The Pac-12 Championship Game kicks off tonight in Palo Alto between USC’s two biggest Pac-12 rivals, the Stanford Cardinal and the UCLA Bruins. Stanford enters the game winners of six straight and ranked No. 8 in the BCS, while Jim Mora’s Bruins enters their second straight title game with a chance to revenge last Saturday’s loss to David Shaw’s Cardinal. How will it play out? We have some ideas:
Michael Castillo: Stanford wins 16-10
Rain benefiting one team over another is the biggest myth in football. Both teams have to play against it. It effects offenses in their abilities to hold on to the ball and make cuts, and defenses in their ability to pursue with proper angles and traction. Having said that, given the differences of the running games, as Stanford runs plenty of power-I sets and UCLA will run out of the shotgun, the Cardinal have more of a likelihood of weathering the storm given their style of ball handling. Because of that, in addition to the fact that the teams met just six days ago, look for a defensive struggle. I like Stanford’s ability to keep UCLA’s extremely talented linebacker corps honest and defend both their tight ends and Stepfan Taylor at the same time. For UCLA, they’ll need Johnathan Franklin to have a stellar ballgame, which he’s capable of. In the end however, it’ll be ugly and low scoring, and even though beating a team twice is extremely difficult, Stanford appears to have the edge, as slight as it may be.
Charles Gilmore: Stanford wins 28-25
I think it will be closer than it the 35-17 Stanford win we all saw last week. Jim Mora will make some adjustments to keep the Bruins in the game, but it won’t be enough to get them over the top. Stanford will win 28-25 with Stepfan Taylor having a huge night on the ground.
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