Pac-12 action rolls on for week 6 of the 2012 college football season with afternoon action (3:00pm ET) from Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, CA with the Arizona Wildcats (3-2) taking on the 18th ranked Stanford Cardinal (3-1). The Wildcats are 2-3 ATS this season with two straight losses both overall and against the spread after rolling to a 3-0 start under new Head Coach Rich Rodriguez. Arizona lost 49-0 at Oregon two weeks ago, and a 38-35 heart breaker at home last week to Oregon State as a 2.5 point favorite. Stanford is 2-2 ATS this season, and the Cardinal suffered their first loss overall last Thursday night at Washington 17-13 as a 7 point favorite. Stanford has won 4 of the last 5 games against the Wildcats, including a 37-10 dismantling in Tucson last season to handily cover a 9.5 point line.
The Arizona offense has hit the ground running under Rich Rod’s direction, utilizing his spread-option attack to rise to the 9th best passing offense in the nation at 343.8 yards per game with an average of 34.8 points per game, good for 41st in the nation. Senior QB Matt Scott has already thrown for over 1,600 yards with 10 TDs and 6 INTs this year. The defense has been another story, the Wildcats have given up almost as many passing yards as they have accumulated, allowing 284.4 YPG to rank 107th nationally while allowing 28.4 PPG (79th in the nation).
Stanford utilizes a pro-set offense that is a direct contrast to Rodriguez’s fast-paced attack. The Cardinal do not have the passing that they have had in years past, and they rank 98th in the nation with 197.8 YPG through the air while averaging 26 PPG (74th in the nation). Running back Stepfan Taylor (413 yards rushing, 4 TDs) has not been as explosive as he was last season, with his average YPC dropping to 4.7 from 5.5 a year ago. The Cardinal defense remains as stingy as ever, allowing 15.s PPG (21st in the nation) and a miniscule 65.2 YPG rushing to rank 4th nationally. The Achilles heel has been their pass defense, which ranks 87th with 251.2 YPG allowed.
Arizona vs. Stanford Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Arizona Wildcats +9
@ Stanford Cardinal -9
Over 54 (-110)
Under 54 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Arizona vs. Stanford Pick:
Arizona has gone 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall and 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games against winning teams. Stanford is 35-16-1 ATS in their last 52 games overall and 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 Pac-12 games. The over is 12-5 in Arizona’s last 17 Pac-12 games and 9-4 in their last 13 games overall. The over is 14-6 in Stanford’s last 20 home games and 20-8 in their last 28 games against winning teams. In head-to-head play, the under is 6-2 in their last 8 meetings, and Arizona is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
These two teams are polar opposites on offense, and the Wildcats will certainly look to play at a much faster pace than Stanford, who will attempt to grind out yards and play a ball-control type of game. This makes it very hard to forecast a total for this game, as whoever is able to dictate the tempo will likely determine if it will be a high-scoring game or not. Stanford does appear vulnerable to a dynamic passing attack, and they are not familiar with Rodriguez’s system with this being his first season in Tucson. Arizona’s downfall against Stanford in recent meetings has been their inability to defend the pass, and they allowed Andrew Luck to throw for 325 yards last season, but Luck is gone and Josh Nunes is not nearly the passer he is, which should negate their ability to exploit the Wildcats’’ weak spot. Arizona does have the weapons to exploit Stanford’s weak secondary, and that is why the call here is to take Arizona and the points in this game.
PICK = Arizona + 9