Stanford vs Oregon
This is a great chance for Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan to make his mark if he can lead the Cardinal to another upset win this weekend against Oregon. Hogan has not lost to Oregon as a starter. Stanford has had Oregon’s number the last two years. On the flip side Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has a chance to redeem himself and stake his claim as a true leader and a legit Heisman candidate if he can get the monkey off his back and win against Stanford.
A win against Stanford this weekend will get Oregon over the hump and put them in the driver seat, and give them a lot of momentum going into Salt Lake City against Utah next week. If they can pull out wins these next two games they will have a clear shot of making it into the College Playoff.
First things first, the Cardinal has one of the top defenses in the nation; 2nd in points allowed, but haven’t been consistent for four quarters. Last minute drive given up to USC to allow eventual game winning field goal; and a last minute drive giving up a game winning touchdown to Notre Dame. Both drives orchestrated by very good quarterbacks; Cody Kessler of USC and Everett Golson of Notre Dame. They will have to play a complete game Oregon like they did against Sean Mannion of Oregon State or they will lose
Oregon has to have their three headed monster come to life again; Mariota has to pass efficiently and occasionally use his feet to get out of trouble; running back Royce Freeman has to average 4 to 5 yards a carry and Byron Marshall has to make big plays in the passing game and spare Freeman accordingly.
Utah vs Arizona State
There a lot of one loss teams in the rankings at this point in time, more so than past years around the same point of the college football season. It is no secret that the SEC gets most of the notoriety because of all the success they have gotten in the last few years. But there are a few teams out west in the PAC-12 that want to make their case. In reality they probably have a few years to be a nationally recognized powerhouse like their conference competitor Oregon; Utah and Arizona State are no push overs. Their records respectively are legit.
Both Utah and Arizona State are 6-1 and like the SEC West, who have Auburn and Ole Miss playing each other this weekend; the PAC-12 South have teams fighting to get to the No. 1 sport in the division.
Arizona State has been on a roll since that blowout loss to UCLA winning three straight (USC, Stanford and Washington). Kelly is back under center and ready to lead the Sun Devils to back to back South Division titles. But there is an up and coming team in Utah that have other things in mind and riding high off a big win last week against USC.
Arizona vs UCLA
Anu Solomon has shown that he is a substantial quarterback; he has grown up right before our eyes leading the Wildcats to a 6-1 record and contention for a PAC-12 South division title. But they have to get by a 5-2 UCLA that is looking to get a win at home in the conference where they are 0-2. UCLA has lost two straight at home but two straight wins on the road.
Brett Hundley has had great success against the Wildcats as a starter; he has thrown 5 touchdowns completing over 70 percent of his passes in the two victories over the Wildcats.
The Bruins can’t have the same poor defensive performance that they had last week against Colorado, or Arizona will give them their 3rd straight loss at home. The Bruins have more than just Solomon to contend with when they are on defense. The Wildcats have a lot more fire power than the Buffaloes. UCLA needs a defensive game like they had against Arizona State where they contained the running attack and were physical with the receivers. If the Bruins try to isolate on just trying stop Solomon; Arizona Head Coach Rich Rodriquez has other playmakers that can step up and fill the void; like running backs Nick Wilson and Terris Jones-Grisby who both average close to 6 yards per carry. That burden will fall on the shoulders for of UCLA linebacker Myles Jack.
Jack has to not only keep the defense in line to stop the Wildcats, but on the other side when the Bruins are on offense has to spare running back Paul Perkins in the running game.
There shouldn’t be any blow wins if these teams play up to their individual potential, but there have been a few games this season that have not lived up to their billing. These should be some hard fought classics in the PAC-12.