2009 Pac 10 Fearless Predictions - Week 7

Posted Oct 15, 2009

Previews and Predictions for the Week 7 Pac 10 Games

2009 Pac 10 Fearless Predictions

Week 7 ... Oct. 17 Games

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

Pac 10 Fearless Predictions
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 | USC vs. Ohio State | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5

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- USC vs. Notre Dame Fearless Prediction    

Cal (3-2) at UCLA (3-2),3:30 EST, ESPN Gameplan, Saturday, October 17

Why to watch: Resigned to the fact that it'll go another year without a Rose Bowl invitation, Cal comes out of the break wondering where the 2009 season will take it. Before the bye, the Bears were exposed as Pac-10 frauds, losing to Oregon and USC by a combined score of 72-6. Jeff Tedford has worked his players extra hard over the last week, sending a signal that there's still plenty to play for over the next two months. UCLA, too, has dropped the last two games, showing some warts following a momentum-building 3-0 start. Even though the Bruins got QB Kevin Prince back from a broken jaw a week ago, it mattered little in a 24-10 home loss to Oregon. There'll be an unmistakable sense of urgency in Pasadena as both schools look to avoid a three-game losing streak.
Why Cal might win: While literally nothing went right for the Bears over the last two games, at least they won't have to contend with much skill position talent for a change. UCLA has the Pac-10's most impotent offense this side of Pullman. Averaging just 17 points over the last four games, the Bruins have an unproven quarterback and a non-existent running game. This will be a chance for Cal to flex its muscles on defense, getting after Prince with ends Tyson Alualu and Cameron Jordan, and linebackers Mike Mohamed and Mychal Kendricks. A mediocre set of UCLA receivers will struggle shaking loose from corners Darian Hagan and Syd'Quan Thompson.
Why UCLA might win: Week-in and week-out, the Bruins fortunes will rest on the play of the defense, which is championship caliber if it got a little more support. Cal hasn't reached the end zone in more than two games, largely due to the inconsistent play of QB Kevin Riley. Getting back on track won't be easy with DT Brian Price plowing through the middle of the line and CB Alterraun Verner taking the Bears' best receiver out of the equation. UCLA leads the Pac-10 in pass defense, and has yet to allow more than 24 points in a game.
Who to watch: In stark contrast to his blazing start, Cal RB Jahvid Best has disappeared the last two games. It really wasn't his fault. Without the threat of the passing game, defenses have been able to load up on stopping one of the most dangerous playmakers in the country. One thing in Best's favor is that he may not be hunted down by top UCLA LB Reggie Carter, who has a left knee sprain.
What will happen: While you pretty much know what you're going to get from UCLA, it's anyone's guess what Cal brings to the Rose Bowl. The Bears can't be as bad as they played in the two losses leading up to the bye week. They'll find a way to regroup, springing Best for a couple of plays of at least 25 yards. It won't take much to outscore a Bruin team facing serious problems on offense.
CFN Prediction: Cal 24 … UCLA 16 ... Line: Cal-3
Must See Rating: (Bored To Death 5 … My Monkey Baby 1) … 2.5
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Stanford (4-2) at Arizona (3-2),6:00 EST, Saturday, October 17

Why to watch: Both Stanford and Arizona enter this week's game in Tucson needing to do a psyche check. The Cardinal had its three-game winning streak snapped in Corvallis, losing far worse than the 38-28 indicated. This is still a young program, with a lot to prove, so bouncing back quickly is an immediate priority for Jim Harbaugh and his staff. The Wildcats seemingly had its game with Washington in hand with four minutes left when the bottom fell out. They allowed the Huskies to score 15 points in the waning moments, including a one-a-million hacky sack deflection off the foot of Delashaun Dean and into the arms of Mason Foster, who returned it for a game-winning score. And just like that, Arizona went from unbeaten in Pac-10 play to must-win in the league race.
Why Stanford might win: Can Arizona stop a power running team that'll challenge its modest size and girth on the inside? It's going to find out. Harbaugh has brought redshirt freshman QB Andrew Luck along slowly, putting the offense in the hands of 235-pound RB Toby Gerhart. He's responded with 746 yards and five touchdowns, wearing down opposing defenses. If Luck catches the ‘Cats cheating up, he has the ability to pick it up, and burn the defense downfield with burner Chris Owusu, an exciting homerun hitter.
Why Arizona might win: When faced with a balanced offense, Stanford wilted at the feet of Oregon State, allowing 463 yards and five touchdowns. It's a vulnerable defense that has begun to spring leaks. The Wildcats are capable of opening the flood gates with its own run-pass mix. Buoyed by an offensive line that's played well all year, Arizona can hit the Cardinal with Nic Grigsby and Greg Nwoko on the ground and QB Nick Foles through the air. Foles has thrown for 638 yards in his first two starts, spreading the ball around to a half-dozen receivers.
Who to watch: Even without top pass rusher Brooks Reed the last few weeks, the Arizona D has played well throughout the first half of the season. A lot of the credit belongs to cornerbacks Trevin Wade and Devin Ross, who form one of the best tandems in the conference. Wade already has four interceptions, and will likely be in charge of keeping Owusu from streaking down the seam unabated.
What will happen: The future is bright on the Farm, but right now, Arizona is executing a little better than Stanford on both sides of the ball. The Wildcats have more options on offense and a couple more stoppers on defense, which will be the difference in a tight game Saturday evening. The Cardinal will rally late, but fall short on the road for the third straight time in 2009.
CFN Prediction: Arizona 33 … Stanford 24 ... Line: Arizona -6
Must See Rating: (Bored To Death 5 … My Monkey Baby 1) … 2.5
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Washington (3-3) at Arizona State (3-2),9:00 EST, Saturday, October 17

Why to watch: From the upset of USC to the overtime loss to Notre Dame, Washington has been all about the drama so far this fall. On Saturday night, the Huskies rallied from a 12-point deficit in the final four minutes to beat Arizona on a wacky, bang-bang defensive touchdown. While hardly a complete product in Steve Sarkisian's first year, the school is learning how to battle and win tight games, a departure from last year's 0-12 squad. Arizona State has to feel fortunate to be 3-2, maximizing a soft early schedule against the likes of Idaho State and Washington State. The Sun Devils defeated the Cougars, 27-14, last week, but were extremely sloppy in the process, an ominous note as the slate begins to get thorny.
Why Washington might win: The Sun Devil offense is dreadful, which will give a much-needed break to the Husky D. It's had problems running or throwing with any consistency, which has prompted Dennis Erickson to start using true freshman QB Brock Osweiler as a sparkplug alongside starter Danny Sullivan. U-Dub has far more punch on offense, beginning with QB Jake Locker and his young and improving supporting cast. The Huskies have put up at least 30 points in each of the last two games, a number the Devils are unlikely to reach.
Why Arizona State might win: The Sun Devil D continues to give hope to its fans every weekend. It's allowing just 221 yards and 15 points a game, and just got done ringing up 21 tackles for loss and a dozen sacks on Wazzu. The front seven signals major problems for a balky Washington offensive line. From Lawrence Guy and Saia Falahola up front to athletic linebackers Vontaze Burfict, Mike Nixon, and Brandon Magee, Arizona State is loaded with the kinds of playmakers who can alter the Husky offensive gameplan.
Who to watch: Not only did LB Mason Foster have the game-winning pick six last weekend, but he also racked up double-digit tackles for the second time in the last three games. He's one part of a talented trio of linebackers, including Donald Butler and E.J. Savannah, which ought to keep the Arizona State running game stuck in neutral. Dimitri Nance did run for 113 yards a week ago, a figure that isn't so impressive when Washington State is on the other sideline.
What will happen: Sarkisian has Washington believing, even if it's obvious that there are holes that might not be plugged until 2010. That swagger coupled with the Huskies' sizable edge at quarterback will help prop the program above the .500 mark. It'll again be a barnburner for Washington, which will use a Locker-led drive and an Erik Folk field goal in the final quarter to eke out the victory.
CFN Prediction: Washington 26 … Arizona State 23 ... Line: Arizona State -3
Must See Rating: (Bored To Death 5 … My Monkey Baby 1) … 2
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- USC vs. Notre Dame Fearless Prediction