Sam Fisher: Stanford 24, UCLA 27
This is a very difficult game to pick. I don’t think UCLA is as good as Washington, and the Cardinal already knocked off the Huskies at home. However, I just can’t feel confident in what Stanford is doing on both sides of the ball right now. Special teams have bailed out the Cardinal again and again, but I expect UCLA will have a plan to limit Ty Montgomery’s ability to change a game on kickoff returns. In the end, I think quarterback Brett Hundley does just enough to avenge a very close Pac-12 Championship Game loss. The Bruins will seize command of the race for second place in the Pac-12 while sending the Cardinal off to Oregon State on a two-game skid.
George Chen: Stanford 24, UCLA 21
I don’t think picking UCLA to beat Stanford would be an overreaction to the Cardinal’s loss to Utah last Saturday by any means. The Cardinal was simply outplayed by the Utes, and that by itself is a huge worry. But I’m confident in the players’ ability to regroup and put the disappointing loss behind them. UCLA will probably run jet sweeps and bubble screens like it did in the Pac-12 Championship last year, but I think the Cardinal defense will be better prepared for them this time. On the other side of the ball, quarterback Kevin Hogan has struggled when the defense drops back in coverage, but look for his clutch ability to come back tomorrow night. It’ll be a close game, but I think the Cardinal will come out on top.
David Cohn: Stanford 34, UCLA 30: Stanford has the luxury of facing UCLA at home, where the Cardinal has only lost once (to Oregon in 2011) since 2009. Brett Hundley will test the Card throughout the game with his ability to pick apart a defense with his feet and his accuracy in throwing the football. As such, if Stanford is going to win this week, the defensive line has to get more pressure on Hundley than it did last week against Travis Wilson, and the secondary has to fight off blocks better on the inevitable bubble screens. However, I think the defense responds to the challenge, Kevin Hogan has a much better game throwing the football and the Cardinal reaffirms its standing as Oregon’s greatest challenge in the Pac-12.
Contact Sam Fisher at safisher ‘at’ stanford.edu, George Chen at gchen15 ‘at’ stanford.edu and David Cohn at dmcohn ‘at’ stanford.edu.