There aren’t too many high-profile games in the PAC-10 this week, but a few match-ups could play significant roles in shaping the conference power hierarchy, which we laid out earlier this week in our Daily Axe Power Rankings. PAC-10 favorite Oregon will beat up on Washington State barring a miracle, but Stanford, Arizona, and Oregon State all face compelling opponents. Here are your PAC-10 previews for the week. (If you’re looking for a preview of Stanford-USC, click here.)
- Oregon at Washington State: Oregon is the best team in the conference. Washington State is the worst. Oregon could contend for the BCS National Championship. Washington State could contend for worst BCS-conference football team in America. Home field advantage is irrelevant when the talent disparity is this huge. The Ducks win easily.
- UCLA at California: Despite two consecutive losses and a 2-2 record, the Bears enter this weekend as 7-point favorites over UCLA. The Bruins, though, are among the most perplexing teams in the country. They went from being thumped by Stanford in Pasadena to knocking off two top 25 teams (Houston and Texas) in consecutive weeks. And last week, they fell back down to Earth in allowing Washington State to score 28 points. We’re not convinced that UCLA can really beat good teams–Houston and Texas are no longer ranked. Cal is good, albeit in a rough patch, but the bye week last Saturday should help Cal come into the UCLA game fresh and focused. The Golden Bears get the win in Memorial Stadium.
- Arizona State at Washington: Arizona has played well against Oregon and Oregon State, but the Sun Devils fell in both games. Washington has been disappointing, but still pulled off a big upset last week in the Coliseum against USC. But USC isn’t very good this year, and Arizona State gave Oregon a game. No other team has done that this year. Even though Arizona State’s 2-3 record and 0-2 mark in the PAC-10 won’t impress too many people, they’ve played well against excellent competition. Look for that to pay off and for the Devils to knock off favored Washington in Seattle.
- Oregon State at Arizona: Oregon State is extremely talented but only at .500, while Arizona is sitting on an undefeated season and a top 10 ranking in the AP poll. Coming off the bye week, Arizona has the opportunity to make a nice statement by beating Oregon State and solidifying itself as Oregon’s last remaining conference challenger. But Oregon State’s defense had an impressive 6 sacks last week, and having the Rogers brothers on offense always gives the Beavers explosiveness with the ball. Although picking the upset in this one may be tempting, Arizona will win at home.