Gold: Previews and predictions for Week 10 in the Pac-12
USC’s collapse — combined with Washington’ month-long malaise — has taken the shine off what was shaping up to be a potentially epic top-10 matchup.
In a Week 10 dominated by lopsided showdowns, it might just fall to UCLA at Arizona to provide some fireworks.
Here are my final thoughts and predictions for Week 10 of the Pac-12 slate…
No. 18 Utah vs. Arizona State, 11 a.m., Pac-12 Network
Talk about a get-right game. After a 35-6 home loss to Oregon that will go down as one of the Utes’ worst in recent memory, they need an opponent like Arizona State to get some of their mojo back.
Problem is, ASU is playing pretty darn well under Kenny Dillingham and is coming off a 38-27 win over Washington State.
The Utes are a better team than the Sun Devils — drastically better when fully healthy — but ASU is playing with a big chip. This one will be interesting.
Prediction: Utah 20, Arizona State 17
No. 6 Oregon vs. Cal, 2:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network
The Bears put up 49 points on USC last week behind a command performance from running back Jaydn Ott.
Two problems. First, they allowed 50 points. That tends to hurt when you only score 49. Secondly, Ott got banged up against the Trojans and exited early, finishing with 153 rushing yards after he had 131 in the first quarter alone.
But this isn’t so much about Cal as it is about Oregon, which has been ruthless against inferior Pac-12 opponents this year, and is coming off arguably its best game of the year, a 35-6 thrashing of Utah.
Prediction: Oregon 52, Cal 21
No. 20 USC vs. No. 5 Washington, 4:30 p.m., ABC
Oh, what could have been. The Huskies have certainly held up their end of the bargain, even if they’ve been a little light in the trigger the past month against teams they should’ve blown out. But you can’t question a 5th-ranked, undefeated team all that much, can you? One thing that is evident, Washington does miss Jalen McMillan plenty, even if Rome Odunze and Ja’Lynn Polk have picked up the slack.
USC, on the other hand, has turned this showdown from Game of the Year potential to a nice Saturday matchup. The Trojans are still reeling, even if a win over Cal last Saturday got them back in the win column. Allowing 49 points to the Bears doesn’t calm the nerves all that much.
The Trojans’ game of musical chairs on both sides of the line of scrimmage continues to be worrisome. If you haven’t found the right combo 9 weeks into your season, is there a right combo?
If anything, this game should a tremendous battle between Penix and Caleb Williams.
Prediction: Washington 55, USC 34
Washington State vs. Stanford, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
This matchup is suddenly a lot closer than it appeared a month ago. Wazzu’s 4-0 start has dissipated into thin air after a 4th-straight loss, although Cameron Ward has gotten back into the swing of things. They’ll need him to bring his A-game, which is surprising given Stanford’s start.
It’s not as if the Cardinal are a finished product in Troy Taylor’s first year, but they played Washington mighty tough last week. Put it this way: The Cougars better not have their guards down.
Prediction: Washington State 23, Stanford 17
Colorado vs. No. 16 Oregon State, 7 p.m., ESPN
The Buffaloes are in a perfectly formed back slide, but the Beavers are in a bit of a bog themselves. Oregon State’s loss to Arizona put a major crimp in their Pac-12 title aspirations, not to mention their faint Playoff hopes. Rebounding with a big win over Colorado might not hold the cache it did after the first month of the season, but it would restore their confidence.
The Buffaloes need a bit of a spirit boost, as well, after falling to 4-4 last week in a 12-point loss to UCLA. Colorado’s offensive line and offensive scheme haven’t done Shedeur Sanders any favors in recent weeks, so priority No. 1 is just keeping him healthy and upright.
Prediction: Oregon State 37, Colorado 20
Arizona vs. No. 19 UCLA, 7:30 p.m., FS1
The real game of the week, taking place between teams actually on the rise. The hype may be in Seattle, but it should be in Tucson, where Jedd Fisch’s resurrection has officially taken hold.
Coming up just short against USC is a positive step, and beating down a down Washington State squad was a big sign, but a win over a formerly 1-win Oregon State team that was itself coming off a big win over UCLA? That’s the mark of a program not to be trifled with.
Problem is, those very Bruins are back after back-to-back big wins over Colorado and Stanford, and they’re bringing their terrific defense with them.
What a showdown this should be.
Prediction: UCLA 24, Arizona 23