[Update: Forgot Stanford earlier. It's there now.]
The Pac-12 faces seven games against AQ conference teams this week, four of them against ranked opponents. There will probably be one upset in the bunch (although I'm not smart enough to pick which one) and at least one will be much more lopsided than I have projected here.
Aside from Utah/Utah State, we have some time to debate these. Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Utah at Utah State, 6 p.m., ESPN2
The Utes actually find themselves with a pretty tough back-to-back before opening the Pac-12 schedule on Sept. 22. The Aggies reached a bowl game last year and quarterback Chuckie Keeton is much improved, but the Utes' imperfections from last week should be sharpened. The pick: Utah 31, Utah State 21
California vs. Southern Utah, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
The Golden Bears let one slip away versus Nevada last week, but will get their first win in renovated Memorial Stadium. The pick: Cal 35, SUU 7.
Colorado vs. Sacramento State, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
The FCS Hornets pulled off a Pac-12 upset a year ago against Oregon State, but don't expect anything similar here. Colorado may be bad, but it will be able to run the ball against Sac State and earn a victory. The pick: Colorado 28, Sacramento State 14
Washington State vs. Eastern Washington, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
The temptation to pick EWU is there, after the Eagles beat (sorta) Division I Idaho 20-3 last week. If the Cougars offense is as putrid this week as last Thursday at BYU, the 2010 FCS champions will win. Don't expect that, though. Jeff Tuel comes alive this week. The pick: Washington State 45, Eastern Washington 21
No. 2 USC vs. Syracuse (at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.), 1:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2
Syracuse looked awful against Northwestern and USC was one of the few Pac-12 teams that had the luxury of putting the brakes on it its opener. The Trojans will want to fine-tune things going into the following week against Stanford. The pick: USC 35, Syracuse 10
Oregon State vs. No. 13 Wisconsin, 2 p.m., FX
The Beavers were stomped 35-0 by the Badgers a year ago at Camp Randall. Oregon State has more starters back than does Wisconsin, but the question will be how far quarterback Sean Mannion and a young offensive line has come in an unexpectedly long fall camp. The pick: Wisconsin 24, Oregon State 20
No. 4 Oregon vs. Fresno State, 4:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
The Vegas over/under on this game is 73 with the Ducks a heavy favorite. The Bulldogs aren't the team they once were, and certainly not capable of stealing a win in Eugene. Oregon 62, Fresno State 13
Washington at No. 3 LSU, 5 p.m., ESPN
The Huskies are rapidly rising in the Pac-12 among pundits, but will suffer a setback this week in Baton Rouge. Washington doesn't have the pieces to get through what may be the nation's best defense in the country's most difficult venue. The pick: LSU 27, Washington 17.
UCLA vs. No. 16 Nebraska, 5:30 p.m., FOX
Brett Hundley was dynamic on the road against Rice last week, but the first-year starter has never seen a defense like the Cornhuskers'. The pick: Nebraska 28, UCLA 24.
Arizona vs. No. 18 Oklahoma State, 8:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
This could be the most fun game of the week. If the offenses get rolling it's a toss up. But the Cowboys have the edge on the defensive side of the ball and Arizona struggled to protect the ball against Toledo. The pick: Oklahoma State 42, Arizona 41
Arizona State vs. Illinois, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
The Sun Devils don't know which quarterback they will be defending, but neither option is terribly imposing. If ASU's offense clicks like it did last week (a taller order this Saturday) the Sun Devils should be 2-0. The pick: ASU 35, Illinois 21
Stanford vs. Duke, 8:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
The Blue Devils had no trouble scoring a week ago against FIU and Stanford struggled to beat San Jose State. It should be closer than last year's 44-14 blowout, but Duke, traveling across the country, has a tall order. If the Blue Devils are on the rise, there is an opportunity here. The pick: Stanford 24, Duke 17
— Bill Oram
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