Pac-12 picks: USC-Washington State opens conference schedule
Arizona State opened its season with Thursday’s 55-0 win over Sacramento State, launching the second week of the Pac-12 football schedule. A look at Saturday’s games:
Weber State at Utah, Noon MDT, Pac-12 Network
The Utes are eager to maintain their offensive momentum after producing 30 points and 450 yards against Utah State. The visit from the neighboring FCS school offers them a great opportunity to do so in advance of next week’s Pac-12 opener vs. Oregon State. Utah 42, Weber State 14.
Oregon at Virginia, 1:30 p.m. MDT, ABC/ESPN2
BYU has enough to worry about, facing Texas, but Oregon could make the Cougars look bad with a big showing against the Virginia defense that held BYU to 16 points. The Ducks should double or triple that total, employing a much more polished version of the fast-paced offense that BYU debuted last week. Oregon 42, Virginia 21.
Portland State at California, 3 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 Network
If not for two deflected passes that were intercepted and returned for touchdowns, Cal might have upset Northwestern last week. Cal coach Sonny Dykes said freshman quarterback Jared Goff was not to blame for those plays, and Goff passed for 445 yards. He’ll be looking for more consistency against the Vikings of the FCS. Cal 38, Portland State 21.
Central Arkansas at Colorado, 6 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 (Mountain)
Colorado is trending the right way for a change after beating rival Colorado State in an emotional game in Denver, and now the Buffaloes will stage their home opener against a good FCS team. It’s critical that Colorado refocus itself in its effort to double last season’s win total, as quarterback Connor Wood tries to build in his 400-yard game. Colorado 42, Central Arkansas 21.
Hawaii at Oregon State, 6 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 Network
Oregon State’s defense is reeling after giving up 625 total yards in a 49-46 loss to Eastern Washington, but Hawaii’s visit should provide a cure. The Warriors’ only touchdown against USC came late in the game. OSU quarterback Sean Mannion, meanwhile, hardly could have played better, passing for 422 yards. The Beavers need a good all-around performance to launch themselves into next week’s Pac-12 opener at Utah. Oregon State 35, Hawaii 17.
Arizona at UNLV, 8:30 p.m. MDT, CBS Sports Network
The Wildcats are playing the Pac-12’s weakest nonconference schedule, and the middle leg is a visit to an UNLV team that was shredded by Minnesota. Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey is expected to play after being suspended for the opener vs. Northern Arizona, but Daniel Jenkins remains the starter. Each should have considerable success against the Rebels. Arizona 45, UNLV 24.
Washington State at USC, 8:30 p.m. MDT, Fox Sports 1
This looks like a better matchup than it did as a couple of weeks ago, as USC failed to overwhelm Hawaii and WSU played respectably in a loss at Auburn. The Cougars will need good pass protection against a USC defense that registered seven sacks at Hawaii. USC would like to establish some offensive continuity with one quarterback - although coach Lane Kiffin is not saying whether that’s Cody Kessler or Max Wittek. USC 35, Washington State 24.
San Jose State at Stanford, 9 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 Network
Stanford had to be feeling left out last weekend, as most teams in the country opened their season. Arizona State also was idle, but at least the Sun Devils got to play Thursday. So the Cardinal will test themselves against a local team opened with a 24-0 win over Sacramento State. Stanford beat the Spartans only 20-17 last season, which raised some doubts about the Cardinal, but SJSU turned out to be a very good team. This should be another competitive game, for a while. Stanford 28, San Jose State 14.