We’re coming up on Week 4 of the college football season and that means that new predictions are in order. Sure, we predicted the outcome of every game for every PAC-10 team, but three weeks of actual outcomes have given us way more information than we had in the offseason, before any collegian had strapped on his helmet and laced up his cleats. So, here are our predictions for the upcoming slate of games for PAC-10 football teams.
- USC at Washington State: USC has not yet won convincingly this year. The Trojans struggled defensively in Week 1 at Hawaii, they underperformed offensively in Week 2 and barely pulled out a 3-point win in their home opener against Virginia, and they beat Minnesota by fewer than 2 touchdowns last week. In other words, this is not the kind of three-week performance that USC fans have come to expect from their team. It almost certainly is a mark of serious strategic problems for USC, and those problems should come to the surface as conference play kicks into full gear. Nonetheless, Washington State could be one of the worst football teams in PAC-10 history. The Cougars’ lone win this season came at home against Montana State (a member of FCS’s Big Sky conference) and WSU only won by 1 point. Even though USC looks vulnerable, they aren’t nearly vulnerable enough to lose to Washington State. Expect the Trojans to win handily, and the Cougars not to win another game this season.
- UCLA at Texas: UCLA is probably the most interesting of the conference’s teams, at least from a literary perspective. The Bruins come from noble tradition; are coached by a man who has returned home to lead his beloved alma mater to victory; play in the most picturesque of all college football stadiums; and are surrounded by a city infamous for fame, glitz, and dysfunction (yes, you can throw smog and traffic in there, too). The never-ending quarterback controversy and the banged-up veteran desperately trying to hold onto his place in the world (QB Kevin Prince) also make for good stories. Then, add in their erratic performance: Week 1 was a close loss to Kansas State, Week 2 was a pathetic defeat at the hands of Stanford, and Week 3 was a triumphant victory over top-25 team Houston. In short, it’s virtually impossible to predict how UCLA will play. But Texas will play better no matter what. Even though Texas has looked ripe for the upset picking at several points this year (especially last week, when their offense underperformed in Lubbock against Texas Tech) UCLA is not good or consistent enough to take down the Longhorns.
- Oregon State at Boise State: This has Game of the Week magic embedded within it. It’s that good. Because we’ve already discussed this and we want to encourage people to listen to our podcasts, you can download the newest episode of the podcast on iTunes or stream it in the preceding post to hear what two of our guys think about this game. In short: Boise State wins, and Oregon State wasted quite a bit of alumni money on painting grass blue.
- California at Arizona: This one also gets some quality time on the podcast. Arizona is fresh off a huge upset win at home against Iowa, and Cal is flying back from an embarrassing loss in Nevada against the Wolf Pack. Cal looked pathetic; Arizona looked spectacular. The only way Cal wins this game is if the Golden Bears bounce back and catch an Arizona team that forgot to approach its schedule one game at a time and not overlook any opponents. However, Nick Foles and Friends are too good and too focused to let that happen. Arizona will win big in Tucson.
- Oregon at Arizona State: Both teams looked great last week, but Arizona State played a high-quality Wisconsin team and Oregon faced the irrelevant Portland State Vikings of the FCS. Still, even with the home heat of Arizona working in the Sun Devils’ favor, Oregon appears to be one of the very best teams in the country, and they should be able to take care of business in Tempe.
And… the Stanford-Notre Dame game. Well, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get our detailed game preview. Hold in there, Cardinal fans. Salvation shall arrive.