Pac 12 Predictions: Week 8
The second half of the 2012 football season begins this week, and what it means for certain teams depends on how well they performed during the earliest portion of the slate. The elite will view the final six games as an opportunity to close the door on competitors and jockey for BCS bowl position. For first half underachievers, the home stretch appears as a slight opening that allows another six attempts to gain bowl eligibility.
We find both visions in the Pac 12, as the eighth week features several contests pitting desperate have-nots against those that have. No. 3 Oregon ran its season record to 7-0 on Thursday night, while sending Arizona State to its second loss. Sparky’s home field disaster opens the door for another to claim the top position in the Pac 12 South and move one step closer to the conference championship game.
No. 20 Stanford (4-2) vs Cal (3-4)
The Big Game appears earlier in the schedule this year, but is still just as important for the Cardinal and Bears. It’s the 115th edition of the rivalry, with more than bragging rights up for grabs. Stanford is trying to keep pace in the Pac 12 North, finding itself two games behind the leaders. A third loss would be more difficult to overcome, and potentially force the Cardinal out of the Rose Bowl picture. Cal is a winner of two straight, and is just one victory away from .500. Stanford represents just one of three ranked teams remaining on the Bears schedule, with the team needing to win 3 of the final five to become bowl eligible.
All-Time Series: Stanford leads 57-46-11
Line: Cal +2.5
Prediction: Stanford 24, Cal 21
Colorado (1-5) vs No. 10 USC (5-1)
It’s unrealistic to believe Colorado will win 5 of its last six games to become bowl eligible, especially as it enters a stretch where it will play three ranked teams in the next three games. David first comes to Los Angeles, with hopes to slay Goliath, but he will find few rocks available for his sling. The numbers steer towards a blowout, and a Southern California leap to the top of the Pac 12 South. The Buffs also present USC with an opportunity for style points, which the Trojans may need to secure their position in the BCS top-10.
All-Time Series: USC leads 6-0
Line: USC -41
Prediction: USC 45, Colorado 19
Washington (3-3) vs Arizona (3-3)
Both the Huskies and Wildcats were ranked at some point during the season’s first half. Each now cling to a .500 record, and will use the other to end a slide. Washington is a loser of two straight, and Arizona has lost three. In a scenario where something has to give, one will get back on the winning track, as the other watches season goals slip away.
All-Time Series: Washington leads 18-9-1
Line: Arizona -7.5
Prediction: Arizona 36, Washington 24
Utah (2-4) vs No. 8 Oregon State (5-0)
Utah came on strong in last season’s second half, and will need a repeat to become bowl eligible. Fortunately for the Utes, the schedule is more manageable after Oregon State, but a loss to the Beavers would leave less wiggle room. OSU is looking to keep pace with Oregon in the Pac 12 north, and a win will make Mike Riley’s program postseason eligible for the first time since 2009.
All-Time Series: Oregon State leads 9-6-1
Line: Oregon State -10
Prediction: Oregon State 28, Utah 7
Bye: Washington State, UCLA
No. 6 LSU (6-1) vs No. 18 Texas A&M (5-1)
Both teams suffered a loss to Florida, which is the only blemish on their schedule. LSU is just a slight favorite on the road, where it will pay a visit to an Aggies team that has reeled off five straight victories. There’s a Tiger trap set in Texas, and it now awaits its prey.
All-Time Series: LSU leads 27-19-3
Line: A&M +3
prediction: Texas A&M 20, LSU 13
Last Week: 5-1