Last week, the PAC-12 had one of the most memorable weekends in its history, complete with breathtaking upset victories and surprising upset losses to seemingly easy teams. This weekend, while Stanford and USC go head-to-head in one of Week 3’s marquee matchups (which you can preview here), the rest of the PAC-12 still has non-conference opponents to take care of before they begin taking each other on. Some will be feasting on cupcakes, while others could find themselves in a very tight bind.
To make sense of it all, we’re playing Odds Makers with the PAC-12 teams and ranking them by how difficult their upcoming games will be. The higher the percentage, the greater the chance of victory. Enjoy.
Oregon vs. Tennessee Tech – Odds: 100%
Mariota, Barner, DAT. What more needs to be said? The Ducks are a juggernaut and they are going up against an FCS team. They will blow away Tennessee Tech, and hopefully the new selection committee playoff system will bring an end to these ridiculously lopsided matchups.
Arizona vs. South Carolina St. – Odds: 99%
Another FCS foe here, but Arizona has a different mentality going into this game. After toppling Oklahoma State, Arizona is now ranked and wants to stay that way for quite a while. To do so, it will be aiming for a 25+ point blowout. Arizona needs to prove that it can beat an overmatched opponent by a wide margin, something it couldn’t do against Toledo in Week 1. Now it has another chance.
Washington vs. Portland St. – Odds: 95%
After getting thrashed by LSU, Steve Sarkisian will be able to let his boys take their frustrations out on an FCS team. The Huskies are ranked 117th in total offense, and that needs to change. Portland State will score some points in thanks to Washington’s weak rushing defense, but Keith Price will run all over the Vikings defense and finally get out of the slump he’s been in to start out the season.
UCLA vs. Houston – Odds: 85%
Surprise, everyone. UCLA has gone from a complete joke to a team with an early Heisman candidate and the possibility of having a 10-0 record when it comes time to play USC. After their upset over Nebraska, the Bruins and their new coach Jim Mora are hoping to bring brighter days to Westwood. Johnathan Franklin has started off the season with two 200+ rushing yard performances, and he should bag another one against Houston. The Bruins might be susceptible to a trap loss if they are not careful, so let’s see what Mora can do to calm his team down.
Washington State vs. UNLV – Odds: 75%
Mike Leach’s “Air Raid” offense has had some kinks to work through in the first two games, but this may be the game where everything starts to come together. Starting QB Jeff Tuel is nursing a knee injury, but the Cougars have an able backup in Connor Halliday, and he looks ready to jump at this opportunity. Combine that with UNLV’s 4-11 record against PAC-12 teams, and you have a chance for the long-suffering fans in Pullman to smile. Leach has this team going places.
Arizona State vs. Missouri – Odds: 51%
This is by far the most interesting of the PAC-12 games outside of the Trojans/Cardinal. After an eyebrow-raising victory over Illinois, the Sun Devils are about to get a big test against a Missouri team that just fell short in their SEC debut. ASU will be turning to its rising WR Chris Coyle, who caught two touchdowns and racked up 131 receiving yards last week. But Missouri brings a tough defensive line to this matchup, and ASU’s passing game will be placed under a great deal of pressure. The odds are set at 51% because Arizona State does have a slight edge, but Mizzou could easily expose them if the Sun Devils are not careful with turnover prevention and can’t keep up with the Tigers no-huddle spread offense. Like UCLA last week, Arizona State will be facing its first big test under a new coaching regime, and it could either bring new hope or send it back to the drawing board.
Utah vs. BYU – Odds: 43%
This has NOT been a good week for the Utes. After losing to Utah State in overtime last week, coach Kyle Whittingham has announced that Jordan Wynn was retiring after his shoulder injury. Now, with the big Holy War rivalry game looming, the Utes must break in a new QB against a BYU defense with a tough linebacker corp. However, not all is lost in Salt Lake City. The Utes have a passing defense ranked in the top 15, and they will need it against the Cougars’ Riley Nelson, who has averaged 265 passing yards in the first two games. The odds favor BYU, but if Utah can get over this difficult week and focus on its strengths, it could come out with a victory over its biggest rival.
Cal vs. Ohio State – Odds: 33%
Next, we have the Bears, who will be playing in the Horseshoe against Urban Meyer and his Buckeyes. Depending on how pumped up the Buckeyes are, this one could get ugly fast, or it can be a nail-biter The Bears have a plethora of great receivers, including highly prized recruit Bryce Treggs and junior Keenan Allen, who has proven to be a triple threat on the run, pass, and punt return. However, Ohio State has a solid front seven that has only allowed an average of 2.3 yards per carry. The Buckeyes also have a hot QB in Braxton Miller, who has thrown for 664 yards in the first two games. An upset is possible, but unlikely. Ohio State has the superior team and should pull away in the second half.
Colorado vs. Fresno State – Odds 5%
Colorado has been a disappointment since arriving in the PAC-12, and that should continue against the Bulldogs. The Buffaloes have just come off losses to Sacramento State and Colorado State, and they look very vulnerable. Meanwhile, Fresno State RB Robbie Rouse is just 79 yards away from breaking the school’s all-time rushing record, so a huge batch of carries are expected from him. Fresno State has all the cards in this matchup, and it won’t be a pretty game.
Check out the USC-Stanford preview HERE.