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Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon
Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon cover the Pac-12 for The Salt Lake Tribune.

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Weekend picks: Utes and Trojans will win. Everyone else? Eh... (Update: Yeah, I know)

[Update: Forgot Stanford earlier. It's there now.]

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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.

Friday

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

Saturday

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

PAC-12 Links
Links from around the Pac-12
Arizona (Tucson Citizen)
» UA football: On QBs, captains and facing UNLV
» UA football: On QBs, captains and facing UNLV
» Hansen: Friday night football
» UA sports Throwback Thursday: Arizona football home openers

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» Boivin: Renovations point ASU to golden future
» Jaelen Strong has fast start to junior season
» Graham hopes Pac-12 has home in playoffs
» Quarter by quarter: ASU 45, Weber State 14

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Cal's Cameron Walker matures at cornerback
» Wilner: New NCAA football playoff a recipe for controversy
» Cal football: Quarterback Jared Goff in control
» College football preview: Pac-12 Conference

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Colorado State's chances might be put on the line
» Colorado receiver Nelson Spruce succeeds on and off the field
» Rocky Mountain Showdown: CU Buffs-CSU Rams game information, matchups
» Kiszla: CU road to glory begins with winning at home

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon Ducks open up Autzen Stadium doors for Fan Fest: Photo gallery
» College Football picks, week 1: LSU, Ohio State, Alabama face opening tests
» No. 3 Oregon vs. South Dakota: 5 things to watch
» Devon Allen of the Oregon Ducks joins Andrew Greif and Tyson Alger on The Official Visit Podcast

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» BeaversSalute program gives tickets to military personnel and veterans
» Beavers promote McCoy to assistant athletic director for equipment operations
» Oregon State hires longtime trainer hired Fred Tedeschi
» Beavers hire Mark Massari as deputy athletics director

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Stanford prepares for UC Davis as memory of stunning 2005 loss lingers
» Stanford's Jordan Morris gets U.S. soccer call up from Klinsmann
» Stanford's Ty Montgomery expected to start opener
» Wilner: New NCAA football playoff a recipe for controversy

UCLA (Los Angeles Daily News)
» UCLA Football Notebook: Running back Malcolm Jones loses appeal for extra season
» COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Improving UCLA has questions to answer during preseason football camp
» COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UCLA's prized recruit Eddie Vanderdoes cleared to play by NCAA after leaving Notre Dame
» Pac-12 Media Day: Eyes on Anthony Barr for UCLA's 2013 hopes

USC (Los Angeles Daily News)
» USC Football Notebook: Marqise Lee's injury not too serious
» USC Football Notebook: QBs Max Wittek, Cody Kessler present dilemma for Trojans coach Lane Kiffin
» USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel thinks Trojans might not miss QB Matt Barkley
» USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Dion Bailey says it's 'now or never'

Washington (Seattle Times)
» Huskies morning links: Jonathan Smith ready to call the shots for UW offense
» TV sports: Here's where to find the Huskies' opening football game
» Finding Hawaiian gems is just part of Keith Bhonapha's job
» Huskies make recruiting Hawaii a priority

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» There is something about this that seems familiar
» Eastern football links
» Morning after links
» Destination: Vancouver and TBD



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