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Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon
Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune.

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Picking the Pac-12: Road teams will struggle

Last week's picks: 7-5

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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

PAC-12 Links
Links from around the Pac-12
Arizona (Tucson Citizen)
» Video collection: NBA decision day at McKale
» Greg Hansen's Video Notebook...why Rondae Hollis-Jefferson could be a top 10 draft pick next year
» Why Arizona's Kaleb Tarczewski and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson decided to stay
» Arizona Wildcats Video Extra...Gordon and Johnson may be gone, but Hollis-Jefferson is here to stay

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» ASU hockey tops Robert Morris to claim ACHA crown
» ASU baseball drops series against Tennessee
» Cancer fails to pin ASU's Eskam or derail his big plans for life
» Late errors doom ASU baseball in tough loss to Tennessee

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Local digest: Saint Mary's men's golf leads at WCC tournament
» Cal names Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin as new basketball coach
» New Cal coach Cuonzo Martin praised by mentor Gene Keady, others
» Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike is WNBA's top overall draft pick

Colorado (Denver Post)
» CU Buffs backup QB Jordan Gehrke impresses during spring drills
» Fleet freshman receivers shine in CU Buffs' spring game
» Spring games are important, Colorado's Mike MacIntyre says
» Dick Yates, grandson of Richard Yates, trying to make mark at Colorado

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Canzano: Oregon Ducks coach Mark Helfrich says there is no user's manual to being a head coach
» Jabari Parker NBA announcement; Blazers should lock up Terry Stotts; Oregon football's 'billion-dollar question': The Oregonian sports top 5 at 5 (links)
» New NCAA rule protects quarterbacks from low hits
» Oregon's Edward Cheserek and former Barlow High star Ryan Crouser remain on watch list for The Bowerman

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» OSU men's basketball: De Carolis statement on men's basketball
» Oregon State's tournament success caps a remarkably quick turnaround
» OSU gymnastics: Beavers headed to Penn State for NCAA regionals
» OSU wins seventh straight racquetball national title

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Local digest: Saint Mary's men's golf leads at WCC tournament
» Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike is WNBA's top overall draft pick
» Stanford's defense shows its dominance in spring game
» Cal Bears sweep Stanford in 120th Big Meet

UCLA (Los Angeles Daily News)
» UCLA Football Notebook: Running back Malcolm Jones loses appeal for extra season
» College Football: Position coach Adrian Klemm says UCLA offensive line a work in progress
» 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

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)
» UW's Damore'ea Stringfellow pleads guilty to assault of Seahawks fans; sentenced to five days on a work crew
» Washington adds Quevyn Winters
» Q&A with UW offensive line coach Chris Strausser
» Jahii Carson enters NBA draft

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Five Questions with Xavier Cooper
» Live WSU Chat
» One change causes more in Pullman
» Wednesday morning Pac-12 links



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