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Pac-12 picks: Home teams appear solid
This week's Pac-12 schedule falls between last week's North showdown between Stanford and Oregon and next week's South battle between UCLA and Arizona State. But all six games are compelling in their own way. On to the picks:
Washington at UCLA, 7 p.m. MST, ESPN2
Washington has recovered by beating California and Colorado, but now the Huskies return to the conference's upper tier, where they have not fared as well. UCLA needs to win to stay on track for next week's meeting with Arizona State. I just don't trust the Huskies on the road. UCLA 31, Washington 21.<
Washington State at Arizona, Noon MST, Pac-12 Networks
Arizona has done just enough against a soft schedule to become bowl-eligible, while WSU remains in contention at 4-5, but will have to do something out of the ordinary to reach six wins. The Cougars were making progress this season until being overwhelmed by Arizona State in their last game. Will Arizona be any different? Just slightly so. Arizona 35, Washington State 24.
Utah at Oregon, 2 p.m. MST, Fox Sports 1
Utah's ability to slow down Arizona State and Oregon's offensive struggles in a loss to Stanford have converged to make this game appear much more compelling than it did a week ago. Utah should not be overwhelmed by the Ducks, but actually winning at Autzen Stadium is another issue entirely. Oregon 34, Utah 17.
California at Colorado, 3:30 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Networks
Colorado can't be dismissed from the bowl-eligibility conversation at 30-6, but the real issue for these teams is neither has won a Pac-12 game since beating Washington State more than a year ago. Colorado seemed to be a notch above Cal until last week, when the Buffaloes were crushed by Washington. But the Bears are too beaten down. Colorado 38, California 31.
Stanford at USC, 6 p.m. MST, ABC
After staging another upset of Oregon, Stanford has to turn around and play the Pac-12's hottest team. USC is getting healthy and fulfilling its potential, and should be competitive in this prime-time network telecast. But the Cardinal are mature enough to handle success. Stanford 27, USC 21.
Oregon State at Arizona State, 7:30 p.m.
Arizona State hardly was at it best for three quarters last week at Utah, but steadies itself enough to escape with a 21-20 win. The Sun Devils probably were entitled to an off day, but they'll have to score more than 20 points to beat OSU. Meanwhile, the schedule is catching up to the Beavers, who might be glad they got to six wins as soon as they did. Arizona State 38, Oregon State 28.