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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: Mountain West opponents will fall Friday

Other than forgetting Rutgers' move to the Big Ten and underestimating the Scarlet Knights' offense, I came through with some solid insight on the opening night of the Pac-12 football schedule Thursday.

Not that Utah or Arizona State did anything extraordinary in beating Big Sky Conference opponents by a total of 73 points. Meanwhile, Rutgers' 41-38 win over Washington State at CenturyLink Field in Seattle was surprising. It took some cooperation from the Cougars, who led 38-34 before fumbling a punt at midfield in the middle of the fourth quarter.

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On to Friday's games - against Mountain West schools, in each case:

Colorado vs. Colorado State at Denver, 7 p.m. MDT, Fox Sports 1

The Buffaloes took control in the fourth quarter of Mike MacIntyre's first game as their coach, winning 41-27 last September. This game should be similarly competitive, because CSU improved considerably and beat Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl.

Colorado also believes it is making progress, with quarterback Sefo Liufau having established himself. The Buffs are not at the level of blowing out any opponent, but they should have enough talent to handle CSU. Colorado 28, Colorado State 21.

UNLV at Arizona, 8:30 p.m. MDT, ESPN

Much like Colorado State, UNLV became a better team as the 2013 season progressed. The Rebels looked horrible in a 58-13 home loss to Arizona in September, which Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez dismissed as a case of everything going right for his team and wrong for UNLV. Of course, he has to say that.

The intrigue of this game involves how redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon will perform for Arizona, having won the starting job over a group of transfers from other schools. The Wildcats don't have Ka'Deem Carey toting the football anymore, but they should remain productive offensively and the defense is improving. Arizona 35, UNLV 17.

- Kurt Kragthorpe

PAC-12 Links
Links from around the Pac-12
Arizona (Tucson Citizen)
» Live Q&A chat with Daniel Berk on Arizona football
» UA sports Throwback Thursday: Arizona vs. Oregon 2013
» UA football: On Bondurant, Solomon and facing Ducks
» UA football: On Bondurant, Solomon and facing Ducks

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» Deantre Lewis says struggles are behind him
» Haller's Pac-12 power rankings
» Games to watch: College football's best week
» Rankings: Colleges by AZ high school players

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Cal could face Title IX suit with field hockey now homeless
» Cal's struggling pass defense better gets its act together quickly
» Cal's Oct. 11 home game vs. Washington set for 3 p.m. kickoff
» Cal outlasts Colorado 59-56 in two overtimes

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
» Can Marcus Mariota improve his Heisman odds with a win over Arizona?
» Can Oregon's offensive line play like it belongs in the College Football Playoff? It tops the 3 things to watch this week
» No. 2 Oregon Ducks vs. Arizona Wildcats: Fans' guide to game day

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» Oregon State roundup (Sept. 19)
» 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

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Stanford's Shaw shoots down interest in Raiders job
» Stanford beats Washington with fourth-quarter touchdown
» Matchup: No. 16 Stanford at Washington
» Stanford facing must-win game at Washington's noisy Husky Stadium

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 morning links: Pac-12 Week 6 picks
» UW football live chat at noon today
» Huskies rallying around Cyler Miles after offensive struggles
» Washington volleyball team sends USC packing in straight sets

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» The West Coast is out in front again
» Eastern football links
» Ewu sports chat Oct. 2 (noon)
» Pac-12 proposes pay for play

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