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

November 16, 2018

Colorado's Laviska Shenault Jr. breaks free against the Trojans. | Getty Images

Week 12 Pac-12 Football Predictions


#19 Utah (7-3, 5-3) at Colorado (5-5, 2-5)
Saturday, November 17, 10:30 a.m. PT, Pac-12
Folsom Field, Boulder, CO

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

Beating Oregon without Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss will seem about as real and meaningful as a fairy tale if the Utes can't replicate the feat in Boulder. But that shouldn't be a problem. Even if the offense struggles, Utah's defense should keep them in control of the game. As for Colorado, a loss may not cost Mike MacIntyre his job, but a win might just save it—for another year, anyway. The Buffs weren't the same after they lost their dependable Steven Montez-to-Laviska Shenault Jr. connection; and while the star wideout's return helped last week, the pair needs a more exceptional performance on Saturday.

Notes: Colorado leads the all-time series 32-29-3, but lost last year's matchup in Salt Lake City 34-13. Utah's Armand Shyne rushed for a career-high 174 yards against Oregon in his first start. Chase Hansen recorded his fourth double-digit tackle game with 14 stops. The Buffs have outscored their opponents 87-13 in the first quarter. Montez moved into fourth place on CU's all-time passing list with his 199 yards against Washington State.

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USC (5-5, 4-4) at UCLA (2-8, 2-5)
Saturday, November 17, 12:30 p.m. PT., FOX 
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA

Straight-Up: UCLA in a Close Win
Against the Spread: UCLA  (+3.5)

This could be USC's biggest game of the season, at least in terms of what the program stands to lose. Few expect the Trojans to beat Notre Dame in their season finale. But losing to a rebuilding UCLA, and falling to 5-6, could bring the fan base's dissatisfaction to a rapid boil. The Bruins, having lost three straight despite playing better, would celebrate a victory as Chip Kelly's first signature win. Owning L.A. for a year may not accelerate the process of turning UCLA around, but it would be as sweet an outcome as the Bruins could hope for right about now. 

Notes: The Trojans lead the all-time series 47-31-7, and won last year's meeting 28-23 in the Coliseum. USC and UCLA's combined 13 losses this season are the most ever heading into their rivalry game. Aca'Cedric Ware posted his second-straight 100-yard game in USC's loss to Cal. Tyler Vaughns had a career-best eight receptions for 91 yards and two touchdowns. UCLA's Joshua Kelley has scored a touchdown in six straight games. Caleb Wilson had a season-high 11 receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns against ASU.

Oregon State (2-8, 1-6) at Washington (7-3, 5-2)
Saturday, November 17, 1:30 p.m. PT, Pac-12
Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA

Straight-Up Pick: Washington in a Blowout Win
Against the Spread: Oregon State (+33.5)

In 1985, the Beavers came to Seattle as a 37-point underdog, having won just three conference games in the previous six seasons. They had been outscored 97-0 in the previous two games. The Huskies, it was well known, could win the title by winning out. Sound familiar? OSU won that game in a massive upset, 21-20. Could it happen Saturday? Sure. But it won't. Not this year. Washington is too talented, and too tough to look past the Beavs under Chris Petersen. Especially after a bye week.

Notes: Washington leads the all-time series 64-34-4 and won last year's matchup 42-7 in Corvallis. OSU running back Jermar Jefferson recorded his sixth 100-yard game with 109 against Stanford. Trevon Bradford had five receptions for a career-high 120 receiving yards. Washington's Myles Gaskin needs 229 rushing yards to become the first player in Pac-12 history—and only the 10th in FBS history—to rush for 1,000 yards in four seasons. Ben Burr-Kirven has led the Huskies in tackles nine times this year.


Stanford (6-4, 4-3) at California (5-4, 3-3)
Saturday, December 1, 12:00 p.m. PT, Pac-12
Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, CA


Arizona (5-5, 4-3) at #8 Washington State (9-1, 6-1)
Saturday, November 17, 7:30 p.m. PT, ESPN
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA

Straight-Up: WSU in a Close Win
Against the Spread: Arizona (+10.5) 

Aside from the urgency and aggressiveness Arizona showed in its past two games against a pair of struggling teams in Oregon and Colorado, there isn't much to suggest the Wildcats have a chance against the Cougars. The weather (an expected sub-30 degrees) certainly won't be to Arizona's liking. And no team has been able to slow Gardner Minshew and the Wazzu offense for more than a quarter or so. That said, J.J. Taylor has been nearly unstoppable, and Khalil Tate has looked more like his old self. Improvement often comes in jumps, and the Cats, who seem to be getting healthier, may be poised to make another.

Notes: Arizona leads the all-time series 27-16, and won last year's meeting 58-37 in Tucson. UA's Taylor has rushed for at least 150 yards in each of the the last three games. The Cats have racked up 500+ yards in total offense five times this season. The Cougars are 9-1 for the first time since 2002-03; that season sent them to the Rose Bowl. Peyton Pelluer played in his 51st game last week, matching a school record shared by Gabe Marks and Daniel Ekuale. Minshew, who has made 300-yard games routine, will be working on his 11th straight.

Arizona State (5-4, 4-3) at Oregon (5-4, 3-4)
Saturday, November 17, 7:30 p.m. PT, FS1
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR

Straight-Up: Oregon in a Close Win
Against the Spread: Oregon (-3.5)

They'll be plenty of NFL caliber talent in this one: two of the nation's best receivers in ASU's N'Keal Harry and Oregon's Dillon Mitchell. Arguably the Pac-12's best quarterback in Justin Herbert, and the League-leading running back in Eno Benjamin. It could be a barn-burner, unless one of the defenses dominates: The Devils rank second in the Conference in sacks; the Ducks are second in interceptions. Both teams have had up-and-down seasons, struggling on the road, and winning at home. That should give Oregon the edge, if only a slight one. 

Notes: Oregon leads the all-time series 19-17, but dropped last year's meeting 37-35 in Tempe. Harry is tied for fifth in ASU receiving history with 22 touchdown catches. Benjamin has posted seven 100+ yard games this season. UO's Calvin Throckmorton is one of just seven FBS player to have started at three different offensive line positions. Mitchell is one of only two FBS players to have at least six catches in the last seven games.