NCAA Football

Pickin’ the Pac: No. 20 Utah will be tested by Love

Photo Credit: Nick Wagner/Deseret News

No. 20 Utah (4-0, 1-0) is coming off of the bye week and gets to be tested by a dynamic running back in Bryce Love behind a Stanford (3-2, 1-1) offensive line that’s struggled at controlling the line of scrimmage.

While the Utes have faced nobody, their best win is Arizona, their defense has been able to shoot gaps and try to contain the Cardinal’s stud tailback. If Utah’s defense can hold Love to less than 200 yards with only one touchdown, that’s going to put a lot of pressure on freshmen quarterback KJ Costello in his first start in a truly hostile environment. This is going to be a game where Utah’s defense is able to take complete advantage of a weak Cardinal offensive line.

The only question for Utah is how will Troy Williams be able to handle the offense while also making just enough throws to keep the defense honest. I think Williams has just enough left in his tank to “upset” Stanford in Salt Lake City.

Prediction: Stanford (-3.5) 28 vs. No. 20 Utah (+3.5) 31

This game will be broadcast on FS1 at 7:15 PM (PT).

Oregon State Beavers vs. No 14 USC Trojans at 1:00 PM (PT) on Pac 12 Network

The Trojans (4-1, 2-1) could not have asked for an easier match-up after getting upset last weekend as they get to host an awful Oregon State (1-4, 0-3) at home.

If Jake Luton was healthy, I’d say that the Beavers actually had a chance in this game because of how inconsistent USC’s secondary has been; unfortunately for OSU, Luton is out which means that Clay Helton is going to be able to key in on stopping Ryan Nall. Southern California’s offense might move the ball in fits and starts as they try to wake up in the first half…but they’ll be able to put it together and put away Oregon State midway through the fourth quarter.

Nall will break off at least one long run and Oregon State will get into the red zone in garbage time, but the Beavers won’t be able to score another touchdown as they have to settle for a field goal.

Prediction: Oregon State (+33) vs. No. 14 USC 35

Arizona Wildcats vs. Colorado Buffaloes at 5:00 PM (PT) on Pac 12 Network

Colorado (3-2, 0-2) is coming off of a surprising road loss to UCLA as they get to host an inconsistent Arizona (2-2,  0-1) squad. The Buffs’ offense has struggled to score against conference defenses.

Despite the experience he earned last year, quarterback Steven Montez has struggled to read defenses and has thrown a bunch of interceptions; fortunately for Montez, Arizona have allowed a decent completion percentage of 58.4% (which isn’t that good) so he could have a good night. But the Wildcats have also good at forcing turnovers, which means that this could be another long night for the sophomore signal caller if he struggles to read the defense again.

I like Montez against the Wildcats’ secondary, especially with his mobility; while Arizona’s offense won’t be able to keep up with the Buffaloes.

Prediction: Arizona (+7) 25 vs. Colorado (-7) 42

California Golden Bears vs. No. 6 Washington Huskies at 7:45 PM (PT) on ESPN

Washington (5-0, 2-0) gets to host a Cal (3-2, 0-2) team that has struggled in Pac-12 play. The Golden Bears’ defense and offense have not adapted well to conference play.

This should be a huge game for Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin as the Ducks showed that Cal’s defense doesn’t have the speed (or depth) to handle an effectively balanced offensive attack. If Gaskin is consistently able to get outside that should open up the play action pass, which will help Browning get in the groove and comfortable with his other receivers. As for the Golden Bear’s offense, they’re going to struggle keeping their quarterback upright against an aggressive front seven.

Washington will strike early and often, burying Cal behind an onslaught of big plays. The Golden Bears will score some points in garbage time…but it’ll be too little, to late.

Prediction: California (+29) 23 vs. No. 6 Washington (-29) 55

If you want to read my predictions for when No. 11 Washington State plays at Oregon on 5 PM (PT), click here.

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