Colorado vs Oregon
Winding down to the end of the season of course the talk of the nation is, “who’s in?” Everyone has their favorites and hopefuls. For Oregon a lot of pressure is put on their shoulders not just to be a contender for the school but to represent the conference, which most of the nation tends to believe is one of the weakest of the power 5 conferences.
It should be a cake walk for the Ducks against Colorado this weekend, but just ask Arizona State if it is easy to win when you’re at the top who fell victim to Oregon State last week; one of the three obstacles that Oregon as to face before they can be cemented into the playoff.
Oregon may be at the top of the conference regarding the offense lead of course by Heisman front-runner quarterback Marcus Mariota and freshman running back Royce Freeman, but the Ducks are at the bottom of the pack when it comes to defense allowing 456.7 yards per game. The Buffaloes are looking to build some confidence towards the end of the season; they hope to maximize any opportunity they have on offense coming into the Autzen Stadium averaging 461.1, they will just need to capitalize with touchdowns; not field goals.
USC vs UCLA
There’s nothing like two archrivals vying for the top spot in a division. When it is that type of scenario bragging rights isn’t the only thing that is at stake. USC is currently sitting at the top of the South division with Arizona State’s loss to Oregon State last week. But UCLA is just a half game behind them; along with Arizona and Arizona State.
Last year, the Bruins thumped the Trojans in the Coliseum 35-14. Brett Hundley 208 yards in the air and added 80 yards rushing with two touchdowns.
This year USC’s top receiver Nelson Agholor will look to duplicate his performance from last week against Cal where he had 16 receptions; 4-times as many as he got last season against the Bruins.
USC QB Cody Kessler has to throw more than 250 yards against a dismal UCLA secondary who have been up and down this year. USC will also need Javorius Allen has to have more than 25 touches both running and receiving.
Brett Hundley seems to be in rare form in the last few weeks; leading the Bruins offense with his arm and when needed by using his feet. But the concern for UCLA has been their defense since the Oregon game when they gave up 42 points to the Ducks. In the last four games the defense allowed 27 per games. In the PAC-12 shootouts are part of the norm, but you can’t hope on outscoring the opposition.
Arizona vs Utah
Coming off a big overtime win against Stanford last Utah is back at home with hopes to win the PAC-12 South title alive against Arizona. The last time Utah played in Salt Lake shock waves reverberated through the state when receive4r Kaelin Clay left the football at the one yard line, instead of taking it with him as he crossed the goal line.
Two weeks have past; it was a lesson learned now the Utes plan to finish the season strong, and it starts with a win against the Wildcats. But it won’t be easy, as the ‘Cats are also trying to claw their way back to the top of the division. If it wasn’t for a couple of miscues with the security of the football by Washington last weekend; Arizona could be easily out of contention. But kicker Casey Skowron was able to kick Arizona back on track.
Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon cannot turn the ball over like he did against Washington. The Utes will capitalize. He will be under enough pressure against the top defense in sacks in the PAC-12 conference with 47 sacks on the season.
Arizona is guaranteed to try to contain Utah running back Devontae Booker, which means Travis Wilson have to do more than just manage the game. He will have to be effective passing the ball; and the Utes will have to stay in 3rd and short or 3rd and manageable situations because they only convert38 percent of their 3rd down conversions; as Arizona’s defense gives up only 41 percent, which ranked 11th in the conference. So Utah needs to take advantage.
Washington State vs Arizona State
The Sun Devils are on a rollercoaster of emotions from week to week. Arizona State went from one of the biggest wins in school history when they defeated Notre Dame and their playoff hopes alive and well to the most disappointing defeat last weekend against Oregon State, and out of the playoff conversation.
The Sun Devils may be down but they are not out. They are still in arms reach of back to back South Division titles. With two wins; this week against WASU and a win against Arizona with a UCLA loss, they will be in Santa Clara (location of PAC-12 Championship game) against Oregon.
Washington State may give Arizona State Head Coach Todd Graham a lot to worry about. They ended their four game losing skid with a 39-32 win over the Beavers in their last game two weeks ago. Freshman Luke Falk threw for 471 yards and five touchdowns in his first career start. Falk replaced Connor Halliday the nation’s leading passer after he broke his leg early in the game against USC.
Senior receiver Vince Mayle, who was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award will be continue to be a security blanket for the young quarterback. Mayle ranks fourth in nation in receptions and fifth in yards with 9 touchdowns.