Week 2 Pac-12 - Sac St vs Arizona St & More

Posted Sep 5, 2013

Week 2 Pac-12 Fearless Predictions - Sacramento State vs. Arizona State & More

Sacramento State (0-1) at Arizona State (0-0) Sept. 5, 10:00, Pac-12 Network

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Arizona State was one of the nation's few teams that was idle in Week 1, so this marks the first chance for the country to get a look at one of the Pac-12 South's up-and-coming programs. After going a respectable 8-5 in head coach Todd Graham's debut, the Sun Devils are bucking to make a lot more national noise in 2013. They'll open with Sacramento State of the Big Sky Conference, which lost to San Jose State, 24-0, but has beaten a Pac-12 team in each of the last two years.
Why Sacramento State Might Win: The Hornets did a decent job of keeping the Spartans and David Fales in check last week, yielding just three offensive touchdowns. The Sun Devils, which are pedestrian along the O-line, won't have the luxury of having played a game already this season.
Why Arizona State Might Win: After getting blanked by San Jose State, Sacramento State's offensive goals don't get any easier this week. The Sun Devils play a ferocious brand of D, led by DT Will Sutton, DE Carl Bradford and a very athletic and opportunistic back seven.
Who To Watch Out For: Sparky is justifiably excited about a backfield comprised of underrated QB Taylor Kelly and backs Marion Grice and D.J. Foster.

- The offense needs to mine more targets for Kelly, a dart thrower, besides TE Chris Coyle. Former JUCO transfer Jaelen Strong is one possibility the staff is counting on at wide receiver.

- How committed is Graham to reducing his team's penalties this fall? Those making them are likely to ride the pines for a while.
What Will Happen: Arizona State knows that eight FCS programs took down FBS schools last weekend, and will not be taking Sacramento State lightly. The Sun Devils will cruise to an easy win, getting ample contributions from both sides of the ball.
Prediction: Arizona State 52 … Sacramento State 6
Line: Arizona State -35
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann – 1 Total Divas) … 1.5

Weber State (1-0) at Utah (1-0) Sept. 7, 2:00, Pac-12 Network

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Utah is flying high entering Week 2, courtesy of its gut-check win over Utah State on Thursday night. The Utes avenged last September's loss to the Aggies behind an efficient passing game and the clutch kicking of Andy Phillips. They've got one more week to iron out some wrinkles before Pac-12 play begins. Weber State outlasted Stephen F. Austin, 50-40, at home on Saturday night. Though both in Utah, these schools have only met three times before.
Why Weber State Might Win: Sure, the Wildcats don't have a dual-threat quarterback, like Utah State's Chuckie Keeton, but they do have options to pepper a mediocre Utah defense. Weber State rushed for 315 yards in Week 1, getting at least 75 each from backs Zach Smith, Bo Bolen and Josh Booker.
Why Utah Might Win: The biggest development in Salt Lake City a week ago was the play of sophomore QB Travis Wilson, who ran the offense with confidence and efficiency. He threw for 302 yards, two touchdowns and no picks, targeting Anthony Denham and Sean Fitzgerald. Wilson's maturation will continue against a Weber State D that just got done being burned for 450 yards through the air.
Who To Watch Out For: Utah DE Nate Orchard looks poised for a breakout junior year. He schooled a quality Utah State O-line last week for eight tackles, three stops for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and fumble recovery

- The career days from Denham and Fitzgerald should open things up for speedy WR Dres Anderson to get behind the secondary once or twice this week.

- After averaging only 3.4 yards per carry in the opener, this is the kind of game in which the Utes will want to fine-tune their ground game. Utah's potential has a hard cap if it can't balance Wilson's throws with a rushing attack.
What Will Happen: With Utah State in the rear view mirror and Oregon State up ahead, Utah will need to be very, very careful this weekend. The Utes will place their fortunes in the hands of Wilson and a defense that's bigger and quicker than the Wildcats. There could be some early tenuous moments before Utah pulls away for good in the second half.
Prediction: Utah 44 … Weber State 20
Line: Utah -23
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann – 1 Total Divas) … 1.5

Oregon (1-0) at Virginia (1-0) Sept. 7, 3:30, ABC/ESPN2

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Oregon and Virginia meet for the first time, with the Ducks making a rare trip to the East Coast. Both schools opened with a victory; the Ducks routed Nicholls State in a record-setting afternoon, while the Cavaliers earned a quality win over visiting BYU. Second-ranked Oregon is steadily increasing its competition level in 2013, with Tennessee and the start of Pac-12 next on the schedule. Virginia couldn't have gotten off to a much better start for fourth-year head coach Mike London, who needs to rebound from last year's 4-8 mark. A visit from one of the country's premier teams affords the Cavs a chance to shock the world and advance the reputation of the ACC.
Why Oregon Might Win: The high-flying Ducks are going to score. The Cavaliers just don't harbor the firepower to keep pace. Virginia sputtered its way to just 223 yards and two touchdowns in its win, which just isn't going to hack this weekend. Sure, maybe the Cavs temporarily slow down QB Marcus Mariota and RB De'Anthony Thomas, but it won't matter if the offense is unable to pull more of the weight. Oregon's D is opportunistic and underrated, a problem for unproven UVa QB David Watford and his marginal skill players.
Why Virginia Might Win: Stanford defeated Oregon last year with a big and active defense. The Cavaliers will use a similar approach this Saturday. Virginia did a terrific job of slowing down BYU in Week 1, forcing 11 punts. The secondary returns all four starters, namely CB Demetrious Nicholson and S Anthony Harris, and the front seven is underrated. UVa is home to one of the better defenses that the Ducks are going to see in 2013.
Who To Watch Out For: Watford better know where No. 14, CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, is at all times. The junior Duck is one of the game's most instinctive ball-hawks.

- The Philadelphia Eagles are playing at FedEx Field Monday. The Ducks are playing in Virginia on Saturday. Will Chip Kelly make the short trip south to see his old team play?

- This is a can't-miss game for NFL teams in need of an offensive tackle in 2014. Virginia's Morgan Moses and Oregon's Jake Fisher both have a chance of playing their way into next April's opening round.

- Oregon will want to employ TE Colt Lyerla against an average collection of UVa linebackers returning just one starter, Henry Coley.

- Is this the game that the Oregon takes the wrapping off prized five-star RB Thomas Tyner? While not necessarily needed as long as Thomas and Byron Marshall are around, the staff is eager to get him some touches.
What Will Happen: The long trip. The early start. The underrated ‘Hoos D. All factors with which Oregon must contend this weekend in Charlottesville. However, Virginia lacks the weapons to keep pace with an offense that can score fast and in flurries. Mariota, as he's often prone to doing, will tear off a run or two that quiets the crowd and squelches dreams of an upset. This is a good test for the Ducks as the march toward a possible title begins to slowly pick up the pace.
Prediction: Oregon 43 … Virginia 14
Line: Oregon -21.5 o/u: 60
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann – 1 Total Divas) ... 3

Portland State (1-0) at Cal (0-1) Sept. 7, 5:00, Pac-12 Network

Why You Should Give A Hoot: The beginning of the Sonny Dykes era in Berkeley was greeted with mixed reviews. Yeah, Cal fell to visiting Northwestern, 44-30, but the young team showed a ton resiliency and promise, especially on offense. While the rebuilding process is going to take time, the Bears have many of the parts needed to evolve into a very dangerous squad as the season starts to unfold. They'll get a break in the competition level with a visit from Portland State of the Big Sky Conference. The Vikings opened with a 57-17 rout of Eastern Oregon, an overmatched NAIA member.
Why Portland State Might Win: Scoring points in bunches has never been much of a problem for the Vikes. They're fueled by the backfield trio of second-year starting QB Keiran McDonagh and backs DJ Adams and Shaquille Richard. Adams is an ACC-caliber navigator, who began his career with Maryland.
Why Cal Might Win: Dykes' impact on the offense has been immediate. The Bear Raid produced 455 passing yards against Northwestern. True freshman QB Jared Goff did a good job of feeding the duo of Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper, who combined for 24 receptions. Cal young pitch-and-catch combos are going to get better and better as Goff develops chemistry with his budding receivers.
Who To Watch Out For: Cal will look to get RB Brendan Bigelow in space as much as possible. The explosive junior is one of the fastest players in the Pac-12.

- No word whether or not the Vikings will be visiting the Portland State drama department this week. Accusations were flying on Saturday night that Northwestern players were feigning injuries in order to slow down the up-tempo Cal offense.

- Goff may have been the surprise choice in August, but he's showing early signs of being the right choice. With Dykes tutoring him, he has a fantastic future ahead in Strawberry Canyon.

What Will Happen: The Cal offense has a very high ceiling, which it will get closer to reaching with each passing week. The Vikings simply don't have the depth or the talent on defense to slow down a relentless system that'll rank up close to 600 yards, more than 400 of which will come through the air.
Prediction: Cal 49 … Portland State 21
Line: California -27 o/u: California -27
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann – 1 Total Divas) … 1.5