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Pac-12: Week 11 Preview and Predictions

After Oregon’s 62-point extravaganza against USC, the Pac-12 is quickly becoming a race to see who will finish second. However, the conference is still home to some of the most entertaining football in the country. Teams like Arizona, Oregon State, Arizona State and Stanford, though perhaps not in the national title hunt, are still wildly entertaining and talented football teams. Oregon and USC may have been a shootout for the ages, but the game of the week in the Pac-12 this weekend is going to be the exact opposite. Oregon State and Stanford promises to be as hard-hitting a match as you’re likely to see in college football this weekend, and as well-executed a game, too.

We’ve got some great matches on the docket in Week 11 of Pac-12 play, so let’s take a closer look at the previews and point spreads.

Game of the Week

No. 11-Ranked Oregon State at No. 14-ranked Stanford

Both of these teams play with a similar ground-and-pound philosophy, and I would expect this one to be one of the hardest-hitting slugfests of the season thus far. Here’s a mind-blowing stat: since losing to Notre Dame, Stanford has allowed -16 rushing yards in three games. They also have 17 sacks in the last two weeks, and lead the entire nation in that statistical category. Both teams will be starting inexperienced quarterbacks, Cody Vaz for the Beavers and Kevin Hogan for Stanford, who recently took over starting duties. Sean Mannion, the starter at the beginning of the season for the Beavers, got injuried, and returned against Washington only to throw four interceptions. He may have been rushed back from injury, but it’s Vaz’s job to lose now.

“We’ve had an unusual situation in that Sean got hurt and that Cody Vaz, who I’ve always thought competed well to be the starter here, got an opportunity here and took of advantage it,” Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. “It’s always a difficult thing to choose between two good players.”

Kevin Hogan took over for Stanford last week against Colorado, though his sample size and quality of defensive opponent thus far has been smaller and weaker than Vaz’s. He threw for 184 yards and two touchdowns last week, but that was against Colorado. This Beavers team will be a much stiffer test.

“We knew we were going to give Josh the first two series and give Kevin the next two series and see where we went from there,” Shaw said. “And Kevin took the ball and ran with it.”

This game will come down to less than a touchdown no matter what, but I think Stanford takes it. They’ve shown that they are a formidable force at home, upsetting USC earlier this season, and I think the hostile environment proves too much for the Beavers. Either way, however, this is going to be one heck of a game.

Arizona State at No. 19-Ranked USC

There’s no way you can’t consider USC one of the biggest busts of the college football season. They are now 6-3, and have come close to losing several more games than that. Despite all their talent, they just haven’t been able to put the pieces together into a coherent whole. That all culminated last weekend in a loss to Oregon in which USC just couldn’t keep up with the Ducks’ prolific scoring.

“To sum it up, it was a combination of two things — they did a great job and we didn’t,” coach Lane Kiffin said. “That’s how you end up with world breaking numbers like we had so we’ve moved on to the next game and getting ready for Arizona State.”

Arizona State, too, is dealing with disappointments; they’re 5-4, but have lost three consecutive games in which they have given up 1,364 yards. All in all, I like USC to win by two touchdowns here.

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