2009 Pac 10 Fearless Predictions - Week 4
Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli
Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli
Posted Sep 23, 2009

Previews and Predictions for the Week 4 Pac 10 Games

2009 Pac 10 Fearless Predictions

Week 4 ... Sept. 26 Games

- Arizona | Arizona St | California | Oregon | Oregon St
- Stanford | UCLA | USC | Washington | Washington St

Pac 10 Fearless Predictions
- Week 1
 | USC vs. Ohio State | Week 2 | Week 3

- Week 4, Part 2 (Wash at Stanford, Wazzu at USC)

Game of the Week

California (3-0) at Oregon (2-1),3:30 EST, ABC, Saturday, September 26

Why to watch: One hurdle down. Two more to go. Cal passed its first test of a rugged three-game stretch that'll define its 2009 potential, fending off a challenge at Minnesota for a 35-21 victory. Now the country's No. 6 team, the Bears will spend the next two weeks playing games that'll go a long way toward determining if a Rose Bowl is in their future for the first time in over a half-century. Get a load of Oregon, regrouping from the loss to Boise State on opening night with back-to-back wins over Purdue and Utah. Beating the Utes in Eugene snapped the nation's longest winning streak and sent a clear message that the Ducks are ready to make the climb back into contention. While the loser certainly won't be out of the Pac-10 race, the winner gets an early jump on the rest of the league.
Why Cal might win: Oregon hasn't exactly been winning with defense the last two Saturdays, getting to the quarterback just twice and allowing 30 points a game. A visit from the Bears won't make the situation any easier. Cal is clicking on offense, getting monster production from Jahvid Best and the running game to go along with the unexpected precision passing of Kevin Riley. After struggling with inconsistency the last two seasons, the junior has thrown five touchdowns without a pick. Balance will be instrumental in this game, but the Ducks don't possess it. One of just four schools without a touchdown pass, they'll have more problems trying to beat Syd'Quan Thompson, Darian Hagan, and the rest of the Cal secondary.
Why Oregon might win: The Ducks' trademark running game has begun to percolate since getting out of Idaho. In the win over Purdue, they ran for 193 yards and three scores, getting QB Jeremiah Masoli and RB LaMichael James into the groove. And a week ago, Oregon went for 217 yards and three more scores, including 152 from James in just his third career game. Cal is no pushover in run defense, but it'll still get fed a steady diet of Chip Kelly's complex spread, which is always a unique challenge for any defense.
Who to watch: The Cal offense, naturally, gets most of the attention. That'll happen when Best is the cover boy and the unit is averaging 48 points. The defense, however, is pretty special, too. The Bears features a handful of next-level players on a D that's allowing just 273 yards a game. One player that's really stepped up and filled a void is sophomore LB Mychal Kendricks, a force on the inside in his first year as a starter. He already has 30 tackles in three games, a number that'll keep growing versus the run-first Ducks.
What will happen: Is this where Cal gets derailed? It's certainly possible. The more probable scenario, though, has the Bears handling Oregon, which has regrouped on the backs of an average Purdue team and an overrated Utah one. The Ducks don't have enough up front to put a dent in the Cal ground game, and that lack of a consistent passing threat will present a problem. Cal will prevail, but not without a struggle.
CFN Prediction: Cal 35 … Oregon 27 ... Line: Cal -6
Must See Rating: (I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell 5 … Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself 1) … 4
-Free Expert Football Predictions

Arizona State (2-0) at Georgia (2-1),3:30 EST, ESPNU, Saturday, September 26

Why to watch: When did Georgia become Tulsa? The same team that opened with a lackluster 24-10 loss to Oklahoma State in Week 1 has rebounded with back-to-back high-octane wins over SEC opponents. Sure, the defense has been a sieve, but the Joe Cox-led offense racked up 93 points against South Carolina and Arkansas, the school's best two-game outburst in almost five years. Climbing back up the rankings, the Dawgs have suddenly become a whole lot more entertaining than they appeared three weeks ago. Arizona State has been next to perfect in its first two games. The bad news? Idaho State and Louisiana-Monroe won't exactly prepare the Sun Devils for the next 10 games. Flying well beneath the radar, they've got an opportunity to make a statement in Athens and build a head of steam before Pac-10 play begins.
Why Arizona State might win: The Sun Devils lead the nation in total defense, which isn't solely a product of weak scheduling. They've given up just 17 points in eight quarters and have collected eight turnovers. Dexter Davis and Lawrence Guy are the centerpieces of a tremendous defensive line, and LB Mike Nixon does a little bit of everything, like picking off passes and blocking kicks. The way Georgia has played defense this month, ranking last in the SEC, QB Danny Sullivan should get some good looks downfield in the direction of Chris McGaha and Kyle Williams.
Why Georgia might win: As long as Cox can continue to channel Matt Stafford, the offense shows no signs of slowing down. Since kicking the flu bug, he's tossed seven touchdown passes over the last two weeks, developing a rhythm with top receivers A.J. Green and Michael Moore. Now that Caleb King has returned to join Richard Samuel, the Bulldogs have a pair of physical backs, who can soften the Arizona State front. The Sun Devil offense, while potent versus piñatas, is not built to compete in shootouts.
Who to watch: One of the sneaky-good weapons in Athens is true freshman TE Orson Charles, who's caught two passes in each and earned the confidence of Cox. A 6-3, 230-pound seam-stretcher, he has the speed and the stride to cause headaches for the Sun Devil linebackers, especially if Green and Moore get too much attention from the safeties.
What will happen: The Dawgs are on a tear that isn't going to stop this weekend. They'll continue to flourish on offense, peppering an Arizona State D that won't be battle-ready after tossing around Idaho State and Louisiana-Monroe. Cox's confidence is soaring, an interesting study in perseverance since he patiently waited four years before getting his turn to pilot the offense.
CFN Prediction: Georgia 38 … Arizona State 17 ... Line: Georgia -12
Must See Rating: (I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell 5 … Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself 1) … 4
-Free Expert Football Predictions

Arizona (2-1) at Oregon State (2-1),7:35 EST, Saturday, September 26

Why to watch: After this weekend, one team will have rebounded while the other is saddled with an untimely two-game losing streak. Both Arizona and Oregon State failed tough non-conference tests, losing to Iowa and Cincinnati, respectively. The Wildcats haven't looked right all month, particularly on offense, needing to find a spark immediately because the schedule offers few breathers. For starters, Mike Stoops has made a change at quarterback, replacing mobile Matt Scott with Nick Foles, the better pocket passer. The Beavers hung with the Bearcats, but a 21-point explosion in the second quarter was too much to overcome. Traditionally slow starters under Mike Riley, Oregon State can't afford to drop two straight or else the season is liable to take a turn in the wrong direction.
Why Arizona might win: The strong-armed Foles gives the Wildcats viable downfield potential to go along with the running of Nic Grigsby. Grigsby is second only to Cal's Jahvid Best in the Pac-10, rushing for 400 yards through three games. Foles shouldn't feel too much heat from an Oregon State defense that's produced just two sacks all season, making life miserable for the retooled secondary. Arizona has had no such problems in pass defense, yielding just two meaningless touchdown passes all month, which will make the Beavers one-dimensional on offense.
Why Oregon State might win: Get the ball in the hands of one of the Rodgers brothers. It's becoming a worn-out edict, but it's effective. Two of the most dynamic playmakers in the Pac-10, they make the Beavers go on offense. Despite playing with ankle pain, Jacquizz has rushed for 342 yards and five scores and caught 19 passes. James has also caught 19 balls for two scores, adding 106 yards on the ground. Unlike a week ago in Iowa City, Arizona will be susceptible to getting burned on the perimeter. Grigsby has been terrific, but this could be his toughest test so far, facing an Oregon State D that's 17th nationally against the run, allowing just 3.2 yards a carry.
Who to watch: Oregon State WR Darrell Catchings returned last week from a wrist injury that originally was believed to be season-ending. Although he caught just one pass, he was slated to be the go-to guy before getting hurt. If he can build on that debut, the Beavers and QB Sean Canfield have a better chance of solving that athletic Arizona defensive backfield.
What will happen: In a key game and the Pac-10 opener for both, it'll be good time to be at home. Oregon State will feed off the energy of the Reser crowd, riding a handful of big plays from James and Jacquizz to a well-earned victory. Foles will perform well in his first career start, but fall short of engineering the upset.
CFN Prediction: Oregon State 28 … Arizona 23 ... Line: Oregon State -2.5
Must See Rating: (I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell 5 … Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself 1) … 3
-Free Expert Football Predictions

- Week 4, Part 2 (Wash at Stanford, Wazzu at USC)