Another week of Pac-12 action is set to begin, kicking off with a top ten match-up at Husky Stadium on Friday night and culminating with a duel of two teams in desperate need of a win between UCLA and Arizona. Before we look ahead to this week’s upcoming slate, we take a look at our Pac-12 Football Picks standings.
Recap: Week Four was kind to The_Coach, who used his selection of six correctly picked games to jump right back in the race to the top of the standings, where now sits tied in second with Marcus Russell at 32-7. However, both of them are still trailing Robert Ingle, who with his one wrong choice last week of Oregon over Colorado, now is the last of the contributors hit the five loss plateau on the season.
The rest of the group falls in behind them with Brian J. Moore’s solid 4-2 week, followed by DavidMays bringing up the rear at 25-14 on the year. Both Brian J. Moore and DavidMays were faithful to the Beavers against Boise State last week, an allegiance that hurt them in the standings, with nine weeks of the regular season left to play. Note to the field, expect more reshuffling of the field to come as we dive deeper into the conference schedule.
A six-game slate awaits the group of contributors in Week Five, where some razor-thin betting lines are sure to make for some nail-biting and stomach-churning games and maybe some interesting decisions in this week’s edition of Pac-12 Football Picks.
Friday, September 30th
#10 Washington (4-0) v. #7 Stanford (3-0) [9:00 PM ET, ESPN]
Ingle Win Probability Calculator: Washington (55%)
The headliner of the Week Five slate in the Pac-12, this top ten match-up of Washington and Stanford could likely decide who takes the reigns going forward in the Pac-12 North Division, while also beginning to settle the debate of the strongest team in the conference at the moment. Nothing like a primetime, Friday night meeting of two of the top teams in the land up at Husky Stadium. The Huskies coasted through the first three weeks of the season almost untouched but last week’s trip to Arizona revealed some real vulnerabilities of this Washington team, especially away from home. The inability to contain a dual-threat quarterback like Arizona’s Brandon Dawkins and a general sloppiness with the ball were all glaring warning signs of a Washington team that maybe was caught looking a bit too far forward in lieu of their meeting with Stanford. Head coach Chris Petersen should just hope that the Huskies are locked in and focused this week. For Stanford, the Cardinal seem to like their chances heading in this one, having beat Washington in seven or their past eight meetings and coming off back-to-back impressive wins over USC and at UCLA. So what’s not to like about Stanford? Head coach David Shaw’s team hasn’t scored more than 27 points in a game all season long and their methodical and wearing style of play may not fair well against a prolific Washington team playing on their own field. That’s likely the reason why four out of our five contributors chose the Huskies in this one, in what could be one of the best games in all of college football this season.
Marcus Russell: Washington
Robert Ingle: Washington
Brian J. Moore: Washington
Saturday, October 1st
Colorado (3-1) v. Oregon State (1-2) [2:30 PM ET, PAC12]
Ingle Win Probability Calculator: Colorado (65%)
Coming off last week’s challenging loss against Boise State, Oregon State now hits the road to head on down to Colorado, where they’ll square off with a red-hot Buffs team who is surging after last week’s road win at Oregon. As usual, we’ll have you completely covered here at Building The Dam all throughout the week and on gameday, covering every inch of this match-up. You can read our “Game Preview” for this match-up here.
Marcus Russell: Colorado
Robert Ingle: Colorado
Brian J. Moore: Colorado
Saturday, October 1st
California (2-2) v. #18 Utah (4-0) [6:00 PM ET, PAC12]
Ingle Win Probability Calculator: Utah (63%)
A tale of two teams so far this season, California is one of those programs who have yet to figure out all their road struggles but in their one true home contest this season, the Golden Bears looked like they could play with just about any team in the country. Back in the Golden State, if California can replicate their performance in their 50-43 win over Texas, head coach Sonny Dykes’ program can likely secure a victory that could change the context of their season going forward. But Utah’s rough and tough, defensive minded approach will be a clash of styles with a spread-it-out California team. The Utes have been their own worst enemy in opening up some tightly contested games but at the end of the day, Utah has had the moxie and balance to throw the Golden Bears off their game. Look for the development of the Utes’ linemen at the point of attack to be a strong indicator of the flow in this one.
Marcus Russell: California
Robert Ingle: Utah
Brian J. Moore: Utah
Saturday, October 1st
USC (1-3) v. Arizona State (4-0) [8:30 PM ET, FOX]
Ingle Win Probability Calculator: USC (50.5%)
It’s not often you see a 1-3 team picked by four of the five writers over a 4-0 team but there seems to be a believable sentiment around the Pac-12 that USC is not simply a program that will chalk this year up as a loss and fade into the sunset. The Trojans are expected to bring a fight every week. USC has gotten off to a rough start and welcoming a surging Arizona State team to town is not a likely fix, considering the inconsistencies of the Trojans offense, but there's really not too much more ground for head coach Clay Helton’s team to lose. They'll need a championship effort this week. The Sun Devils have been an explosive offensive team, who outside a strange week at UT-San Antonio, have torn apart a variety of different defensive attacks and approaches with their dual-threat system. Led by quarterback Manny Wilkins, who is coming off a four touchdown performance against California in which he completed 21 of his 30 pass attempts for 290 yards, the Sun Devils will travel to the City of Angels confident and eager to prove themselves as a legitimate faction in the Pac-12. Pending the Sun Devils don’t have another outing like they did in their last game away from home, a 32-28 squeaker over the Roadrunners, there's the potential for this Sun Devils team to start 5-0 and put themselves in prime position atop the Pac-12 standings.
Marcus Russell: USC
The_Coach: Arizona State
Robert Ingle: USC
Brian J. Moore: USC
Saturday, October 1st
Washington State (1-2) v. Oregon (2-2) [9:30 PM ET, PAC12]
Ingle Win Probability Calculator: Oregon (51%)
No team in the Pac-12 could use a win more than Oregon right now, as the Ducks are coming off two consecutive three-point losses and the trajectory and leadership of the program under head coach Mark Helfrich is beginning to be strongly questioned in Eugene. How will the Ducks respond now with their backs against the wall? Making a road trip to Pullman is probably not the easiest remedy, as this Cougars team has been as hard to gauge as any in the whole conference. You just never know which Washington State team you may be getting on any given week. Head coach Mike Leach always finds ways to keep even a young season interesting but after lambasting his team after two tight losses against Eastern Washington and Boise State, the Cougars bounced back in signature blow-out style against Idaho, thrashing the Vandals 56-6. It’s been a “good news-bad news” type of scenario for Washington State, who despite having two losses, fell in both those games by a slim margin of only three points each. Maybe the Cougars aren’t that far off the mark after all. Their opponents for this weekend in Oregon tell a very similar tale and while the Ducks will be playing desperate (likely for head coach Mark Helfrich’s job status), they may not have enough in the tank to pull-out a high-scoring road victory away from home. A suspect Oregon defense against Mike Leach’s patented air-raid offense could spell doom for the Ducks.
Marcus Russell: Oregon
The_Coach: Washington State
DavidMays: Washington State
Robert Ingle: Oregon
Brian J. Moore: Washington State
Saturday, October 1st
UCLA (2-2) v. Arizona (2-2) [10:30 PM ET, ESPN]
Ingle Win Probability Calculator: UCLA (56%)
The hot-and-coldness of teams around the Pac-12 seem to have hit UCLA and Arizona harder than anyone, as both programs have “played great in ugly games” and “ugly in great games” so far this season and both are still serious wildcards in the conference race. It’s the same old questions being asked. What UCLA team will show up this week? Which Arizona squad will take the field on the road? The Bruins gave Stanford all they could handle in Week Four, eventually falling by nine to one of the conference favorites, yet it was more the controlled play of quarterback Josh Rosen that led the Bruins charge than anything else. Rosen may not have been his normal enigmatic self but completing 18 of his 27 passes on the day for 248 yards and a touchdown, put UCLA in prime position to fend off the Cardinal. Once again, head coach Jim Mora’s team just couldn't find a way to shut the door. In Arizona’s case, Rich Rodriguez and company have been equally erratic, as they still attempt to reshuffle their team around an early season quarterback change. While new starter Brandon Dawkins has emerged as one of the top dual-threat gunslingers in the conference, the Wildcats defense is now becoming a question of concern as the level of their opponents steadily improves by the week. Look for the battles at the skill positions to be vital in this one, as both team’s have a bevy of electric playmakers on both sides of the football, just waiting to put their imprint on the game.
Marcus Russell: UCLA
Robert Ingle: UCLA
Brian J. Moore: UCLA