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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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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)
» Wildcats Extra with Jon Gold and Daniel Berk
» Hansen: Wildcats, Maes succeeding in ultra-competitive Pac-12
» Arizona Wildcats Video Extra...basketball coaching not taking a break this offseason
» Who is winning the Arizona quarterback competition?

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)
» Coroner: Cal player Ted Agu died from heart condition
» Cal guard Ricky Kreklow to transfer
» Cal football gets first two oral commitments for 2015
» Cuonzo Martin adds two former Tennessee assistants to Cal staff

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Colorado's Spencer Dinwiddie declares for 2014 NBA Draft
» CU's Spencer Dinwiddie to declare NBA intentions
» Colorado Classics: Darian Hagan, former CU Buffs quarterback
» CU Buffs backup QB Jordan Gehrke impresses during spring drills

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Canzano: Oregon Ducks coach Mark Helfrich says there is no user's manual to being a head coach
» Civil War: Ahead of weekend series against Oregon State, Oregon Ducks pitcher Jake Reed talks about his pitching
» Oregon women advance at the Penn Relays in the 4x100 and 4x400
» Elite 2015 running back Taj Griffin verbally commits to Oregon

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)
» Cal women's tennis team stuns host Stanford, claims first Pac-12 title.
» Stanford's Olympic diving coach Rick Schavone retires
» Local digest: Longtime Stanford diving coach Rick Schavone is retiring
» Local digest: Saint Mary's men's golf leads at WCC tournament

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)
» Poll: What is the best football brother act in Puget Sound history?
» Storm cut WNBA All-Star forward Charde Houston
» NCAA board endorses more power for big schools
» Storm guards Sue Bird and Temeka Johnson play each other for Russian title

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Spring Practice Report: Day 13
» NFL seems to dominate all year these days
» Thursday morning Pac-12 links
» Eastern Sports chat, noon (Apr. 24)



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