Pac-12: game predictions 082814

Pac-12 Week 1 predictions

August, 28, 2014
Aug 28
9:00
AM ET
This week is really going to test the picking prowess of your Pac-12 reporters. OK, maybe not so much. The conference is a heavy favorite in almost every game, with Cal being the only underdog with its trip to Northwestern. If the league doesn't cruise in Week 1 with at least 10 wins, that would be considered a bad opening week. To the picks!

Why Washington State will win: The Scarlet Knights really don't have an answer for Mike Leach's Air Raid offense and in Connor Halliday's senior year -- his third season with Leach -- even good defensive backs will struggle. On the other side of the ball, the Wazzu defense is improved and the pass rush is going to get after Gary Nova, who was sacked 25 times last season (tied for No. 96 in the country). -- Chantel Jennings

Why Colorado will win: Colorado State has a veteran quarterback in Garrett Grayson, but the Buffs finally have some experience in the secondary (though they'll miss Jered Bell). A confident Sefo Liufau leads an offense that has depth at receiver and tailback. Should it be close, Colorado also has veteran specialists. It might not be a blowout, but on paper the Buffs are the better team. -- Kevin Gemmell

Why UCLA will win: When one team has better talent at just about every position and a better coaching staff -- which is the case here with UCLA -- the possibility of an upset is rare. Yes, the Bruins have to deal with a cross-country trip and an early start (noon ET), but that won't be much of a hurdle playing against a team that enters the season on a 10-game losing streak against FBS teams. -- Kyle Bonagura

Upset pick: I'm going with an upset here. I think Cal is much improved from last season and even though the Bears are on the road, I think they'll come away with the win. Northwestern has been forced to find a replacement for transfer running back Venric Mark in the past few weeks and I think Cal QB Jared Goff is going to be better than people are giving him credit for. -- Chantel Jennings

Why USC will win: Fresno State didn't belong on the same field with the Trojans when they met in the Las Vegas Bowl last season, and now the Bulldogs are without QB Derek Carr and WR Davante Adams. USC lost talent, too, but returns more than enough to indicate this one won't be much different from the previous matchup. -- Kyle Bonagura

More consensus picks: Utah over Idaho State; Arizona State over Weber State; Arizona over UNLV; Oregon State over Portland State; Stanford over UC Davis; Washington over Hawaii; Oregon over South Dakota

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