Are you ready for another exciting weekend of Pac-12 football? You should be! Here are some of the big questions surrounding each of the four Pac-12 games.
1) Can Michael Adkins emerge as a serious running threat for Colorado?
While nothing is guaranteed in football, it is very, very, very likely the Oregon Ducks will beat the Colorado Buffaloes this weekend. And if recent history is any indication, the game probably won’t be close. Still, the contest is worth watching for Colorado freshman Michael Adkins, who was the lone bright-spot last week for the Buffaloes. A track star in high school, Adkins averaged 7.0 yards per carry in Colorado’s loss to the Oregon State Beavers, and he’s expected to receive more touches this weekend. While it is unlikely that he’ll lead his team to victory over the No. 2 Oregon Ducks, another strong performance from the explosive Adkins could be a good sign going forward for Colorado fans.
2) Will the 2011 or 2012 defense show up for the Washington Huskies against Stanford?
We all know that Washington can score on just about anyone — though the Stanford defense will be their biggest test of the season so far — but a more intriguing aspect to the prime-time game between the Huskies and the Cardinal regards the Washington defense. When the two teams met in 2011, Stanford gashed the Huskies for 615 total yards. The tables turned in 2012, with the Huskies holding the No. 8 Cardinal to only 235 total yards in a 17-13 upset. Saturday’s game as huge implications both in the Pac-12 North and on a national scale, so make sure to tune in.
3) Can Arizona State make history against Notre Dame?
No team has ever beaten the USC Trojans and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in back-to-back games, a feat the Arizona State Sun Devils will have a chance of accomplishing on Saturday. The helmets may look a little ridiculous, but the ASU offense is no joke. Thanks in large part to the emergence of transfer receiver Jaelen Strong, the Sun Devils are seventh in the nation in terms of passing yards per game. The Notre Dame defense, dominant in 2012, will have its hands full dealing with Strong and all-purpose threat Mario Grice (who has scored eight rushing touchdowns and four receiving touchdowns this season).
4) Which team will be able to put last weekend behind them: Cal or Washington State?
Last weekend was disastrous for the California Golden Bears and the Washington State Cougars. The Bears encountered driving rains and an unstoppable Oregon offense in Eugene, losing to the tune of 55-16. Freshman quarterback Jared Goff was unable secure a good hold on the wet football, fumbling multiple times against the Ducks. Though the weather wasn’t as bad for the Cougars, their result was similarly miserable. Washington State was absolutely overwhelmed by the Stanford Cardinal, losing 55-17 in a game that was even less close than the score indicates. Both Cal coach Sonny Dykes and Washington State coach Mike Leach love to throw the football, and Saturday’s game will be gut-check time for two offenses that struggled mightily last weekend.