It was a brutal first week of PAC 12 play. Outside of Washington and Colorado, no other PAC 12 team really played up to their full potential in an opening weekend that had opponents ranging from the low FCS ranks all the way up to the reigning national champions.
Will Week 2 bring better fortunes for the PAC?
Before we jump into it, let’s recap my picks from Week 1. In all, I think that I had a very good week. I picked 9 of 12 correctly with 7 of the 9 pretty much “dead on”.
Dead on picks
Southern Utah 6, Utah 28
Oregon State 21, Minnesota 31
Kansas St 10, Stanford 30
UCLA 31, Texas A&M 35
UC Davis 24, Oregon 57
Northern Arizona 10, Arizona State 52
USC 24, Alabama 34
Cal 23, Hawaii 17
Colorado State 17, Colorado 28
EWU 27, WSU 41
Arizona 45, BYU 42
So, here is my scoreboard through one week:
Week 2 Picks
Utah St at USC (USC -16.5)
It is easy to call out a team as in “dumpster fire” status (we’ll get to WSU in a minute) after one week. However, it is rarely that cut and dried. In particular for a team with a new coaching staff and a new QB. I admit to being a bit dismayed by Max Browne’s inability to find receivers - in particular JuJu Smith-Schuster - last week. I also can’t help but to notice that the Trojans have lost every single game that they’ve played since Clay Helton had his interim tag removed. Still, I think Browne settles down and internalizes the hard lessons learned from his Alabama nightmare. I’m going USC.
Pick: Utah St 23, USC 38
Idaho St at Colorado
The Buffs had a dominating showing in week 1 and, importantly, managed to avoid catastrophic injury. That said, Sefo Liufau was very aggressive against Colorado State and took some shots because of it. I think Colorado dials down the intensity a bit and starts playing with the long game in mind. They’ve earned the respect. Now they just need to go out there, run behind Phillip Lindsay and take care of business. Easy-peasy.
Pick: Idaho St 10, Colorado 41
BYU at Utah (Utah -3)
The Holy War returns to the regular season after a two-year hiatus got rudely interrupted by those wizards of chaos at the Las Vegas Bowl. The old adage of “throw the record books out the window” certainly would seem to apply to this. However, most people don’t realize that the series hasn’t actually been that close for much of the past decade. In fact, the Utes have won six of the last seven affairs dating back to 2008. While I will give BYU the edge at QB with Taysom Hill - a player who, I believe, is just one season away from his AARP membership - I do believe that Utah has a huge advantage. Troy Williams should be able to do enough to hand the game over to his defense to win.
Pick: BYU 13, Utah 23
UNLV at UCLA (UCLA -26.5)
The Runnin’ Rebs are not a good football team. In fact, they are currently being coached by a man who literally just left the high school ranks. That isn’t to say that high school coaches can’t make the transition. But UCLA is a different beast even when your mid-tier team is fully stocked and well-trained. The Bruins have some making up to do for the TAMU loss and QB Josh Rosen has something to prove after looking more like Josh Gad last weekend.
Pick: UNLV 13, UCLA 52
Texas Tech at ASU (ASU -3)
Texas Tech racked up a startling 758 yards of offense in their week 1 win over SFA. Even more remarkable is that they accomplished that by completing passes to 17 different receivers. 17!!!
This is not a good matchup for ASU. Their aggressive blitzing style is effectively nullified by Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid. Offensively, young Manny Wilkins doesn’t seem to be ready to get into a shootout yet, particularly with the offensive line in the state that it is in. I think this goes awry for the Devils.
Pick: UPSET — Texas Tech 48, ASU 34
WSU at Boise St (Boise St -12.5)
Boise State is giving up 12.5 to WSU. I’m having trouble digesting that number no matter what I thought of the Cougs Cougin’ it against EWU last weekend. I don’t think that there is any way that Boise State covers that spread. However, I’m also having a hard time figuring out how WSU is going to pull out a win on the smurf turf. The Broncos have a lot of experience on defense. Offensively, they are led by sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien - a player with family roots in WSU lore - and RB Jeremy McNichols. If those two players aren’t enough to scare WSU fans, consider where co-Offensive Coordinator Zak Hill was last seen.
Yup, you guessed it. He was Easter Washington’s offensive coordinator last season.
That’s enough for me.
Pick: WSU 31, Boise State 42
California at SDSU (SDSU -7.5)
This is another example of Vegas lines over reacting to a single game. I don’t see any real justification for spotting the Aztecs a full touchdown against a team that can score from anywhere on the field against most FBS level competition. In fact, I think that the Bears can absorb a 4-fold increase in SDSU offensive production from their game a year ago (Cal crushed SDSU 35-7) and still pull this one out straight up.
Pick: UPSET —- Cal 31, SDSU 24
Virginia at Oregon (Oregon -25)
Washington fans have an idea of what a not-very-good FBS team looks like after whipping on Rutgers last weekend. Virginia - fresh off a loss to an FCS foe of their own - is an order of magnitude worse. Oregon should have no trouble establishing the rushing attack against the Cavs and, in fact, I expect that we’ll see Justin Herbert in at QB by the 3rd quarter. We might even seen enough scoring prevention to be lulled into thinking that Oregon’s D might actually be turning a corner.
Pick: Virgina 20, Oregon 66
Grambling State at Arizona
This is a get-back-on-track game for RichRod and the Wildcats. I fully expect them to use the opponent to get Anu Solomon back on track and to work Brandon Dawkins into the rotation. It should be offense galore in the desert.
Pick: Grambling St 20, Arizona 48