Week 5 – Oregon State at Arizona

Posted Sep 26, 2012

Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction – Oregon State at Arizona

-CFN Fearless Predictions
Oregon State (2-0) at Arizona (3-1) Sept. 29, 10:00, Pac-12 Networks

Here's The Deal: If it seems as if a different upstart from the Pac-12 has emerged each week, that's because one has emerged each week. The newest big thing from the league? Oregon State, which defeated a ranked opponent in each its first two games. No one really knew what to expect from the Beavers after they got past Wisconsin, especially since the Badgers have gone on to become a major disappointment. However, an upset of previously unbeaten UCLA in the Rose Bowl last Saturday was an unequivocal sign that this team is no fluke. With a win in Tucson, it could be time to label Oregon State a legitimate fly in the North Division ointment. Arizona realized it wasn't a bona fide contender for the Pac-12 penthouse last week, bowing meekly to Oregon in Eugene, 49-0. While it was a humbling experience, the Wildcats are still ahead of expectations in Rich Rodriguez's first season on campus. The key now, of course, is to rebound quickly in order to avoid squandering everything that was gained in the first three games.

Why Oregon State Might Win: The Wildcats offense is understandably rattled by last week's results, a shutout that included five turnovers. An about-face is going to be unlikely against a Beavers defense that's been the story so far in Corvallis. Coordinator Mark Banker obviously had a terrific offseason with his kids, because the unit has been lights out so far. Not only has Oregon State allowed just 27 points, but despite facing Montee Ball and Johnathan Franklin, the team ranks No. 2 nationally in run D. At a fundamental level, Oregon State is just getting to the ball quickly, with ends Scott Crichton and Dylan Wynn and linebackers Michael Doctor and D.J. Welch. CB Jordan Poyer can neutralize Arizona's best receiver on just about every play.

Why Arizona Might Win: Poyer is a next-level cover guy, but he's an exception in a secondary that's a weak link of the Oregon State defense. Beavers defensive backs were burned for 362 yards and a handful of long balls by Bruins QB Brett Hundley. If the Wildcats are going to get back on track offensively, they'll need QB Matt Scott to have a short memory. He was awful last week, but in the three previous, he threw seven touchdown passes and was effective with his feet. Although yards on the ground will be tough to come by, offensive balance can be achieved with help from RB Ka'Deem Carey, who is averaging five yards a carry and has scored five times.

What To Watch Out For: For Oregon State to be more than a two-hit wonder, it's going to need more help from the ground game. Mannion is a riser, and receivers Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks are big-play pass-catchers on the outside. However, the Beavers really become dangerous if redshirt freshman RB Storm Woods can churn out 80 or so yards a game on the ground. He had 90 yards and a score last week, forcing defenses to respect both the run and the pass. Arizona has been weak against the run this month, a trend Woods will try to continue this Saturday night.

What Will Happen: Okay, so who is for real? Is it the Arizona team that walloped Oklahoma State or the Oregon State squad that's knocked off Wisconsin and UCLA, the latter on the road? The Cats are home, and certainly not as bad as they looked last week. The Beavers, though, look as if they might be special this season. The defense is a cut above the Wildcats. Mannion and his receivers will have success through the air. And Oregon State will be one of the more improbable unbeaten teams at the conclusion of September.

CFN Prediction: Oregon State 33 … Arizona 28
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Arizona -3 O/U: 56.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ryder Cup 2012, 1 – SNL Thursday Weekend Update): 3