In concurrence with JT’s preview, week six offers fewer star-studded games than last Saturday, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some important match-ups on slate. Most notably, the Pac-10 dives into some crucial conference play.
For all the credit the Pac-10 has received for likely being the 2nd/3rd best conference this season, only three teams are ranked in the top 25. Compare that to six from the SEC, five from the Big Ten and four from the Big 12.
And, as we all know, rankings (especially the BCS formula) are 100-percent accurate and fully demonstrate the legitimacy of every team. But I digress …
As competitive as the Pac-10 has been, teams can ill-afford to lose two conference games this early in the schedule. So, while week six may be sans goosebumps, the line-up is no less important.
Oh yeah, and the Big 12 has some games, too.
No. 11 Arkansas at Texas A&M at Jerryworld (3:30 ET)
THE LINE: Arkansas -5.5
THE PLOT: We’ll start with the only notable Big 12 match-up for the weekend. Lo and behold, it’s out of conference. This game can go one of two ways. The popular consensus is that the final score will be somewhere around 77-72, but don’t count out a game that gives us 10 turnovers and drives their respective coaches to serious drinking problems.
There’s a ton of talent between Ryan Mallett and Jerrod Johnson, who both have NFL size and arms. However, I think the key in this game will actually be which quarterback does less. The two have combined to throw for 22 touchdowns, but have added 13 interceptions. Whoever manages the game better and tries not to impersonate Brett Favre (Crocs, anyone?) will likely come out on top.
THE PICK : Mallett wins in that department. Johnson simply tries to do to much and it will cost him, and the Aggies, once more.
THE SCORE: Arkansas 31, Texas A&M 26
——————–UCLA at Cal (3:30 ET)
THE LINE: Cal -7.5
THE PLOT: With each school already suffering a conference loss, neither team can afford to lose another early on, especially given that you’re look at two middle of the Pac teams (zing!). With Oregon, Stanford and Arizona appearing to be 1,2 and 3 in conference, falling behind will do neither Cal, nor UCLA, any favors.
This is a must win between two evenly-matched teams.
THE PICK: Here’s a stat for ya: Facing teams not named Nevada, Cal has given up less than 100 yards rushing per game. Against the Pistol, Cal gave up over 300 yards in that department. Kevin Prince is no Colin Kaepernick, but Norm Chow is definitely Norm Chow.
THE SCORE: UCLA 24, Cal 20
Oregon State at No. 9 Arizona (6:00 ET)
THE LINE: Arizona -8
THE PLOT: Oh, sorry, I couldn’t stop staring at the fact that Arizona is ranked No 9 in the country. I think I was waiting for a zero to appear somewhere.
In fairness, though, ‘Zona has been playing at a higher level than in years past. Mike Stoops’ teams have a history of not finishing games/seasons, but this team looks content to make that a part of their past.
Mike Riley’s team hasn’t gotten off to the start they were hoping for, but Riley is one of those coaches who always has his team ready to play and they always seem to get consistently better as the year goes on.
THE PICK: Like South Carolina, I’m sort of waiting tentatively for this dream season to implode for the Wildcats. They’ve pulled off a couple tight wins in a row, and this one draws a similar ending.
THE SCORE: Arizona 23, Oregon State 19
USC at No. 16 Stanford (8:00 ET)
THE LINE: Stanford -10
THE PLOT: The losses for these two teams last week could not have been more different. The Trojans lost at home to to a limping Washington. Stanford gave up a lead to a very, very good Oregon team in one of the toughest places to play in the country. It’s clear at this point Oregon is the class of the Pac-10, but I still don’t think Stanford is far behind.
With that said, this is another one of those games that neither team can afford to drop, especially Southern Cal. There’s no guarantee that Oregon will slip up during the year and Stanford and Arizona both have chances at that Pac-10 title.
THE PICK: USC’s secondary has been a problem. It continues to be a problem for the Trojans against Andrew Luck. Oregon found a way to silence Luck in the second half of their victory over the Cardinal, but it’s tough to keep the sophomore quarterback down for long.
THE SCORE: Stanford 27, USC 21
Straight up: 1-3
Vs. Spread: 0-4
Straight up: 8-7
Vs. Spread: Not good.