Pac-12 picks: USC, Oregon, Utah
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The Pac-12 South title will be decided, Oregon can remain in contention for the national championship and Arizona State and Utah can become the conference's eighth and ninth bowl-eligible teams.
It's mid-November, and this league is getting interesting. Saturday's picks:
Washington at Colorado, 11:30 a.m. MST, FX
Washington put together its most complete effort of the season in beating Utah last weekend, and now the Huskies have a good shot at an 8-4 record. Must be nice, to be bowl-eligible and now face the league's two worst teams. Washington 42, Colorado 21.
Washington State at Arizona State, 1 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Networks
The Sun Devils are reeling, just as they were last season when a loss at WSU proved costly. WSU actually showed signs of life in the second half of last week's loss to UCLA, but it is awfully difficult to picture the Cougars winning in Tempe. Arizona State 31, Washington State 21.
USC at UCLA, 1 p.m. MST, Fox
The crosstown rivalry has relevance. This game should be fun, with two teams that have turned out to be quite evenly matched. USC's season has been disappointing and the Bruins have overachieved, but I'm sticking with the favored Trojans. USC 35, UCLA 28.
Stanford at Oregon, 6 p.m. MST, ABC
Oregon has served as the big test for every Pac-12 opponent, and nobody has measured up to the Ducks. Why should Stanford be any different? Obviously, the Cardinal defense is outstanding, but stopping the Ducks is another issue entirely. Cal coach Jeff Tedford made a good observation about how Oregon's offense can be slowed at times, but the Ducks adjust to the defensive scheme and score in spurts. It will happen again at some point Saturday. Oregon 45, Stanford 28.
Arizona at Utah, 8 p.m. MST, ESPNU
Like just about every game involving Arizona, this contest comes down to one basic question: Would you rather have a great offense and lousy defense or a good defense and a bad offense? The Utes' problem is their supposedly great defense was absent at Washington, allowing 437 total yards. Coach Kyle Whittingham has a knack for getting his guys to respond in tough situations, salvaging the season. Needing two wins for bowl eligibility, the Utes should come through. Utah 28, Arizona 24.
California at Oregon State, 8:30 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Networks
This is Cal's last game of the season after playing 12 consecutive weeks. Whether it marks the end of Tedford's tenure is subject to discussion. Oregon State 24, Cal 17.