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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 over USC; Utes over Cougars (close)

As November arrives, this is another defining weekend for several Pac-12 football teams – and my last opportunity to use "MDT" with the kickoff times.

Friday’s game

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Washington at California, 7 p.m. MDT, ESPN2

Washington has been lousy on the road and Cal gas been generally good at home, so this should be a better game that recent results would suggest. Cal (3-6) needs a win to maintain any mathematical hope of bowl eligibility, while the Huskies (4-4) are trying to keep some momentum going after an upset of Oregon State. This looks like another of Washington’s typical low-scoring games, and I still don’t trust the Huskies on the road. Cal 21, Washington 17.

Saturday’s games

Stanford at Colorado, Noon MDT, FX

Colorado finally catches an opponent that’s unlikely to score 50-plus points, but you never know with the Buffaloes. Stanford struggled offensively last week against Washington State and will try to run the ball right at Colorado. The Buffs likely will have trouble moving the ball against Stanford, although the Cardinal allowed 401 passing yards to WSU. Stanford will like to have an easy outing, but something about this Cardinal team suggests that’s not going to happen. Stanford 31, Colorado 17.

Washington State at Utah, 1 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 Networks

While stopping well short of offering gambling advice, I would say Utah’s being favored by 12 points is shocking. Don’t be deceived by the Utes’ 49 points against Cal last week, partly a product of two kickoff-return touchdowns and fumble-return TD. On the other side, Utah’s mantra is stopping the run, but that’s not an issue against the pass-happy Cougars. Utah got running back John White going last week, but if an injury keeps Kelvin York out of his complementary role, more will be asked of White and quarterback Travis Wilson. This looks like a very close game to me. Utah 28, Washington State 24.

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

This game may not have quite the level of national intrigue that once seemed likely, but it still is very intriguing to me. The Ducks will score a lot of points; that’s a given. But I also expect USC to rack up a bunch of yards and points in Los Angeles. Something resembling USC’s 38-35 victory of last November in Eugene is in the making here, although I can’t get myself to pick the upset. Oregon 45, USC 38.

Arizona at UCLA, 8:30 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 Networks

I’m a believer in the Wildcats, even with their poor defense. Quarterback Matt Scott and his offensive teammates are dynamic and productive every week. This game may be even more entertaining than Oregon-USC, going right down to the wire. The winner actually could find itself in good position in the Pac-12 South, particularly if USC loses. Arizona 45, UCLA 42.

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

This becomes a critical game for both teams, coming off losses. This happens seemingly every year in the Pac-12, when a team emerges as a surprise, only to cool off against tougher competition. One of these teams will be in danger of having it all fall apart, while the winner will right itself. Amid the focus on OSU quarterback Cody Vaz’s return to the lineup, the biggest issue is OSU’s defense, which should make the difference. Oregon State 24, Arizona State 21.

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PAC-12 Links
Links from around the Pac-12
Arizona (Tucson Citizen)
» Free weekly Wildcat sports magazine
» UA football: On QBs, UTSA, rankings and more
» UA football: My AP Top 25 poll
» Live Q&A on UA football with Daniel Berk

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» Amway Coaches Poll Top 25 teams
» Sendek, Turner Thorne agree to extensions
» Graham says discipline can slow triple-option
» 3-star defensive end enjoys ASU visit

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Cal Bears hang on for win at Northwestern
» Cal football notebook: Freshman QB Rubenzer an effective secret weapon
» Cal opens at Northwestern with a much different look on defense
» Fact box: Cal at Northwestern

Colorado (Denver Post)
» CU Buffs aim to fix defensive alignment issues to fix run defense
» CU Buffs freshman WR Shay Fields gets off to impressive start
» Opening game loss a blow to Colorado's goal of a bowl bid
» CSU roars back to beat CU 31-17 in Rocky Mountain Showdown

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon Ducks open up Autzen Stadium doors for Fan Fest: Photo gallery
» How big is Oregon-Michigan State? For this week, anyway, there is nothing bigger: Issues & Answers
» Former Oregon Ducks closer Jake Reed joins the Arizona Fall League
» Oregon Ducks live chat at 11 a.m.: First impressions after Oregon's first game

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 overpowers UC Davis in season-opening win
» Stanford opens 2014 season without a No. 1 tailback -- again
» Fact box: Stanford vs. UC-Davis
» Stanford prepares for UC Davis as memory of stunning 2005 loss lingers

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 fall out of AP Top 25
» Lauren Jackson undergoes another surgery that increases doubt in WNBA return
» My AP Top 25: Georgia, Texas A&M rise; Huskies out
» Huskies morning links: It's Cyler Miles' time

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Pac-12 power rankings: Week two
» Zags on ESPN networks at least 13 times
» There is no place like Safeco for Young
» Halliday's leadership on full display



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