Conference Play is in Full Swing
Welcome to the Unafraid Show Pac-12 Football Predictions Week 6 by SportsPac12. If you are a Pac-12 fan, aside from Unafraid Show, SportsPac12 is the twitter feed you need to follow! Former sportswriter & columnist who has covered three different Pac-12 schools provides up to date stats and information on every team in the Conference of Champions.
See where all the teams stand in the Unafraid Show Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 6.
Arizona State (3-2) at #21 Colorado (4-0)
Saturday, October 6, 1:00 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Folsom Field, Boulder, CO
Straight-Up: Arizona State in a Close Win
Against the Spread: Arizona State (+3)
Having dispatched four teams with a combined 1-16 mark, it’s time for the Buffs to prove they’re worthy of their ranking. CU quarterback Steven Montez leads the nation in completion percentage, and his connection with wideout Laviska Shenault has been deadly. But Montez has yet to be pressured the way he’s likely to be pressured by ASU’s Merlin Robertson, Malik Lawal, and Darius Slade, who have three sacks each on the season. Collectively, ASU defenders average nearly four sacks per game. The Devils also have the advantage of having played in three big games already. Arizona State’s defense should limit Colorado’s explosive offense just enough to prevail in a close, back-and-forth game.
Notes: The Sun Devils lead the all-time series 8-1, with the lone loss coming in Boulder in 2016, and are averaging 38.9 points per game against the Buffs. Remarkably, no ASU running back has lost a fumble (or even put the ball on the ground) in 669 consecutive carries, over 24 straight games. Colorado is 4-0 for the first time since 1998. Under Mike MacIntrye, the Buffs are 16-0 when holding opponents to 17 points or less. Shenault leads the nation with 9.5 receptions and 145.3 yards per game.
#10 Washington (4-1) at UCLA (0-4)
Saturday, October 6, 4:30 p.m. PT, FOX
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
Straight-Up: Washington in a Blowout Win
Against the Spread: Washington (-21.5)
History suggests Washington could struggle at UCLA on Saturday: The Huskies have lost eight straight in Pasadena, dating back to 1995. But UW coach Chris Petersen wouldn’t know anything about that, having never coached in the Rose Bowl. Nor would he care. The Bruins will be outmanned at nearly every position, despite having recruited nearly equivalent talent, based on stars and ratings. In actuality, this might be the biggest Conference mismatch of the season, giving Jake Browning a chance to extend his school records in passing and total offense, while enabling Myles Gaskin to pop off a 200-yard game. Unless, unless . . . Chip Kelly has at least one trick up his sleeve this year, doesn’t he?
Notes: The Bruins lead the all-time series 40-31-2, but lost last year’s meeting in Seattle, 44-33. The winning team has scored 40+ points in the last three games. By contrast, Washington hasn’t given up more than 35 points in 49 straight contests—dating back to when the Dawgs surrendered 44 points to UCLA in 2014. Gaskin needs just seven yards to move past Chris Polk into second on the all-time UW rushing list. UCLA will be looking to avoid a 0-5 start for the first time since 1943.
Washington State (4-0) at Oregon State (1-4)
Saturday, October 6, 6:00 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Network
Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR
Straight-Up Pick: Washington State in a Comfortable Win
Against the Spread: Washington State (-17)
The Cougars showed some welcome defensive maturity last week against Utah, and that figures to be a problem for the Beavers. Oregon State is a year or so away from being able to match any team stop-for-stop. The Beavs would prefer a high-scoring shootout, giving Jermar Jefferson a chance to run wild like he did in Tempe. Both teams are likely to trade big plays at some point, with Gardner Minshew and Easop Winston getting the better of the exchange. Expect OSU to keep it close for a quarter or so, only to watch WSU pull away in the second half. Whatever the outcome between these two loose and confident-playing teams, it should prove entertaining.
Notes: The Cougars lead the all-time series with the Beavers 52-47-3, and have won four straight after posting a 52-23 victory in Pullman last season. With their 28-24 win over Utah, the Cougars have won 10 straight home games for the first time since 1933. OSU relied heavily on Jefferson’s 254 yards against Arizona State, allowing him to break his own Pac-12 single-game rushing record for freshmen, set earlier this season against Southern Utah.
Cal (3-1) at Arizona (2-3)
Saturday, October 6, 7:00 p.m. PT, FS1
Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ
Straight-Up: Cal in a Close Win
Against the Spread: Cal (-2.5)
Fast and shifty Cal quarterback Brandon McIlwain showed he can be as dangerous as Khalil Tate last week, running the ball for 123 yards against Oregon. Given Arizona’s defensive woes, that comparison could be on full display this week in Tucson, provided McIlwain can pass well enough to keep Chase Garbers off the field. The Wildcats, meanwhile, struggled to put up 20 points on a mistake-prone and porous USC defense. They’ll need Tate to run and throw much better than his sub-50 completion percentage and 38 yards on the ground to score as much or more against a tougher Cal defense. The Bears are giving up points on less than 20% of their opponents’ possessions.
Notes: Arizona leads the all-time series 17-14-2, having won the last four. The last two have come down to the final play, including last year’s double-overtime contest in Berkeley. Look for Cal to strike early, having scored first in all four games this season. Arizona forced three fumbles Saturday against USC, recovering all three, marking the first time the Wildcats have recovered three fumbles in a single game since 2016. Bears linebacker Evan Weaver posted a career-high 14 tackles against Oregon; he leads the Conference with 13.2 tackles per game.
Utah (2-2) at #14 Stanford (4-1)
Saturday, October 6, 7:30 p.m. PT, ESPN
Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA
Straight-Up: Utah in a Close Win
Against the Spread: Utah (-4)
Who needs this game more? A loss could prove disastrous for Utah, whereas Stanford runs the risk of a Notre Dame hangover: The classic elements of a trap game. As good as K.J. Costello and JJ Arcega-Whiteside have been, the Cardinal appear to have become too pass-dependent with Bryce Love struggling. Utah’s defense, which held the Cougars to 0 yards rushing last week, could cause Stanford more problems than the Irish. Offensively, Tyler Huntley played more like a dual-threat quarterback against WSU, rushing and throwing for a combined 206 yards, while freeing up Zach Moss to post his second 100-yard game. Don’t be surprised if Utah hangs around, stealing this one by a field goal.
Notes: The all-time series between the two teams is tied 4-4, though Utah has won three of the last four. Stanford ended a three-game losing streak to the Utes last year with a 23-20 victory in Salt Lake City. The Cardinal has an active 11-game home winning streak—the longest since a 17-game streak from 2011 to 2014—but the Utes are 3-0 in Stanford Stadium. In good hands: The Cardinal have not lost a fumble through the first five games, one of only four teams in the nation to do so. Huntley’s season-high 88 yards rushing against WSU matched his career high.
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