The PAC-12 had an interesting opening weekend with a few teams pulling off a few surprises and a few others coming away with disappointing losses. Overall the “Conference of Champions” went 9-3 in non-conference play. Also, in my own personal predictions, I went 9-3 during week 1 and will include score predictions with each game for this upcoming weekend.
Southern Utah (1-0) @ No. 13 Utah (0-1)
The Utes are coming off a gut wrenching loss on the road against Florida and will likely come out in this game and take out a lot of their frustrations from that game against Southern Utah. Quarterback Cameron Rising and this Utah offense will look to go through a large portion of their playbook and use this game as an opportunity to work on some things in the pass and run game. I think we will see quite a few underclassmen get playing time fairly early during this game as Kyle Whittingham will want to make sure his starters avoid injury and can get extra rest. The Utes are currently favored by 45.5 and I believe Utah covers. My prediction: Utah wins 66-17.
Washington State (1-0) @ No. 19 Wisconsin (1-0)
WSU is coming off a sketchy 24-17 win at home against Idaho despite quarterback Cameron Ward’s three touchdown passes in his Cougars debut. Wisconsin beat Illinois State in a 38-0 shutout and put up 440 yards of offense. This isn’t the most talented roster for either team in the past 5 years, however the Badgers are still favored by 17.5 for a reason. Paul Chryst is still one of the best coaches in the Big 10 and his defense’s are usually really solid and this is Jake Dickert’s first full season in Pullman. If Cameron Ward can control time of possession for Wazzu’s offense and pick apart the Wisconsin defense through the air, they may stand a chance to pull of the upset. However, I think Wisconsin’s physicality will be too much to overcome for WSU. My prediction: Wisconsin wins 34-14.
Colorado (0-1) @ Air Force (1-0)
Colorado’s week 1 38-13 loss to TCU was difficult for Buffs fans to watch. Colorado played two quarterbacks, gave up 275 rushing yards to TCU, and gave up 21 points in the fourth quarter. On the other side, Air Force’s quarterback Haaziq Daniels only threw six passes, but it was their run game that totaled 582 yards on 62 rushing attempts for 9.4 yards per carry after Air Force beat Northern Iowa 48-17. If Colorado is still struggling on both sides of the ball, they could be in for another long day as Air Force is currently favored by 18 at home. My prediction: Air Force wins 38-17.
UNLV (1-0) @ Cal (1-0)
Both teams are coming off blowout wins versus lower tier opponents in week 1. Cal’s true freshman running back Jaydn Ott will play a key roll in this Golden Bears offense after rushing for 104 yards in his debut. Meanwhile, UNLV quarterback Doug Brumfield will look to have another big game through the air after going 21/25 for 356 yards and four touchdowns against Idaho State. The key to this game will be if Cal’s relatively young secondary can stop Michigan State wide receiver transfer Rickey White who caught 8 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns. Cal is currently favored by 12, however I believe this will be a high scoring game and closer than some people think. My prediction: Cal wins 38-31.
Portland State (0-1) @ Washington (1-0)
Washington’s offense looked impressive during their 45-20 week 1 win over Kent State with quarterback Michael Penix throwing for 345 yards and four touchdowns. It should still be relatively easy to put up some big numbers on this Portland State team. However, what I’m looking to see if the Huskies are disciplined enough to not look ahead to their huge week 3 matchup when they host No. 14 Michigan State. Portland State had a lead over San Jose State until the final few minutes last week and the Huskies defense gave up some big yardage plays to Kent State. Washington is currently favored by 28.5 and I expect Kalen DeBoer’s team to cover. My prediction: Washington wins 48-17.
Alabama State (2-0) @ UCLA (1-0)
Alabama State travels to the Rose Bowl to take on UCLA. This matchup looks to be pretty lopsided on paper. This Bruins offense and defense looks like they have something to prove in 2022 and are on a mission to make a statement. Kudos and much respect is given to Alabama State for taking on the challenge, but I believe Chip Kelly and his team want to make sure their foot isn’t being taken off the gas in this situation. UCLA is currently favored by 50.5, and as long as the second and third string units can continue to put points on the board, I see the Bruins covering. My prediction: UCLA wins 63-10.
No. 10 USC (1-0) @ Stanford (1-0)
The lone conference game of the day is between USC and Stanford. Two teams that have a pretty competitive history over the past 15 years. Stanford actually has the advantage over that span of time winning 9 out of those games. However, these will be two very different teams when they meet in Stanford Stadium on Saturday. As we all know, the Trojans are led by Lincoln Riley, this new coaching staff, and an abundance of high profile transfers. On the other side is one of the longest tenured and highly respected coaches in the country in David Shaw. While USC is currently favored by 8.5, I’m really interested to see how the Trojans respond to a more physical team in the trenches on both sides of the ball and more experienced team and coaching staff that have been together for a longer period of time. My prediction: USC wins 35-21.
Arizona State (1-0) @ No. 11 Oklahoma State (1-0)
Another intriguing non-conference game is this matchup with Arizona State traveling to Stillwater to take on Oklahoma State. This ASU team has been through it’s ups and downs this past offseason losing quite a bit of talent to the transfer portal and a few former coaches on top of that. The Sun Devils and Herm Edwards have their hands full going up against another one of the longest tenured head coaches in Mike Gundy and quarterback Spencer Sanders. The Cowboys put up 58 points last week against Central Michigan to go along with 531 yards of total offense. Oklahoma State is currently favored by 11.5. My prediction: Oklahoma State wins 41-24.
Eastern Washington (1-0) @ Oregon (0-1)
Oregon is still recovering from a devastating 49-3 defeat to the defending national champions in the Georgia Bulldogs in Atlanta. There are still plenty of question marks for the Ducks on both sides of the ball starting with the quarterback position with Bo Nix receiving quite a bit of criticism after his debut with Oregon. Eastern Washington has an extensive history of giving PAC-12 opponents fits whenever they matchup against one another. EWU quarterback Gunner Talkington threw for 348 yards and five touchdowns in their week one week. The Ducks are favored by 21 points, but shouldn’t overlook this credible FCS team. I think Oregon will want to make a solid statement in Dan Lanning’s home debut in Eugene. My prediction: Oregon wins 45-27.
Oregon State (1-0) @ Fresno State (1-0)
Another under the radar matchup that shouldn’t be overlooked is when Oregon State travels to take on Fresno State for the first matchup between these two teams since 2003. On paper this game looks to be a pretty even matchup with the early strength for the Beavers being their defense and for the Bulldogs being their offense. However, Fresno State has a brand new coaching staff, although head coach Jeff Tedford has already had a previous stint at the position, this will be a new challenge for the Bulldogs. The key for the Beavers will be if their defense, more specifically their secondary, can make life difficult for Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener and potentially take the ball away after forcing five against Boise State last week. OSU is currently favored by 1 in this very even matchup. My prediction: Oregon State wins 28-24.
Mississippi State (1-0) @ Arizona (1-0)
Mike Leach makes his return to the PAC-12 as Mississippi State travels to Tucson to take on Arizona. Both teams are coming off impressive wins against “Group of 5” teams. The Bulldogs offense, in Mike Leach fashion, put up 450 passing yards with quarterback Will Rogers going 38/49 to go along with five touchdowns connecting with 12 different receivers during the game. Washington State transfer quarterback had a pretty good week one himself going 22/35 for 299 yards and four touchdowns in his Wildcats debut. If you’re looking to watch a game with plenty of offense, this looks like it’ll be the game for you. MSU is favor by 10.5, but if Arizona can string together a few stops they may be able to keep things close late into the fourth quarter. My prediction: Mississippi State wins 42-31.
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