Thursday, November 7, 2013
Pac-12 predictions: Week 11
By Ted Miller and Kevin Gemmell
Ted went 4-0 last week, while Kevin went 3-1, predicting Oregon State to beat USC.
For the season, Ted is 58-10. Kevin is 57-11.
OREGON at STANFORD
Kevin Gemmell: I know we both picked Stanford to defend the title, but things have changed since July. Oregon’s defense is as good as it’s been in the last decade -- even having to replace those three talented linebackers -- and Marcus Mariota has taken this offense to a new level. Stanford has been inconsistent on offense and the injuries across the defensive line are worrisome. This game has blossomed into one of the great rivalries in college football, and anything can happen in a rivalry game. And I think Stanford will give Oregon’s offense its stiffest challenge to date. But I just don’t see the Cardinal scoring enough points to keep up. Oregon 35, Stanford 27.
Ted Miller: Last year, Kevin picked Oregon by 28 and I picked Oregon by 14 in this matchup, so that we're both picking the Ducks again obviously shouldn't send anyone searching for the first flight to Las Vegas. As Kevin noted, our preseason projection of Stanford ahead of Oregon evolved from: 1. A concern over Chip Kelly leaving and Mark Helfrich being a first-time head coach; 2. A concern with the Ducks defense replacing three All-Pac-12 LBs; 3. A belief Stanford's passing game would take a step forward in year two with QB Kevin Hogan. While those seemed like perfectly reasonable theories, even today, all three have proven unfounded. Oregon 35, Stanford 20.
UCLA at ARIZONA
Gemmell: This one is actually a tougher pick for me than Oregon-Stanford. In Pasadena or on a neutral site, I think UCLA wins. But they haven’t had success in Tucson since 2003 and some questions about the offensive line linger -- just about the time Arizona is getting better quarterback play. Still, Jim Mora has a way of rallying the troops. UCLA 31, Arizona 24.
Miller: I wrote an entire paragraph picking this game differently than I am about to, so I am with Kevin: This is a difficult one. The Bruins are a 1½-point favorite, so Vegas agrees. I like the Wildcats playing at home. And I like Ka'Deem Carey to answer the bell. Arizona 31, UCLA 28.
ARIZONA STATE at UTAH
Gemmell: Utah is obviously a better team with a healthy Travis Wilson. And the week off gave him a chance to rest. But ASU is playing pretty darn good football. The offense is clicking at a furious pace and the defense has closed the gap with the offense. The Sun Devils are a complete team and showed last week they can do it out of state. ASU 38, Utah 28.
Miller: Arizona State is on a roll and Utah hasn't been, though the bye week, a healthy Wilson and playing at home should boost the Utes significantly. The difference to me is there is no question about Sun Devils QB Taylor Kelly. He's playing about as well as any QB in the nation not named Mariota, Manziel or Winston. ASU 35, Utah 24.
USC at CALIFORNIA
Gemmell: I promised in my mailbag on Tuesday that I would pick USC this week. And I’m a man of my word. The Trojans' depth -- that’s right, depth -- at running back has allowed them not only to stay competitive, but to out-muscle teams. I really liked what I saw out of the Bears last week, but USC’s ground-and-pound will likely be too much. USC 38, California 24.
Miller: USC has been playing well and the Trojans are getting healthier, most notably at receiver. Further, defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, former holder of the same job at Cal, will know the Bears personnel well. USC 35, California 20.
COLORADO at WASHINGTON
Gemmell: Don’t see Washington passing up the chance to get bowl eligible at home against a team still winless in conference play. Really like the fire I’ve seen from Colorado of late, but winning at Seattle will be too stiff of a test. Washington 42, Colorado 28.
Miller: The Huskies are coming off a bye and they love playing at home. Expect a strong performance on both sides of the ball. Colorado has been hanging in there, but I'm not sure the Buffs won't be a little gassed heading into this one, a second-consecutive road game. Washington 45, Colorado 20.