Oregon State losing to Washington State means the Pac-12 has already, halfway through the seasons, whittled themselves down to only one possible path to the College Football Playoff. Oregon and Arizona State need to win out, meet in the Pac-12 Championship, and hope for a lot of chaos in front of them in the rankings.
While some teams are left only playing for pride, two of the conference’s teams are just hoping to avoid shame. Best of luck to both Colorado and Arizona. Someone has to win, right?
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Cal at #9 Oregon (Friday Night)
Kickoff: 7:30PM Pacific
Opening Odds: Oregon -13.5
What’s at stake: Oregon has no room for error, and at the mid-point of the season, has yet to establish an offensive identity. With Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead battling medical issues, and feature back C.J. Verdell out for the season, someone needs to step up and become the dominant force on this offense to keep the Ducks from another disastrous result like they had against Stanford. Will it be Anthony Brown start finding a receivers downfield (No Ducks WR has more than 11 catches), or Travis Dye finding a way to be an every-down player instead of a change-of-pace guy? Without figuring out who they are offensively, you can probably forget a shot at the College Football Playoff.
For Cal, they’re getting dangerously close to a lost season without a bowl appearance, and a waste of Chase Garbers’ talent as an upperclassman. One thing you know that Justin Wilcox wouldn’t mind is following up a 6-point performance against Washington State by having an offensive explosion against his old Defensive Coordinator Tim DeRuyter, who is now the DC at Oregon.
Our Picks: Ralph likes Cal to Cover +13.5, George Wrighster is going with his Ducks and the spread.
Arizona at Colorado
Kickoff: 12:30PM Pacific
Broadcast: Pac-12 Network
Opening Odds: Colorado -6.5
What’s at stake: Seriously? A win. A single win.
Colorado nearly beating Texas A&M, who just beat #1 Alabama, the Buffaloes offense is so putrid that they’re favored by less than a TD against a team that hasn’t won in over two years. Arizona will go back to Gunner Cruz after Jordan McCloud suffered a season-ending injury against UCLA. First team to 20 wins? Or maybe even 10?
Our Picks: Ralph and George both have Colorado covering the -6.5.
Stanford at Washington State
Kickoff: 4:30PM Pacific
Opening Odds: Stanford -1.5
When Jayden de Laura is at QB for Washington State, they can compete with anyone in the conference. Many people were surprised by the Cougars win over Oregon State last week, but de Laura’s 400 yards passing are a big reason why it happened. Stanford showed they can drive the ball against Arizona State last week, but they had no ability to finish.
Stanford’s inconsistency and yo-yoing as a team is discouraging to Cardinal fans, but if the pattern continues, this will be the week that they bounce back and show their resilience.
Our Picks: Ralph talked George into joining him by taking Stanford -1.5.
UCLA at Washington
Kickoff: 5:30PM Pacific
Opening Odds: Washington -1.5
What’s at stake: UCLA can run, but last week against Arizona they failed to both pass, and stop the pass. They might have won the game, but there are legitimate concerns that the Bruins have started to fall apart after experiencing early success. The idea that Washington will have to depend on the arm of Dylan Morris in order to defend homefield on Saturday makes picking this game extremely tricky. Dylan Morris rarely completes over 60% of his passes and plays turnover-free football. Unless he does so against one of college football’s worst secondaries on Saturday, you’re going to start to see even more heat on Huskies Head Coach Jimmy Lake than there already is.
For Chip Kelly, the mission is simple- test Washington’s run defense to see if it’s got soft spots, and if it does, exploit it until the final whistle. The less your defense is on the field, the better.
Our Picks: George went with UCLA +1.5, Ralph took the home favorite, Washington -1.5.
#18 Arizona State at Utah
Kickoff: 7:00PM Pacific
Opening Odds: Arizona State -1
What’s at stake: Arizona State and Utah are 3-3 in their last 6 games. The fans, or at least the vocal online community of fans, are on each other’s nerves year-round. Utah just ended a 100-year drought by getting a win in the Coliseum, and spent the week grieving the loss of DB Aaron Lowe. They’re either going to be emotionally spent, or raring to get a piece of the ranked Sun Devils on Saturday night. The bottom line here is that if Utah can’t win this game, the Pac-12 South is basically wrapped up by ASU, who is on a quest to become the Pac-12’s first-ever undefeated team in conference play.
Arizona State is the better team at almost every position, but if the offense can’t handle the crowd noise in Provo without getting 19 flags thrown, how are they going to handle the rowdy crowd in Salt Lake?
Our Picks: George and Ralph both have the Sun Devils -1 on the road.
Who are the Pac-12 Apostles?
The Pac-12 Apostles is a podcast for fans who love the Pac-12 conference. George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden are committed to the honest and fair conversation about the conference. Join us by becoming a Pac-12 Apostle. Subscribe and share the podcast.
Please leave a rating and review of our podcast on iTunes! We record a podcast once a week with emergency episodes when necessary. Our podcasts are always heavy on Pac-12 football. But we make it a point to also try and cover the other notable Men’s and Women’s Pac-12 sports. We cover recruiting and any other major storyline in the Pac-12 universe.
George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and long-time NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, and analyst, who is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014. Through years of playing college football, covering bowl games, coaching changes, and scandals, he has a great pulse for the conference and national perspective.
Ralph Amsden is a sportswriter and podcaster. He is the publisher of Rivals’ ArizonaVarsity.com, and was previously the managing editor of the Arizona State University Rivals affiliate, DevilsDigest.com. Wyoming born, Arizona raised, and now based in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and four kids, Amsden made his mark in Arizona sports media through investigative reporting, and being one of the first people to leverage social media and the podcast medium to grow his platform. In addition to his podcasts, he is the Content Director for UnafraidShow.com. Ralph might be sub-.500 in spousal disputes and schoolyard fights, but whether the topic is food, movies, music, parenting, politics, sports, television, religion, or zoological factoids, he’s always UNAFRAID to square up.