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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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Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly (10) passes as Notre Dame defensive lineman Kona Schwenke (96) watches during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Pac-12 picks: Halloween could produce a real thriller

This is a weird week in the Pac-12, with only four games scheduled and four teams off. What’s more, two of the games are booked for Thursday and Friday. That’s the nature of college football in 2013, one of those years when teams have 14 weeks to play 12 games. On to the picks:

Thursday’s game

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Arizona State at Washington State, 8:30 p.m. MDT, ESPN

This is an intriguing game for Utah fans, involving two of the Utes’ next three opponents. Something similar occurred Oct. 10, when USC hosted Arizona — and then both teams beat Utah this month.

In any case, this is a defining game for each team. ASU needs to win to stay alone atop the Pac-12 South and the Cougars need every victory they can get for bowl eligibility. It’s difficult to imagine this being anything other than a wild adventure in Pullman, lasting late into Halloween Night. Arizona State 50, Washington State 38.

Friday’s game

USC at Oregon State, 7 p.m. MDT, ESPN2

This is the worst team USC has taken to Corvallis in a long time, which is bad sign. Some very good Trojan teams have lost in their last three appearances at Reser Stadium. USC’s defense should be strong enough to subdue the Beavers’ great offense, particularly if the Trojans can pressure quarterback Sean Mannion as much as Stanford did. But USC probably lacks enough offense to keep up with OSU. Oregon State 24, USC 17.

Saturday’s games

Arizona at California, 1:30 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 Networks

Arizona’s win over Utah has some merit, considering the Utes were coming off an upset of Stanford. Otherwise, the Wildcats can become bowl-eligible this weekend via an unimpressive set of three nonconference wins, plus defeats of Colorado and Cal. The Bears might be able to put up some points against Arizona, but the league’s worst defense won’t be able to stop B.J. Denker, Ka’Deem Carey and the Wildcat offense. Arizona 45, California 24.

Colorado at UCLA, 5:30 p.m. MDT, Fox Sports 1

The Buffaloes like to think they’re competing for bowl eligibility at 3-4, but there’s only one California on their schedule. The biggest variable in this game is the mind-set of the Bruins, after losses at Stanford and Oregon. The offense scored a total of 24 points in those games. UCLA remains on track for a big season and can win the South title, but only if the offense gets cranked up again. UCLA 35, Colorado 17.

PAC-12 Links
Links from around the Pac-12
Arizona (Tucson Citizen)
» Can you top these UA football memes?
» Hansen: Arizona vs. Cal
» UA volleyball: Arizobal has keyed UA's success
» Transcript: Q&A on UA football with Daniel Berk

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» ASU football chat with Doug Haller
» Teofilo, Westerman power ASU offensive line
» Following ASU coaches on the recruiting trail
» Infielder Lopez commits to ASU baseball

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Jeff Tedford's recruits finding delayed success at Cal
» Sonny Dykes: Cal's confidence rooted in hard work
» Stanford, Cal 2015 football schedules announced
» Oakland Soldiers set tone for college basketball recruiting in Bay Area

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Speedy freshman Donovan Lee gives CU Buffs another playmaker
» Colorado coached to avoid coin-toss glitches, MacIntyre says
» Colorado's MacIntyre gratified Buffs practiced hard Monday
» CU Buffs tackle Jeromy Irwin might play vs. Hawaii after concussion

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon Ducks open up Autzen Stadium doors for Fan Fest: Photo gallery
» No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 22 Clemson highlights college football top 25; Live updates: Full schedule, TV listings
» Washington State's aerial attack isn't the first challenge for Oregon Ducks corner Dior Mathis
» No concerns here about Oregon's defense, but Oregon State needs to clean up the penalties

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» Oregon State roundup (Sept. 19)
» OSU men's basketball: Tinkle says positive steps being made
» Spencer to become new AD at Evansville
» BeaversSalute program gives tickets to military personnel and veterans

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Stanford coach David Shaw goes digging
» Cal, Stanford Pac-12 men's basketball schedules announced
» Local sports digest: Stanford's Maverick McNealy ties for medalist honors
» Local sports digest: Stanford sweeps Santa Clara

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)
» UW volleyball rolls past Maryland in Big Ten/Pac-12 showcase
» UW soccer team wins 1-0 at Florida Gulf Coast | NW briefs
» Remember Joe Jarzynka? Huskies looking for a punt returner who can bust it
» Lorenzo Romar on Robert Upshaw, Ray Rice and starting Sept. 25

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Ferris defeats University High 45-36
» The future of the WSU defense looked bright on Thursday
» Chiefs ready for new season with new look
» Ewu sports chat Sept. 18 (noon)



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