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Pac-12: Week 8 Preview and Point Spreads

We already have one game in the books for the Pac-12, a typical Thursday night Oregon beat down of an up and coming Arizona State squad. Oregon, despite falling to an early deficit, was able to win easily behind the Heisman-caliber performance of Kenjon Barner, who rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns. “We just came out and did what we have to do,” said Barner after the game. “We came out and executed well. We made big plays, plays that we’re supposed to make.”

Somehow, Oregon was only favored by eight points in this game. They continue to be stupidly undervalued on the road; has anyone SEEN this team play? They don’t get into close games with the Pac-12. It just doesn’t happen. They blow them out, every time. If you bet that eight point spread, you’re a happy camper, and were a happy camper very early on in this one: the Ducks ended up winning by 23 points, and that’s despite two garbage-time Sun Devils touchdowns. Anyway, let’s take a look at some of the other marquee match-ups in the Pac-12 this week.

Washington (+7.5) at Arizona

This is going to be a classic matchup of strength versus strength. Arizona has one of the best offenses in the country, averaging 550 total yards of offense per game and nearly 370 yards of passing offense per game. The Huskies, meanwhile, have one of the stoutest pass defenses in college football, ranked 12th in the nation. They virtually shut down Heisman candidate Matt Barkley last weekend, holding him to just 167 yards through the air. This will be a close game, if not an outright Washington upset. Take the Huskies at +7.5. That is the best line of the weekend in the Pac-12, bar none.

Stanford (-2) at Cal

Stanford feels pretty undervalued in this one. They’re coming off a brutal loss to Notre Dame in the mud and rain last weekend, and may experience a bit of an emotional letdown in this one. Still, they’re the far superior team to Cal, and should be able to bulldoze them with their running game. I think Cal keeps it uncomfortable for Stanford throughout, but Stanford will win by a field goal or touchdown. Take Stanford at -2.

Utah (+10.5) at Oregon State

Oregon State is one of the greatest surprises in college football this year, and they faced perhaps their stiffest test of the season thus far last week and passed with flying colors. They faced a feisty BYU squad on the road, down their starting quarterback (Sean Mannion, lost to injury). His replacement, Cody Vaz, had a hell of a game, throwing for 332 yards and three touchdowns. “I was actually pretty steady,” Vaz said after the game. “I wasn’t nervous. I was just anxious. I was actually kind of [ticked] off. I just wanted to get out and play. I was tired of just sitting around and waiting for the game to get going. I wanted to be out there. ” He certainly showed that he can keep this Beavers squad on the right track in the absence of their starting QB, and he should pick up another victory against Utah.

This week, he told reporters how comfortable he’s feeling in his new role. “I’d rather have a whole week to prepare and know I’m the starter,” he said. “Being a backup is a tough situation. You’re always on edge the whole game wondering if you’ll go in. Having a week to prepare and knowing you are going to be the starter, I’d much rather have it that way.”

Look out, Utah. I love the Beavers to keep their unbeaten streak alive in this one and easily cover the spread.

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