense and the defense has performed decently, while the Cowboys continue to flounder and disappoint.
All isn’t perfect in Eugene, however: the shadow of a 21-0 second half against a Nebraska team that looked outmatched has raised some questions. Oregon will look to put that behind them and deliver on their promise for four straight quarters, leaving no doubt who the better team is.
Prediction: Oregon 44, Wyoming 27
Saturday Evening Tilts:
Arizona State at Texas Tech
6:00 pm Mountain, 5:00 Pacific.
G.A.W.P. : Arizona State at 23.25% to win.
This is a tough matchup for the Sun Devils, reeling from an unexpected loss to San Diego state. ASU was outplayed and looked sloppy in that game, and they will have a hard time beating the Red Raiders in Lubbock even if they play their best game.
The excellent passing attack of ‘Tech should come as no surprise to football fans. The Red Raiders starting quarterback has just four incompletions on the season, and will look to continue that production against ASU. There’s little reason to think ASU will be able to stop them- or keep up.
Prediction: Texas Tech 38, Arizona State 27
Texas at USC
6:30 pm Mountain, 5:30 Pacific.
G.A.W.P. : USC at 77.4% to win.
Looking at those two teams, you would think this would be the no-brainer marquee game of the week in the PAC 12, but there’s no reason to think this contest will be close enough to be worth watching from the kick to the whistle.
Texas has looked out of sorts all season, USC blasted Stanford, and the Trojans are just bottom-line more talented in most every phase than the Longhorns. Texas will find their way back to the top, but for now they are just not on USC’s level.
Prediction: USC 31, Texas 16
Fresno State at Washington
7:30 pm Mountain, 6:30 Pacific.
G.A.W.P. : Washington at 96.45% to win.
Another uninspired out of conference foe for the Huskies to beat up on doesn’t move the needle. This one should be over by the third quarter, and it’s a good thing because Huskies fans don’t want to miss their bedtime.
The Huskies, and many other PAC 12 teams, just don’t play anyone of note out of conference. Still, Rutgers-Montana-Fresno State is a uniquely dreary run of easy Ws. This game will provide an interesting point of comparison to Alabama, who beat Fresno 41-10 last week.
Prediction: Washington 55, Fresno State 9
San Jose State at Utah
8:00 pm Mountain, 7:00 Pacific.
G.A.W.P. : Utah at 99.9% to win.
This is the mangiest of all the dogs this weekend, according to G.A.W.P. SJSU has looked simply atrocious, and Utah has made short work of their first two opponents.
The Utes’ matchup against BYU was more of the same, with an offense that showed flashes but was too limited by penalties to score the points you would expect. San Jose State is probably the worst opponent the Utes will face this year, even counting their FCS foe North Dakota. Utah should slice right through and score a boatload of points on their way to an easy W.
Prediction: Utah 45, San Jose State 13
Stanford at San Diego State
8:30 pm Mountain, 7:30 Pacific.
G.A.W.P. : Oregon State at 88.4% to win.
The Cardinal will eat the Aztecs alive in San Diego. SDSU’s bread and butter is the run game, which was effective against ASU as it played right into the weakness of the Sun Devils. Stanford does not have such a weakness, or at least is not projected to- it’s worth noting that USC was able to run right through them.
Stanford is going to win comfortably either way, but if they struggle to stop the Aztecs on the ground it may not bode well for how the Cardinal will handle tougher PAC 12 opponents.
Prediction: Stanford 38, San Diego State 24
Ole Miss at Cal
8:30 pm Mountain, 7:30 Pacific.
G.A.W.P. : Cal at 46.5% to win.
The other contender for game of the week, this is technically a coin flip matchup between two unbeaten opponents, one representing the PAC 12 and the other the SEC. It’s not LSU and Washington, though, but Cal and Ole Miss each coming off of disappointing, if ultimately winning, efforts against opponents they should have blown out of the stadium.
This has all the hallmarks of a wild #PAC12AfterDark matchup; both teams defy description this early in the season and they both tend to play a little sloppy and disorganized, which is a recipe for crazy finishes and wild swings in momentum. This one should be fun to watch, more so if Cal can come away with the win. It’s close, but we’re giving Ole Miss the edge.
Prediction: Ole Miss 37, Cal 35