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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: USC over Notrre Dame; Stanford over UCLA

The story of my first season of writing this Pac-12 blog and making weekly predictions is a case of overestimating USC. Of course, I’m the not only one. I came very close to picking UCLA over the Trojans last week, but couldn’t quite do it. So what I have learned. Not much, judging by my USC-Notre Dame forecast.

On to the final weekend of the Pac-12 regular season:

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Friday’s games

Utah at Colorado, 1 p.m. MST, FX

Someday, this may become a genuine rivalry. For now, there’s just one interesting historical note. The last time Utah played in Boulder, the Utes beat a No. 8-ranked Colorado team in 1961. All these years later, the Buffs wish they could just be No. 8 in the Pac-12. Utah 35, Colorado 17.

Washington at Washington State, 1:30 p.m. MST, Fox

Having watched the Cougars open the season at BYU in August, I was surprised they were not better then and I’m shocked that they didn’t improve. Washington, meanwhile, got better in the second half of the season. Washington 35, Washington State 21.

Arizona State at Arizona, 8 p.m. MST, ESPN

I wouldn’t have said this in September, but Arizona is the better team right now. Rich Rodriguez has done a terrific job in his first season with the Wildcats. Arizona 31, Arizona State 24.

Saturday’s games

Oregon at Oregon State, 1 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Networks

As much as I respect Stanford’s defense, I’m still very surprised that anybody could hold Oregon to 14 points. OSU’s defensive improvement is one of the big stories of the season, but the Beavers can’t do what Stanford did. Oregon 42, Oregon State 28.

Stanford at UCLA, 4:30 p.m. MST, Fox

This game will test the maturity of both teams, coming off huge, emotional wins. While declaring Jim Mora the Pac-12 Coach of the Year, I still favor Stanford’s David Shaw in terms of getting his guys to play at a high level again this week. And then there will be a rematch for the Pac-12 championship next week. Stanford 24, UCLA 21.

Notre Dame at USC, 6 p.m. MST, ABC

I believe the word here is "incorrigible" – for both me and the Trojans. Have we learned nothing this season? USC’s 2012 season may be the greatest waste of talent in college football history. But fill-in quarterback Max Wittek has persuaded me to go with the upset. USC 21, Notre Dame 17.</

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)
» ASU football moves up to No. 17 in AP poll
» Amway Coaches Poll top 25 teams
» ASU football moves up 2 spots in Coaches Poll
» Sendek, Turner Thorne agree to extensions

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Cal QB Luke Rubenzer keeps impressing Sonny Dykes
» Cal: Grading the Golden Bear' 31-24 victory against Northwestern
» Cal Bears hang on for win at Northwestern
» Cal football notebook: Freshman QB Rubenzer an effective secret weapon

Colorado (Denver Post)
» CU Buffs "fired up" to play at UMass, atone for season-opening loss
» 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

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon Ducks open up Autzen Stadium doors for Fan Fest: Photo gallery
» Don Pellum: 'We're focused on fundamentals' preparing for Michigan State (video)
» Top 25 poll: Aggies, Bulldogs surge; Gamecocks plunge; a pair of snubs
» Goe: Alexi Pappas and Jeremy Teicher had to reach for extras in their movie about distance running

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: Grading the Cardinal's 45-0 romp past UC Davis
» Stanford: Cardinal coach Shaw says he, USC's Sarkisian have no animosity
» Stanford overpowers UC Davis in season-opening win
» Stanford opens 2014 season without a No. 1 tailback -- again

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)
» Travis Feeney, a linebacker with 'incredible' upside, reclaims starting spot for the Huskies
» Huskies aim high: A run at a national volleyball title
» Video: UW's Pete Kwiatkowski says Eastern Washington's offense among best in nation
» Matisse Thybulle returns from Cal; Oregon and Zags next

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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