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Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon
Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams 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)
» Video collection: NBA decision day at McKale
» Greg Hansen's Video Notebook...why Rondae Hollis-Jefferson could be a top 10 draft pick next year
» Why Arizona's Kaleb Tarczewski and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson decided to stay
» Arizona Wildcats Video Extra...Gordon and Johnson may be gone, but Hollis-Jefferson is here to stay

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» ASU hockey tops Robert Morris to claim ACHA crown
» ASU baseball drops series against Tennessee
» Cancer fails to pin ASU's Eskam or derail his big plans for life
» Late errors doom ASU baseball in tough loss to Tennessee

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Local digest: Saint Mary's men's golf leads at WCC tournament
» Cal names Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin as new basketball coach
» New Cal coach Cuonzo Martin praised by mentor Gene Keady, others
» Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike is WNBA's top overall draft pick

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Colorado Classics: Darian Hagan, former CU Buffs quarterback
» CU Buffs backup QB Jordan Gehrke impresses during spring drills
» Fleet freshman receivers shine in CU Buffs' spring game
» Spring games are important, Colorado's Mike MacIntyre says

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Canzano: Oregon Ducks coach Mark Helfrich says there is no user's manual to being a head coach
» Corvallis to get city slogan, will it be better than Eugene's? Last day to vote (poll)
» UO decathlete Dakotah Keys will get things going at the Oregon Relays; Oregon track & field rundown
» Jabari Parker NBA announcement; Oregon football players eat, eat, eat; Ducks' 'billion-dollar question': The Oregonian sports top 5 (links)

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» OSU men's basketball: De Carolis statement on men's basketball
» Oregon State's tournament success caps a remarkably quick turnaround
» OSU gymnastics: Beavers headed to Penn State for NCAA regionals
» OSU wins seventh straight racquetball national title

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Local digest: Saint Mary's men's golf leads at WCC tournament
» Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike is WNBA's top overall draft pick
» Stanford's defense shows its dominance in spring game
» Cal Bears sweep Stanford in 120th Big Meet

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)
» UW spring depth chart: Offense
» Live chat today at 1:30 p.m. to preview the Huskies' spring game
» Washington's softball stars of today still learning from the program's previous hero
» UW's Damore'ea Stringfellow pleads guilty to assault of Seahawks fans; sentenced to five days on a work crew

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» One loss that seems like more
» Thursday morning Pac-12 links
» Five Questions with Xavier Cooper
» Live WSU Chat



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