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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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(Scott Sommerdorf | Tribune file photo) UCLA defeated Utah 21-14 in their 2012 matchup. In this year's matchup, which kicks off 8 p.m. Thursday at Rice-Eccles Stadium, UCLA is favored to win.
Pac-12 picks: UCLA over Utah; Irish over ASU

Last week, the narrowest margin of victory was 18 points in the five Pac-12 games. There should be some much closer contests this week, beginning Thursday night.

UCLA at Utah, 8 p.m. MDT Thursday, Fox Sports 1

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In 2011, UCLA arrived at Rice-Eccles Stadium to find snow that covered the field in the first half. That was Oct. 29. So now it's Oct. 3 and what's the forecast? Rain and snow. That's a good omen for Utah, but not necessarily enough to slow down Brett Hundley and the Bruins. This is potentially a defining game for the Utes - but only if they win. UCLA 35, Utah 28.

Saturday's games

Washington State at California, 2 p.m. MDT, Fox Sports 1

This game is officially a toss-up, and both teams are coming off big losses to the Pac-12 North's elite teams. But I'm taking Stanford coach David Shaw's advice to "watch Washington State the rest of the year." Washington State 31, California 21.

Oregon at Colorado, 4 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 Networks

If the Buffaloes could give up six touchdown passes at Oregon State last week, imagine what Oregon's offense could do to them. I'm already looking ahead to next week, when the Ducks should be tested by Washington's defense. Oregon 55, Colorado 17.

Arizona State vs. Notre Dame, 5:30 p.m. MDT, NBC

One way to look at ASU is the Sun Devils have scored 83 points in their last five quarters of Pac-12 play. Another viewpoint is they gave up 41 points to USC's formerly struggling offense. Notre Dame is even more of a mystery, going into this game at Arlington, Texas. The Pac-12 has been very good outside of the conference, but I like the Fighting Irish on a neutral field. Notre Dame 28, Arizona State 24.

Washington at Stanford, 8:30 p.m. MDT, ESPN

There will be something resembling a "game of the week" from here on out in the Pac-12, and this one is very intriguing. It's Washington's chance to show that there's some genuine substance to the 2013 Huskies, while Stanford defends its No. 5 ranking and tries to avenge a loss in Seattle last season. The Cardinal should be just a little better on both sides of the ball. Stanford 28, Washington 21.

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)
» Practice report from Friday evening
» Kweishi Brown practices with veterans
» Football preseason practice photos
» ASU football practice report: Friday morning

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Local sports digest: Stanford 11th in preseason football poll
» Local sports digest: Stanford 11th in preseason football poll
» Cal football's four most pressing issues
» Wilner: 49ers, Levi's Stadium pursue college football's potential

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Buffaloes searching for Annie Brunner's successor at goalkeeper position
» CU Buffs have realistic expectations ahead of 2014-15 football season
» Former CU Buff Chris Copeland enjoys NBA after years of overseas play
» Pac-12 living up to tradition as tops in quarterbacks

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)
» Indians thrive with double-figure hits
» A worthy honor for a worthy man
» Indians use second half to try new looks
» UPDATE: Drew Loftus arrested for assault



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