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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)
» Q&A on UA football with Daniel Berk
» UA volleyball: Arizobal has keyed UA's success
» UA sports Throwback Thursday: Arizona vs. Cal 2013
» Wildcats: Arizona's offensive lineup

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» Doug Haller's Week 3 Pac-12 power rankings
» ASU football practice report from Wednesday
» Arizonans on ASU football roster - 2014
» ASU adds student-athletic building to stadium

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Jeff Tedford's recruits finding delayed success at Cal
» Sonny Dykes: Cal's confidence rooted in hard work
» Stanford, Cal 2015 football schedules announced
» Oakland Soldiers set tone for college basketball recruiting in Bay Area

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Speedy freshman Donovan Lee gives CU Buffs another playmaker
» Colorado coached to avoid coin-toss glitches, MacIntyre says
» Colorado's MacIntyre gratified Buffs practiced hard Monday
» CU Buffs tackle Jeromy Irwin might play vs. Hawaii after concussion

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon Ducks open up Autzen Stadium doors for Fan Fest: Photo gallery
» Washington State's offense may be fun, but the Oregon Ducks are fine running theirs
» Play week 4 of 2014 College Football Pickoff game: Auburn or Kansas State?
» Part of No. 2 Oregon's 'secret sauce' of success is its veteran scout team

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» OSU men's basketball: Tinkle says positive steps being made
» Spencer to become new AD at Evansville
» BeaversSalute program gives tickets to military personnel and veterans
» Beavers promote McCoy to assistant athletic director for equipment operations

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Stanford coach David Shaw goes digging
» Cal, Stanford Pac-12 men's basketball schedules announced
» Local sports digest: Stanford's Maverick McNealy ties for medalist honors
» Local sports digest: Stanford sweeps Santa Clara

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' Kasen Williams off to slow start
» Huskies get commitment from linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven of Atherton, Calif.
» UW's Deontae Cooper: “You know me: looking good, feeling good, trying to play good”
» UW offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith on Georgia State and backup QB situation

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» A big day for backups
» Nunez waiver denied; schedule released
» Recapping yesterday's practice
» WSU Football live chat



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