Pac-12 Week 8 Preview

The Oregon Ducks started off the week in the Pac-12 by rolling over Arizona State 43-21 last night. The Ducks high-powered attack was too much to handle for the Sun Devils, who allowed all 43 points in the first half. Oregon certainly set the tone for another exciting week in the conference, so who can keep up? We will see what other teams can rise to the occasion this week. Here are a few key matchups for week eight in the Pac-12 and my point spread picks.

#20 Stanford 4-2 at California 3-4

Can the Bears corral Stanford's running game?

Some would say this rivalry game doesn’t have as much meaning this year, with the game taking place in week eight instead of at the end of the season, but don’t tell these teams that. To them, the passion of the rivalry will always be strong and you can be sure each team will come out fighting like it’s a do-or-die game to go to a bowl.

The Cardinal, who are 0-2 on the road this season, will travel to Berkeley, coming off a heartbreaking road loss to Notre Dame that ended in controversy. Now they have to regroup and find a way to get back into the conference title race. Stepfan Taylor, who was stopped one yard short of the goalline in last week’s loss, will certainly be the focal point of Stanford’s offense again as it goes for its third straight win over Cal. After playing some tough run defenses in recent weeks, the Cardinal’s rushing ranking has dipped to 78th in the country, but don’t let that number fool you. They still possess one of the most effective run games in the nation.

The Golden Bears bring the 38th ranked rush offense to this matchup and are currently scoring more points per game (albeit slightly) than the Cardinal. Turnovers have been an issue this year for the Bears, with Zach Maynard throwing seven interceptions in the first seven games, but Cal should be able to protect the ball better at home. I like the Golden Bears to pull the upset this week and defeat a reeling Stanford team and cover the +2.5 spread.

Colorado 1-5 at #10 USC 5-1

Do the Buffaloes have a realistic shot at beating the Trojans on the road? Of course not, but can they cover the spread +40.5 spread, certainly. There’s not too much to say about this game other than, pretty much everyone knows USC will take care of business at home, but for them to cover 40 points, even against Colorado, seems pretty ridiculous. The Trojans haven’t spanked a team that badly all season and I’m sure that once they are up by 20 or 30, Lane Kiffin will take his foot off the gas. Look for USC to obviously improve to 6-1, but expect Colorado to cover the massive spread.

Utah 2-4 at #8 Oregon State 5-0

Vaz was all smiles after last week's performance in Provo

With its rival already improving to 7-0, it’s up to this season’s surprise team, Oregon State, to keep pace in the Pac-12 and in the polls. The Beavers are off to their best start in decades and with a home game against a struggling Utes team; don’t expect them to put up their first loss today.
The Beavs lost starting quarterback Sean Mannion last week, but backup Cody Vaz proved he was more than capable of getting the team by as he tore into what was a highly-touted BYU Cougar defense. Expect more of the same from Vaz and Co. this week and OSU puts plenty of points on the scoreboard.

Unfortunately, Utah is supremely outmatched on both sides of the ball in this one. They will bring the 117th ranked offense into Corvallis to matchup against 25th ranked defense in points allowed. It looks like Oregon State should easily cover -10 points at home so take the Beavers in this one.

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