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Pac-12 Football Picks: Week Two

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A ten game slate is in store for the teams of the Pac-12 in Week Two.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While Week One had it’s fair share of highlight reel plays and exciting moments, on the Pac-12 side of things, the week was far from impressive. USC was destroyed by Alabama. Washington State slipped up to FCS Eastern Washington. And Arizona and UCLA both came out on the wrong end of close games. Not a good start for the Conference of Champions. This week, our coverage focuses more solidly around the league as Oregon State has a unique Week Two bye situation, after their gut-wrenching loss to Minnesota in Week One.

Recap: The biggest surprise of the first week of college football in the Pac-12 was easily Eastern Washington’s upset of Washington State, which puts the Cougars at two years in a row where they’ve been clipped by an FCS team on opening day. Not a good trend for Mike Leach and company up there in Pullman.

Nobody from the group of contributors foresaw the Eagles upset but things did get interesting with some of the toss-up games diving the field. BYU’s late field goal against Arizona cost The_Coach, DavidMays and Brian J. Moore another win while Texas A&M holding on in overtime against UCLA gave Marcus Russell and Robert Ingle their first losses of the year.

Heading into week two, there’s not too much separation at the top but it was Marcus Russell and Robert Ingle’s pick of Minnesota over Oregon State that gives them the slight lead at the moment. A ten game Pac-12 slate, played all on Saturday this week, will give the group another chance to test their picking skills with another batch of non-conference showdowns.


Saturday, September 10th

USC (0-1) v. Utah State (1-0) [2:00 PM ET, PAC12]

Ingle Win Probability Calculator: USC (55%)

The Trojans were absolutely decimated by top-ranked Alabama on Saturday night, in what was supposed to be the premier game on the Week One slate. How they’ll bounce back in Week Two in now the question. USC managed just 194 yards of offense and six points in the game, where key contributors in quarterback Max Browne and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster looked severely overmatched. The bad news for the Trojans is that their defense wasn’t much better. Through the air, the Crimson Tide threw for 223 yards and 3 touchdowns and with their ground attack, Alabama racked up 242 yards with another 3 scores, picking apart USC at will. Things just simply did not look good at all for Clay Helton’s program. The Week Two competition takes a noticeable step down from Alabama to Utah State but remember, this USC team is only a week away from heading to Stanford in a make-or-break game for their season. The Trojans simply don’t have too much time to right the ship before their meeting with the Cardinal. They must make huge strides in their Week Two meeting with the Aggies.

Marcus Russell: USC

The_Coach: USC

DavidMays: USC

Robert Ingle: USC

Brian J. Moore: USC


Saturday, September 10th

#8 Washington (1-0) v. Idaho (1-0) [5:00 PM ET, PAC12]

Ingle Win Probability Calculator: Washington (82%)

The season didn’t get off to a proper start for the Pac-12 in Week One overall but from Washington’s perspective on things, the debut game of the season probably couldn’t have gone much better. The Huskies were a well-hyped team all summer long, who under the pressure of expectations looked like they were shot out of a cannon against Big Ten foe Rutgers, thrashing the Scarlet Knights 48-13. The key for the Huskies was quarterback Jake Browning, who commanded Washington’s offense with a firm grip all day long, passing for 287 yards and three touchdowns. Head coach Chris Petersen also got a three touchdown performance from junior John Ross, who after missing all of last season due to injury, hauled in two scores though the air and one via a 92 yard kickoff return. In Week Two, Washington will try and handle an Idaho team who spent their Week One doing all they could to hold off a pesky Montana State team, 20-17. If the Vandals want a shot in this one, quarterback Matt Linehan must improve from his 8-22, 128 yards and 1 interception performance against the Bobcats.

Marcus Russell: Washington

The_Coach: Washington

DavidMays: Washington

Robert Ingle: Washington

Brian J. Moore: Washington


Saturday, September 10th

Colorado (1-0) v. Idaho State (1-0) [5:30 PM ET]

Ingle Win Probability Calculator: Colorado (75%)

Colorado was relatively pegged as the dark-horse of the Pac-12 heading into the 2016 season and after their opener against rival Colorado State, the Buffs looked like they may be perfectly suited for that role coming out of the South Division. Colorado is going to be a “tough out” all season long. In their thrashing of the Rams, Colorado looked to control the game from both sides of the ball, with a well rehearsed and balanced effort. The Buffs defense snagged two interceptions and a fumble recovery touchdown on the night as they held the Rams to just seven points, which came on a passing touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Colorado’s offense was also electric, tallying 578 yards overall, scoring three times on the ground and once through the air. The Bengals head to Corvallis next week so this could be a good one for Beavers fans to at least keep an eye on during this bye week. Idaho State knocked off Division II school Simon Fraser in their season opener, 47-3.

Marcus Russell: Colorado

The_Coach: Colorado

DavidMays: Colorado

Robert Ingle: Colorado

Brian J. Moore: Colorado


Saturday, September 10th

Utah (1-0) v. BYU (1-0) [7:30 PM ET, FOX]

Ingle Win Probability Calculator: Utah (55%)

The Deseret First Duel is headed to Salt Lake City on Saturday night, where two teams who simply don’t have too much fondness for one another are set to decide some in-state bragging rights. If you’re around on Saturday night, make sure you catch this one. In Week One, the Utes shutout another in-state opponent in Southern Utah, allowing the Thunderbirds just 158 yards of offense in the 24-0 outing. However, Utah faithful and head coach Kyle Wittingham were all largely unimpressed by the team’s debut, citing some serious concerns on the offensive line and with some new skill position players. For BYU, the story was a bit different. The Cougars took a 9-0 lead into halftime against Arizona but the wheels almost came off the tracks when the Wildcats posted 16 points in the second half and had the lead heading into the final seconds of the game. BYU then turned to freshman kicker Jake Oldroyd for the win. Oldroyd knocked in a 33 yard field goal with just four ticks left on the clock and the Cougars escaped the debut game of the Kalani Sitake era in style. In this Battle of the Beehive State, Utah’s stout defense against BYU’s quarterback-running back tandem of Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams will be one of the key match-ups of the game.

Marcus Russell: BYU

The_Coach: Utah

DavidMays: BYU

Robert Ingle: Utah

Brian J. Moore: BYU


Saturday, September 10th

UCLA (0-1) v. UNLV (1-0) [8:00 PM ET, PAC12]

Ingle Win Probability Calculator: UCLA (75%)

The Bruins came into the 2016 campaign well-hyped, as quarterback Josh Rosen was pegged as the future star of the Pac-12 and Jim Mora’s team was maybe thinking about a potential trip to the Rose Bowl at the end of the season. Those thoughts have now taken a backseat to the Bruins just getting their act together before Saturday. While squaring off with Texas A&M in College Station was every bit as trying as it was expected to be, the belief that this Bruins team was “hands-down” a Top 25 team was probably not realistic as well. The Bruins have glaring holes on both sides of the ball and as proven in Week One, Josh Rosen doesn’t yet have the consistency in his game to be viewed as one of the best gunslingers in college football. But let’s not overreact to one game too much. UCLA did show some flashes of brilliance against a severely underrated Aggies team and should look like a renewed unit in Week Two against UNLV. However, the Rebels come into this one extremely confident after last week’s 63-13 win over Jackson State. Look for Tony Sanchez’s team to be scratching and clawing to keep this one close.

Marcus Russell: UCLA

The_Coach: UCLA

DavidMays: UCLA

Robert Ingle: UCLA

Brian J. Moore: UCLA


Saturday, September 10th

Arizona State (1-0) v. Texas Tech (1-0) [10:00 PM ET, FS1]

Ingle Win Probability Calculator: Arizona State (51%)

The first “real” test of the college football season for both these programs, the Sun Devils and the Red Raiders both steamrolled their Week One opponents as a tune-up to Week Two’s Pac-12/Big 12 showdown. Now the contrasting styles of these two units will be in full display. Two teams who statistically were all over the map in their season openers, Arizona State got five rushing touchdowns from five different players in their win over Northern Arizona, which included both quarterback Manny Wilkins and featured tailback Demario Richard both punching one in. But that was nothing compared to Texas Tech having seventeen (yes, 17!) different players haul in at least one reception in the Red Raiders beatdown of Stephen F. Austin. What a crazy world college football can be. In order for Arizona State to bring this one home for the Pac-12, the Sun Devils must have a defensive gameplay for Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II, who was absurdly prolific against the Lumberjacks. Mahomes II not only threw for an astounding 483 yards and 4 touchdowns but also led the team in rushing with 57 yards on 10 carries and two scores. If Texas Tech was a better all-around team, the third-year player from Whitehouse, Texas, would likely be right in the midst of the Heisman conversation. Arizona State will need a big day from their defense to have a chance in this one.

Marcus Russell: Texas Tech

The_Coach: Texas Tech

DavidMays: Texas Tech

Robert Ingle: Arizona State

Brian J. Moore: Arizona State


Saturday, September 10th

Boise State (1-0) v. Washington State (0-1) [10:15 PM ET, ESPN2]

Ingle Win Probability Calculator: Boise State (56%)

Washington State’s Week One couldn’t have possibly gone worse (for the second straight season in a row) as once again, Mike Leach’s program invited an FCS opponent to town and couldn’t get the job done. There’s just something about this Cougars team and being ready for season openers. However, if you look at last season’s eye-opening loss to Portland State with any optimistic value, the defeat did seem to serve as a catalyst moment for a Washington State team that then won five of their next six games and ended up 9-4 on the season. All hope is not lost yet. A road trip over to Boise is a daunting task for any team already with a notch in the loss column but this one could be exceptionally difficult as the Broncos hit the ground running with some solid momentum in their season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. Quarterback Brett Rypien looked calm and confident against the Ragin’ Cajuns, completing 22 of his 33 pass attempts for 347 yards and 2 touchdowns. Boise State also added 158 yards on the ground, led by Alexander Mattison’s 61 yards on 11 carries. Boise State has won 14 straight home openers at Albertsons Stadium, where strangely enough, their last home-opener loss came to Washington State back in 2001.

Marcus Russell: Boise State

The_Coach: Boise State

DavidMays: Washington State

Robert Ingle: Boise State

Brian J. Moore: Washington State


Saturday, September 10th

San Diego State (1-0) v. California (1-0) [10:30 PM ET, CBSSN]

Ingle Win Probability Calculator: San Diego State (51%)

The Aztecs may be more well-known in the national spotlight for their standout basketball program but there is the strong belief around that beautiful campus in San Diego this year that this San Diego State football team has a chance to do something very, very special. That is, if they can somehow figure out that game against California. No college football schedule is ever easy with all the unforeseen circumstances that can arise during a season but the Aztecs do have some lofty, undefeated-level expectations on their mind for the 2016 campaign. This test against California is seemingly the only obstacle left standing in the way. The Golden Bears kicked off the college football season (what seems like forever ago) back on August 26th in Australia and Hawaii and since then, they’ve been preparing for nothing but the Aztecs. It sure should be interesting to see what this one has in store for us. With a San Diego State win, the Aztecs basically clear the path for a potential undefeated regular season and possibly another Mountain West Conference Championship, if someone else in the conference can control Boise State along the way. With a California win, the Golden Bears end the country’s second-longest active win streak (11 wins) and jump out to a 2-0 start heading into their showdown with a rejuvenated Texas team.

Marcus Russell: San Diego State

The_Coach: San Diego State

DavidMays: California

Robert Ingle: San Diego State

Brian J. Moore: San Diego State


Saturday, September 10th

#24 Oregon (1-0) v. Virginia (0-1) [10:30 PM, ESPN]

Ingle Win Probability Calculator: Oregon (65%)

While the Pac-12 had a pretty bad start to the season in Week One, Virginia’s opening week of football probably couldn’t have gone much worse itself, as the Cavaliers began the Bronco Mendenhall era in Charlottesville with 37-20 loss to Richmond. Not good news when a return trip to Eugene is coming up next on the slate. Sure, Oregon didn’t look exactly electric, especially on the defensive side of things in their 53-28 win over UC-Davis, yet the fact of the matter is that the Ducks are a severely stronger team in every facet of the game than Virginia is at the moment. This one could get ugly Cavaliers fans. The belief is there that Virginia will probably bring a bit more fight to the table in Week Two is definitely there as Mendenhall and different Virginia players have been vocal about the confidence and moxie of this Cavaliers team when their backs are against the wall. Simply put, expect more of a fight from the ACC cellar-dwellers in the one. However, at the end of the day, the high-octane style of the Ducks can quickly wear out teams who aren’t ready for the challenge.

Marcus Russell: Oregon

The_Coach: Oregon

DavidMays: Oregon

Robert Ingle: Oregon

Brian J. Moore: Oregon


Saturday, September 10th

Arizona (0-1) v. Grambling State (1-0) [10:45 PM ET, PAC12]

Ingle Win Probability Calculator: Arizona (76%)

When you see a team like Grambling State on a team like Arizona’s schedule, you know the road trip is simply one for breaking out the checkbook and sending a team from the SWAC back across the country with a solid payday in hand. It’s just business. The Wildcats however will likely need an easier bounce-back game like this one after their heart-breaking loss to BYU in Week One, where head coach Rich Rodriguez’s offense had two many stalled possessions, leaving the door open for a Cougars team who took advantage late. You live and you learn. There’s not too much jarring news that could make-or-break a match-up like this but the report coming out of Arizona camp this week that Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon is questionable for this game due to a knee injury, certainly doesn’t make things easier for a Wildcats offense that posted just 16 points in their season opener. After all, you do have to score the ball to win. Grambling State is a bit of a wildcard as they opened their season against USCAA team, Virginia University of Lynchburg, which ended in a 72-10 thrashing.

Marcus Russell: Arizona

The_Coach: Arizona

DavidMays: Arizona

Robert Ingle: Arizona

Brian J. Moore: Arizona