NCAA Football

Pickin’ the Pac: Oregon gets improved Cal at home

Photo Credit: Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian-OregonLive

Both the Oregon Ducks (3-1, 0-1) and the Cal Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1) had looked improved through their non-conference slate, although Cal’s schedule has been significantly tougher than Oregon’s to this point. Despite the fact that the Golden Bears have played better teams, they’re 15-point underdogs.

The reason that Vegas has UO favored in this game is because the Cal’s defense has yet to face an offense that’s as explosive as the Ducks, or a quarterback that hasn’t been forcing the ball into tight windows. Quarterback Justin Herbet’s speed and mobility could stretch the Bears defense, but head coach Justin Wilcox has proven that he’s a great at crafting a defensive game plan that contains the mobile quarterbacks in the Pac-12 and that’s going to be a big advantage for Cal heading into this game.

If the Golden Bears can keep Oregon under 35 points…I really like their chances to pull off the road upset. This game is at 7:30 PM (PT) and you’ll be able to find it on FS1.

Prediction: California (+15) 35 .vs Oregon (-15) 30

ASU vs. Stanford at 1:00 PM (PT) on Pac-12 Network

Arizona State (2-2, 1-0) gets Stanford (2-2, 1-0) in a game where both team’s offenses are perfectly suited to take advantage of the other teams’ defensive weakness.

Stanford has struggled against teams that can stretch the field horizontally, San Diego State for example, while the Sun Devils have struggled against teams that can control the line of scrimmage. If the Cardinal’s offensive line is able to control the creative blitzes, then they should have no problem moving the ball against ASU.

But Quarterback Manny Wilkins’ ability to run is going to provide a challenge for Stanford and that will keep this game closer than anyone is expecting.

Prediction: Stanford (-17) 52 vs. Arizona State (+17) 40

No. 6 Washington vs. OSU at 5 PM (PT) on Pac-12 Network

No. 6 Washington (4-0, 1-0) is traveling to take on an awful Oregon State (1-3, 0-1) squad that has struggled to play competitive football against FBS opponents.

With the number of injuries on the Huskies’ defense, and the Beavers not having their starting quarterback, don’t be surprised if UW is constantly rotating it’s backups and third stringers into the game to get them live game experience. Because the Dawgs will probably be rotating a lot on defense, Ryan Nall will have a big game…but it won’t matter because Myles Gaskin will have an even bigger one.

Prediction: No. 6 Washington (-26.5) 62 vs. Oregon State (+26.5) 30

Colorado vs. UCLA at 7:30 PM (PT) on ESPN 2

Colorado (3-1, 0-1) is coming off of a tough, physical, home game and UCLA (2-2, 0-1) is coming off ofabsolute ass kicking by Stanford.

The Buffs have shown that their defensive weakness is an overpowering, and fast, running back…fortunately, UCLA doesn’t have any backs that will be able to physically dominate Colorado’s defensive line. Quarterback Josh Rosen has some mobility that could provide some interesting rinkles for the Buffs defense, but it’s unlikely that he’ll do enough to overcome some of the serious weaknesses in UCLA’s offensive line.

While Steven Montez should shred a weak Bruins secondary, and the Buffs offense will roll to victory.

Prediction: Colorado (+7.5) 35 vs. UCLA (-7.5) 30

To read my prediction for No. 5 USC vs. No. 16 WSU, click here. This game is Friay night at 7:30 PM (PT) on ESPN.

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