It was a telling weened in Pac-12 play last Saturday. Let us count the ways:
1) Oregon State appears to be a lot better than they were predicted to be. Going on the road and beating an up-to-now impressive UCLA squad shows they have talent and guts not thought present before.
2) Conversely, UCLA is once again showing that they are more hype than substance. Sure, they beat weak Rice and Houston teams...and yes, they did beat Nebraska...but the first time a Pac-12 foe of any caliber shows up on their home field they lose.
3) Oregon is looking good - in particular on defense. The "D" kept the Ducks ahead in a close first half...which is how long it took the Duck "O" to get going. Once they did, they piled on 35 points, and then "D" sealed the deal late with two pick-sixes. Ducks up to #2 in the land!
4) For the second week in a row, USC did not look like a top 5 team...even though they beat Cal.
5) Oh, WSU...poor WSU. Your once promising "new start" just got derailed into "going nowheresville" as you lost to a horrible, horrible Colorado team - at home...after spoiling a late fourth quarter lead. Next up for you? Oregon.
OK, enough about last week, here's what I think will happen this week...
Oregon vs. WSU in Seattle. Cougs come out and play better in front of a Seattle crowd, maybe even keep it close in the first two quarters, but that doesn't last. Ducks win by the score of 45-17.
Oregon State vs. Arizona in Tuscon. Conventional wisdom would say Beavers keep momentum going after their UCLA win and beat up on a downtrodden Wildcats team followng their beat down at the hands of the Ducks. But no, I'm going to reverse that and say Arizona bounces back and wins 27-16.
Cal vs. Arizona State in Berkley. This should be a good match up. ASU is hot. Cal, while losing a couple close games, still has good talent. I think ASU has too much going for them and they will win 31-20.
UCLA vs. Colorado in Boulder. The Bruins are down after a loss at home to the Beavers. The Buffs are high following an unexpected win on the road at WSU. The reality of where both these squads are in 2012 sets in for as UCLA wins comfortably 33-13.
USC vs. Utah at Salt Lake City. Won't be close. USC wins 42-14.
NOTE: Washington played Stanford on Thursday and pulled off the upset 17-13, but I did not get around to predicting this week's games until that one was already over. Nice win for the Dawgs for sure, especially since their defense showed up big. A note to them, however...you're going to need to score a lot more than 17 to beat your next opponent on the road, Oregon.