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Pac-12 Football Picks: Week Nine

A meeting between #4 Washington and #17 Utah in Salt Lake City headlines a five-game Pac-12 slate.

NCAA Football: Utah at Washington
Do the Utes have enough to knock off Washington at Rice-Eccles Stadium?
Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Ingle Win Probability Calculator: USC (56%)

USC’s rocky start to the 2016 season seems like a distant memory now as the Trojans have regrouped in the last three weeks, knocking off the likes of Arizona State, Colorado and Arizona in the process. Suddenly, head coach Clay Helton’s team sits just a game behind Utah and Colorado for the lead in the Pac-12 South Division with a whole lot of football left to play. If the Trojans want to make a potential run to the Pac-12 title game somehow a reality, they’ll need to take care of business against the league’s ultimate wildcard in California. The Golden Bears have had a unique, alternating “home-and-away” schedule for almost the whole year, and so far for California, it’s simply been a tale of two seasons. At home, the Golden Bears are a prolific and dominant football team, capable of upsetting teams like then-ranked #11 Texas and #18 Utah. Yet, something severely changes when they hit the road. The Golden Bears haven’t been able to close the door in one true road contest yet this season and a daunting road environment like Memorial Coliseum won’t help their cause. Look for the match-up at the line of scrimmage between these two teams to be a key indicator of how this one goes.

Robert Ingle: USC
Marcus Russell: USC
The_Coach: USC
Brian J. Moore: USC
DavidMays: California
Donald B. Jordan: USC
EMassey: USC

Ingle Win Probability Calculator: Washington (57%)

Arguably the game of the year in the Pac-12, there’s probably no contest that fans of the league have been more excited for than this Top-20 showdown in the friendly confines of Rice-Eccles Stadium. Oh, this one should be a something special. On paper, the Utes look to be the Huskies’ biggest test left on their conference slate but when analyzing just how impressive this Utah team has looked on a weekly basis, the jury is still out on how well they match-up with Washington. The Utes may be sitting at 7-1 on the season (with their only loss coming with help from a late game meltdown against California) but only one of their conference wins have come by double-digits (Arizona - 13 points) and Utah’s general mentality is to make the game a grind-it-out showdown. How that strategy will work out against the Huskies’ prolific nature will be interesting to see. I personally think that this is the signature, breakout week for Washington, who on a national stage against another Top-20 team, display their dominating potential and make their case to be one of the final teams included in the College Football Playoff.

Robert Ingle: Washington
Marcus Russell: Washington
The_Coach: Washington
Brian J. Moore: Utah
DavidMays: Utah
Donald B. Jordan: Washington
EMassey: Washington

Ingle Win Probability Calculator: Arizona State (52%)

Another week, another Oregon loss. Somehow, the Ducks have now dropped five straight games since starting 2-0 and with all the chaotic rumblings surrounding the enigmatic program, the fact of the matter is Oregon’s fix to all their issues may be pretty simple. It’s defense, defense and more defense. In their Ducks’ two wins this year (albeit to lesser competition), Oregon held UC-Davis and Virginia to sub-thirty point outings, allowing for even their then-developing offense to have subpar outings and still find ways to win. To put that strategy into the works in the last five weeks, the Ducks would have to hit the half-century mark, as they’ve allowed 49.8 points to their foes during their losing skid. It’s no shock that head coach Mark Helfrich spent most of the week discussing the Ducks’ defensive issues and liabilities. The Sun Devils will bring a hit-or-miss rushing attack to Eugene, that has the potential to at any moment break the big play. While this may not be another Washington-esque trashing, the potential for Arizona State to have a huge offensive day has at the very least, convinced all of our writers to side with head coach Todd Graham and company, in this one.

Robert Ingle: Arizona State
Marcus Russell: Arizona State
The_Coach: Arizona State
Brian J. Moore: Arizona State
DavidMays: Arizona State
Donald B. Jordan: Arizona State
EMassey: Arizona State

Ingle Win Probability Calculator: Washington State (60%)

The Beavers welcome a tough Washington State team to Corvallis on Saturday, hopeful to knock off another one of the league’s high-octane offenses with their giant-killer abilities. As usual, we have you covered here at Building The Dam, with a load of pre-game, game-day and post-game coverage, leading up to and following this week’s match-up with the Cougars.

Robert Ingle: Washington State
Marcus Russell: Washington State
The_Coach: Washington State
Brian J. Moore: Washington State
DavidMays: Oregon State
Donald B. Jordan: Oregon State
EMassey: Washington State

Ingle Win Probability Calculator: Stanford (58%)

The big news surrounding Stanford’s trip to Tucson this weekend is that head coach David Shaw has finally pulled the plug and made a quarterback change, benching senior Ryan Burns in favor of junior Keller Chryst. Shaw is hoping that the move will kick-start a Stanford offense that ranks among the worst in college football and is also last in the conference in total offense and scoring offense and has scored only 10 touchdowns all season long. It’s safe to say things can’t get much worse for the Cardinal on that side of the ball at this point. The news of Stanford’s change comes at an interesting time, as Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez spent his game week discussing his quarterback situation as well, with the Wildcats having both Anu Solomon and Brandon Dawkins back in the mix. Rodriguez, in an interview with “The Daily Wildcat”, said that he would “change quarterbacks based on particular types of plays we want to run”. However, the personnel changes don’t stop there. The Wildcats will also be without running back Nick Wilson due to a knee injury, meaning tailback Zach Green and receiver Samajie Grant are expected to split time out of the back-field.

Robert Ingle: Stanford
Marcus Russell: Stanford
The_Coach: Arizona
Brian J. Moore: Stanford
DavidMays: Arizona
Donald B. Jordan: Stanford
EMassey: Stanford