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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 1, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Pac-12 picks — Week One

It’s time for an annual rite of fall on this blog — my Pac-12 (that’s what it is today, anyway) Picks.

First, a warning — my records last year were 59-20 straight-up (not so bad) and 30-38-1 against the spread (not so good — and the difference in the totals is the games against lower-division that featured no spreads).

We’re off again this year, hoping to do better (and using the VegasInsider lines for the FCS-FBS games and, usually, those posted in The Seattle Times for all others. And as always, I’ll save the UW pick for a separate entry, usually on Friday, though I may break from that and get it out earlier this year just to stop all the suspense — who knows?

Anyway, on with this week’s picks:

NORTHERN ARIZONA AT ARIZONA (Wildcats by 27.5) — One of six Pac-12-Big Sky matchups this weekend. So yes, UW hardly alone in dipping into those waters. NAU has a recent history of playing the Arizona schools a little tighter than expected, losing by 17 to UA in 2009 and 21 to ASU last year. But for some reason, I see this one being a little easier for the Wildcats as they get their passing game going early. ARIZONA 48, NAU 13.

MONTANA STATE AT UTAH (Utes by 28) — MSU is a good Big Sky team and almost won at Washington State last year. But the Utes are usually pretty unmerciful in these kinds of matchups. UTAH 42, MSU 10.

SACRAMENTO STATE AT OREGON STATE (Beavers by 27.5) — Sac State is gradually getting better by Big Sky standards and may be able to eke out a spread win in this one. OSU 38, SAC STATE 14.

IDAHO STATE AT WASHINGTON STATE (Cougars by 28) — Idaho State, conversely, is the worst Big Sky team, and among the worst in FCS and should pose no threat to the Cougars. If this one is close for long, that’s an ominous sign for a WSU team with high hopes, but one that still needs to learn to win. Cougs will show a little sign of progress with an easy victory. WSU 51, ISU 6.

UC-DAVIS AT ARIZONA STATE (Devils by 36.5) — UC-Davis is right now in the FCS Great West Conference but next year will move to the Big Sky. It memorably beat Stanford in 2005, 20-17, one of the worst losses in the history of the Pac-10. That won’t be repeated tonight. ASU 55, UC-DAVIS 13.

UCLA AT HOUSTON (Cougars by 3) — The one thing UCLA has done okay under Rick Neuheisel is win non-conference games, going 7-3 in his three years. But this one will be tough with Case Keenum back for another year at Houston — and healthy this time after being banged up when the Bruins slugged out a win over the Cougs last year in Pasadena. Unfortunately for Neuheisel, the hot seat will get hotter in a hurry. HOUSTON 27, UCLA 17.

MINNESOTA AT USC (Trojans by 23.5) — Minnesota was really bad last year, which is why it’s starting over under Jerry Kill. But the Trojans struggled to beat the Gophers a year ago in Minnesota, and for some reason, this has the feel of a game that will inevitably be termed “sluggish” for USC. USC 31, MINNESOTA 13.

SAN JOSE STATE AT STANFORD (Cardinal by 30) — Weird things often happen in this rivalry. But with Andrew Luck still calling all the shots for the Cardinal, that shouldn’t be the case this year. STANFORD 44, SJSU 10.

FRESNO STATE VS. CAL AT CANDLESTICK PARK (Bears by 10) — Kind of surprised to see this line where it is given FSU’s history in these kinds of games, and Cal’s struggles a year ago. I’ll call for a Cal win, but an FSU cover. CAL 21, FRESNO STATE 16.

LSU VS. OREGON IN ARLINGTON, TEXAS (Ducks by 4) — If Willie Lyles says Oregon will win, who am I to argue? LSU could have the edge in the trenches — and if so, the Ducks could be in a lot of trouble. But Oregon always seems to find a way to make it work up front, and LSU has more personnel question marks heading into this one. OREGON 27, LSU 21.

COLORADO AT HAWAII (Warriors by 7) — Buffs beat Hawaii 31-13 in Boulder last year, holding them to seven yards rushing, the kind of physical beatdown the Warriors often seem to suffer away from home. At home, they are usually a completely different team. A lot of unknowns here, and this one is really hard to read. But history says to go with the home team. HAWAII 31, COLORADO 21.

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