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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)
» Greg Hansen's Video Notebook
» Arizona Wildcats Video Extra...Arizona football makes the most out of Spring practice
» 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

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)
» Cal football: Espitia hopes he's found home at linebacker
» Local digest: Longtime Stanford diving coach Rick Schavone is retiring
» Local digest: Saint Mary's men's golf leads at WCC tournament
» Cal names Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin as new basketball coach

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
» See the equipment Oregon football uses, Trail Blazers will send No. 24 pick to Charlotte: The Oregonian sports top 5 (links)
» Oregon's Trevor Dunbar finishes second in a fast 5,000 at Mt. SAC
» Jeff Gold wins again as Oregon grabs hold of third place with 6-3 victory over Washington State

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)
» 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
» Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike is WNBA's top overall draft pick

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)
» Five to watch at UW's spring game today
» No. 6 UW baseball clinches series win against California
» Young UW QBs look to spring forward
» Huskies split twin bill with Arizona State

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Shock clash with unbeaten Gladiators
» There are some shining lights out there
» Saturday morning Pac-12 links
» WSU picks up a cornerback recruit



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