Home » Blog » Pac-12: Week 12 Preview and Predictions

Pac-12: Week 12 Preview and Predictions

It’s difficult to overstate just how great a weekend of football it’s going to be in the Pac-12 this week. We’ve got Oregon going against stingy Stanford, USC taking on their crosstown rivals (and maybe Pac-12 championship spot-stealers) UCLA and Cal at Oregon State. Every team has got something serious to prove: Oregon must make a strong final push through the end of the season to emphatically put itself in the title game, while USC has its sights set on the Rose Bowl. Oregon State and UCLA, two of the conference’s biggest surprises this season, if not two of the biggest surprises in all of college football, should be competing in a BCS bowl themselves at season’s end.

It’s the most important week yet in what has been a momentous season for the Pac-12 conference. Let’s take a look at some of the weekend’s biggest marquee matches and make some predictions.

Game of the Weekend

No. 13-ranked Stanford at No. 2-ranked Oregon

You can’t really oversell how great this game is going to be. It’s the classic offense vs. defense slugfest. Stanford has a big, physical defense that could slow down Oregon’s prolific offense, though anything less than catastrophic injuries to the Ducks’ offensive stars won’t stop their massive output of points. Still, Stanford has held opponents to 320.7 yards per game, and leading the country in run defense by only allowing an average of 58.8 yards on the ground per match. But there isn’t anything out there like this Ducks spread attack.

“They have great athletes, they have a great scheme in all three phases, they know how to adjust those schemes based on what you’re doing, which to me is the biggest key,” Shaw said. “You don’t see them stopped for long. If you’re doing something well that can hold them down, they’re going to make a tweak and make you pay for it.”

Oregon’s much maligned defense has given up a lot of yards on the ground this season, though has taken the ball away 29 times, one short of the nation-leading mark. That high number can be attributed to their opponents constantly playing from behind, and thus throwing the ball like crazy to catch up to the Ducks. Problem is, no one can really catch up to the Ducks. I don’t think Stanford is cut out for the job either, though they will keep it uncomfortable for Oregon. I predict Oregon wins by two touchdowns, which for them is a squeaker. Stanford’s defense is just too strong and too fast to allow for anything more than that. A loss to Oregon by two touchdowns is a pretty hollow moral victory, but it’s a moral victory nonetheless.

No. 18-ranked USC at No. 17-ranked UCLA

USC has played well below expectations this season, while UCLA has exceeded them. This is going to be a nailbiter of a match that could truly go either way.

“We’re not pleased. We’ve screwed a couple of games up, obviously. None of us wanted to be where our win-loss record is,” Kiffin said. “At the same time, you want to be alive. A lot of people in the country are not playing for the ability to win their conference, and we are fortunately. We’re in a one-game playoff for the South, and then we’ll have another game for the conference championship. From that perspective, it’s a good place to be in and a lot to play for.”

USC embarrassed the Bruins 50-0 at the end of last season, though UCLA’s defense is much-improved from last year’s squad. The Bruins are ranked fourth nationally in sacks, and need to keep up that kind of pressure if they want to win against this dynamic USC squad. It’s going to be a close one, but I think the Bruins win with a solid run-pass balance and winning the turnover margin. Their four game winning streak extends to five here against this woefully underperforming Trojans team.

  • 100%