PAC-12 Preview — Week 3


Week 2 is in the books for the 2022 season in the PAC-12 and this past weekend gave us another handful of thrilling games and one surprising upset on the road for the PAC-12.

As we look ahead to week 3, the last week of non-conference play, we have one top 25 matchup, a few games against FCS opponents, and a couple that are really going under the radar that might end up being great games.

South Alabama (2-0) @ UCLA (2-0)

UCLA’s third straight home game to open the season is against South Alabama. Another non-Power 5 team for the Bruins should allow Chip Kelly and UCLA to fine tune some things on both sides of the ball as they prepare for conference play. UCLA has scored 45 points in each of their first two games and I expect the offense to continue to flourish. My prediction: UCLA wins 38-14.

Cal (2-0) @ Notre Dame (0-2)

Two teams that have had very different starts to the 2022 season. The Irish opened up against No. 3 Ohio State before falling to Marshall last week and losing their starting quarterback Tyler Buchner. Cal played against two different non-Power 5 teams and were able to secure two wins. The big matchup here will be Notre Dame quarterback Drew Pyne vs. Cal’s defense. The Irish have really struggled on offense so far, but if they can feed off the energy of their home crowd and play stout defense, I expect Notre Dame to pull off a close win. My prediction: Notre Dame wins 24-20.

No. 12 BYU (2-0) @ No. 25 Oregon (1-1)

The lone top 25 matchup in the PAC-12 this weekend is this game between the Cougars and the Ducks. Oregon is coming off a 70 point explosion of offense after beating Eastern Washington. On the other side, BYU fresh off a dramatic double overtime win at home over Baylor. Although BYU only rushed for 83 yards last week, the Cougars have a very solid offensive line. It will be interesting to see if Oregon can stop BYU’s offense and if Bo Nix can be consistently productive for Oregon’s offense. In the end I believe this BYU team will find a way to sneak out of Eugene with a win. My prediction: BYU wins 30-24.

Colorado (0-2) @ Minnesota (2-0)

Colorado is off to a tough start to their season coming off a 41-10 loss to Air Force and the road ahead isn’t getting any easier. Third-year head coach Karl Dorrell and the Buffs are on the road this week traveling to Minnesota to face off against an undefeated and heavily favored Minnesota squad. Colorado is actually dead last in the country when it comes to run defense after allowing 710 rushing yards in just two games while the Gophers have accumulated a total of 604 rushing yards with 5.5 yards per attempt. I think this will be another long game for Colorado. My prediction: Minnesota wins 48-14.

Colorado State (0-2) @ Washington State (2-0)

The team that pulled off the biggest surprise of week 2 was Washington State went they went on the road and upset Wisconsin. The Cougars have returned home for their matchup against a struggling Colorado State who’s coming off a loss to Middle Tennessee State. I’m interested to see what version of this Cougars team we will see. They’ve scored 24 and 17 points in their first two games after a lot of people thought this offense would be able to take that next step after adding transfer QB Cameron Ward. My prediction: Washington State wins 27-13.

No. 11 Michigan State (2-0) @ Washington (2-0)

In my opinion the biggest game this weekend will be when Michigan State travels to Washington to take on the Huskies. Washington has gotten off to a hot start on offense under first year coach Kalen DeBoer, albeit against two FCS opponents, the Huskies welcome a much tougher test. Michigan State leads the country in sacks through two games with 12 while Washington’s offensive line has only allowed two so far. Huskies quarterback and former Indiana Hoosier Michael Penix has a familiar history of going up against the Spartans, but this game in going to come down to the trenches. My prediction: Michigan State wins 28-24.

Montana State (2-0) @ Oregon State (2-0)

Oregon State is coming off an incredible performance where they were able to go toe to toe with Fresno State and pull off a game-winning drive in the last 1:05 capped off by a two yard touchdown run by Jack Colletto. This game will be played at a neutral site in Portland, but has already been sold out. The key to this game will be if this Beavers defense can put up another solid performance as the offense is experiencing a few injuries to key players. In the end I think OSU wins comfortably. My prediction: Oregon State wins 38-17.

San Diego State (1-1) @ No. 14 Utah (1-1)

No. 14 Utah was able to make easy work of Southern Utah with a 73-7 win at home last week. This weekend they take on a solid San Diego State team. Although the Aztecs have already lost to one PAC-12 team in week 1 (Arizona), they should still be able to put up a decent fight against Utah. However, after their heartbreaking week 1 loss against Florida and quite a few people writing them off when it comes to potentially making the playoff, I still feel like Utah is on a mission to prove to the national audience that they are still one of the nation’s best college football teams. My prediction: Utah 48-23.

Fresno State (1-1) @ No. 7 USC (2-0)

Another intriguing matchup is this night game between Fresno State and USC. Two teams that are putting up very similar numbers on offense with very talented quarterbacks leading the way. Fresno State is coming off a frustrating loss against Oregon State and will be looking to prove a point. Meanwhile USC is fresh off a big road win against Stanford where their offense continues to look elite under first year head coach Lincoln Riley. I expect this to be a high scoring game and it will be interesting to see which defense is string together a few stops and possibly cause a few turnovers. My prediction: USC wins 45-34.

North Dakota State (2-0) @ Arizona (1-1)

Arizona is looking to rebound after a tough loss at home versus Mississippi State where the Wildcats gave up 39 points and quarterback Jayden de Laura threw three interceptions. North Dakota State has been an elite FCS team for the past 10-15 years as they’ve actually won nine out of the last eleven national championships. Arizona will look to rebound in a positive way, but this will be a good test for them before they enter conference play. My prediction: Arizona wins 34-28.

Eastern Michigan (1-1) @ Arizona State (1-1)

Arizona State is back at home after a difficult road loss to No. 8 Oklahoma State. The Sun Devils are hoping to bounce back in a better way on both sides of the ball against Eastern Michigan. The key to this game and something I will be paying close attention to is if ASU quarterback Emory Jones is able to be more productive in the passing game. Last week he went 12 for 24 for 223 yards and one touchdown. We’re still waiting to see if and when he has that first breakout game for the Sun Devils and this may be his best opportunity yet. Eastern Michigan’s defense is giving up an average of 475.5 total yards and 330.5 of those being passing yards. My prediction: Arizona State wins 37-20.

My predictions for week 2’s slate of games went 11-1 which now puts me at 21-3 through these first two weeks.

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