Cross’ Big 12, Pac-12 picks: Will UCLA be tested?

Ken Cross

September 16, 2015 at 5:39 pm.

Sep 12, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) hands the ball off to running back Paul Perkins (24) in the first quarter against the UNLV Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 12, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) hands the ball off to running back Paul Perkins (24) in the first quarter against the UNLV Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports


No. 19 BYU at No. 10 UCLA – Bronco Mendenhall must feel like his Brigham Young Cougars are charmed after they beat Nebraska on a Hail Mary and scored twice in the final minute to edge Boise State. Now comes the challenge of taking on a UCLA team that has given up only one touchdown in eight quarters. The athleticism and speed of running back Paul Perkins gives UCLA the edge.

BRUINS 31, COUGARS (+16) 20

Stanford at No. 6 USC – The Trojans host Stanford at the L.A. Coliseum after a pair of beat downs over Sun Belt foes Arkansas State and Idaho. Quarterback Cody Kessler is off to a fast start. He’s completed 45 of 57 passes with seven touchdown passes vs. no interceptions.  Stanford always provides tough opposition to USC with their physical attack. But the loss at Northwestern may be a precursor of things to come on Saturday.


No. 21 Utah at Fresno State – This is a tough, hard-nosed Utes defense which is third in the nation with five interceptions. The secondary ball-hawks and the front four gets after the passer. The Utes are also holding opponents to 96 yards on the ground after two weeks. Fresno State will not see anything close to the speed it did in the 73-21 pasting by Ole Miss. The Bulldogs strong suit is a rushing defense which will be tested by Devontae Booker, who racked up over 100 yards in last week’s 24-14 win over Utah State.


Ga. State at No. 12 Oregon – There was numerous chances last week for the Ducks to pick up the win over Michigan State. But turnovers at key times accentuated the 31-28 loss. Oregon has a tune up before a tough Pac-12 opener at home vs. Utah. The Ducks’ Braylon Addison caught seven balls for 138 yards last week as Vernon Adams, who was a broken finger, threw for 309 yards.                                                                                     DUCKS (-45) 62, PANTHERS 10

Utah State at Washington – This is a young Huskies team that played eight true freshmen, including Jake Browning, the first Husky in history to start a game as a true-freshman, against Boise State and just missed knocking off the Broncos in Week One. Utah State looks to get its offense on track behind senior Chuckie Keaton, a seasoned quarterback, who has thrown for 366 yards with two touchdowns and three picks so far this season.

HUSKIES 24, AGGIES (+ 5 1/2) 21

Colorado vs. Colorado State (Denver) – The Rams lost a heartbreaker last week at home to Minnesota, 23-20.  Nick Stephens and Coleman Key have shared the signal-calling duties for new coach Mike Bobo.  But the key for the experienced Rams will be dealing with Buffs’ wideout Nelson Spruce, who is Colorado’s all-time receptions leader with 219.

RAMS (-1) 31, BUFFALOES 21

Cal at Texas – The Bears are off to a 2-0 start behind Sonny Dykes’ gun-slinging offense. Quarterback Jared Goff has thrown for nearly 400 yards as Bryce Treggs and Trevor Davis have been the beneficiaries. Cal is a tough matchup for Texas because the Longhorns haven’t proved they can cover consistently.  Jerrod Heard should start again at quarterback as the Horns must get physical on the ground with Johnathan Gray.

BEARS (-5 1/2) 38, LONGHORNS 31

Big 12

Texas Tech at Arkansas – The Razorbacks were smarting after rolling up over 500 yards and turning the ball over one time and losing to Toledo in Little Rock. Arkansas will look to get physical with the Red Raiders in the running game with Alex Collins and quarterback Brandon Allen. The Red Raiders have thrown at will as Patrick Mahomes has 786 yards and eight touchdown passes vs. Sam Houston State and UTEP.  The Hogs ran for 438 yards last year in a 49-28 rout of Texas Tech


SMU at No. 3 TCU – The Horned Frogs’ offense took off last week behind Trevone Boykin in a 70-7 win over Stephen F. Austin. Boykin has thrown a touchdown pass in 17 consecutive games as TCU averages 528 yards in offense per game while yielding 254. The Frogs are one of only three teams to be in the Top 20 in both categories. SMU hung with Baylor for a while. That may not be the case here with the acumen of a Gary Patterson defense.


Tulsa at No. 16 Oklahoma – Somehow the Sooners were able to pop up off the mat in Knoxville after the Volunteers took an early 17-0 lead.  Quarterback Baker Mayfield has settled in as the Sooners signal-caller and found Sterling Shepard twice for key scores last weekend. Tulsa snapped a six-game road losing streak last week with a 40-21 win at New Mexico. Former Baylor offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery is in his first year and has the Hurricanes slinging the ball all over the field, Wideouts Keyarris Garrett and Keevan Lucas are sixth and seventh nationally in receiving yards.


Louisiana Tech at Kansas State – The Wildcats have allowed only three points in two wins vs. South Dakota and UTSA. The competition should pick up, however, considering the Bulldogs having a much more potent offense than either of the first two opponents. It’s a balanced K-State attack behind quarterback Joe Hubener as the Wildcats are rushing for 182 per game and passing for 196. Florida transfer Jeff Driskell has thrown for 631 yards for Louisiana Tech.

WILDCATS (-9 1/2) 28, BULLDOGS 14


Last week: 6-4                   Vs. Spread: 3-7                                                                                        Overall: 15-6                      Overall vs. spread: 8-15