Week 8 Pac-12 - Wazzu-Oregon, Oregon St-Cal

Posted Oct 16, 2013

Week 8 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Wazzu at Oregon, Oregon State at Cal

Week 8 
USC at Notre Dame
- UCLA at Stanford
- Washington at Arizona State
-- CSU at Colorado, Utah at Arizona
- Wazzu at Oregon, Oregon St at Cal

Washington State (4-3) at Oregon (6-0) Oct. 19, 10:00, Fox Sports 1

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Now that Oregon has passed its biggest test to date, beating Washington in Seattle, the program can set its sights on maintaining its pole position in the Pac-12. With the 45-24 win over the Huskies, coupled with Stanford's loss to Utah, the Ducks' bulge in the conference has expanded considerably from just a week ago. A visit from Wazzu will give Oregon one more tune-up before the next ranked contender, UCLA, attempts to bump it from the perch. The Cougars need to win two of their final five games in order to bowl for the first time since 2003. They've been outclassed in two of the last three games, losing to Stanford and Oregon State by a combined score of 107-41.

Why Washington State Might Win: Mike Leach's second team in Pullman has played with confidence throughout the year. They've already won in the Coliseum, doubled up Cal in Berkeley and lost by just a touchdown to Auburn on the Plains. Sure, Oregon is an entirely different test, but don't expect Wazzu to cave in at the sight of Autzen Stadium. The Cougars will attempt to keep up on Saturday night with their eighth-ranked passing game. Connor Halliday makes too many mistakes, but he'll also fill the air with heaves in the direction of Gabe Marks or one of the other 11 receivers who's caught at least 10 balls this year.

Why Oregon Might Win: No one is slowing down QB Marcus Mariota and the rest of the Duck offense. Washington State, which was bullied by Stanford and Oregon State, certainly isn't set to become a trendsetter. With or without RB De'Anthony Thomas, who's still nursing a sore ankle, Oregon is going to reach 50 points for the sixth time this year. Mariota has accounted for 25 touchdowns without an interception, helping transform receivers Bralon Addison and Josh Huff into All-Pac-12 contenders.

Who To Watch Out For: Backup RB Byron Marshall has been terrific in an expanded role this season. The most physical back the Ducks have used in the past few years, he's turned 90 carries into 554 yards and six touchdowns.

- Halliday and the Cougars continue to be way too sloppy this season, ranking 122nd nationally in turnovers, yet No. 7 in takeaways. This is the type of game where the Oregon D will produce a touchdown or two from the corners, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu or Terrance Mitchell.

- Addison has quickly emerged as a star on both offense and special teams. Over the last three games, he's produced four touchdown receptions and a pair of punt returns for six. The scary part for Pac-12 opponents is that the former high school quarterback is still learning his new positions.

What Will Happen: Sandwich game between Washington and UCLA? Okay, but that only means Oregon will put this game away early in the third quarter instead of late in the second quarter. The combination of Mariota's big plays and a few of Halliday's big mistakes will result in yet another lopsided Pac-12 win for the Ducks.

Prediction: Oregon 55 … Washington State 21
Line: Oregon -37.5 – O/U: 73
Must See Rating: (5 Bad Grandpa – 1 Vanilla Ice Goes Amish) … 2.5
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Oregon State (5-1) at Cal (1-5) Oct. 19, 10:30, ESPN2

Why You Should Give A Hoot: A couple of Pac-12 schools heading in completely different directions will cross paths this weekend in Berkeley. Oregon State is hot these days, like Oregon or UCLA hot. The Beavers have shaken off an opening loss to Eastern Washington to win five in a row. While OSU hasn't taken down any of the conference heavyweights yet, it has won three road games, including a thriller over Utah in Salt Lake City. The Beavers are bucking to become the fly in the North Division ointment. Cal, to the contrary, is sinking like a rock in Sonny Dykes' first year at the helm. With one foot already in 2014, the Bears have lost their last three games by an average of nearly 30 points.

Why Oregon State Might Win: Sean Mannion plus a horrendous Cal defense equals another offensive outburst for the Beavers. Oregon State hasn't been held below 33 points all season. Cal is allowing more than 43 points a game. Uh-oh. Mannion will get all day to locate favorite target Brandin Cooks, one of the premier wide receivers in the country. The unsung heroes in Corvallis this fall have been the veteran linemen, who've allowed just seven sacks on 301 passing attempts.

Why Cal Might Win: The Beavers are streaking, but not necessarily because of the play of a defense that's taken plenty of knocks so far this season. Oregon State is 98th nationally in passing yards allowed, a worry when facing Dykes' Bear Raid offense. Rookie QB Jared Goff has certainly lacked consistency, but he's fearless when airing it out, hooking up for more than a 1,000 combined yards with receivers Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper.

Who To Watch Out For: Treggs and Harper are going to be challenged by cornerbacks Steven Nelson and Rashaad Reynolds, a couple of pickpockets who combined for eight interceptions during the first half of the year.

- The Beavers need to start getting more production and disruption from their top pass rusher, DE Scott Crichton. He gets plenty of attention, which helps free up the surrounding linemen, but 1.5 sacks in six games is well beneath his capability.

- Oregon State is even more dangerous on offense now that RB Storm Woods is back from a concussion. After getting bottled up a week ago, he'll see plenty more running room this week against Cal.

What Will Happen: Unless it's looking ahead to next week's visit from Stanford, Oregon State should be in complete control of this game before halftime. The Bears will have no answers for Mannion, Cooks and the rest of the Beavers' offense, and Goff chucking away in comeback mode will create opportunities for the OSU defensive backs to take a few errant throws back the other way.

Prediction: Oregon State 51 … Cal 23
Line: Oregon State -10.5 – O/U: 68.5
Must See Rating: (5 Bad Grandpa – 1 Vanilla Ice Goes Amish) … 2.5
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