If the Southern California Trojans want to justify the hype, they will need to go on the road and whip defending champion Utah in the marquee Week 7 game in the Pac-12.
The Utes are coming off a 10-point loss at UCLA. There are three teams without losses in conference play, so Utah can’t afford another defeat if it has any chance to repeat as conference champ.
Oregon and UCLA, currently tied with USC atop the Pac-12 standings, are both idle.
Washington and Washington St. look to keep pace with the conference leaders when the Huskies play host to Arizona, while Washington St. visits Corvallis and Oregon St.
According to the college football odds, USC (+175) is second only to Oregon in the odds to win the Pac-12 title. Utah is in fourth, priced at +850.
USC remains sixth in the American Football Coaches Association poll, but fell one spot to seventh in the Associated Press poll. Oregon is 11th in the coaches’ poll, 12th in the AP. However, the biggest move was made by UCLA, seven spots in both polls (11th in AP, 12th in AFCA).
Here’s a look at the Pac-12 games, and some items of interest to those who bet online.
Game of the Week
Southern California Trojans vs Utah Utes
- Date, time (TV): Saturday, Oct. 15th, 8 p.m. ET (FOX)
- Line: Utah -3
A loss at UCLA, now defending Pac-12 champ Utah gets thrown back into the fire against the current conference faves in USC.
Quarterbacks Caleb Williams (USC) and Cameron Rising (Utah) have thrown a combined total of 27 touchdown passes and just four interceptions. Per the college football picks, Williams (+1000) has the second-best odds to win the Heisman.
It may be challenging here, however. Utah (4-2, 2-1 in the Pac-12) and USC (6-0, 4-0) are the only two teams in the Pac-12 to allow fewer than 200 passing yards per game. They also have the best pass-efficiency defenses in the conference.
USC’s Tuli Tuipulotu is the Pac-12 leader with seven sacks, while Utah’s Clark Phillips is tied for the national lead with five interceptions (two pick-sixes).
— USC Football ✌️ (@uscfb) October 10, 2022
They’ve split the last eight games. Something to consider for those who bet online is the road team has won the last two meetings after the home team took seven in a row.
Rest of Schedule
California Bears vs Colorado Buffaloes
- Date, time (TV): Saturday, Oct. 15th, 2 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
- Line: California -14½
Cal (3-2, 1-1) didn’t record its fourth win during the 2021 season until Nov. 20th. The Bears can claim win No. 4 Saturday against the only winless outpost at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.
Eyes will be on California freshman running back Jaydn Ott, one of two Pac-12 players averaging more than 100 rush yards per game.
Colorado (0-5, 0-2), not surprisingly, is last in the Pac-12 in total offense and defense.
Three quarterbacks have seen time in Boulder this season, and they are completing just 51.3% of their passes. Meanwhile, the Buffs are allowing opponents to complete 67% of their passes (12 touchdowns, one interception).
Cal has won three of the last four meetings, with three of those contests ending over.
Arizona Wildcats vs Washington Huskies
- Date, time (TV): Saturday, Oct. 15th, 5:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
- Line: Washington -16
It’s two of the improved offenses in the Pac-12 squaring off in Seattle.
Arizona (3-3, 1-2) likes to spread the wealth in the running game, as Michael Wiley, DJ Williams and Jonah Coleman have all recorded more than 200 rushing yards. Former Washington St. QB Jayden de Laura has thrown for 1,874 yards (15 touchdowns) but his seven interceptions are a concerning stat.
Washington (4-2, 1-2) also has a transfer at quarterback. It’s Michael Penix, formerly of Indiana, leads the conference with 2,044 passing yards (16 touchdowns). Also, the top three receivers in the Pac-12 are set to play in the game. Arizona’s Jacob Cowing (46 catches, 643 yards, seven TDs) and Dorian Singer (35 catches, 506 yards) are the top targets in Arizona, while Washington’s Rome Odunze has 524 yards (35 receptions).
Washington has won five games in a row against Arizona. Looking at the college football betting lines, four of the last five games have featured double-digit spreads.
Stanford Cardinal vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish
- Date, time (TV): Saturday, Oct. 15th, 7:30 p.m. (NBC)
- Line: -17
Stanford (1-4) is looking to get back to its winning ways against Notre Dame. The Cardinal won seven of nine against the Fighting Irish, before Notre Dame dominated the last three meetings by 21, 21 and 31 points.
Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee is already approaching his interception total (seven) of a season ago. He’s been picked off five times.
Stanford’s surrendered more yards per game in the Pac-12 (431.6) than any school not named Colorado. It won’t be easy holding Notre Dame’s offense in check.
Washington St. Cougars vs Oregon St. Beavers
- Date, time (TV): Saturday, Oct. 15th, 9 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
- Line: Oregon St. -3½
Washington St. (4-2, 1-2) doesn’t have much of a running game, but quarterback Cameron Ward can move the ball down the field in a hurry.
Oregon St. (4-2, 1-2) is the only team in the conference with more interceptions than touchdown passes, but second in the conference with 16 touchdown runs.
Washington St. has allowed 20 sacks, more than any other Pac-12 squad. Meanwhile, Oregon Sta. is dead-even (six sacks recorded, six sacks allowed)
Washington St. is looking for its ninth win in a row against Oregon St. Each of the last three games have been decided by 10 or fewer points.
Eight of the last nine games between the teams have ended over.