By Fred Delkin
A rare euphoria lingers at both of Oregon’s major universities and is likely to remain after this weekend’s grid marches. Oregon rides high with a 6-0 season record, while their OSU neighbors continue unsullied at 5-0. The Ducks travel to Arizona State, while the Beavers host Utah. Pigskin went 5-1 last week, our only miscall was our expectation that a Beaver trip to BYU would be dismal due to the absence of starting QB Sean Mannion. Not so, as Mannion’s backup Cody Vaz did more than just fine on a field known as a funereal site for visitors. Here’s what our crystal all foresees this week…
OREGON at ARIZONA STATE–the UO schedule has been quite friendly to date, but this match will be a real test for the nation’s #2 (or #3, depending on which poll is referenced) team.
The Sun Devils’ new coaching staff has molded a vicious defense, introduced a talented young signal-caller and has crafted a 5-1 season record and a 3-0 conference mark. We believe the Ducks’ speed and depth will keep them in the national title chase. The Webfoot O line will let their rookie QB Marcus Mariota weave another impressive performance before a Thursday night national television audience. OREGON by 14.
UTAH at OREGON STATE–injuries have decimated the Ute squad and this should add another scalp to the Beaver belt. Vaz proved last week that he is a very competent QB who is blessed with very good receivers. This game will also provide an opportunity for the OSU rushing attack to shine. The OSU defense needs no introduction to excellence. OSU by 14.
STANFORD at CALIFORNIA–this Big Game rivalry is one of college football’s most renowned. Stanford has narrowly lost a pair of matches versus top 10 teams, while Cal has earned a pair of wins against mediocre opposition after starting the season abysmally. We think talent will rule this battle. STANFORD by 10.
WASHINGTON at ARIZONA–the Dawgs wilted in the second half last week as their O & D lines wore out before USC’s relentless pressure. Arizona is better than its 3-3 & 0-3 marks to date would indicate. The hosts should predominate in this match up in the desert. ARIZONA by 7.
COLORADO at SOUTHERN CAL–the visiting Buffalo herd has no competition this season for a ranking as the Pac12’s weakest link. The Trojans will romp before entering into the Pac12 pressure cooker with trips to Arizona and UCLA sandwiching home dates with Oregon and Arizona State.
UCLA and WASHINGTON STATE have a week off to lick their wounds.
PORTLAND STATE travels to CAL POLY and host coach Tim Walsh should remind the Vikings that PSU shouldn’t have let him go. Walsh’s squad is a contender for the Big Sky title and a trip to the national FCS playoffs, while the visitors can only hope for this season to dwindle away. CAL POLY by 14.
ROSES & RASPBERRIES–another shower of flowers to the coaches and their charges in Corvallis who just keep exceeding expectations...a heartfelt and bellowing boo for the officiating in the Notre Dame/Stanford game which put a questionable seal on the Cardinal effort to knock the Irish from the top 10…no end of praise for the fact that the end of the MLS soccer season is in sight for the lackluster Portland Timbers.