Pac-12: Week 7 Preview and Point Spreads

Last week’s action in the Pac-12 confirmed some things that we thought we knew. For instance, Oregon is for real, and it looks like they could hang with any team in the country (yes, even you, SEC squads). USC, meanwhile, is as vulnerable as they seemed after their loss the Stanford, “narrowly” beating Utah last Thursday night 38-28 (they had to overcome a two touchdown deficit in order to get a victory). And No. 18-ranked Stanford, despite a brutal loss to Washington two weeks ago, put up one of the most impressive performances of the season, defeating the high-octane Arizona Wildcats 54-48 in overtime. Meanwhile, Oregon State is the quietest undefeated team in the country after a 19-6 victory against Washington State. So now that the picture is a little clearer, let’s dive into the best games and point spreads in the Pac-12 in Week 7.

Game of the Week

No. 17-ranked Stanford (+8) at No. 7-ranked Notre Dame

A lot of people are penciling in Notre Dame here as a lock, but why? Their defense is very good, and they are 5-0, but It isn’t like Stanford is a bunch of slouches either. Notre Dame is second in the country in points against, and they have not trailed in a game at any point yet this season (perhaps the most impressive football statistic I’ve ever heard). They had impressive wins over both Michigan and Michigan State, two teams that were ranked at the time they played them, but now have virtually dropped off the face of the map – Michigan is somehow still ranked at 25, while Michigan State is out of the poll completely. Those victories were perhaps less impressive than they looked at the time.

Stanford showed last week in their wild shootout victory over Arizona that they can, at the very least, hang with any team, no matter how high-powered the offense. Both teams have stout running games and even stouter run defenses, so there’s no reason to think this won’t devolve into a ground-and-pound slugfest. I love Stanford at +8 for that reason. They may not pull the upset, but they will keep it reasonably close.

Utah (+8) at UCLA

Utah showed in their game against USC last week that they’ve got some serious pluck. On the opposite end of the spectrum, this once-promising UCLA squad showed last week against Cal that it’s still got some serious work to do. The Bruins lost that one by the embarrassing score of 43-17. However, Utah isn’t great on the road, and as good as their run defense is, UCLA should be able to pen up lanes for their power run game. Take UCLA at -8.

Oregon State (+2,5) at BYU

Oregon State is one of the most pleasant surprises in college football this season, racing out to an undefeated record. However, quarterback Sean Mannion hurt his knee last week against Washington State and will have to sit this one out. Per ESPN, before he was injured, Mannion was averaging 339.5 yards passing a game, second in the Pac-12 and sixth in the nation. He has thrown for 1,358 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions this season. He is sixth on Oregon State’s career list with 4,686 yards. However, BYU is facing quarterback issues of its own and expects to start senior quarterback Riley Nelson who has had an underwhelming season, tossing five touchdowns and five interceptions. This could turn into an ugly, turnover-filled game between two iffy quarterbacks, but I think Oregon State escapes with a victory. Take the upset and pick and keep riding the undefeated Oregon State Beavers to victory at +2.5.

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