The Ducks are preparing for Saturday’s showdown with UCLA from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. UCLA is coming off a demoralizing loss to Arizona, while UO is trying to move past their nightmare at Stanford. Regardless, this is a must win game.
Welcome back for ATQ’s series Prognostication Station! Each week of the Pac-12 season, I will take a look back at my preseason projections and make a few new ones for the week ahead. Let’s break down the first full slate of games on the Pac-12 calendar:
PAC-12 PICKS (14-7 OVERALL, 2-3 LAST WEEK)
Comment: That was clearly upset week in the Pac-12, as both Washington schools and UCLA lost
Arizona State vs Utah
Manny Wilkins will have tough time following the Washington upset, as Utah escapes at home
Final Score: Utah 24, ASU 20
No. 11 USC vs No. 13 Notre Dame
Sam Darnold and the Trojans have been inconsistent. That continues on the road in South Bend
Final Score: Notre Dame 35, USC 28
Arizona vs California
Both teams are coming off huge wins, but Cal’s offense won’t be able to keep up with the Cats
Final Score: Arizona 30, Cal 16
Colorado vs No. 15 Washington State
They were ripe for an upset in Eugene, but waited a week for Cal. They should beat Buffs at home
Final Score: WSU 45, Colorado 38
No. 20 Stanford vs Oregon State (Thursday)
The Cardinal and Bryce Allen set to manhandle the Beavers in Corvallis after a restful off week
Final Score: Stanford 28, Oregon State 13
Comment: At the start of the season, I had this as a loss. Yet, something has changed for me.
@UCLA (W, 5-3)
The Bruins were ranked to start the season like the Ducks, but have fallen off a cliff to open the Pac-12 season. Oregon has an excuse with the injury to Jutsin Herbert at least, whereas the Bruins are simply inconsistent. NFL-bound quarterback Josh Rosen tossed three interceptions last week vs Arizona. Don’t expect him to struggle in back-to-back weeks, but the Duck secondary presents an interesting problem. If Oregon’s d-line can create some pressure, Rosen loses accuracy when he’s under duress. He deteriorates if you get in his head early. The Bruins’ rush defense yielded a dreadful 457 rushing yards and four scores on 61 carries to Rich Rod’s squad. Their defense is ranked No. 127 in the land. UCLA allows 313.0 (129th) rush yards per game, so the Duck running backs should feast in this contest. With the current QB situation, Coach Taggart is going to run the ball relentlessly against arguably the worst defense in the conference. Royce Freeman will pass LaMichael James on two fronts in this contest. The senior workhorse will rush for over 200 yards and three TDs during his homecoming game. He will break James’ record for the most rushing yards in program history (5,082) and Freeman will eclipse his streak of 26 games with 100 rushing yards or more. Charles Nelson will score on a jet sweep from more than 40 yards out. The Duck defense is ready for this challenge, as Troy Dye will once again lead the team in tackles. Jordon Scott will record two sacks and Thomas Graham Jr. will intercept a Rosen pass, maybe two. JJ Molson will miss two kicks and an extra point for the Bruins. Oregon grabs the much-needed win and moves their Pac-12 record to 2-3 on the season. Final Score: Oregon 27, UCLA 20
Oregon (4-3, 1-3) will continue their California trip with a meeting against UCLA (3-3, 1-2) on Saturday. The last time they met came in 2014 when both were ranked inside the AP Top 20. Marcus Mariota and No. 12 Oregon dominated No. 18 UCLA 42-30 from Pasadena. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m. PT from the Rose Bowl via the Pac-12 Network.