With the last weekend of September, the Pac-12 Conference will see underdogs or too-close-to-call home teams playing against road clubs that have been playing very well this year. Last week saw a couple of favorites lose at home - generally, hard to do in conference play. Now, let's take a look at this week's game where nearly all the away teams will be favorites.
#8 Stanford Cardinal (3-0, 1-0 in Pac-12) at the Washington Huskies (2-1, 0-0) - This nationally televised contest in Seattle will see the Cardinal come to town after their huge win at home against USC a week and a half ago. Much is expected of the Huskies who have played okay, except for a blowout loss at LSU. But their offense has been almost non-existent against Division 1 schools. Stanford won't wow you with a so-so offense but their defense is very good. This looks like a low-scoring North Division showdown that may be decided in the fourth quarter - give the Cardinal a slight edge. By the way, this is Washington's Pac-12 opener. Also note: this is Stanford's first road trip of the year.
Arizona State Sun Devils (3-1, 1-0) at the California Golden Bears (1-3, 0-1) - Head coach Jeff Tedford looks to be on the hot seat again for the Bears. This game in Berkeley will undoubtedly say a lot about whether Cal can still have a decent season. This contest will find out a lot about the Sun Devils who have had a very good year so far and are somewhat of a surprise team. If Arizona State wants to be a contender for the South Division crown, this is the kind of matchup they need to win. It's a pick'em kind of game and I'll go with the upstart Sun Devils - and this makes Tedford's seat hotter.
UCLA Bruins(3-1, 0-1) at the Colorado Buffaloes (1-3, 1-0) - The Buffaloes may have salvaged the early part of the season with their victory at Washington State; but, now they have a chance to prove it wasn't a fluke with this game at Boulder. The Bruins were flying high until they lost last week in the Rose Bowl against Oregon State. This battle should offer them a chance to redeem themselves and put the Bruins back in the national spotlight. UCLA's offense won't be stopped and Colorado doesn't have the scoring attack to stay with them - the Bruins win by two touchdowns plus.
#18 Oregon State Beavers (2-0, 1-0) at the Arizona Wildcats (3-1, 0-1) - This matchup in Tucson will be an interesting one to watch. Are the Beavers for real? Was the Oregon skunking of the Wildcats' an anomaly? Can Oregon State win two conference games in-a-row on the road? Will Arizona's prolific offense reappear? I have a hunch there will be a lot of balls in the air with a high-scoring affair - the Wildcats win a close one.
#2 Oregon Ducks (4-0, 1-0) at the Washington State Cougars (2-2, 0-1) - New head coach Mike Leach's passing attack is taking hold in Pullman where this contest will be played. But, and that's a big but - the Ducks are coming to town. Oregon shows absolutely no flaws at this point in the season and they will crush the Cougars, winning by four touchdowns or more.
The University of Southern California Trojans and the Utah Utes are off this weekend in preparation for their Thursday night showdown in Salt Lake City the following week. That following week will see Arizona State and Colorado with byes as they get ready for a Thursday night battle as well.
Right now, watch for upsets - the schedule just begs for a couple upsets this week.
Sources - Pac-12 Conference
Daryle lived in Los Angeles Ca. most of his life and has been a longtime fan of USC and the Pac-12, having closely followed the Trojans since he was just a youngster. Fight On!
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