The story of my first season of writing this Pac-12 blog and making weekly predictions is a case of overestimating USC. Of course, I’m the not only one. I came very close to picking UCLA over the Trojans last week, but couldn’t quite do it. So what I have learned. Not much, judging by my USC-Notre Dame forecast.
On to the final weekend of the Pac-12 regular season:
Utah at Colorado, 1 p.m. MST, FX
Someday, this may become a genuine rivalry. For now, there’s just one interesting historical note. The last time Utah played in Boulder, the Utes beat a No. 8-ranked Colorado team in 1961. All these years later, the Buffs wish they could just be No. 8 in the Pac-12. Utah 35, Colorado 17.
Washington at Washington State, 1:30 p.m. MST, Fox
Having watched the Cougars open the season at BYU in August, I was surprised they were not better then and I’m shocked that they didn’t improve. Washington, meanwhile, got better in the second half of the season. Washington 35, Washington State 21.
Arizona State at Arizona, 8 p.m. MST, ESPN
I wouldn’t have said this in September, but Arizona is the better team right now. Rich Rodriguez has done a terrific job in his first season with the Wildcats. Arizona 31, Arizona State 24.
Oregon at Oregon State, 1 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Networks
As much as I respect Stanford’s defense, I’m still very surprised that anybody could hold Oregon to 14 points. OSU’s defensive improvement is one of the big stories of the season, but the Beavers can’t do what Stanford did. Oregon 42, Oregon State 28.
Stanford at UCLA, 4:30 p.m. MST, Fox
This game will test the maturity of both teams, coming off huge, emotional wins. While declaring Jim Mora the Pac-12 Coach of the Year, I still favor Stanford’s David Shaw in terms of getting his guys to play at a high level again this week. And then there will be a rematch for the Pac-12 championship next week. Stanford 24, UCLA 21.
Notre Dame at USC, 6 p.m. MST, ABC
I believe the word here is “incorrigible” – for both me and the Trojans. Have we learned nothing this season? USC’s 2012 season may be the greatest waste of talent in college football history. But fill-in quarterback Max Wittek has persuaded me to go with the upset. USC 21, Notre Dame 17.</