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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: Oregon over Stanford, ASU over Utah

Ever since the Pac-12's 2013 football schedule was announced, this is the game everyone has anticipated: Oregon at Stanford. The Cardinal's loss at Utah last month short-circuited the potential meeting of unbeaten teams, but this remains a big game. On to the weekly Pac-12 picks.

Thursday's game

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Oregon at Stanford, 7 p.m. MST, ESPN

Last November, Stanford's defense delivered one of the most remarkable performances in recent college football history, slowing down Oregon's offense in a 17-14 overtime victory on the road. Can the Cardinal do it again? No, not to that degree. This version of the Ducks is too good for that happen. Oregon may not run wild and hit its averages of 55 points and 600-plus total yards, but the offense should do enough to stay comfortably ahead. Oregon 35, Stanford 21.

Saturday's games

USC at California, 1 p.m. MST, Fox

USC's response to interim coach Ed Orgeron's leadership has been impressive. The Trojans have held Utah and Oregon State to a total of 10 offensive points in the last two games, so this will be a tough test for quarterback Jared Goff and the Cal offense. Cal is improving, as shown by a 33-28 loss to Arizona, but USC's defense is just too imposing for the Bears. USC 34, California 17.

Arizona State at Utah, 2 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Networks

Watching the Pac-12 for three seasons, I've become a big believer in matchups. Utah matched up well physically and athletically against Stanford, but ASU simply has been too fast for the Utes. The Sun Devils overwhelmed Utah in a 37-7 win last season, and it really wasn't that close. Utah will be more competitive at home, but unless quarterback Travis Wilson suddenly returns to his Stanford-upsetting form, the Utes won't keep up offensively. Arizona State 38, Utah 24.

Colorado at Washington, 6 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Networks

Colorado is showing some life with freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau, recording 26 first downs at UCLA last week. Washington is one of those teams that will beat everybody below it and lose to everybody above it. So the Huskies should look good against Colorado's defense. Washington 41, Colorado 24.

UCLA at Arizona, 8 p.m. MST, ESPN

This might be the Pac-12's best game of the week. Arizona quietly has played its way into the Pac-12 South race, partly because UCLA had to play at Oregon and Stanford. If the Wildcats can beat UCLA, they'll remain in the thick of a potentially wild competition in the South - although they still have to play Oregon. This is a redemption opportunity for Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker, who filled in for Matt Scott last year in a 66-10 loss to the Bruins. This game will be much more interesting. UCLA 36, Arizona 30.

PAC-12 Links
Links from around the Pac-12
Arizona (Tucson Citizen)
» Free weekly Wildcat sports magazine covers UA-Oregon game
» Wildcats prepare for game at No. 2 Oregon
» Hansen's Sunday Notebook: Strong season will help "Hill Mary" be remembered
» UA football: Pair of defensive players leave team

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» ASU football practice report from Tuesday
» Haller's Pac-12 power rankings
» Graham breaks down ASU's defensive woes
» Rankings: Colleges by AZ high school players

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Cal could face Title IX suit with field hockey now homeless
» Cal's struggling pass defense better gets its act together quickly
» Cal's Oct. 11 home game vs. Washington set for 3 p.m. kickoff
» Cal outlasts Colorado 59-56 in two overtimes

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
» Elijah Holyfield, son of boxing champ Evander Holyfield, receives offer from Oregon Ducks
» Thomas Tyner looking to turn a corner as Oregon Ducks prepare for Arizona
» Mark Helfrich on ribbing Marcus Mariota, the Oregon Ducks' defense and facing Arizona

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's Shaw shoots down interest in Raiders job
» Stanford beats Washington with fourth-quarter touchdown
» Matchup: No. 16 Stanford at Washington
» Stanford facing must-win game at Washington's noisy Husky Stadium

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)
» Washington football: A progress report after five games
» Storm 2014 Exit Interviews: Tanisha Wright had a memorable 10th WNBA season
» UW progress report: What we know, what we don't know about the Huskies after five games
» Are Pac-12 quarterbacks conference's best class ever?

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» WHL notes: Paddock breaks through
» Defending option Idaho's next challenge
» Defense rebounds from a slow start
» Robert Franks joins WSU 2015 recruiting class



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