Washington State (1-2) @ Utah (1-2)
Dylan: Utah has not had the start that it expected, and it also doesn't have the starting quarterback that it expected. Charlie Brewer has packed his bags and has left the Utes football program. Now, it's up to Cameron Rising to right the ship.
I think he does that this weekend against a reeling Washington State team. Utah has plenty of offensive weapons for him to succeed, including running backs Tavion Thomas and Micah Bernard, as well as pass-catchers like tight end Brant Kuithe and receiver Britain Covey.
Prediction: I expect this to be a shootout, but I think the Utes will bounce back from two straight defeats and beat the Cougars.
No. 24 UCLA (2-1) @ Stanford (2-1)
Dylan: If you would have asked me for my prediction for this game a month ago, I would have said that I thought UCLA would blow out Stanford. I really had no faith in Stanford's ability to put up points, but the Cardinal have proved me wrong.
Tanner McKee has settled in nicely as the starting quarterback, and the run game appears much improved from a year ago. They still need that explosive, reliable receiver like they've had with Simi Fehoko, Michael Wilson and Connor Wedington in recent years.
UCLA is still a very good team, but I think Stanford is just the hotter team right now. I expect this one to be a very physical and very high-scoring game. I like Stanford's secondary a lot, and I think they will make life difficult for UCLA's receivers and Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
Prediction: I'm going with Stanford to knock off UCLA.
California (1-2) @ Washington (1-2)
Max: This one's a bit tricky, as both team are off to less than impressive starts so far in 2021. We all know about the Huskies' embarrassing start to the season, with back-to-back losses to FCS Montana and getting blown out by Michigan at the Big House.
The Huskies did what they were supposed to last week with a dominant win over Arkansas State, but they've yet to live up to the hype that appeared to be building in Seattle after Jimmy Lake took over. In their days of relevance under Chris Petersen, the defense was the trademark, and I'm not sure this Washington team has solidified an identity.
Quarterback Dylan Morris is off to a poor start with five interceptions in three games, but the Huskies have some weapons in Sean McGrew, Michigan transfer Giles Jackson and wide receiver Jalen McMillan.
For Cal, they've lost two games to higher quality teams, and looked better than Washington in the process. Nevada has one of the top quarterbacks in the country in Carson Strong and the Golden Bears were able to keep that game competitive. I'm not super high on quarterback Chase Garbers, but at least he's shown that he's not afraid to take deep shots. Cal's Nikko Remigio has been a very consistent receiving threat for the Bears and I like what they have in running back Damien Moore.
Prediction: I think this could be a close one, but give me the Bears over the Huskies in Seattle.
Arizona (0-3) @ No. 3 Oregon (3-0)
Max: If you read our roundtable predictions or our preview content, you know this one isn't shaping up to be a close game.
Arizona is severely outmatched across the board and don't have the least bit of momentum after losing to FCS opponent Northern Arizona last week.
Quarterback Anthony Brown is good to go after missing the second half last week and the Ducks are looking to take the next step in their development and dominate this one from start to finish. I'm looking for Oregon to come out fast on offense, as consistency has been an issue for them throughout the first three games.
The Wildcats are going to be a major project for Jedd Fisch to turn around and things won't get any easier against an opportunistic Oregon defense that is getting back key contributors.
HALFTIME THOUGHTS: No. 10 Oregon Trials UCLA 17-14
Checking in at the half
Jackson Powers-Johnson Exits UCLA Game With Injury
Powers-Johnson entered the lineup after Forsyth didn't make the start
Prediction: I'm taking Oregon to win big at home in the first game with students back in town as the school year starts.
Oregon State (2-1) @ USC (2-1)
Max: Kedon Slovis returns from a neck injury in a home matchup against the Beavers, which should help the offense move the ball against a defense that has allowed more than 400 yards in two of its first three games. Following the firing of Clay Helton, USC is playing with something to prove and the Trojans want to show the country that an ugly loss to Stanford shouldn't define their season.
For Oregon State, quarterback Chance Nolan has yet to throw an interception and looks like their guy after a solid start to the year. Runnign back B.J. Baylor has been stellar for the Beavs so far and he'll look to give the Trojans' defense everything they can handle.
The Beavers look like they're heading in the right direction under Jonathan Smith after hanging with Purdue in a close loss to kick off the season, but USC's talent will be too much for the Beavers.
Prediction: I see USC getting a convincing win at the Coliseum.
Colorado (1-2) @ Arizona State (2-1)
Dylan: Colorado's offense has been as bad as any in college football. The Buffs haven't scored on 20 straight possessions. Arizona State might have the best defense they'll face all year.
Buffs' quarterback Brendon Lewis has to find some sort of offensive rhythm. Arizona State's defensive line is one of the best in the country and will make the freshman signal-caller very uncomfortable.
If Colorado only mustered up 63 total yards of offense against Minnesota, I can't imagine what this Sun Devils defense will do.
Jayden Daniels and Rachaad White will carry the offense for ASU as always. This game could be over by halftime.
Prediction: I'm taking Arizona State to win and ride into the showdown against UCLA next week with a 3-1 record.
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