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Thursday, October 3, 2013
Pac-12 predictions: Week 6

By Ted Miller

Both Ted and Kevin went 5-0 last week.

For the season, Kevin improved to an eye-popping 38-3 while Ted dawdled behind at 36-5.

Thursday

UCLA at UTAH

Kevin Gemmell: Salt Lake City is increasingly becoming a more difficult place to visit. Then again, a lot of that has to do with the fact that the Utes are simply playing better. Some interesting storylines with the two quarterbacks and the connection between Noel Mazzone and Dennis Erickson. This feels like a trap for the Bruins, but I don’t think they are approaching it that way. Jim Mora will have his team ready to go against a Utah team that is on the rise but not quite at UCLA’s level. UCLA 38, Utah 27.

Ted Miller: Another interesting aspect about this game is the two quarterbacks passing against secondaries that still are uncertain. Both teams have only one interception this season. The quarterbacks lead this one -- and deservedly so -- but here's a guess that the team that runs the ball better will win. UCLA 35, Utah 24.

Saturday

ARIZONA STATE vs. NOTRE DAME (Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas)

Gemmell: ASU’s offense is clicking. The Taylor Kelly-to-Jaelen Strong connection is flourishing, and Marion Grice can’t help but find the end zone. Huge opportunity for the Sun Devils to crack the top 20 against a team that still carries some national weight -- but has struggled for consistent play. ASU 31, Notre Dame 28.

Miller: As Matt Fortuna observed in his discussion of Notre Dame-Pac-12 matchups, the Fighting Irish quietly rushed for 220 yards against the Sooners. The Sun Devils’ Achilles heel is run defense. That and the Sun Devils’ road struggles -- not to mention they're coming off an emotional win over USC -- are a reason to pick the Irish in an upset. Notre Dame 30, Arizona State 28.

OREGON at COLORADO

Gemmell: The Buffs came back to earth while the Ducks continue to be otherworldly. This isn’t the same old Buffs, but it’s the same old Ducks -- if not better. They’ve broken 50 points for four straight games, a school record. And it’s hard not to see them doing it again this week. Oregon 56, Colorado 17.

Miller: As Kevin noted, Colorado is better in all areas -- including mental makeup -- this year. But they're not ready to run with Oregon for four quarters. Not many teams are. Oregon 52, Colorado 13.

WASHINGTON at STANFORD

Gemmell: If the Huskies can pull this one off, they will have earned their seat at the big-boy table. But Stanford is starting to look like the 2011 Stanford team that could move the ball at will and was backed up by a dominant defense. If its offense is truly catching up to the defense, look out. I like what Washington has done so far, but I need to see them do it on the road against an elite team before I really buy in. Stanford 34, Washington 28.

Miller: The Huskies have done enough during the early going to look competitive with UCLA for the title of "Pac-12's Third-Best Team." If that title doesn't thrill the Huskies, then this is a "Missouri Game" for them -- they need to show the nation they are ready for prime time. And ready to beat a top-five team on the road. Stanford 33, Washington 20.

WASHINGTON STATE at CALIFORNIA

Gemmell: The Bears, though not wanting for talent, are in a bad spot defensively. Washington State’s offense has been hit and miss, but when it hits, it hits hard. The Bears should be able to score some points, but Washington State’s defense has kept it in games most of the year. That should be the case again in this teacher-versus-student showdown of Mike Leach and Sonny Dykes. Washington State 42, California 31.

Miller: I wonder how the Cal defense might have looked with DE Brennan Scarlett, DT Mustafa Jalil and SS Avery Sebastian in every game this year? That's three A-list starters out of action, and CB Kameron Jackson (ankle) is questionable. The Cougars are better on defense, so in a battle of pass-happy teams, that's where this one turns. (It also would have been easier to pick an upset if not for a sudden QB controversy). Washington State 38, California 35.