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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)
» UA football: Cats take turn in Hollywood spotlight
» Hansen's Sunday Notebook: Mermuys makes NBA coaching leap; Johnson nears deal
» Arizona football: Hill named to another watch list
» Freshman facts, Part II

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon's Ashlee Moore 11th after the first day of heptathlon competition: IAAF World Junior Championships 2014
» Oregon's Ashlee Moore falls to 13th in heptathlon after shot: IAAF World Junior Championships 2014
» Oregon freshman Ariana Washington wins her 100 meter heat: IAAF World Junior Championships 2014
» Pac-12 Media Days: Rank the North, South divisions (poll)

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» Oregon State hires longtime trainer hired Fred Tedeschi
» Beavers hire Mark Massari as deputy athletics director
» Oregon State hands out Bennys to top athletes, coaches and teams
» OSU fishing: MacDonald, Martinez win conference tournament

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» WNBA All-Star game: Chiney Ogwumike gets even with sister
» Local digest: Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry in hunt at Lake Tahoe golf tournament
» Stanford graduates Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike meet again as WNBA all stars
» Sports digest: Ogwumike sisters are WNBA All-Stars

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)
» Pac-12 football media day live, July 23
» Jahmel Taylor looking to bounce back from tough first year at Washington
» Setting the stage for Pac-12 media days
» Morning links: Hawaii picked to finish last in the Mountain West

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Petrino, Idaho at Sun Belt media day
» College football is just around the corner
» It's not too long now
» Three Vandals on preseason all-Sun Belt teams



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