By: Nick Bartlett/Oregon Sports News
With the Pac-12’s reputation lower than sewer rats, well besides for Oregon, the first week of in-conference matchups still must be played. And there are still some notable games on the schedule. A lot of programs are in a state of flux and find themselves in a must-win situation. Some of these teams include Washington, Stanford, UCLA, and Cal. Nothing’s guaranteed once Pac-12 play kicks off, and that non-con junk doesn’t matter anymore. The following is a quick whiparound around the conference previewing all the opening week matchups.
1.Washington State @ Utah
The Utes enter this matchup with an unprecedented two-game losing streak against non-conference opponents. However, with Charlie Brewer leaving the program, Cameron Rising looks geared to start after nearly leading a comeback victory against The Aztecs in the fourth quarter. For the Cougs, the Jayden De Laura injury adds uncertainty to an already uncertain situation. Utah wins at home by two touchdowns.
2. UCLA @ Stanford
After the Bruins’ great start, they lost momentum, falling to Fresno State last week. It’s the opposite for Stanford: they got blown out in the opener but entered this contest riding a two-game win streak. Cardinal quarterback Tanner McKee has proven a model of efficiency in the early season, throwing for five touchdowns and zero interceptions; he’s also added a pair of TD’s on the ground. UCLA’s signal-caller Dorian Thompson-Robinson still lacks the intangibles to win consistently. Stanford wins a tight one at home in the Pac-12 game of the week.
3. Cal @ Washington
This game feels like a defining moment for both programs. A win for the Huskies could prove a sign of not sucking and maybe the true beginning of the Jimmy Lake era. If Cal’s Head Coach Justin Wilcox loses this game, he may find his booty burning; mediocrity only suffices in the short term. The Golden Bears have won the last two outings in this series. They’re not going to surprise the Dawgs in Seattle. Washington wins comfortably-close.
4. Oregon State @ USC
The Trojans figured something out last week, throw the ball to Drake London every time he is in single-coverage. London is a nightmare matchup for most defensive players in the conference, particularly for teams not named Oregon. Before the Idaho matchup, Oregon State ranked 124th in the nation in passing yards allowed per game at 339.5. For USC, their receivers should handle one-on-one matchups against the Beavers’ secondary. This game shouldn’t be close, and it won’t. Trojans in a blowout.
5. Colorado @ ASU
As long as Brendon Lewis is the Buffs quarterback this year, change the channel. Against Minnesota, he only completed 50 percent of his passes, threw for 55 yards, ran for negative 27, and finished with a QBR of 3.1. Add in the fact that ASU is coming off a tough loss, and CU’s screwed. Expect a bounce-back performance from Jayden Daniels and a massive victory for the Sun Devils.
6. Arizona @ Oregon
Arizona lost to NAU. Oregon beat Ohio State. If you really think the Cats will beat the Ducks in Eugene, you should probably seek help.