1. Oregon State beat UCLA by shutting down the (at the time) nation's leading rusher, in spite of the Beavers committing 2 turnovers. Jim Mora described OSU's defense as "straight-up" with the safeties so close it was, "almost a 9-man front." How do you envision the Buffs defense lining up against UCLA? Can we duplicate t.o.OSU's success?
Parker: Hopefully, the defense doesn't line up like it did last week. Despite the win, I don't understand the constant ten yard cushion the cornerbacks were giving the wideouts. What was even more laughable was the two man rush that Colorado was using against Washington State on key plays. I've never really been a fan of the three man rush, but I understand it, however, the two man rush doesn't make sense whatsoever. If we want to duplicate OSU's success, there needs to be a smaller cushion for the secondary, and at least a three man rush needs to be brought almost every down. Additionally, Brett Hundley has to be contained; I wouldn't mind seeing Uzo-Diribe spying Hundley for a couple of plays and seeing how that goes. Ultimately, the defense needs to force Hundley to beat them with his arm.
Jon: Well if the safeties get much closer they will actually be in front of our corners with the cushions that Crawley/Henderson/Wright have been leaving. I certainly hope that the coaches follow a similar game plan to Oregon State's. The altitude should be a nice advantage for the Buffaloes and the Bruins are going to try and attack the green Buffs secondary anyways. If Colorado can slow down the UCLA run they will be right there in this game.
David: I think we're going to stick with the 3-4/3-3-5 Defenses that we've been sending out there because we're still playing with so much youth on the outside, but that's going to make things tough on the Secondary. They're going to have to do a lot of tackling and play a very physical brand of ball, which they have struggled with at times this year. I don't know if we can duplicate OSU's success against Franklin, but having a healthy Doug Rippy (which he didn't look those first couple of games) would help a lot.
Ash: I half expect us to play a semi-3-4 front like we've done; I don't think our cornerbacks are to the point where we can leave them out to dry without any safety assistance. I also really hope that there's never again a play where our defender is tripped up by a back judge. Ever.
2. The Buffs now have Tony Jones and Christian Powell healthy and in the rotation. Do you see us using our Thunder and Lightning backs to keep Jordan Webb from being brought down 9 times per game?
Parker: I'm not going to jump to any conclusions just after one game, but I would throw UCLA a heavy dose of Powell at first and then ease Tony Jones in there. Also, I'd really like to see Gerald Thomas get more touches in the backfield not necessarily just with jet sweeps. More screen and swing passes to Gerald Thomas could really help the running game out.
Jon: They had better. We all saw what happened in the Washington State game when the coaching staff suddenly went away from running the ball in the middle of the game. We saw an exceptional run/pass ratio on the game winning drive last weekend. Hopefully the coaches try to emulate the play calling there and find success against a better defense.
David: I certainly hope so. I think Bieniemy started to get a feel last game for how to distribute carries between everyone, but we'll see going forward how that works. I'd always love to start the first series or two with Powell (or any bigger, bruising back), and then start to bring in guys like Jones, Ford, Creer and others to mix things up and prevent the Defense from really getting a read on the tendencies of each Back.
Ash: I really hope this is the week they deploy another component of the offense: the draw. 3-4's seem to attack the edge with their spare linebacker, and a draw seems like an exceptional way to take a 'blizting, running-start defense' down a few notches.
3. Ok, really for realz. How do you see the game against UCLA playing out?
Parker: Well if this team plays like they did against Washington State, I see a competitive loss. I doubt they play any better than they did against Washington State, but throughout the season this team has shown that you don't exactly know what you're getting each week. Result: UCLA 24 Colorado 10.
Jon: F it. Buffs win on a last second field goal. 28-27 Colorado. I believe I also picked CU to beat the Bruins last year.
David: No clue. I was just talking about this with a friend, but I have no idea how this will play out, and a lot of that has to do with the mentality of both teams. How much does the loss to OSU affect a young QB like Hundley, or does the loss give extra motivation for the Bruins to come out on fire. And how much energy and confidence did the come-from-behind victory give our players, and does that matter if they're outmatched this week by a UCLA team that through the first 3 weeks of the season, looked way better than us, and last week, looked at least a bit better than the Buffs. If we don't falter early, I think we'll have a chance to be in this one, but if we get behind like we've done the last two weeks, I don't see us being able to pull of another WSU-type victory.
Ash: I'm with Jon. To hell with it: Buffs fight their way through and win by holding off a last-second UCLA comeback drive. Buffs win 24-20. I also picked CU to beat UCLA last year in the Rose Bowl.
4. Now that we've seen a little bit more of the Pac12, who do you think will play in the Pac-12 Championship game?
Parker: Oregon now looks like the favorite to win the Pac-12, but I still believe the Pac-12 championship game will be between USC and Oregon. Same prediction as the beginning of the season, just a different winner.
Jon: I'm still going to go with Oregon and USC. I think both the Trojans and Cardinal are a bit overrated, but I think there's a big drop-off behind those top three teams. Now if the Beavers go into Tucson and beat the Wildcats (as they always seem to) then I'll add the Beavers and call it a Pac-12 "big four".
David: You know what? I still think it will be Oregon and USC. Only now I think it's clear that Oregon is a fantastic team, even with the youth at QB. I think the South isn't quite as close as every thinks it might be.
Ash: I'm going to go with a re-dux of last year's Pac-12 Championship game: Oregon vs. UCLA. And a redux of the result, too, now that I think about it...
5. Score Prediction (Use the second template for your answers... but feel free to re-name any of the teams you wish)
#14 Ohio St (4-0) @ #20 Michigan St (3-1)
#25 Baylor (3-0) @ #9 West Virginia (3-0)
#18 Oregon St (2-0) @ Arizona (3-1)
#12 Texas (3-0) @ Oklahoma St (2-1)
#8 Stanford (3-0) @ Washington (2-1)*
*Answers were solicited and received before kickoff...
Ohio St 28 - Michigan St 24
Baylor 17 - West Virginia 35
Oregon St 21 - Arizona 17
Texas 21 - Oklahoma St 20
Stanford 17 - Washington 14
Ohio St 20 - Michigan St 21
Baylor 38 - West Virginia 42
Oregon St 24 - Arizona 31
Texas 24 - Oklahoma St 20
Stanford 24 - Washington 28
Ohio St 24 - Michigan St 28
Baylor 13 - West Virginia 38
Oregon St 27 - Arizona 24
Texas 19 - Oklahoma St 36
Stanford 41 - Washington 22
Ohio St 24 - Michigan St 20
Baylor 51 - West Virginia 56
Oregon St 18 - Arizona 20
Texas 27 - Oklahoma St 10
6. Given the choice, into which Hall of Fame would you choose to be inducted?
Parker: Competitive Eating Hall of Fame
Jon: Skiing. For moguls. Moguls while drunk.
David: The Naismith. I've only ever been to the Basketball HOF in Springfield, and I remember it being a lot of fun and really cool. I'm sure the other ones are too, though I can't imagine visiting Canton or Cooperstown for any reason besides the HOFs there. I also like that it's for Women's and International Hoops as well.
Ash: My default answer is the College Football Hall of Fame, but for the sake of realism I'll pick something else. I know it'll be an unpopular pick, but I think I'll instead opt for the'National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame'
Tell us what you think! In the comments! Go Buffs!