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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)
» Wildcats: University of Arizona safety Will Parks
» UA football: Canadian offensive lineman commits to Cats
» Hansen slideshow: 10 Tucson records that can't be topped
» UA sports Throwback Thursday: Lowell-Stevens Football opens

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» Kweishi Brown practices with veterans
» Football preseason practice photos
» ASU football practice report: Friday morning
» Breaking down ASU football's first practice

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Bayern Munich beats Chivas Guadalajara, Mariota three-peats as Pac-12's top player: The Oregonian sports top 5 at 5
» Leaders after Round of 32 in Oregon's Greatest Athlete Bracket Challenge
» Oregon's Greatest Athlete: Round of 16 matchups set
» The final Oregon Ducks live chat of the offseason is here; have a question for reporter Andrew Greif?

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)
» Local sports digest: Stanford 11th in preseason football poll
» Local sports digest: Stanford 11th in preseason football poll
» Stanford needs to find replacement for RB Tyler Gaffney
» Wilner: 49ers, Levi's Stadium pursue college football's potential

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)
» Huskies fall camp position preview: Defensive backs
» Remembering the Huskies' Abner Thomas
» Morning links: Ticket sales lagging for Hawaii
» Morning links: Oregon loses another player

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» A worthy honor for a worthy man
» Indians use second half to try new looks
» UPDATE: Drew Loftus arrested for assault
» Steve Gleason will be inducted into the WSU Hall of Fame



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