Pac 12 Predictions: Week 12
We’re one week away from the regular season finale, but both Pac 12 divisions can be decided on Saturday. After 11 weeks, the south comes down to a decisive game, and we couldn’t ask for a better backdrop than the Rose Bowl itself. Aside from those still vying for an automatic BCS birth, we have two programs still attempting to become bowl eligible, and three others playing for nothing more than pride.
No. 13 Stanford (8-2) vs No. 2 Oregon (10-0)
The Cardinal aligned itself for this important meeting by defeating Oregon State last week. That left the door cracked in the Pac 12 north, and an opportunity to kick it down with a victory over Oregon. That’s easier said than done, being that Stanford hasn’t won in Autzen Stadium since 2001. Among the tools they carry on this road trip is the top rushing defense in conference, which will combat the league’s best rushing offense. The Ducks have won 8 of the last 9 in this series. And though I expect Stanford to keep it close for a half, Oregon should win its tenth against the Cardinal to seal the northern division.
All-Time Series: Stanford leads 44-30-1
Line: Oregon -20.5
Prediction: Oregon 51, Stanford 26
California (3-8) vs No. 16 Oregon State (7-2)
The Bears get a bye next week, so the players can get a head start on thumb twiddling through the offseason. It may also buy the athletic department an extra week in its coaching search, unless Jeff Tedford can prove he’s worthy of another year. This is Cal’s last game, after playing 11 consecutive weeks without pause. It offers one final attempt to end a slide that has now reached 4 games, and one last shot at beating a ranked opponent.
All-Time Series: Cal leads 34-30
Line: Oregon State -14.5
Prediction: Oregon State 29, Cal 20
No. 18 USC (7-3) vs No. 17 UCLA (8-2)
It’s winner take
all half in Los Angeles. The victor claims the Pac 12 south and will advance to the conference championship game. There are obvious differences in these two programs, and you will see it even clearer in a loss. UCLA can lose and still claim season success, whereas a loss by USC would be deemed tragic. Full Preview HERE
All-Time Series: USC leads 46-28-7
Line: UCLA +4
Prediction: USC 44, UCLA 27
No. 25 Washington (6-4) vs Colorado (1-9)
Not only has Steve Sarkisian managed to claw his way back into the rankings, he also has a remaining schedule favorable enough to finish with 8 wins. Amazingly, the Huskies have accomplished this despite winning only once on the road. Their season ends with road trips to face the conference’s worst teams. It begins with lowly Colorado, where Washington gets its seventh win.
All-Time Series: Washington leads 6-5-1
Line: Colorado -20.5
Prediction: Washington 48, Colorado 14
Washington State (2-8) vs Arizona State (5-5)
One slide will end on Saturday. The Cougars have lost 7 straight, and Sparky has lost 4. Arizona State needs one win in the final two games to become bowl eligible, and woeful Wazzu seems the more sure shot.
All-Time Series: ASU leads 23-12-2
Line: Arizona State -22.5
Prediction: Arizona State 35, Washington State 31
Arizona (6-4) vs Utah (4-6)
The Wildcats are jockeying for a better bowl, while Utah has run out of wiggle room. The Utes must win the final two games to qualify for the postseason and extend their bowl streak. In a classic case of “Something’s gotta give”, Utah has failed to beat a Pac 12 opponent with a winning record, while Arizona has yet to win a game on the road. One school will record a season first this weekend, and my scale weighs heavily in favor of the visitors.
All-Time Series: Utah leads 19-15-2
Prediction: Arizona 34, Utah 30
Minnesota (6-4) vs No. 14 Nebraska (8-2)
I’m compelled to pick an upset each week. And even though I think the majority of ranked favorites will survive, I believe the Gophers may have the best shot at firing the stun gun on Saturday. A victory will clinch the Legends division for the Huskers, where a loss leaves the door open for Michigan. Minnesota is a much improved defensive team, and if it can hang close for three quarters, an opportunity may present itself in the final fifteen minutes.
All-Time Series: Minnesota leads 29-21-2
Line: Nebraska -20
Last Week: 7-0