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Let's first start off by saying that Washington, Washington State and UCLA should not have any issues this weekend. The Washington schools are favored over the Idaho schools by nearly 90 points.
We first start in Los Angeles as USC takes on Utah State as they try and make it two in a row and see if they can build off their blowout win over Boston College. Lane Kiffin is no doubt playing for his job and this will continue each week. In the first game of the season, Utah State gave Utah everything they could handle.
The Aggies are led by a fantastic dual threat QB in Chuckie Keeton, who is completing 78 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns, 307 yards a game and is averaging 62 yards on the ground. However, the strength of the USC football team is their defense. I'll take the Trojans in a scrappy game in the first half, but they turn it a bit on in the second half and come away with a 21-13 win.
Oregon State (2-1) is on the road against San Diego State (0-2) and looking to continue their offensive firepower against the Aztecs. The problem for the Beavers has not been the offense but rather the defense. OSU is giving up 299.0 yards per game through the air and 168.7 yards on the ground for a grand total of 467.7 a game, second to last in the conference. It's really quite surprising because the Beavers under Mike Riley have always been a strong defensive team. However, as bad as the defense has been, the offense has been lights out. The Beavers are number one in passing offense at 438.7 yards a game and 43.3 points a game. The one negative about the offense has been the running game where OSU is only averaging 70.0 yards a game - not exactly the balance that the Riley wants. The Beavers are favored by 11, that's an awful big number on the road, but the Aztecs are not very good. I'll go with the Beavers , 42-28.
They call it the Holy War as Utah travels to Provo to face BYU (7:15pm ESPN2). Utah is coming off a very emotional loss in overtime to Oregon State. Under new co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson, the Utah offense is absolutely humming as they are averaging 539.0 yards a game. The catalyst of the offense is So. QB Travis Wilson who threw for 279 yards last week against the Beavers and rushed for 142 yards and accounted for five TD's in the loss. Wilson ranks 10th in the country in total offense with 363 yards a game. The Cougars 1-1 on the season, opening up with a loss to Virginia, but then bouncing back the following week by destroying Texas, 40-21. BYU is favored by seven in the game and it has the makings of being a high scoring game. Since it's a bitter rivalry I'll say it's a close game. Cougars Taysom Hill is an exceptional runner, but he can't do much with his arm. I think Utah makes him beat them with his arm and the Utes come away with a 38-35 victory.
The game of the day takes place in Palo Alto where Stanford hosts Arizona State. Both teams come into the game at 2-0 and it's the conference opener for both. There were a lot of people in the preseason that thought ASU could be the team to perhaps capture the Pac-12 south title. Well, we'll see just how good the Sun Devils are this weekend as they face the Cardinal. For whatever reason, ASU did not look all that good last week against Wisconsin, but they came away with a win, although it was controversial. ASU QB Taylor Kelly is 6th in the conference in total offense (350.5) but it seems like he could do more, especially last week against the Badgers. ASU looked slow at times against Wisconsin and they face another team in Stanford that likes to operate in a similar fashion, but, and this is a big but, Stanford is a far superior team than Wisconsin. I think the edge in this game goes to the Cardinal based on their front seven, who might be the best in college football. It starts up front with DE Josh Mauro (6'6 282), DT David Parry (6'2 303), DE Ben Gardner (6'4 277). Those road blocks up front provide such a force that it allows their linebackers to run around and make plays. And the four in the back are just as good as the front three. OLB Trent Murphy (6'6 262), ILB Shayne Skov (6'3 245), ILB A.J. Tarpley (6'2 238) and OLB James Vaughters (6'2 254). Again, there might not be a better front seven in college football and they will make life tough for Kelly and running back Marion Grice , who is only averaging 71.5 yards a game and as a team has put up 137 a game. If the Sun Devils can't run the football on Saturday it will be nearly impossible for them to win. The Cardinal are favored by 7.5, but I don't think that's nearly enough. It may be close in the first half, however, Stanford will wear ASU down in the second half and I think they end up with a 31-17 win.