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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)
» Where does UA football fall on Grid of Shame?
» UA football: Some gameday links to read
» UA football: Five players/positions to watch tonight
» Free weekly Wildcat sports magazine

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» Boivin: Renovations point to golden future
» Jaelen Strong has fast start to junior season
» Graham hopes Pac-12 has home in playoffs
» Quarter by quarter: ASU 45, Weber State 14

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Cal opens at Northwestern with a much different look on defense
» Fact box: Cal at Northwestern
» Cal's Cameron Walker matures at cornerback
» Wilner: New NCAA football playoff a recipe for controversy

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Colorado State's chances might be put on the line
» Colorado receiver Nelson Spruce succeeds on and off the field
» Rocky Mountain Showdown: CU Buffs-CSU Rams game information, matchups
» Kiszla: CU road to glory begins with winning at home

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon Ducks open up Autzen Stadium doors for Fan Fest: Photo gallery
» When the Oregon Ducks face South Dakota, it'll be a reunion for Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and high school teammate
» College Football picks, week 1: LSU, Ohio State, Alabama face opening tests
» No. 3 Oregon vs. South Dakota: 5 things to watch

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)
» Fact box: Stanford vs. UC-Davis
» Stanford opens 2014 season without a No. 1 tailback -- again
» Stanford prepares for UC Davis as memory of stunning 2005 loss lingers
» Stanford's Jordan Morris gets U.S. soccer call up from Klinsmann

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)
» Game prediction: Huskies should have all the answers against Hawaii
» Tristan Etienne exceeding early expectations
» Storm 2014 Exit Interviews: Waltiea Rolle made use of short WNBA stay
» Huskies morning links: Jonathan Smith ready to call the shots for UW offense

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Grading the Rutgers game
» There is something about this that seems familiar
» Eastern football links
» Morning after links



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