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Are national experts picking Utah to beat Oregon?

What are they saying about the USC-UCLA game?

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Utah Utes quarterback Cam Rising (7) hugs coach Kyle Whittingham at the end of the game against Stanford on Nov. 12, 2022.

Utah Utes quarterback Cam Rising (7) hugs Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham at the end of the game against Stanford in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. With Utah traveling to Oregon and UCLA hosting USC, there will be a lot more clarity regarding who will be playing in the Pac-12 championship game after this weekend.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Calling it a big weekend in Pac-12 football would be underscoring the importance of the conference’s two games that match up ranked teams this Saturday.

With Utah traveling to Oregon (8:30 p.m. MST, ESPN) and UCLA hosting USC (6 p.m., Fox), there will be a lot more clarity regarding who will be playing in the Pac-12 championship game after this weekend.

National experts have weighed in on who they think will win these Pac-12 matchups. What are they predicting?

CBS Sports

No. 10 Utah at No. 12 Oregon

Tom Fornelli wrote: “I do not know the status of Oregon quarterback Bo Nix. He was banged up late in the loss to Washington, and there’s been no official word on his status for Saturday (though recent line movement suggests he may be out). Even if he does play, I don’t know if he’ll be at 100%.

“Even if Nix is fine, the Ducks suffered injuries on their offensive line, too, so there’s a real chance the Oregon offense won’t be firing on all cylinders. I expect it will lean heavily on its rushing attack against a Utah defense that’s struggled to stop the run, and the Utes have been more effective on the ground themselves. All of this leads me to believe this game won’t be as high-scoring as the total suggests.” 

  • Prediction: Oregon 31, Utah 28

No. 7 USC at No. 16 UCLA

Tom Fornelli wrote: “The first rule of Bill Walton’s Laws of Pac-12 Physics is that if there’s anything the Pac-12 can do to hurt itself, the Pac-12 will do that. We saw evidence of this last week when Oregon lost at home to Washington and dashed its College Football Playoff hopes. UCLA did the same thing later that evening, stubbing its toe at home against Arizona. That means the Pac-12 has only one legitimate CFP hopeful left: USC.

“That means it’s time for the Trojans to do what the laws of physics require of them. Now, because science can sometimes be tricky, I’m choosing to take UCLA and the points rather than the Bruins straight up. After all, it’s entirely possible that the Trojans could pick up the win here and then lose next week against Notre Dame. Whatever the case, I don’t trust USC’s defense to cover. 

  • Prediction: UCLA 41, USC 38.

USA Today

No. 10 Utah at No. 12 Oregon

  • Scooby Axson: Oregon
  • Jace Evans: Oregon
  • Paul Myerberg: Oregon
  • Erick Smith: Utah
  • Eddie Timanus: Utah
  • Dan Wolken: Utah

No. 7 USC at No. 16 UCLA

  • Scooby Axson: UCLA
  • Jace Evans: UCLA
  • Paul Myerberg: UCLA
  • Erick Smith: USC
  • Eddie Timanus: USC
  • Dan Wolken: USC

“It’s pretty rare when all the attention of a college football weekend is on the Pac-12. That’s the case Saturday in Week 12 of the season with four teams still alive to make the league’s championship game — and there’s an informal semifinal matchup between the quartet,” USA Today wrote. 

Athlon Sports

No. 10 Utah at No. 12 Oregon

  • Steven Lassan: Oregon
  • Mark Ross: Utah
  • Ben Weinrib: Oregon

No. 7 USC at No. 16 UCLA

  • Steven Lassan: USC
  • Mark Ross: USC
  • Ben Weinrib: USC

Bleacher Report

No. 10 Utah at No. 12 Oregon

Morgan Moriarty wrote: “The Ducks offense has had tremendous success under quarterback Bo Nix. It ranks fourth in scoring offense nationally, averaging 42.2 points per game. Nix is in the top 20 in passing nationally, having thrown for 2,774 yards and 24 touchdowns with five interceptions.

“Oregon will be facing a tough Utah defense, though. The Utes rank 22nd in total defense, allowing 327.9 yards per game. Utah is also 10th in turnover margin, having picked up 19 takeaways.

“This one should be close throughout, and it’ll be interesting to see how Oregon responds after a tough loss.”

  • Prediction: Oregon 38, Utah 35

No. 7 USC at No. 16 UCLA

Morgan Moriarty wrote: “USC looks like the Pac-12’s last hope to get a team into the playoff. If TCU stumbles, or a couple of two-loss conference champions emerge, the Trojans could have a shot. USC is 9-1 and will close its season with two ranked opponents in UCLA and Notre Dame.

“… It sure looks like this matchup will be a shootout. If that’s the case, USC’s red-zone defense might have the edge. The Trojans allow opponents to score on 76.2% of trips, tied for 18th nationally. UCLA, meanwhile, is 121st, allowing scores on 91.9% of red-zone possessions.”

  • Prediction: USC 38, UCLA 35

Sporting News

No. 10 Utah at No. 12 USC

Bill Bender wrote: “The Ducks’ loss to Washington took some of the shine off this matchup, but the winner likely plays in the Pac-12 championship game. Both teams clear more than 200 yards rushing per game, and Bo Nix has a chance for one more statement game. … We’ll trust the Ducks to get revenge for last year’s blowout losses to the Utes.” 

  • Prediction: Oregon 41, Utah 37

No. 7 USC at No. 16 UCLA

Bill Bender wrote: “Both teams are ranked in this matchup for the first time since 2014. The Bruins are going to test USC with a rushing attack that averages 240.1 yards per game with Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet. The Trojans have a prolific offense too, and Caleb Williams might have Jordan Addison and Mario Williams back, but the focus is on Austin Jones at running back. He fills in for Travis Dye, and the Trojans set up another huge matchup with Notre Dame on Rivalry Week.” 

  • Prediction: USC 35, UCLA 32