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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 30, 2009 at 10:09 AM

Pac-10 picks, week nine

For the second straight week, only the Huskies really kept me from shining like a (Phil) Steele or a (Lee) Sterling on my picks.
I was 4-1 overall, missing only on the Huskies, and 3-2 against the spread, missing also on Cal against the Cougars as WSU did just enough to cover a 35-point spread. So I guess I know the least about the teams to which I’m closest or something.
Anyway, four more chances this week, including what may be the Pac-10 game of the year in Eugene pitting the Ducks and Trojans.
Am assuming UW fans will be rooting for the Trojans, which would throw the Pac-10 race into essentially a three-way tie. An Oregon win would leave the Ducks firmly in charge, with a game at Arizona Nov. 21 serving as the biggest impediment to a Rose Bowl berth.
Bud Withers of our staff has an interesting look at the USC and Oregon programs today. He also picks USC to win tomorrow.
As for my picks. …
UCLA AT OREGON STATE (Beavers by nine-and-a-half): Bruins are teetering on the brink of ruins with four straight losses (nicely summarized in this story here), thanks to an inability to move the ball and a defense not playing as well as hoped. A loss here would make UCLA 0-5 in Pac-10 play and 3-5 overall heading into next week’s game against and mean that Rick Neuheisel’s old team could essentially knock them out of bowl contention (figuring a game remaining against USC there’s not much chance the Bruins would win). So this is a big one for UCLA, while Oregon State has to overcome the so-called “USC Hangover” — teams that battle the Trojans one week tending not to play well the next, as the Huskies found out the hard way earlier this year. But I think the home field advantage will mitigate that for the Beavers, who are simply better than the Bruins right now. OREGON STATE 27, UCLA 14.
WASHINGTON STATE VS. NOTRE DAME IN SAN ANTONIO (Irish by 28): Line has gone down two points in this one and not completely sure why other than just a general lack of faith in Notre Dame to win a game by that much. WSU has shown an increased ability the last few weeks to move the ball with true frosh Jeff Tuel at the helm, as well. But I’m thinking the controlled environment of the Alamodome will accentuate Notre Dame’s speed advantage and allow the Irish to pretty much name their own score, the only question in terms of the line being whether Tuel can lead WSU to enough points for a backdoor cover. (And if you’re wondering why this game is in San Antonio, read this). NOTRE DAME 49, WSU 14.
CAL AT ARIZONA STATE (Bears by six-and-a-half): It’s beginning to look like Cal may simply be the third or fourth best team in the conference, capable of easily handling the teams at the bottom, not as good as the teams at the top. This is the kind of game it should win, and ASU’s somewhat muddled QB situation should only help. CAL 24, ASU 13.
USC AT OREGON (Trojans by 3): The UW game made it clear that the whole key to the Oregon offense is Jeremiah Masoli — when he’s running and running well, the Ducks are hard to stop. When he’s not (as in the Boise State game or the first quarter against UW when he seemed tentative to take off) they are a different team. So the whole key to this one will be whether the Trojans can contain Masoli’s running and force him to throw — he’s a surprisingly effective passer with a good 18-7 career TD-to-INT ratio. But I still think you’d take your chances with that, also because Oregon’s receiving corps isn’t quite as good as it has been. USC’s been giving up a lot of yards lately, but mostly through the air, still remaining pretty stingy on the ground. And Matt Barkley keeps getting better and better — he’s overtaken Jake Locker for the Pac-10 lead in passing yardage and is also first in passing efficiency. Time for USC to turn into its patented unbeatable November self a day before the month actually begins. USC 27, OREGON 21.
LAST WEEK — 4-1 straight up, 3-2 against the spread.
FOR THE SEASON — 36-14 straight up, 21-24-1 against the spread.

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