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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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Pac-12 picks: Oregon State over Arizona

I'll introduce myself as the John L. Smith of the Pac-12 beat, with Bill Oram's becoming The Tribune's Jazz beat writer resulting in my

promotion as the interim Pac-12 blogger.

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My credentials? Well, how many writers can claim to be a son of a former Pac-10 Coach of the Year? So here we are, 23 years after Dave Kragthorpe's award-winning 4-7-1 season with Oregon State, and the Beavers are the conference's surprise team. With that, here are Saturday's picks:

Arizona State at Cal, 2 p.m. MDT, FX

Can the Sun Devils possibly be as good as they looked last weekend against Utah? Ute fans sure hope so. This becomes a pivotal game -- especially for Cal, with its about on the verge of crumbling. ASU did not play well in its only road game, losing to Missouri, but should perform better in Berkeley. The enduring image of all those ASU receivers running free against Utah makes it impossible for me to go against the Devils. Arizona State 35, Cal 24.

UCLA at Colorado, 4 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 Networks

Good thing we all piled on Colorado last week, because now that the Buffaloes are the Pac-12 South's co-leaders, they're exempt from the jokes for the moment. That fourth-quarter comeback at Washington State was amazing, but let's face it, that required some cooperation from the Cougars. And it's difficult to picture a September when Sacramento State wins at Folsom Field and UCLA loses there. The Bruins lost some of their shine in a home defeat against Oregon State, but quarterback Brett Hundley will thrive against Colorado. After next Thursday's Utah-USC game, UCLA is the Utes' next opponent.

UCLA 31, Colorado 17.

Oregon State at Arizona, 8 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 Networks

This is the conference's most intriguing game of the week, just because we really need to find out more about these teams. Then

there's the October schedule that pits OSU against BYU and Utah, so there's plenty of incentive for local viewing. Going against

Arizona's offense will be a good test for OSU's defense, disregarding how the Wildcats were shut out by Oregon last weekend. Arizona moved the ball decently, but invented all kinds of ways to score. The Beavers' defensive improvement is stunning, after I witnessed BYU and Utah run the ball right through them last October, so I'm picking them until proven otherwise. Oregon State 28, Arizona 21.

Oregon at Washington State, 8:30 p.m. MDT, ESPN2

This game actually is at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, where the Cougars have booked their annual home date with Oregon or Oregon

State. That obviously creates the potential for a lot of green and yellow in the seats. The Ducks showed last week that they just may have a defense to go with that prolific offense, and nothing suggests that Mike Leach's WSU offense is ready to match Oregon's

explosiveness. Oregon 49, Washington State 21.

– Kurt Kragthorpe

PAC-12 Links
Links from around the Pac-12
Arizona (Tucson Citizen)
» Arizona football: Live blog from Pac-12 Media Days
» UA football: Cats take turn in Hollywood spotlight
» Hansen's Sunday Notebook: Mermuys makes NBA coaching leap; Johnson nears deal
» Arizona football: Hill named to another watch list

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» Doug Haller's Pac-12 football preseason ballot
» Pac-12 football media day: Latest news, updates
» Ranking 50 best college basketball players
» ASU is hard to figure for Pac-12 poll

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott disputes remarks by Big 12's Bob Bowlsby
» Cal Bears seek to boost red-zone scoring
» Cal coach Sonny Dykes says this football season will be different
» Oregon picked over Stanford to win Pac-12 North

Colorado (Denver Post)
» CU Buffs picked 6th in Pac-12 football media poll; Oregon the favorite
» Greg Henderson ready to etch name with list of CU's four-year starters
» CU's MacIntyre knows what to expect from new safety addition
» Rick George: CU Buffs should play bowl game this season, Pac-12 championship by 2016

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon Ducks at the Pac-12 Media Days: Quick hits
» Oregon's Ashlee Moore moves to sixth in heptathlon after long jump personal best: IAAF World Junior Championships 2014
» Aaron Brooks excited about 'the opportunity' after signing with Chicago Bulls
» Oregon's Christian Brennan advances in women's 400 meters: IAAF World Junior Championships 2014

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» Oregon State hires longtime trainer hired Fred Tedeschi
» Beavers hire Mark Massari as deputy athletics director
» Oregon State hands out Bennys to top athletes, coaches and teams
» OSU fishing: MacDonald, Martinez win conference tournament

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott disputes remarks by Big 12's Bob Bowlsby
» Stanford, SJSU game might move to Levi's Stadium
» Oregon picked over Stanford to win Pac-12 North
» Live udpates: Pac-12 Football Media Day 1, Wednesday at 8 a.m.

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)
» Live chat from Pac-12 football media days at 3 p.m.
» USC's Steve Sarkisian on the Huskies: 'I can honestly say I'll be rooting for them this fall'
» Huskies picked to finish third in Pac-12 football preseason poll
» Huskies fall camp position preview: Offensive line

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Bronze may be Sherman's favorite color
» Pac-12 Media Day (live stream)
» Petrino, Idaho at Sun Belt media day
» College football is just around the corner



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