Picking the Pac-12: Road teams will struggle
Published: September 14, 2012 12:06PM
Updated: September 14, 2012 12:56PM

Last week's picks: 7-5

Ouch. Nothing convinces you of the quality of a conference when you get burned badly by picking against it. I learned my lesson. I hope.

Friday

Washington State at UNLV, 7 p.m., ESPN

The Cougars should be able to take care of business against the Rebels, who lost to FCS Northern Arizona last week. This could be a good opportunity for Washington State to finally open things up on offense, but the likely absence of Jeff Tuel could hinder that. It's a good opportunity to get a look at the QB of the future, Connor Halliday, though. The pick: Washington State 21, UNLV 7

Saturday

California at No. 12 Ohio State, 10 a.m., ABC

This one could get ugly. Ohio State is shaking off an uneven win against Central Florida, and the Bears haven't put together a good performance in the first two weeks. The Pac-12 had a good week against the Big Ten last week. This is the revenge of the Big Ten. The pick: Ohio State 41, Cal 17

No. 4 Oregon vs. Tennessee Tech, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Networks

There is no reason the Ducks should be playing an FCS school in Week 3. But here they are. So, uh, who cares? After losing a couple of four-year starters last week Oregon will have a chance to see who might step up. The pick: Oregon 66, Tennessee Tech 14

Washington vs. Portland State, 2 p.m., FX

Another FCS game. The Huskies get the chance to feel what it's like to be on the other end of their abysmal showing last week against LSU. But Portland State can hang some points, and the Huskies should be wary. The pick: Washington 35, Portland State 21

Arizona State at Missouri, 5 p.m., ESPN2

In Tempe last year, this was one of the season's best games, with the Sun Devils winning 37-30 in overtime. The Tigers looked good in a loss to Georgia, and it's tough to see them losing at home in this, the inaugural SEC season. But it would be a landmark victory for Todd Graham and Arizona State, which has scored 108 points in the first two weeks. The pick: Missouri 45, Arizona State 35

No. 21 Stanford vs. No. 2 USC, 5:30 p.m., FOX

The Cardinal seem to be getting some push based on past performances. Here's a thought: Andrew Luck plays for the Indianapolis Colts now. USC wasn't as dominating as it should have been against Syracuse, but there are a lot of ways to explain that. They'll roll in Palo Alto. The pick: USC 27, Stanford 14

Colorado at Fresno State, 6 p.m. CBSSPorts Network

The Buffaloes are in desperate need of a win after losing to CSU and Sacramento State. Fresno State has been uninspiring, but is still favored by two touchdowns. Jon Embree is only in his second season but is already considered to be on the hot seat. We'll give the Buffs the benefit of the doubt. The pick: Colorado 21, Fresno State 20

Utah vs. No. 25 BYU, 8 p.m., ESPN2

Looking ahead at Utah's schedule, it's hard to find many sure wins. The Utes could really use a win here to regain some momentum going into next week's Pac-12 opener. While BYU has been impressive in its first two weeks, the Cougars have also been untested. If Utah's replacement quarterback, either Jon Hays or Travis Wilson, can protect the ball, the Utes will pull the upset. The pick: Utah 28, BYU 24

Arizona vs. South Carolina State, 8:30 p.m.

The only thing the Wildcats have to worry about here is not losing any momentum from last week's big win against Oklahoma State. The upcoming schedule: at Oregon, vs. Oregon State, at Stanford, vs. Washington, vs. USC. The pick: Arizona 49, SCSU 3

No. 22 UCLA vs. Houston, 8:30 p.m.

A fascinating game in that the teams combined for 72 points last year in a Cougars win. But the Bruins are significantly improved, while Houston has stumbled out of the games. But Houston scored 49 points last week against Louisiana Tech, so it may still light up the scoreboard. The Pick: UCLA 42, Houston 21