SportsPac12: 2018 Pac-12 Football - Week Eight Predictions
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2018 Pac-12 Football - Week Eight Predictions

October 20, 2018

Week Eight Pac-12 Football Predictions

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Colorado (5-1) at #15 Washington (5-2)
Saturday, October 20, 12:30 p.m. PT, FOX
Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA

Straight-Up: Washington in a Comfortable Win
Against the Spread: Colorado  (+15.5)

Colorado's soaring 5-0 start came to floundering halt last week in L.A. It's likely to take another hit in Seattle, and not just because the Huskies figure to be angry and determined. The Buffs struggled for three quarters against a sloppy and one-dimensional USC team that could manage only 51 yards rushing while incurring 123 yards in penalties. Washington, which leads the Conference with 9.4 yards per pass attempt, should give CU similar troubles in the air, while also running the ball more effectively behind Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed (provided they're 100%). Colorado may have to play mistake-free to keep it close, especially if Laviska Shenault isn't available, or can't go at full strength.

Notes: The Huskies lead the all-time series 11-5-1, and won last year's matchup 37-10. Colorado has yet to allow a fourth-quarter touchdown this season. Shenault's streak of catching a touchdown pass in five consecutive games came to an end against the Trojans. UW linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven collected a career-high 19 tackles against Oregon, and leads the Conference with 93.

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California (5-1) at Oregon State (5-2)
Saturday, October 20, 1:00 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Network
Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR

Straight-Up: Oregon State in a Comfortable Win
Against the Spread: Oregon State  (+6.5)

Cal coach Justin Wilcox's commitment to Brandon McIlwain, despite seven interceptions and four fumbles over three losses, has been remarkable. But his patience may have run out. The Bears can't continue turning the ball over on 22% of their possessions, whoever they start at quarterback. Especially if the Oregon State offense continues to click. While the Beavers have committed eight turnovers of their own, their rushing game has dazzled: Jermar Jefferson is averaging 6.65 yards per carry with a Conference-leading 12 rushing touchdowns. An extra week to get healthy and tighten up its porous defense should allow OSU to take advantage of Cal's confusion.

Notes: The Bears lead the all-time series 37-33, and won the 2017 contest 37-23. Cal linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk recorded a career-high 22 tackles against UCLA, becoming the first Bear to have 20+ tackles in a game since 1993. Jefferson leads the Conference in rushing with 144.2 yards per game, ranking him fourth in the FBS. With 135 more yards, he'll become the first Beaver since Jacquizz Rodgers to log a 1,000-yard season.

#12 Oregon (5-1) at #25 Washington State (5-1)
Saturday, October 20, 4:30 p.m. PT, FOX
Martin Stadium, Pullman, WA

Straight-Up Pick: Oregon in a Close Win
Against the Spread: Oregon (+1.5)

The Cougars have shattered preseason expectations, and can boast of three straight victories over the Ducks, dating back to 2015. However, Oregon was without its starting quarterback in two of those contests, and an ineffective transfer for the third. WSU's only look at Justin Herbert came in mop-up duty two years ago in Pullman, when his first college drive led to a touchdown, winning him the starting job. The Cougs have a top-notch counter-punch at quarterback in Gardner Minshew, along with six quality wideouts, each of whom have compiled more than 200 yards receiving. With 20 passing touchdowns this season, Wazzu likely wins a wild and woolly shootout. But if the game turns on long drives determined in the trenches, Oregon's dependable running backs should give it the advantage.

Notes: Oregon leads the all-time series 47-41-7, but lost 33-10 in 2017. This season's matchup, the fourth between two ranked Pac-12 teams, also features two of the nation's best offenses: WSU ranks 16th in the FBS with 485.5 yards of total offense per game, while Oregon ranks 18th with 482.8. Best of all, after making 216 straight road appearances, Cougar fans can finally wave Ol' Crimson in the background of an ESPN College Gameday set at home.

USC (4-2) at Utah (4-2)
Saturday, October 20, 5:00 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Network
Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT

Straight-Up: Utah in a Close Win
Against the Spread: Utah (-6.5) 

This game portends offensive difficulties for the Trojans. USC has been ineffective on the ground, averaging less than 125 yards per game, and inconsistent in the air, with JT Daniels completing just 58% of his passes. Meanwhile, the Utes have shut down or limited every offense they've faced this season, holding four opponents to less than 100 yards rushing, while allowing just six touchdowns passing. They've become prolific offensively lately as well, scoring 40+ points in the last two contests. Unless Trojan running backs Aca'Cedric Ware or Stephen Carr step up, Utah figures to take control of the South.

Notes: USC leads the series 11-5, wining last year's squeaker 28-27. The Trojans are 15-1 under Clay Helton against South foes, but the Utes have won three straight in Salt Lake City. USC receiver Michael Pittman pulled in five passes for a career-high 155 yards and two touchdowns last week. Utah QB Tyler Huntley turned the rare hat trick vs. Arizona, throwing, catching, and running for a TD.

Arizona (3-4) at UCLA (1-5)
Saturday, October 20, 5:00 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Network
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA

Straight-Up: UCLA in a Comfortable Win
Against the Spread: UCLA (-7) 

The Wildcats catch the Bruins after a breakthrough win; less than ideal timing, especially with backup Rhett Rodriguez starting at quarterback. The former Arizona coach's son showed promising poise in completing 20 of 32 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown last week, but he doesn't have Khalil Tate's speed or experience. Expect UCLA to welcome him to the Rose Bowl with a variety of blitzes and menacing formations. The continued development of Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who completed 87% of his passes last week, and that of running back Joshua Kelley, who gained 157 yards against Cal, should prove too much for Arizona's defense.  

Notes: The Bruins lead the all-time series 24-16-2, but lost last year's meeting 47-30. The Cats haven't won in Pasadena since 2010. Safety Jarrius Wallace led the Wildcats with a career-high 11 tackles against Utah. Kelley, whose three touchdowns against Cal were a career best, is the first UCLA running back to post three straight 100-yard games since Tyler Ebell strung six together in 2002.  

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Stanford (4-2) at Arizona State (3-3)
Thursday, October 18, 6:00 p.m., ESPN
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ

Straight-Up : Arizona State in a Close Win
Against the Spread: ASU (+2.5)

After a week off for both teams, Stanford's David Shaw would seem to be in the best position to capitalize, having gone 10-4 after byes in his eight years on the Farm. But coaching experience can't get Bryce Love and Nate Herbig healthy. And then there's the matter of the 672 yards rushing the Cardinal has allowed the past three games. Sun Devils running back Eno Benjamin has rushed for 536 yards and six touchdowns the past three games on his own, and could have another 200-yard day. The Tree has only allowed six passing touchdowns, but ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins and wideout N'Keal Harry, who have hooked up for five touchdowns to date, can be tough to stop at home.

Notes: Arizona State leads the all-time series 17-14, though it lost last years's meeting 37-10 at Stanford. K.J. Costello is the first Cardinal quarterback to post three 300-yard games in a season since Andrew Luck, who logged five in 2011. Harry has caught a pass in 31 consecutive games. Wilkins has thrown 139 passes without an interception, his lone pick this season coming in the first half of the Michigan State game.