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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: Conference could go 9-0 in bowls

Because the Pac-12 sent only team to a BCS game, the conference's bowl lineup is stacked in its favor. Basically, every bowl-eligible team moved up in the selection order or - in the cases of Arizona and Oregon State - found a vacancy outside of the Pac-12's affiliations.

The result is the potential for the league to go 9-0 in this postseason. The value of such a record can be debated, but I'm saying it would be an achievement. On to Saturday's picks:

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Washington State vs. Colorado State, New Mexico Bowl, noon MST, ESPN

The Cougars are in a bowl game for the first time since 2003, and they should have plenty of motivation. WSU filled the Pac-12's last bowl slot, facing a Mountain West team that also views playing in Albuquerque as a sign of the program's revival.

Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday should have a big day, while CSU's offense will present some challenges for WSU. The Rams, led by former Snow College running back Kapri Bibbs, produced some big numbers in the second half of the season. But they also were shut out by Utah State.

So the Cougars should control this game, and continue Mike Leach's development of the program to conclude his second season in Pullman. Washington State 38, Colorado State 24.

USC vs. Fresno State, Las Vegas Bowl, 1:30 p.m. MST, ABC

This could be a terrific game, if team is sufficiently motivated. But who knows? The Trojans are playing for their second interim coach this season, as offensive coordinator Clay Helton takes over for Ed Orgeron, who filled in after Lane Kiffin was fired. And former Washington coach Steve Sarkisian is waiting to assume full command after Saturday.

Fresno State, the Mountain West champion, is lamenting its missed opportunity for a BCS game. But the Bulldogs should have plenty of incentive, considering how they're viewed in the power structure of college football in California. They also have a dynamic offense, led by quarterback Derek Carr. USC held Mountain West runner-up Utah State to 14 points in September, when Chuckie Keeton was quarterbacking the Aggies.

So if the Trojans genuinely show up in Las Vegas, they'll win this game. Memories of the debacle in the Sun Bowl vs. Georgia Tech last December should stir enough emotion. USC 31, Fresno State 24.

&n

PAC-12 Links
Links from around the Pac-12
Arizona (Tucson Citizen)
» Photos: Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat through the years
» Anu Solomon's record-breaking performance
» Free weekly Wildcat sports magazine
» UA football: On QBs, UTSA, rankings and more

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» ASU football practice report from Tuesday
» ASU football moves up to No. 17 in AP poll
» Amway Coaches Poll top 25 teams
» ASU football moves up 2 spots in Coaches Poll

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Cal QB Luke Rubenzer keeps impressing Sonny Dykes
» Cal: Grading the Golden Bear' 31-24 victory against Northwestern
» Cal Bears hang on for win at Northwestern
» Cal football notebook: Freshman QB Rubenzer an effective secret weapon

Colorado (Denver Post)
» CU Buffs hope to rebound against Massachusetts
» CU Buffs "fired up" to play at UMass, atone for season-opening loss
» CU Buffs aim to fix defensive alignment issues to fix run defense
» CU Buffs freshman WR Shay Fields gets off to impressive start

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon Ducks open up Autzen Stadium doors for Fan Fest: Photo gallery
» Oregon Ducks' tight ends try to mend health and correct mistakes after 'encouraging' opener
» Mark Helfrich on comparing Michigan State to Stanford (video)
» Oregon Ducks' kicker job remains in flux after Matt Wogan isn't used in season opener

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» BeaversSalute program gives tickets to military personnel and veterans
» Beavers promote McCoy to assistant athletic director for equipment operations
» Oregon State hires longtime trainer hired Fred Tedeschi
» Beavers hire Mark Massari as deputy athletics director

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Stanford's Shaw, USC's Sarkisian move on from disagreement
» Stanford: Grading the Cardinal's 45-0 romp past UC Davis
» Stanford: Cardinal coach Shaw says he, USC's Sarkisian have no animosity
» Stanford overpowers UC Davis in season-opening win

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)
» Huskies aim high: A run at a national volleyball title
» Huskies' John Ross III is playing for his family
» Travis Feeney, a linebacker with 'incredible' upside, reclaims starting spot for the Huskies
» Video: UW's Pete Kwiatkowski says Eastern Washington's offense among best in nation

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Cougars get a Nevada transfer
» Pac-12 power rankings: Week two
» Zags on ESPN networks at least 13 times
» There is no place like Safeco for Young



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