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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: BYU over Beavers, UCLA over Utah

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Saturday will be fun and challenging for fans of BYU and Utah. Besides having their own teams play in the early afternoon television window, there's the opportunity to check out the next opponents of the Cougars (Notre Dame) and Utes (Oregon State) at roughly the same time.

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Here are this week's Pac-12 picks:

Thursday's game

Arizona State at Colorado, 7 p.m. MDT, ESPN

The issue dogging the Sun Devils is that none of the four teams they've beaten – including Utah – is particularly distinguished. That's not going to change with a win over Colorado, obviously. But ASU can add to its momentum going into next week's game with Oregon with a good showing in Boulder, while the Buffaloes try to get something going, beyond their recent win over Washington State. ASU's offense should be too much to handle. Arizona State 35, Colorado 21.

Saturday's games

Utah at UCLA, 1 p.m. MDT, Fox

There's some intrigue in how the Utes will try to mix in freshman quarterback Travis Wilson, trying to spark the country's No. 114-ranked offense. There's also the history of how the Utes inserted a southern California native into a game at the Rose Bowl in 2006, when Tommy Grady immediately threw a pass that UCLA returned for a touchdown. The offense is struggling, but it is equally important for Utah's defense to re-establish itself, having allowed an average of 472 yards to Arizona State and USC. The Bruins, meanwhile, are eager to bounce back from a loss at Cal last weekend. UCLA 21, Utah 14.

Oregon State at BYU, 1:30 p.m. MDT, ABC

Taysom Hill's knee injury ended the controversy regarding how BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall would work quarterback Riley Nelson back into the lineup, while Sean Mannion's knee injury makes junior Cody Vaz a first-time starter for Oregon State. Each defense is much improved from last season, when BYU took a 38-28 victory in Corvallis. It's tough to picture either offense having much success. This could resemble the 10-7 win that OSU earned in Provo in 1986, when Mendenhall was an OSU safety. BYU 14, Oregon State 13.

Stanford at Notre Dame, 1:30 p.m. MDT, NBC

With every passing week, Notre Dame's resurgence gains more credibility. The No. 7 Fighting Irish were especially impressive in pounding Miami last weekend and are looking to remain unbeaten in advance of BYU's visit. Stanford broke out offensively against Arizona, escaping with a 54-48 overtime win, but this will not be that kind of game. These teams should match up pretty evenly, but Notre Dame is regaining its home aura. Notre Dame 24, Stanford 17.

USC at Washington, 5 p.m. MDT, Fox

Washington was unable to follow its upset of Stanford with a good performance at Oregon and will be trying again to prove that it belongs in the Pac-12's top tier. USC is still stung by its loss to Stanford, but has played much better in wins over Cal and Utah. The Trojans should have plenty of offense to overcome the tough atmosphere in Seattle. USC 31, Washington 17.

Cal at Washington State, 8:30 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 Networks

In its quest for bowl eligibility, Utah needs to beat both of these teams. So it is probably better for the Utes that Cal fails to separate itself from the league's lower tier, after the Bears impressively beat UCLA. Washington State's self-image was not enhanced by coach Mike Leach referring to some of his seniors as "zombies," going through the motions. Cal 35, Washington State 24.

Kurt Kragthorpe

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PAC-12 Links
Links from around the Pac-12
Arizona (Tucson Citizen)
» Wildcats gear up for Washington State
» Arizona Wildcats: Red versus blue highlights
» Hansen's Sunday Notebook: Kindall's UA baseball legacy goes deep
» UA football: Cats inch up in rankings

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» Graham expects QB Kelly to start at Washington
» Graham plans to stick with ASU's DL rotation
» Norvell: Mike Bercovici continues to improve
» Checking in on Herb Sendek and ASU basketball

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Cal, Stanford game times for Nov. 1 in Oregon set
» Cal receiver Trevor Davis watches practice day after scary injury in UCLA game
» Cal falls to UCLA 36-34
» Cal receiver Trevor Davis taken to hospital after injury on kickoff return

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Speedy freshman Donovan Lee gives CU Buffs another playmaker
» Colorado coached to avoid coin-toss glitches, MacIntyre says
» Colorado's MacIntyre gratified Buffs practiced hard Monday
» CU Buffs tackle Jeromy Irwin might play vs. Hawaii after concussion

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon Ducks open up Autzen Stadium doors for Fan Fest: Photo gallery
» Oregon's Marcus Mariota earns national honor from Senior Bowl
» Oregon Ducks midseason awards: Marcus Mariota takes home MVP
» Oregon lineman Andre Yruretagoyena says he'll be 'running around in no time': Ducks practice quick hits

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» OSU giving away football tickets as part of ‘BeaversSalute' effort
» Celebration of Life for Paul Valenti to be held Oct. 18
» OSU promotes Macy to associate AD for sports performance
» Oregon State roundup (Sept. 19)

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Cal, Stanford game times for Nov. 1 in Oregon set
» Top 25: Stanford Cardinal falls out of poll
» Stanford woeful in loss to Arizona State
» Matchup: No. 23 Stanford at No. 17 Arizona State

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)
» Washington women's soccer shuts out Oregon State
» UW opponent outlook: Arizona State
» Cyler Miles will get start for Huskies if he is cleared from concussion-like symptoms
» Huskies add two big men to 2015 men's basketball recruiting class

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» WSU vs. Arizona game notes, depth chart
» Video: Jamal Morrow speaks to the media
» Video: Destiny Vaeao speaks to the media
» Video: Cole Madison speaks to the media



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