Pac-12 football previews and predictions: week 11
The home stretch has arrived and the battle for the conference title continues to escalate.
UCLA football (5-4, 3-3 Pac-12) is mathematically still in the race for the Pac-12 South, but probably not for long. Even with a potential win over Colorado on Saturday, the Bruins are crossing their fingers for other results in the conference and the division.
The Utah No.24 will look to maintain his lead in the South, facing a team from Arizona who have just won their first game of the season. Arizona State will head to the Pacific Northwest to take on chaotic Washington, while Oregon State has a chance to recover from a loss to a faltering Stanford team and the Oregon No.3 will look to beat Washington State to stay in the college football playoff photo. .
USC and Cal – the first team to concede a loss to Arizona in more than two years – have had their game postponed to December 4 due to COVID-19 concerns on the Golden Bears’ side.
The pool of real contenders has shrunk, but there is still plenty left in the air before the final weeks in the West.
Here are the picks of all the Bruins for each of the contests, including a Pac-12 team in Week 11:
Arizona (1-8, 1-5) vs. 24 Utah (6-3, 5-1)
Saturday, 11 a.m. PT
Line: Utah, -24 *
The Wildcats’ first win of the season should be marked with a major asterisk, given Cal was down 20 players due to COVID. They’re going to take whatever they get, and that’s fine, but don’t confuse it with any flip or momentum. While Cal wasn’t shorthanded, the Golden Bears were in the bottom three in conference and Arizona beat them 10-3. Staying anywhere in the same stratosphere as Utah this weekend is going to take a lot more than 10 points, given that the Utes have scored 44 and 52 in their last two games. Coach Kyle Whittingham has been scouting for blood in recent weeks, and don’t expect it to end now that he’s facing the worst Pac-12 team.
Against spread: Utah
Oregon State (5-4, 3-3) vs. Stanford (3-6, 2-5)
Saturday, 2:30 p.m. PT
Line: State of Oregon, -12.5 *
Just a few weeks ago, it looked like the Beavers could be a serious contender in the North. Even after a surprise loss to Washington State, they came back and beat Utah, now the undisputed No.1 team in the South. But over the past two weeks, Oregon State has lost to Cal and Colorado, arguably the second and third worst teams in the conference. Stanford is part of the same company, having just blown up its doors by Utah to make it a four-game losing streak for the Cardinal. The combination of Oregon State’s recent trend to downplay competition and Stanford’s track record of playing at least close – outside of the Utah game, of course – means this one could ultimately go either way. sense. In seven Pac-12 games, the Cardinal has won two, lost four of 11 or fewer points, and lost just once by three scores. Stanford is in his third quarterback of the year and is making his very first college start at Ari Patu. So the Cardinal is unlikely to win a victory, but Patu will give them a better chance of staying there than Jack West might have had.
Straight: State of Oregon
Against the spread: Stanford
Washington (4-5, 3-3) vs. Arizona State (6-3, 4-2)
Saturday, 4 p.m. PT
Line: Arizona State, -5.5 *
The Sun Devils beat a shorthanded USC team last week to recover from back-to-back losses to Utah and Washington State. The Huskies lost to first-place Oregon after beating Arizona and Stanford back-to-back before this game. None of Washington’s wins against lower-level teams has been very convincing, however, staying tight with a college football playoff contender was probably more impressive. After the Huskies’ loss to Michigan in early September, their other four losses averaged 6.5 points, and the only team to beat them by more than one touchdown was the No.3 Ducks. Arizona State may have just gotten away with an easy win over the bipolar USC, but Washington has proven to be much more capable of keeping things tight even when it’s not up for grabs.
Straight: State of Arizona
Against the spread: Washington
UCLA (5-4, 3-3) vs. Colorado (3-6, 2-4)
Saturday, 6 p.m. PT
Line: UCLA, -17 *
Even if Bruin fans want to scream about the falling sky, the home stretch probably presents them with the easiest path possible to an end-of-season winning streak. The first stepping stone on this path are the Buffaloes, who are actually not as easy to dismiss as they were a few weeks ago. That says a lot that, even after scoring 29 and 37 points in the past two weeks, Colorado’s offense still ranks 119th in the nation with 19.1 points per game. The UCLA defense is inclined to let teams achieve their best offensive performances of the season, so Colorado snapped 24 after doing it just once in their first seven FBS contests is almost a certainty. It looks like the Bruins will get quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson back, so he should be able to lead UCLA to enough points on the other side of the ball to break away with the win.
To top: UCLA
Against the spread: Colorado
Oregon No.3 (8-1, 5-1) v Washington State (5-4, 4-2)
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. PT
Line: Oregon, -14 *
This game looks like another great opportunity for the Ducks to fight for victory over an inferior opponent and hold onto their college football playoff spot amid further chaos across the country. Oregon, despite playing in the worst Power Five conference this season, only beat an FBS opponent by more than 10 points twice all year, and those were against Colorado and the ‘Arizona. All the other mediocre teams that have come face to face with the Ducks have hung around and made it into a contest, and the Cougars seem to be very capable of it. Washington State have won four straight Pac-12 games since the start of October, and they even managed to upset BYU by two points during that streak. Under an interim coach, the Cougars haven’t slowed down in the slightest, so even on the road, they’ll keep things tight before the Ducks end up late.
Against the spread: Washington State
* Odds via SI Sportsbook
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