Previews And Predictions For All PAC-12 Games This Week – The Ducks Will Win By How Many Against Cal?

The best game this week among PAC-12 teams will be in Pullman, Washington, as the Washington State Cougars are at home against #13 Utah.

There are two reasons that my rating system says this will be the best game in the PAC-12 this week.

1. It has the closest predicted score.

2. It is the only game matching two top 40 PAC-12 teams.

Last week was a good one for predicting games as my system (Savvy Index) correctly predicted every and beat the bookies most of the time in declaring point spreads and total game points.

#13 Utah 5-2 at Washington State 4-3

Utah is having a heckuva lot of problems stopping opposing ball carriers. For a team that has been ranked all season, it is unseemly for the Utes to be a lowly 110th for most yards allowed per rush attempt (4.6).

Although that weakness would be an opportunity for most opponents, Washington State won’t be able to capitalize because it ranks only 105th in yards per rush attempt behind an offensive line that is bad every week.

I’ve wondered why that line isn’t getting better. With coaching and game experience, it would seem that improvement should be noticeable. Yet, it isn’t. In watching that line, particularly the left side, I’ve concluded that it just does not have the talent or athleticism to get any better than it is.

WSU’s defense is one of the best when it comes to bringing pressure, but that won’t be much of a benefit this week since Utah has one of the best protection units in front of Cameron Rising, who is one of the best escape quarterbacks in America. This season, Rising has amassed over 300 yards rushing at 6.6 yards per attempt and six touchdowns on the ground.

Washington State has much better rating trends than Utah overall in my system, but they don’t come with enough places that WSU could bring enough leverage to produce an upset.

My Index and the betting lines are nearly identical in preferring Utah by eight and again by agreeing there will be 56 total points.

Stanford 3-4 at #20 UCLA 6-1

These two teams have been heading in different directions this season. Despite a frustrating offense, Stanford has been steadily climbing, while UCLA has been up one week and down-down the next. Overall, Bruin trends are negative for the season.

Stanford has had no luck running the football, and with running back Casey FIlkins hobbled and primary running back E.J. Smith out for the season with an injury, it’s not likely the Cardinal will have much to offer on the ground against the Bruins.

Stanford has an even bigger problem on the other side of the ball.

UCLA’s offense is among the best in America, while NCAA.com ranks Stanford 93rd in total defense. Ever seen a Bruin fly? You will see this week.

The Bruins average over seven yards per play, and quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is completing over 73% of his passes which is second-best in FBS. He’s also a threat on the ground as he is UCLA’s second-leading ball carrier.

UCLA has too much firepower, and Stanford does not have enough ground game.

The Bruins will win this 42-20.

#14 USC 6-1 at Arizona 3-4

When was the last time you saw a quarterback pass the ball 230 times and throw just one interception?

I’m neither a Caleb Williams advocate nor a critic, but you have to hand it to the guy. He has been amazing at finding targets. That excellence should be apparent again this week as USC visits Tucson, Arizona, to take on the Wildcats and gain some revenge for a one-point loss to Utah in the Trojans’ previous game.

Williams should find long ball opportunities often against Arizona because the ‘Cat secondary has only intercepted two passes all season (ranked 129th).

But don’t sell out on U of A just yet. The Wildcats are a feisty lot, and in three of their past four games against USC, they have lost by just one possession.

The Trojans have three defensive players still on the injury list from the Utah game, whereas the Wildcats expect to be at full strength if running back Michael Wiley is cleared before game time.

Arizona has wins over San Diego State on the road and FCS defending national champion North Dakota State, so the ‘Cats know how to win. The question is, how on earth can their anemic secondary deal with Caleb Williams?

Bookmakers are hedging the spread at 15.5. My Index says it will be USC 45-21.

#8 Oregon 6-1 at California 3-4

California’s Bears are backed up against a hard wall. Cal has lost four of its last five and now has four of its next five against ranked opponents. With a 3-4 record, the Bears must strike now or kiss their bowl hopes goodbye.

They must strike now because time is running out. They don’t have the luxury that Walter Mathau once had when his doctor gave him six months to live, but when Mathau told him he couldn’t pay the bill in six months, the doctor gave him a second diagnosis with six months longer.

The Bears have made a habit of playing Oregon strong, and the last time Oregon visited Berkeley, the Ducks were nationally ranked going in and upset losers coming out. There are too many factors for the Bears to overcome to think that will happen this time.

One such factor is Duck quarterback Bo Nix.

Nix is the fifth most accurate passer in the nation and the third-best yards-per-carry rusher among all running backs and quarterbacks. His understanding of the game, decision-making, and leadership are the best Oregon fans have seen since Justin Herbert.

Another factor is the outstanding Oregon offensive line which is just as potent and problematic as Nix.

The Ducks have played harder opponents than Cal and posted much better metrics on my Index.

With all of those advantages, I wonder if betting lines are hedging the spread at just 15 points.

My system says it will be a 41-14 win for the Ducks.

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About Bobby Albrant 120 Articles
Bobby Albrant is a former journalism major at the University of Oregon, creator of Savvygameline.com for college football predictions and rankings, former analyst for Southern Mississippi football games, and twenty years coaching girls basketball for all ages through CIF high school. He has three grown children with his youngest daughter playing on the Ventura (Ca) High School basketball team that defeated Dom Lugo High School and was the last high school game ever played by Diana Taurasi. He can be reached at bobbywildcat@gmail.com.