Picking the Pac-12: Where's the upset in this bunch of games?
Last week's picks: 8-2
Man, all we need is for Oregon to play Tennessee Tech every week (which, they practically did in the preseason, according to this awesome breakdown) and maybe the blog can continue to be as clairvoyant as last week. Our pick: Oregon 66, Tennessee Tech 14. Reality: Oregon 63, Tennessee Tech 14. Just sayin'. Let's hope for such accuracy this week although I will inevitably be felled by reluctance to pick an upset.
Oregon State at No. 19 UCLA, 1:30 p.m., ABC
The last time the Beavers got two weeks to prepare for an opponent, it was against No. 13 Wisconsin and Oregon State pulled the upset. Will the Beavs have the same magic in the Rose Bowl? It's a tougher proposition given the road trip, and the simple fact that UCLA's offense, even if slowed by Oregon State's shut down defense, will score multiple times. Oregon State simply hasn't shown its offense is up to the task. The pick: UCLA 20, Oregon State 14
Colorado at Washington State, 2 p.m., FX
Until the Buffs prove they can do anything, they will get no respect. Washington State isn't in a significantly better position, but at least is trending upward after defeating UNLV in Vegas last week. Both teams are uncertain at quarterback, but this should be a break-through week for the Cougars who, suddenly, may be 3-1. The pick: Washington State 38, Colorado 17
California at No. 13 USC, 4 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
The series between these teams has been heavily tilted in USC's favor and the Trojans are back home this week. After a stunning, frustrating loss at Stanford, USC has a lot to prove and, let's not forget, the Trojans have some of the conference's best skill players. USC has holes, notably on the offensive line, but Cal (despite a strong showing at Ohio State last week) is not the team to exploit them. The pick: USC 42, Cal 17
Utah at Arizona State, 8 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
Arizona State's defense is quietly among the best in the Pac-12. Without knowing what Utah's situation is at running back, the Utes are likely facing its toughest test of the season. Arizona State's only loss came last week on the road at Missouri. Jon Hays can't be worse than he was last year against the Sun Devils, but even a turnover-free performance from the Utes' quarterback may not be enough. The pick: Arizona State 31, Utah 21
No. 22 Arizona at No. 3 Oregon, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Arizona hasn't defeated a top 10 team on the road in nearly 20 years, although those are the kinds of statistics that have little bearing on this week's game, particularly considering Arizona has a new coach, new quarterback, new offense, new everything. The Ducks, as noted above, have not faced a quality opponent this year and may start slow out of the gates. If that happens, Arizona has a chance. But the Ducks are almost impossible to beat at Autzen. The pick: Oregon 49, Arizona 41.