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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)
» Arizona football: Camp schedule includes shorter Fort Huachuca stay
» Video collection: UA hoops incoming freshmen highlights
» Wildcats: Pac-12 Media Days, Day 2
» Hansen: Pac-12 projections, Part 1

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» ASU All Access: Who stood out at workouts
» De'Marieya Nelson to get a look at Devil-backer
» Graham: Great programs reload, not rebuild
» With 9 starters gone, ASU's defense is unknown

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Local digest: Atletico Madrid not at full strength against San Jose Earthquakes
» Coach Sonny Dykes promises Cal Bears will be competitive
» Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott disputes remarks by Big 12's Bob Bowlsby
» DirecTV still saying no to Pac-12 Network

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Pac-12 media days: Colorado eager to turn things around
» Colorado's MacIntyre at Pac-12 media days: "We will be improved"
» Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott: league "well positioned" for playoffs
» CU Buffs picked 6th in Pac-12 football media poll; Oregon the favorite

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Have an Oregon Ducks question? Beat reporter Tyson Alger will be answering throughout the day
» Oregon Ducks opponent preview: Michigan State brings stout defense into Eugene
» The IAAF says an apparently overage athlete from Bahrain will not run in the World Junior women's 1,500; Oregon track & field rundown
» Pac-12 Media Days: Oregon's Mark Helfrich, Washington's Chris Petersen are lifelong friends, now rival coaches (video)

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)
» Local digest: Atletico Madrid not at full strength against San Jose Earthquakes
» Stanford's Evan Crower emerges as Kevin Hogan's backup
» Stanford's David Shaw open to San Jose State game at Levi's Stadium
» Pac 12 football: Stanford reacts to being picked second

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)
» Former Lincoln High star Alex Montgomery helps New York win
» Morning links: Chris Petersen 'nailed it' in move to Washington
» Huskies QB Cyler Miles suspended for Hawaii opener
» UW injury notes: Freshman Jaimie Bryant takes medical retirement

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Flashback: Stanford
» No shirt, no helmet, no problem
» Halliday has a chance to be special
» Cougars land Bigge lineman



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