Oregon Ducks: Johnathan Franklin

Happy Friday!

Most to prove in the Pac-12

August, 28, 2013
8/28/13
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Across the ESPN blogosphere on Wednesday, we’re looking at players/coaches/position groups with something to prove in each conference. In the Pac-12, the answers should be fairly obvious. Here are 10 from the league in no particular order.

1. Lane Kiffin: OK, maybe this one is in particular order. USC’s head coach is on the hottest seat in America after a disastrous 2012. There were embarrassments for the program on and off the field. That has led to plenty of speculation about what he needs to do to keep his job. Win 10 games? Nine? Win nine and beat UCLA or Notre Dame? Or both? This is a storyline that will no doubt carry deep into the season.

[+] EnlargeSteve Sarkisian
James Snook/US PresswireLane Kiffin isn't the only Pac-12 coach feeling growing pressure for a successful season.
2. Steve Sarkisian: His seat isn’t as hot as Kiffin’s. But the heat index has certainly risen in the wake of another seven-win season. The Huskies have a lot of returning talent – including a quarterback with potential, a healthy offensive line, an outstanding running back and receivers (including TE), and a fairly veteran defensive core. The pieces are in place for Washington to, at the very least, get over the seven-win hump. Seven wins or fewer will be met with harsh criticism and questions about whether Sarkisian is the right guy for the job.

3. Oregon’s linebackers: This appears to be the only question mark for the Ducks, at least on paper, because they have a solid front and an outstanding secondary. Losing Michael Clay, Kiko Alonso and Dion Jordan is a big hit in terms of production, talent and leadership. Boseko Lokombo is a veteran presence, and Tony Washington, Derrick Malone and Rodney Hardrick have all been in the system for a few years. If they can match the production of their predecessors, the Ducks should be fine defensively.

4. Stanford’s wide receivers: Ty Montgomery headlines this list. At the end of 2011, he showed explosive playmaking ability and his future looked sparkling. But injuries slowed him in 2012. With the Cardinal doing some overhauling after losing their top two tight ends, the receiver spot will likely take on more emphasis in 2013. Players such as Devon Cajuste, Michael Rector and Kelsey Young will need to be productive as well.

5. Paul Richardson: The Colorado receiver missed all of last season with a knee injury and had to sit and watch his team fall apart around him. The Buffaloes went 1-11 and their coach was fired. A new coach, a new offense and a new enthusiasm in Boulder is motivating Richardson to make up for lost time. He is Colorado’s most explosive player and knows he has the potential, and responsibility, to carry the offense. Now he just has to go out and prove he can do it.

6. Oregon State’s receivers: We know what we’re getting with Brandin Cooks. He proved last season that he's an outstanding player. How much of that, however, was a product of the guy across the field, Markus Wheaton? With Wheaton gone, either Richard Mullaney or Obum Gwacham will have to step up as a complementary threat to Cooks -- along with Kevin Cummings in the slot.

7. QBs, old and new: Not all the quarterback competitions are completed. But whoever wins the job at Arizona and USC will likely be looking over his shoulder for the bulk of the season. Connor Wood is back in the starting role for Colorado, true freshman Jared Goff gets the start for Cal, and Sean Mannion finally won Oregon State's job after a grueling seven-month competition with Cody Vaz. Nothing is set in stone at Washington State, so Connor Halliday will need consistent play to hold the job (we’re assuming, for now, that it’s Halliday). Expect these players to be under the microscope all season.

8. UCLA’s running backs: There are big shoes to fill with the departure of running back Johnathan Franklin, the school’s all-time leading rusher and a Doak Walker finalist last year. Jim Mora has said that he’ll likely use five backs throughout the season. Jordon James is the front-runner of the committee and has the best opportunity to distance himself. But expect Paul Perkins, Malcolm Jones, Steven Manfro and Damien Thigpen (health pending) to all fight for time and carries.

9. Utah’s secondary: It’s not necessarily young. Just inexperienced. And in a pass-happy league, that could spell trouble. Free safety Eric Rowe has the most playing time among the group. Cornerback Davion Orphey is a juco transfer and opposite him is Keith McGill, a former safety and juco transfer who appeared in five games in 2011 but suffered a season-ending injury and then missed all of 2012. There is talent there. It’s just mostly untested.

10. Arizona State: Yep, the whole team. This is what you wanted, ASU fans … for the sleeping giant to be awoken. The alarm clock just went off. Now it’s time to prove all the hype is worth it. A challenging schedule early -- including Wisconsin, Stanford, USC and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks -- will be a good measuring stick. Though the USC game is really the one that has South title implications. Still, the other three will go a long way toward determining how ASU is viewed nationally. Going 1-3 and beating USC wouldn’t be disastrous. Going 0-4 will draw the requisite “same old ASU” criticisms.

 

Pac-12 top 25 for 2012: No. 1

February, 25, 2013
2/25/13
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Our countdown of the top 25 players in the 2012 season continues.

You can see our preseason top 25 here.

No. 1: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

2012 numbers: Mariota completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 2,677 yards with 32 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also rushed for 752 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 7.1 yards per carry.

Preseason ranking: Unranked.

Making the case for Mariota: It's pretty extraordinary that a redshirt freshman quarterback earns first-team All-Pac-12 honors. And tops this list. But Mariota had an extraordinary season. He ranked first in the Pac-12 and seventh in the nation in pass efficiency. It's reasonable to wonder how ridiculous his numbers would have been had Oregon played more close games, and therefore Mariota's A-game was needed in the fourth quarter more than three or four times. Consistency? Mariota threw a touchdown pass in every game. He threw one interception in the final seven games. He led an offense that ranked second in the nation in scoring (49.5 ppg) and was fifth in total offense (537.4 ypg). The Ducks scored 11 points per game more than any other Pac-12 team. The 6-foot-4, 196-pound Honolulu native is an extremely accurate passer who also might be the fastest quarterback in the nation -- see 86 and 77 yard runs this year. Against USC on the road, he completed 87 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He tied a school record with six TD passes against California. He rushed for 135 yards at Arizona State. In the Fiesta Bowl victory over Kansas State, he passed for two touchdowns and ran for another and earned game MVP honors as the Ducks ended up ranked No. 2 in the nation. Mariota will enter the 2013 season as one of the top-five preseason Heisman Trophy candidates. Said All-American Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown: "He's a great young player. He has a bright future." Yes he does. If current trends continue, Mariota will become the greatest player in Oregon history and be a first-round pick in the NFL draft. That's a lot. But it's the truth.

No. 2: Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
No. 3: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
No. 4: Matt Scott, QB, Arizona
No. 5: Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
No. 6: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
No. 7: Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
No. 8: Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
No. 9: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
No. 10: Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State
No. 11: Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
No. 12: Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
No. 13: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
No. 14: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 15: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
No. 16: Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford
No. 17: Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford
No. 18: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
No. 19: David Yankey, OL, Stanford
No. 20: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
No. 21: Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
No. 22: Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford
No. 23: Michael Clay, LB, Oregon
No. 24: Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State
No. 25: Reggie Dunn, KR, Utah
It appears that Jim Mora was very good for Datone Jones.

Jones, who belatedly broke through as a senior for the Bruins under Mora, earning second-team All-pac-12 honors, is having a great week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and his draft stock is surging, according to multiple reports.

First from ESPN's Todd McShay, Kevin Weidl, Steve Muench Insider:
UCLA's Datone Jones (6-4[, 280) had another good day. Talk about explosive upper body power -- this guy has it. He played hard and is a disciplined backside defender. He blew up a play on nine-on-seven with his quickness and ability to get inside. He also has the ability to work his hands and disengage when he's locked up in a tight situation.

He's had a good week. There's a buzz in the stands about him.
CBS Sports rated Jones one of the Senior Bow's top "risers."
After an impressive practice on Monday, Datone Jones kept the momentum going on Tuesday, standing out as one of the best defensive stars on the North squad. He is very strong from head to toe and does a nice job using his powerful arms and hands to rip past blockers. He wasn't overly productive as a pass rusher at UCLA, largely due to the fact that he was moved all over the Bruins' hybrid 3-4 scheme, but he did make 19 tackles for loss as a senior with his impressive blend of burst and power to dispose of blockers at the point of attack. Jones is a name that will start to appear in first-round mock drafts moving forward.

It also appears that two Pac-12 running backs, UCLA Johnathan Franklin and Oregon's Kenjon Barner, also are doing well.

That said, McShay, Weidl and Muench had some questions about Franklin's speed, and that "makes him more of a third- or fourth-round prospect instead of a second."

Another Pac-12 player on the North, Colorado tight end Nick Kasa, has distinguished himself. From CBS:
While tight end Vance McDonald has impressed on the South squad, Colorado tight end Nick Kasa has stood out on the North team. A former defensive end, he didn't make the move to offense until late last season, entering the 2012 campaign with just one career catch on his resume. Kasa plays a bit tight and bulky, but he is an intriguing athlete and has really impressed as a blocker this week. He obviously needs some more seasoning, but the tools are there for Kasa to be an interesting developmental draft choice early on the third day.
As for South practices Insider, where California and Stanford players are, the Bears seem to be doing well. Cornerback Marc Anthony and offensive lineman Brian Schwenke have impressed:
Cal CB Marc Anthony had the best Wednesday. He turned and ran with Georgia's Tavarres King. I think he runs well, showed the ability to turn and run with guys, and he can break on balls thrown in front of him. He almost had a pick, and he can get physical.
And here's a take on Schwenke:
While Jenkins has shown the ability to dominate lesser opponents, California center Brian Schwenke has proven surprisingly effective when taking on the massive defender. While perhaps not the most aesthetically-pleasing blocker, Schwenke shows good quickness, functional strength and understands leverage. He sinks his hips on contact, anchoring well despite being significantly lighter at 6-3, 307 pounds than many of his opponents.

Another player whose speed is being questioned is Stanford outside linebacker Chase Thomas. While he's been impressive on the physical side, Thomas apparently has struggled in coverage. From CBS:
Speaking of looking the part, no linebacker was as physically imposing as Chase Thomas (6-foot-3 1/8, 241 pounds). The outside linebacker practiced and played with a lot of effort, throwing around fellow linebackers in a tackle-shed drill, and that helped make up for a lack of burst and speed that a lot of high-profile outside linebackers tend to have. On Tuesday, Thomas was beaten a number of times on a quasi-race from a two-point stance to a tackling dummy. Ultimately, he seemed a half-step behind receivers in practice and a bit slower than his teammates in drills.

Pac-12 on Walter Camp All-America team

December, 6, 2012
12/06/12
6:30
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The Pac-12 was well-represented on the Walter Camp Foundation's 2012 All-America team, released Thursday.

USC sophomore receiver Marqise Lee, Stanford senior tight end Zach Ertz and a pair of running backs, Oregon senior Kenjon Barner and Arizona sophomore Ka'Deem Carey, were named to the first-team offense.

Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and Oregon State cornerback Jordan Poyer, both seniors, earned spots on the first-team defense.

The conference got two players on the second teams, one on each side of the ball: UCLA senior running back Johnathan Franklin and Arizona State junior defensive tackle Will Sutton.

For the complete Walter Camp list, click here.

Quick look at Week 9 Pac-12 games

October, 22, 2012
10/22/12
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Here's a quick look at Week 9 in the conference. All times are ET. All games are Saturday.

Colorado (1-5, 1-3) at No. 4 Oregon (7-0, 4-0) 3 p.m. Pac-12 Network: The series is tied at 8-8, but the Ducks have won two in a row, including a 45-2 win in Boulder last year. Oregon is No. 1 in the conference in scoring offense and No. 2 in total offense. Colorado is last in scoring defense and total defense. Oregon is No. 1 in the Pac-12 in red zone offense and red zone defense. Ducks opponents have converted just nine of 28 red zone visits into TDs.

UCLA (5-2, 2-2) at Arizona State (5-2, 3-1) 3 p.m. FX: UCLA leads the series 17-10-1, but the Sun Devils have won three of the last five. The Bruins, however, won memorably 29-28 in 2011. The Sun Devils missed a 46-yard field goal for the win as time expired. The Bruins' go-ahead drive featured a conversion on a third and 29 yards play. That was the first of five consecutive defeats for the Sun Devils, and coach Dennis Erickson was fired. Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly leads the Pac-12 in passing efficiency, while UCLA RB Johnathan Franklin leads the conference in rushing.

No. 9 USC (6-1, 4-1) at Arizona (4-3, 1-3) 3:30 p.m. ABC/ESPN2: USC leads the series 28-7 and has won the last two and nine of 10. The Trojans won a barnburner 48-41 last year. The last five games have been tight, even though the Wildcats only came out on top in 2009. The average margin of victory was 5.6 points per game with no game decided by more than seven points. USC QB Matt Barkley leads the Pac-12 with 22 TD passes. Arizona QB Matt Scott is second with 17.

Washington State (2-5, 0-4) at No. 17 Stanford (5-2, 3-1) 6:15 p.m. Pac-12 Network: Stanford leads the series 36-25-1 and has won four in a row by an average margin of 31 points. The Cardinal rolled in Pullman 44-14 last year. The Cougars rank 119th in the nation -- second to last -- in rushing with 40.6 yards per game. Stanford is No. 1 in the Pac-12 and fourth in the nation in run defense.

California (3-5, 2-3) at Utah (2-5, 0-4) 9:45 p.m. Pac-12 Network: California leads the series 5-3, including a 34-10 win in Berkeley last year. The Utes, however, have won three of the last five meetings, all of which happened before they joined the Pac-12. Utah is last in the conference and 112th in the nation in third-down conversion percentage on offense (30.1 percent). But Cal is 10th in the conference in third-down conversion percentage defense (42.9 percent).

No. 7 Oregon State (6-0, 4-0) at Washington (3-4, 1-3) 10:15 p.m. Pac-12 Network: Washington leads the series 58-34-4 but the Beavers have won seven of eight, including a 38-21 win last year in Corvallis. Washington's defense has struggled to pressure opposing QBs. It has just nine sacks this year, fewest in the conference. The Beavers have yielded just 11 sacks, the fourth-fewest in the conference. As good as the Beavers have been, they rank 119th in the nation in penalty yards per game (82.17). On the other hand, Oregon State is No. 1 in the Pac-12 in turnover margin (plus-10). The Beavers have turned the ball over just six times. The next fewest is Stanford, with 10. Washington has 16 turnovers.

Pac-12 superlative tracker

October, 3, 2012
10/03/12
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We're tracking the offensive, defensive and coach-of-the-year races in the Pac-12.

For a more thorough look at offense, re-read our Heisman Trophy update.

Offensive player of the year

1. De'Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Oregon: Thomas scored a touchdown against Washington State but it was a relatively quiet game for him. For the season, he's rushed for 302 yards (9.7 yards per carry) with five touchdowns and caught 19 passes for 193 yards and three TDs.

2. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA: He ranks fourth in the nation and first in the Pac-12 with 139.4 yards rushing per game. He rushed for 111 yards on 15 carries in the blowout victory over Colorado. He also caught three passes for 48 yards.

3. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon: Barner rushed for 195 yards and three touchdowns in the victory over Washington State. He averaged 9.8 yards per carry and ran for scores of 22, 10 and 80 yards. He's second in the Pac-12 in rushing with 121 yards per game and his nine rushing touchdowns leads the conference.

4. Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State: Kelly is first in the Pac-12 and 16th in the nation in passing efficiency. The Sun Devils are second in the Pac-12 with 38.4 points per game. Kelly threw three TD passes in the win at California and now has nine for the season.

5. Matt Barkley, QB, USC: Barkley was off last week. His 12 TD passes still leads the conference, but he's fifth in the conference in passing efficiency.

Keep an eye on: UCLA QB Brett Hundley; USC WR Marqise Lee; Oregon State WR Markus Wheaton. Arizona QB Matt Scott; Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor.

Defensive player of the year

1. Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State: Won Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week after recording a career-high eight tackles (six solo), including three sacks, and forced a fumble in a 27-12 victory over California. He's second on the Sun Devils with 34 tackles, including 10 for a loss. Also has 6.5 sacks, a forced fumble and two pass breakups.

2. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: Off last week. Fourth on the Utes with 19 tackles. Also has four tackles for a loss, a sack, two pass defenses and two forced fumbles.

3. Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford: Had a sack and four tackles against Washington. He's third on the Cardinal with 23 tackles. He also has five tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks.

4. Morgan Breslin, DE, USC: Leads the conference with 2.38 tackles for a loss per game and has five sacks.

Keep an eye on: T.J. McDonald, S, USC; Travis Long, OLB, Washington State; Chris Young, LB, Arizona State; Datone Jones, DE, UCLA; Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA.

Coach of the year

1. Mike Riley, Oregon State: The Beavers, who went 3-9 last year, are now 3-0 and ranked 14th. 'Nuff said.

2. Chip Kelly, Oregon: Ducks are atop the Pac-12 and ranked No. 2. If they ended up winning a fourth consecutive Pac-12 title and earn another berth in the national title game, Kelly wins.

3. Todd Graham, Arizona State: While the Sun Devils are lacking a marquee win, they've been impressive during a 4-1 start. Of particular note is their discipline and efficiency on both sides of the ball. That wasn't what you said about the Sun Devils in the past, even during the good times.

Keep an eye on: Jim Mora, UCLA; Steve Sarkisian, Washington

Video: Friday Four Downs -- Week 4

September, 21, 2012
9/21/12
11:00
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Conference games, North-South matchups, Heisman watch and shoddy field-goal kicking are the topics on four downs this week.

Pac-12 Heisman tracker

September, 18, 2012
9/18/12
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A little bit of movement, as you'd expect, on the Pac-12 Heisman tracker after Week 3. Neither of your Pac-12 bloggers is ready to cast Matt Barkley aside. One bad game -- especially early in the year -- doesn't completely crush a Heisman campaign. Even David Shaw called Barkley the best quarterback in the country. But it certainly didn't help, which is why he drops to third this week.

De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon, WR/RB
  • Week 3 numbers: Rushed three times for 62 yards and a touchdown and caught three balls for 73 yards and a touchdown. He also returned four punts for 87 yards.
  • Season numbers: Thirteen rushes for 228 yards (17.5 yards per run) and four touchdowns. Eleven catches for 154 yards (14 yards per reception) and three touchdowns.
  • What went well: Another blowout win for the Ducks provides us with our usual weekly dose of DAT highlights, including a season-high 59-yard run and a season-high 49-yard reception.
  • Any questions? A couple of fumbles put a bit of a stain on the performance. That 49-yard reception, when he showed off some ridiculous moves, would have been a 50-yard touchdown, but he had the ball knocked out on the goal line. Heady play by Jake Fisher to not give up on the play and to fall on the ball for the score.
Johnathan Franklin, UCLA, RB
  • Week 3 numbers: Rushed for 110 yards on 25 carries with no touchdowns. Caught four balls for 58 yards.
  • Season numbers: Sixty-six rushes for 541 yards (8.2 yards per run) with three touchdowns. Eight receptions for 121 yards (15.1 yards per reception) with a touchdown.
  • What went well: UCLA won against an overmatched Houston team. The Bruins are 3-0 with a chance to make a nice impression when they host Oregon State this weekend. If they keep winning and Franklin keeps putting out the yards, he'll stay in the picture.
  • Any questions? The yards are there, and Franklin still leads the country in rushing with 180.3 yards per game. But the rushing touchdowns are on the lower end when you look at it from a national perspective. Even within the conference, Kenjon Barner has six and Ka'Deem Carey has five.
Matt Barkley, USC, QB
  • Week 3 numbers: Completed just 20 of 41 passes for 254 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions.
  • Season numbers: Completed 66 of 109 passes (60.6 percent) with 813 yards and 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.
  • What went well: The hope is that his performance will light a fire under Barkley and the Trojans. If you have to lose, better to do it to a ranked team early in the season. Other than seeing how he handles the loss, which we won't know until he steps on the field against Cal, there isn't much about his performance that was redeeming.
  • Any questions? How much time you got? He failed to throw a touchdown for the first time in 18 games -- and, given the weapons he has at his disposal, that seems almost unheard of. Heisman voters don't take backup centers into consideration. They look at the numbers. And the numbers weren't good.

Pac-12 predictions: Week 3

September, 13, 2012
9/13/12
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Welcome to Week 3. Ted and Kevin both went 7-5 in Week 2. Double yuck. The problem was all picks were identical, and neither picked an upset. Silly Pac-12 bloggers.

For the season, Ted is 16-7 and Kevin is 15-8.

Friday

Kevin: Washington State 35, UNLV 17: Time for the Cougars to get a win over an FBS team. Should happen this week against a UNLV squad that is 0-2 and fell to FCS school Northern Arizona. (Remember them, Arizona State?) If all goes according to plan, the starting offensive linemen should be crushing the buffet at the Rio by the third quarter.

Ted: Washington State 40, UNLV 20: While quarterback Jeff Tuel is decidedly questionable; backup Connor Halliday is experienced and capable. The guess here is things go a little more smoothly on both sides of the ball as new systems start to sink in.

Saturday

Kevin: Ohio State 28, Cal 10: The defense, which was supposed to be the strength of this team, hasn't shown up yet. Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo rushed for 97 yards -- most of it on zone reads the Bears couldn't stop. What's Braxton Miller going to do?

Ted: Ohio State 30, California 17: During the summer, I believed this was prime upset material. Then Cal played twice.

Kevin: Oregon 49, Tennessee Tech 14: It was De'Anthony Thomas in Week 1 and Kenjon Barner in Week 2. Who is the Duck du jour in what should be the latest Oregon pasting? Fortunately, Oregon's schedule allows for growth with younger players, and it needs that because of all the injuries of late.

Ted: Oregon 50, Tennessee Tech 10: Yawn. The good news is Oregon might have an interesting game the next week when Arizona comes to town. I bet Ducks fans are hungry for a game that at least raises an eyebrow.

Kevin: Washington 31, Portland State 7: Not a lot of time for the Huskies to get right after their ill-fated journey to Baton Rouge, La., with Stanford, USC and Oregon looming in the next three weeks. This might be their last opportunity for a win until late October/early November. They'd better take advantage of it.

Ted: Washington 30, Portland State 20: Will the Huskies be flat after falling flat at LSU? I suspect so. Not flat enough to lose but perhaps flat enough to further frustrate Huskies fans.

Kevin: USC 38, Stanford 24: David Shaw knows how to plan a scheme against USC's defense, so I'd expect the Cardinal to put up some points. But when push comes to shove, Stanford's defense won't get the number of stops needed to slow down the Trojans' passing attack.

Ted: USC 35, Stanford 20: I think it will be close at halftime, but the Trojans will pull away early in the fourth quarter. Eventually, Matt Barkley & Co. will gash the Cardinal secondary, and then Stanford won't be able to answer.

Kevin: Fresno State 31, Colorado 17: The Bulldogs showed a little bite against the Ducks -- enough to suggest they can certainly hang with, and beat, a lower-tier Pac-12 team.

Ted: Colorado 28, Fresno State 27: Why? Because I suspect we're going to see some pride from the Buffs.

Kevin: BYU 35, Utah 27: I think Utah will play inspired football given this week's turn of events. But last week we saw that the offensive line concerns are graver than we all initially thought. Bronco Mendenhall saw it too.

Ted: BYU 28, Utah 24: There's a lot going on at Utah, most notably injury issues. And it's not just quarterback Jordan Wynn. Running back John White and safety Eric Rowe are questionable. But the biggest issue, as Kevin noted, is the disappointing play of the offensive line.

Kevin: Arizona 49, South Carolina State 10: The offense has come together quickly. I'd expect Arizona to use this game to clean some things up before heading to Autzen for a game that suddenly looks very interesting.

Ted: Arizona 42, South Carolina State 20: I suspect that some fumes from the post-Oklahoma State victory celebration will cause the Wildcats to be a bit flat. They are fortunate the opponent will be forgiving.

Kevin: UCLA 48, Houston 21: Houston can't stop the run. UCLA isn't going to abandon the run. Another huge game for Johnathan Franklin and another win for the Bruins.

Ted: UCLA 44, Houston 24: Another possible flat performance, but the Bruins should recall the loss at Houston from 2011 to provide some motivation. Agree with Kevin: Franklin gets another 200, and his Heisman candidacy inches up another notch.

Kevin: Arizona State 38, Missouri 31: OK, ASU. I'll bite. The Sun Devils are second in the nation with six interceptions, and Missouri likes to throw a lot. Vegas likes the Tigers by a touchdown, but I'll throw my confidence behind Todd Graham & Co.

Ted: Missouri 35, Arizona State 27: The Sun Devils have whipped two inferior foes at home. The Tigers are pretty good and are playing at home. The Sun Devils have been impressive, but they are still young. And Missouri quarterback James Franklin is a load.

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