BYU takes on undefeated Coastal Carolina in what may be the game of the year.
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Article by Kyle Kollman
Stanford at Washington (-11.5):
Washington has won 26 of their last 28 games outright as a home favorite since 2016.
The Cardinal have covered the spread just once in 7 games as a road underdog since 2017.
The home team has won the last 5 games in this series.
Stanford has covered the spread in 4 of their last 5 matchups with the Huskies. (Twice winning outright as an underdog).
Prediction: This will be the 91st meeting between Stanford and Washington, with the series tied at 43-43-4. The Cardinal will have to endure practicing on the road in Seattle all week after restrictions set by Santa Clara County. Last week Stanford took advantage of two Cal turnovers as well as two missed/blocked kicks. Stanford has the worst Pac-12 rushing offense in terms of yards per game this season. Not a good recipe for success when you may have to have success throwing the ball against the best secondary in the conference. The Cardinal also have the worst rushing defense in the conference allowing 229 yards per game. Stanford will have to play a similar game-plan that jumped Utah out to a 21-0 halftime lead at Husky Stadium last week. Utah was able to stymie the Husky running game. I don’t see that happening this week as Washington will lean on their offensive line and stable of tailbacks to control the game. Stanford is the most penalized team in the Pac-12. Washington has the best 3rd down defense in the conference, while Stanford has the worst. I believe the Huskies will force third and long situations against Stanford’s ineffective rushing attack. That will allow for Zion Tupuola-Fetui, who leads the country in sacks per game, to tee off and disrupt the game. Washington defends their home field again 31-20.
Oregon at Cal (+10.5):
Oregon is 20-3 straight up as a favorite since 2018.
The Ducks are 8-3 straight up after a loss since 2017.
Oregon has won 10 of the last 11 games against Cal, covering the spread in 8 of those matchups.
The Bears are just 6-12 straight up after a loss since 2017.
Prediction: Both teams need a bounce back win this week after losing games in the final minute to their local rivals. Oregon can tie the all-time series against Cal with a win this weekend. The Bears lead 41-40-2 despite domination from Oregon in the last decade. The Ducks still boast the highest scoring offense in the Pac-12 as well as the most yards per game. This week they will face Justin Wilcox’s defense which is second best in the conference in passing yards per game. If the Bears are going to have a puncher’s chance in this game, they are going to have force multiple turnovers. One flaw for Joe Moorhead, so far, is Oregon is tied for the most turnovers in the conference at 9. On the other side of the ball, Oregon has allowed 10 rushing touchdowns, the most in the Pac-12. The Ducks struggling defense should have some success against Cal and their offense which is worst in the Pac-12 in yards per play and yards per game. Chase Garbers has been sacked 11 times in just 3 games, which is tied for the most in the Pac-12. Oregon has surprisingly only generated 4 sacks in 4 games. This screams to me as a get right game for Andy Avalos and his defense. Oregon gets back on track 34-17.
Colorado at Arizona (+7):
Arizona is just 8-33 straight up as an underdog since 2015.
The Wildcats have won 7 of the last 8 games against Colorado.
The Buffs are just 5-11 on the road against the spread since 2017.
Prediction: U of A has lost 10 straight games, the longest losing streak in program history. In order to snap the streak, they will have to beat Colorado who is favored on the road for the first time in three years. Grant Gunnell will likely be a game time decision to play because of last week’s shoulder injury. If Gunnell can’t go Will Plummer, who struggled in his first college action last week, will make his first start. The question mark at Quarterback does not go well with the fact that Arizona’s offense has the worst rushing yards per carry average in the Pac-12. Additionally, Colorado has the 2nd best rushing defense in the conference in terms of yards per game. The Wildcats are tied for allowing the most rushing yards per game in the Pac- 12. The Buffs will ride Jarek Broussard and the mobile Sam Noyer who have combined for 7 rushing touchdowns. Reigning Walter Camp national defensive player of the week, Nate Landman, will be a game wrecker as well. Arizona has allowed 11 sacks in just 3 games. Colorado continues their undefeated season 27-20.
Oregon State at Utah (-11.0):
The Beavers are 7-0 ATS as road underdog the last two seasons.
Since last season the Beavers are 11-4 Against the spread as an underdog.
Utah has won the last 4 matchups against Oregon State.
The Utes are 26-3 straight up as home favorite since 2015.
Prediction: How do the Beavers respond after pulling the upset of the year in the Pac-12? How does Utah react to blowing a 21-point halftime lead? The questions will be answered in near freezing temperatures at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Last week on fourth and goal, Chance Nolan scored the game winning touchdown in his first collegiate snap. This week Nolan will get his first start at quarterback with Tristian Gebbia out. The Beavers will need another big game from the leading rusher in the Pac-12, Jermar Jefferson. The trouble is Utah is the stingiest rush defense in the conference, allowing just over 3 yards per carry and only 90 yards per game. On the other side of the ball the Utes have turned the ball over 9 times in just two games. If that trend continues, it could cost them a third straight game. The Beavers have picked off 5 passes, the most in the conference. I would expect Oregon State to stack the box to make Jake Bentley beat them. The lowest scoring offense in the Pac-12 belongs to the Utes. They will need their experienced offensive line to plow their way to victory. Utah gets their first win of the season 28-20.
UCLA at Arizona State (-3):
The Bruins have lost 21 of their last 25 road games since 2016.
ASU is just 3-9 ATS as favorites since 2018.
The home team has won the last 4 meetings in this series.
Prediction: The Sun Devils play their first game in four weeks since opening the Pac-12 season. ASU will be without two starters in the secondary after losing Jack Jones and Aashari Crosswell. Both were suspended indefinitely and Crosswell has declared for the NFL draft. Jones and Crosswell have a combined 13 career interceptions, needless to say it is a huge loss. Greg Dulcich, who leads the conference in receiving will look to continue his big season. It will be a tall task going against Chip Kelly’s offense which is the 2nd highest scoring in the Pac-12. The Bruins have excelled in the run game averaging the 2nd most rushing yards per game in the conference. The electric Demetric Felton is a player of the year candidate in the conference. The Bruins are tied for the most turnovers in the Pac-12. On the other side of the ball UCLA has been stout at stopping the run. ASU had a big game on the ground against USC so it will be interesting to see who wins that matchup. The Sun Devil receiving core had numerous drops in their first game. Johnny Wilson was targeted many times and hauled in zero receptions. Will ASU play rusty or be hungry after an unprecedented mid-season layoff? I fully expect Pac-12 after dark madness with long touchdowns and head scratching plays. ASU wins on the final drive in a game that they are outplayed in 31-30.
Washington State at USC (-13):
The Trojans are 11-19-1 against the spread as a favorite since 2017.
USC is 21-2 straight up as a home favorite since 2016.
The Cougars are 18-7 against the spread as road underdogs since 2013.
USC has won 10 of the last 12 games against WSU.
Prediction: Sunday night football in the Pac-12! Should be the highest scoring game of the weekend. The Trojan’s talented receiving core has produced the most passing yards per game in the Pac-12. Big mismatch as they go up against the Cougar secondary who have surrendered the highest yard per pass attempt in the conference. Jayden De Laura is PFF’s highest graded Freshman in the Pac-12. I expect Wazzu to be able to hang in and put up some points of their own. Max Borghi has returned to practice this week, but it still looks unlikely that he will play. In Borghi’s absence, Deon McIntosh has thrived with 239 yards rushing in his first two games of the season. There should be a ton of fireworks in this game. Wazzu covers the spread, but USC outscores the Cougars 38-28.
BYU at Coastal Carolina (+9.5):
BYU is 17-8 against the spread on the road since 2016.
Coastal Carolina is 8-13-1 ATS at home since 2017.
Prediction: Conway, South Carolina is the site of College GameDay and the most anticipated matchup of the weekend. BYU was able to schedule this game today due to Liberty University having to cancel. The Cougars have taken a ton of heat for not preemptively scheduling Washington last week, despite their “any team, any time and place” mantra. A decisive victory against another undefeated team could be a big boost in the rankings. Both schools look to continue their undefeated seasons and vault themselves closer to a New Year’s Six bowl. Zach Wilson and Grayson McCall are two of the top-rated Quarterbacks in the entire country. BYU and their explosive offense rank 5th in the country yards per game and 4th in the Nation in points per game. Tyler Allgeier and Dax Milne are game changers for the Cougars. Look out for Tarron Jackson, who has totaled 8.5 sacks on the season for the Chanticleers, the 4th most in the country. I always love to see small schools get national attention when they put together a special season. Coastal Carolina will be up a great fight as the underdogs in the biggest game in program history. In the end though BYU pulls it out 35-27.
San Jose State at Hawaii (+2.5):
The Spartans are 15-4 against the spread as favorites since 2015.
Hawaii is 11-18 against the spread as a home underdog dating back to 2011.
The Warriors have won 4 straight games against San Jose State.
Prediction: This game was will take place in Honolulu due to restrictions in Santa Clara County. San Jose State is off to their first 4-0 start since 1955 and are the last undefeated team in the Mountain West. Can they keep this streak going? Hawaii is coming off maybe the biggest upset of the season in the conference after knocking off Nevada last week. Todd Graham’s aggressive blitzing defense has forced the most turnovers in the conference at 10. The Warriors are also 2nd in passing yards allowed in the Mountain West. Nick Starkel has a quick release though and has only been sacked 3 times in 4 games. Spartans do just enough to pull out the victory 24-21.
Colorado State at San Diego State (-7.5):
San Diego State has won 7 of the last 8 games against Colorado State
The Aztecs are just 6-13 against the spread as home favorites since 2016.
Colorado State is just 1-9 straight up as a road underdog since 2017.
Prediction: Kurt Mattix has his defense locked in. The Aztecs are 3rd in the nation in yards per game allowed. Off a couple hard fought losses SDSU will be highly motivated to get back into the win column. This game will be won at the line of scrimmage as both teams love to run the football. It which should make for a low scoring quick game. San Diego State bounces back 24-14.
Fresno State at Nevada (-6.5):
Nevada is 61-17 straight up as a favorite since 2009.
Since 2017 Fresno State is 8-2 against the spread as a road underdog
Prediction: Should be an aerial assault in a matchup that features the top two passing offenses in the Mountain West. Caleb Strong to Romeo Dubbs continues to be one of the best connections in the entire country. Look for the Wolfpack to come out strong coming off their first loss of the season. I believe it will be their defense that is the difference in the game. Nevada gets a late stop to clinch the victory 31-27.
Wyoming at New Mexico (+17):
The Lobos are just 1-21 straight up as an underdog since 2018!
Wyoming is 5-2 ATS as an away favorite since 2-17.
Prediction: The woes continue for New Mexico who have lost 20 straight conference games! The Lobos were shutout by previously 0-4 Utah State who have an interim head coach. The Cowboys will ride Xazavian Valladay, the 2nd leading rusher in the Mountain West. He has the been the star once again for Craig Bohl’s squad. Wyoming wins 34-21.