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

October 26, 2018

Week Nine Pac-12 Football Predictions

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#23 Utah (5-2, 3-2) at UCLA (2-2, 2-5)
Saturday, October 26, 7:30 p.m. PT, ESPN
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA

Straight-Up: Utah in a Comfortable Win
Against the Spread: Utah  (-10.5)

The Utes continue to look like the most complete team in the Conference, thanks to offensive coordinator Troy Taylor's passing attack, and the improved performance of Tyler Huntley. The Bruins, fresh off their first home win, look better, but also like they could use another year of recruiting and coaching before facing a team like the Utes. UCLA flourished last week with Wilton Speight at quarterback, and seem to be leaning toward starting him tonight, though DTR should be available. Turnovers may be a factor, as UCLA is plus-six and Utah minus-two on the season.

Notes: The Bruins lead the all time series 11-5, with the Utes winning last year's meeting 48-17. Utah held USC to 73 yards rushing, marking the fifth time the Utes have held an opponent under 100 yards on the ground this season. UCLA posted a season-best 460 yards total offense against Arizona last week, including 307 yards passing, in their first back-to-back Pac-12 wins since 2015. 

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Oregon State (1-6, 0-4) at Colorado (5-2, 2-2)
Saturday, October 207, 12:00 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Network
Folsom Field, Boulder, CO

Straight-Up: Colorado in a Blowout Win
Against the Spread: Oregon State  (+24)

As well as Colorado's other receivers played in the absence of Laviska Shenault Jr, they couldn't replace him. Fortunately for CU, the speedy sophomore shouldn't be needed against OSU's porous defense. In addition to allowing 541 yards and 47 points a game, the Beavers haven't won a Conference game since 2016. And they haven't won a game on the road since 2014. Offensively, OSU running back Jermar Jefferson remains banged up, and all three quarterbacks are coming off injuries, with Jack Colletto expected to start. The Buffaloes should be able to focus on stopping the run—and run up the score.

Notes: The all-time series between the two schools is tied 5-5, with Colorado winning last year's meeting 36-33. Beaver safety Jalen Moore matched his season-high 13 tackles last week against Cal. The Buffs started five freshmen for the first time since 2015 against Washington. CU wideout Daniel Arias became the 16th Buff in school history to score a touchdown on his first touch when he caught a 37-yard TD pass from Steven Montez.

Arizona State (3-5, 2-3) at USC (4-3, 3-2)
Saturday, October 27, 12:30 p.m. PT, ABC
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA

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

As much as the Trojans have struggled this season, they've managed to hang onto their home-field advantage, going 3-0 to extend one of the nation's longest home winning streaks to 19. Herm Edwards and the Sun Devils, meanwhile, have yet to win on the road, despite coming within a touchdown three times. Since beating Michigan State, ASU has gone flat, going 1-3, with their lone victory coming against the Beavers. USC should be able to eliminate the Devils from the South race, even with Jack Sears starting in place of JT Daniels.

Notes: USC leads the all-time series 21-12, and won last year's meeting 48-17. Arizona State entered their game with Stanford last week having committed just two turnovers, only to turn the ball over three times against the Cardinal. Among those turnovers was the first interception Manny Wilkins has thrown in a streak of 164 passes. USC coach Clay Helton has yet to lose a game at the Coliseum, and is 15-2 against South Division Foes.

Washington (6-2), 4-1 at Cal (4-3, 1-3)
Saturday, October 27, 3:30 p.m. PT, FS1
Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, CA

Straight-Up: Washington in a Comfortable Win
Against the Spread: Washington (-11.5) 

Though Salvon Ahmed and Sean McGrew did a nice job of filling in for Husky running back Myles Gaskin last week, Jake Browning will need to be sharper against a tough Cal pass defense. The Bears have allowed less than 200 yards passing in all but one game this season, and haven't given up a passing touchdown in the past two games. That won't help much if Cal can't limit the turnovers that have plagued it all season. It remains to be seen if the Bears' improved offensive performance against OSU, sparked by the quarterback play of Chase Garbers, will transfer to a tougher foe.

Notes: Washington leads the all-time series 54-39-4, and won last year's meeting 38-7. Browning is one career win away from tying the Pac-12 record of 36, currently held jointly by UO's Marcus Mariota and Stanford's Kevin Hogan. Cal posted a season-high eight plays of 20 yards or longer last week against Oregon State, five of them in the first half. Jordan Kunaszyk, Evan Weaver, and Tre Turner III all had 10 tackles each.

#14 Washington State (6-1, 3-1) at #24 Stanford (5-2, 3-1)
Saturday, October 27, 4:00 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Network
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA

Straight-Up: Stanford in a Close Win
Against the Spread: Stanford (-3) 

For a second straight week, the team that grabbed the upper hand in the North with an upset must prove itself worthy of the top spot against another of the Division's four-headed monster. With Stanford running back Bryce Love still on the mend, the game will likely be decided in the air. Washington State's prolific receivers should get one of their toughest tests against a tall and physical secondary. But which Stanford team will the Cougars face? The Cardinal team that struggled in a three-game stretch against Oregon, Notre Dame, and Utah? Or the one that handled ASU? 

Notes: Stanford leads the all-time series 40-27, but lost last year's meeting 24-21. The Cougars held Oregon to 58 yards rushing last week, beating them a fourth straight time for the first time since 1984. Cardinal cornerback Paulson Adebo ranks second nationally with 16 total passes defended. JJ Arcega-Whiteside ranks third nationally with nine receiving touchdowns.  

Oregon (5-2, 2-2) at Arizona (3-5, 2-3)
Thursday, October 27, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ

Straight-Up : Oregon in a Comfortable Win
Against the Spread: Oregon (-9.5)

Oregon has had to prepare for both potential starting Wildcat quarterbacks, Khalil Tate and Rhett Rodriguez. But that's still easier than Arizona's task of preparing for Duck quarterback Justin Herbert. Especially given the trouble the Wildcat secondary has had with lesser quarterbacks, struggling as they did in giving up 300+ yards and three touchdowns last week at UCLA. Arizona needs a big game from running back J.J. Taylor, while also avoiding defensive lapses and turnovers—and creating some of their own—to have a chance against Oregon.

Notes: Oregon leads the all-time series 26-16, and won last year's meeting 48-28. Herbert has thrown a touchdown in 22 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation. He hasn't thrown a pick on the road since October 21, 2016. Taylor collected his fifth career rushing game last week with 154 yards against UCLA, while WR Shawn Poindexter had his first career multiple-touchdown game.