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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 22, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Picking the Pac — Week 4

So this is when it really starts to feel like college football season.

No more Eastern/Central/Northern-this, or Presby-that on the schedule. No filler, just meat, as the Pac-12 slate consists of five games — four conference contests and the other at Ohio State.

The first weekend, in other words, where there will be lots of shuffling of the conference/division standings — and lots of early judgements about where it’s all headed.

On with the picks (though as always, I’ll save the UW game for a separate entry later):

Colorado at Ohio State (Buckeyes by 16.5): Given how bad the Buckeyes looked last week, it seems as if the Buffs have the ability to make this one a contest for a while, if not all the way through. Maybe I’m misreading (or more accurately, the level of its opponents so far), but it seems as if the Buffs have gotten progressively better the last few weeks — which could be a scary prospect down the road for all the Pac-12 teams penciling them in as an easy win. Ohio State will win, but not before a few more nervous moments. OHIO STATE 34, COLORADO 24.

UCLA at Oregon State (Beavers by 5): Can you really play a Last-Chance Bowl in the last week of September? It sure feels like it, as each of these teams is clinging by a thread to save its season (and everyone knows what that might also mean for Rick Neuheisel’s job in Westwood). The line on this one has actually been going up in OSU’s favor, the money guys not scared off by the prospect of redshirt frosh Sean Mannion making his first start at QB for the Beavers — or maybe they’ve just seen UCLA play enough already. We’ll side with the Wise Guys on this one and pick the Beavers — refreshed after a bye week — to prolong hope for a little while longer. OREGON STATE 27, UCLA 16.

Oregon at Arizona (Ducks by 16): I’ve noticed some sentiment out there that maybe Arizona can make this one a game, observers pointing to the home team’s passing game and possible ability to take advantage of Oregon’s secondary. I’m not buying it. Oregon has had two weeks to get healthy and work out some of the kinks while Arizona has been getting hammered by Oklahoma State and Stanford, part of a schedule that could easily cause a 1-4 start for the Wildcats. The Ducks may give up some yards and points, but hard to imagine how they won’t get an awful lot of each of their own. OREGON 45, ARIZONA 24.

USC at Arizona State (Devils by 2.5): Maybe the most intriguing game on this slate — and one that could go a long way toward deciding the winner of the Pac-12 South (though worth reminding that the Trojans can’t play for the conference title). I’ve been one of those thinking that the Sun Devils could be the team to beat in the South all year, a pick that looks shakier with each week — ASU lost a game and another key player (DE Junior Onyeali) last week. This is USC’s first road game of the season, which brings with it some obvious challenges — but then the Trojans went 5-2 away from home last year, killing themselves by winning just three of six home games. USC has also won 11 in a row against the Sun Devils, and five straight in Tempe. Despite all of that, I’m sticking with the Devils for one more week. ARIZONA STATE 24, USC 20.

Last week: Straight up, 8-2; against the spread, 5-5

Season to date: Straight up, 28-4; against the spread, 15-17.

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