In the Crosshairs: ACC, Pac-12 Week Seven Picks

Ken Cross

October 10, 2018 at 12:02 pm.

Sep 22, 2018; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks tight end Jacob Breeland (27) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half at Autzen Stadium. Photo Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 22, 2018; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks tight end Jacob Breeland (27) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half at Autzen Stadium. Photo Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

With no pregame build-up or hype from the national media which still drinks the Kool-Aid on the East coast, Washington at Oregon may be the biggest game this weekend and nary a word has been said about it.  This happens too much and with a dysfunctional and inoperable four-team NCAA championship playoff that is clearly biased against the Pac-12, Big 12 and the American Athletic Conference, something eye-popping needs to come out of the Ducks-Huskies battle to set the winner into the Final Four conversations.

Pac-12 Conference

No. 7 Washington at No. 17 Oregon – Autzen Stadium on a Saturday night should grab the attention of anyone who begs to know even a little bit about college football. The Ducks lead the league in total defense, while Washington is second in total defense. The key is how Washington stops a Ducks running game that averages 216 yards per game. It’s a committee approach and with the lights shining on Autzen, the one-loss Ducks re-enter the mythical (for the Pac-12) Final Four Race.

Ducks (+3) 27, Huskies 24

Arizona at Utah – The Wildcats continue to struggle as Kevin Sumlin is laying a foundation on which the Wildcats can build the program in the immediate future. Arizona is 106th in the nation against the run and with Utah having Zack Moss and Tyler Huntley’s prowess in the run game, this one is over early.

Utes (-14) 31, Wildcats 13

UCLA at Cal – Chip Kelly’s for real has to rebuild, but the Bruins have shown improvement and mounted challenges in losses to Colorado and Washington in the last two weeks. The Bruins’ pass defense has been a huge problem and Cal quarterbacks Chase Gerber and Brandon McIlwain could both see lots of action and Patrick Laird, Kanawai Noa and Vic Wharton, III could put up big numbers behind those throws.

Bears (-7) 38, Bruins 26

No. 19 Colorado at USC – Another Pac-12 battle not to sleep on as the undefeated Buffaloes and Lavitska Shenault could be in for a tough battle in the Los Angeles Coliseum. Shenault had 127 yards on 13 catches with two receiving touchdowns and two rushing TDs in last week’s 28-21 win over Arizona State. USC comes off a bye-week after jumping to a 24-0 lead and holding off Arizona, 24-20. The Trojans need a big day from Aca’Cedric Ware, who leads their ground game while sharing the duties with Stephen Carr. Of note, The Trojans are 0-4 vs. the Spread in their last four home games.

Trojans 29, Buffaloes (+7) 27

Atlantic Coast Conference

Duke at Georgia Tech – This comes down to Duke’s defense which gives up only 122 yards rushing per game against a Georgia Tech running game that is as usual rushing for 373 per contest. In the turnover department, Duke has only accrued three so far and they have only turned it over six times. They will need to force some fumbles against the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta.

Yellow Jackets (-3) 30, Blue Devils 24

Louisville at Boston College – Georgia Tech cut up Louisville with its running attack in last week’s 66-31 win as the Yellow Jackets boasted two rushers in quarterback TaQuon Marshall and runner Tobias Oliver who both ran for over 100 yards. Now, comes a Boston College running game behind A.J. Dillon which has balance behind the passing of Anthony Brown.

Eagles (-15) 41, Cardinals 21

Pitt at Notre Dame – Irish quarterback Ian Book and running back Dexter Williams are a great 1-2 punch as Book threw for 271 yards and two scores, while Williams tallied 178 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns as the Irish bowled over Virginia Tech, 45-23. The Panthers surprisingly posted 44 on Syracuse last week behind running back Qadree Ollison. Pitt has been competitive in ACC play, but the No. 5 Irish are ultra-focused and will cruise.

Fighting Irish (-21) 44, Panthers 19

Miami at Virginia – A really intriguing quarterback match-up with Miami’s N’Kosi Perry and Virginia’s Bryce Perkins. Perry has taken over for struggling Malik Rosier and has led the ‘Canes to three wins in a row. Perkins is extra athletic and has become more of a fortress than anyone would have ever figured. The winner of this game within a game gets the ‘W.’

Hurricanes 27, Cavaliers (+7 1/2) 20

Virginia Tech at North Carolina – The Hokies were in the game at halftime as they were down 17-16 at intermission and then they were steamrolled. How will Virginia Tech repair mentally after such an emotional devastation at Lane Stadium? The Tar Heels continue to struggle as they have had such an inept offense. The key for UNC is to score early on the Hokies and find them not up to the challenge.

Hokies (-6) 35, Tar Heels 17