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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 13, 2012 at 10:24 PM

Pac-12 picks, Week Three

After the Weekend That Was in the Pac-12 (or most of it) this is more of a Weekend That’s Just Kind of There, as the conference downshifts a bit in terms of big-time games.

Though I say “a bit” because there are a couple of big ones, notably the first conference game of the year — USC at Stanford.

Not that I’ll be a great guide through it all. I had another middling week with my picks, going 7-5 overall and 4-5 against the spread (not bothering with the FCS games).

But I’ll step up for another shot. …

WASHINGTON STATE AT UNLV (Cougars by 8.5): This line has dropped by 2.5 points since being posted on this Friday night affair. And boy, you’ve got to be strong to put your money on a UNLV team that is now 4-23 under former UW assistant Bobby Hauck (he of the “12th Man Game” fame at Michigan in 2002) and just lost at home to FCS Northern Arizona. But then, WSU is coming off a closer-than-it-should-have-been win against Eastern Washington (which is just bound and determined to beat one of the big schools in this state one of these days). This is a complete must-win for the Cougars if they want to get to a bowl, and they might be going with Connor Halliday at QB with Jeff Tuel possibly out with an injury (the Cougs holding the “competitive advantage” in this game by not announcing whether Tuel is hurt). Halliday is known as more of a gambler than Tuel, and this is one city where that figures to be a good thing. WSU 31, UNLV 21.

CAL AT OHIO STATE (Buckeyes by 17): An uninspiring win over Southern Utah did nothing to quell the concern about the Bears — and only increased the chatter about the future of coach Jeff Tedford. Consider that after this, the Bears open Pac-12 play at USC and then home to suddenly dangerous Arizona State and UCLA. Ohio State hasn’t been exactly inspiring its faithful, either. And given how bad the Big Ten has looked so far, this seems like a good spot for Cal to show some life. I’m not going to call the outright upset, but don’t be surprised if this is close. OHIO STATE 31, CAL 27.

TENNESSEE TECH AT OREGON (Ducks by 1,000,897): Okay, so there’s no official line on this one, but the Ducks will be able to name their score against the FCS Golden Eagles. OREGON 65, TECH 24.

ARIZONA STATE AT MISSOURI (Tigers by 6.5): It’s probably about time people forget about the ugly way Todd Graham’s Pitt tenure ended and realize what a good job he’s done so far with the Sun Devils. Taylor Kelly looks like a future star at QB (leading the Pac-12 in pass efficiency), as does former UW signee Chris Young, who leads the Pac-12 in tackles-for-a-loss with five. The Sagarin Ratings somewhat unexpectedly had ASU third in the nation this week. Still, this will be much more of a test for ASU than its first two games, especially for Kelly, for whom this will be his first road game. I’ll call for a close loss, though not one that will dissuade the notion that ASU is a team on the rise. MISSOURI 34, ASU 31.

COLORADO AT FRESNO STATE (Bulldogs by 15): Those of us who remember when Colorado actually won national titles find it hard to believe a spread like this one. Jon Embree seems like a really good guy, but this season is getting ugly in a hurry. If CU doesn’t win this one, an O-fer season seems a sad possibility. FRESNO STATE 37, COLORADO 27.

BYU AT UTAH (Cougars by 4): Thanks to those of you have stopped reminding me that I thought Utah might be good this year. It does indeed look like they won’t be. I’ll be the slight contrarian here, though, and say I’m not sure the loss of Jordan Wynn is a complete deal-breaker for the Utes. Utah played pretty well down the stretch last year with Jon Hays, and Travis Wilson is highly touted and has already had some good moments. Utah’s real issue is that its running game hasn’t been quite what people such as myself thought it would be. This will be a tough place to get that going against a BYU team still smarting from last year’s 54-10 loss to the Utes. BYU 27, UTAH 21.

HOUSTON AT UCLA (Bruins by 17): Noted defensive guru Jim Mora has UCLA leading the Pac-12 in total offense at 649 yards a game — or 138 more than UW has in its two games combined. This should be another one to pad the stats as Houston has allowed 86 points in losses to Texas State and Louisiana Tech (the one college team with Louisiana in its name that you want to play this time of year). UCLA 52, HOUSTON 24.

SOUTH CAROLINA STATE AT ARIZONA (no official line): Rich Rodriguez is about to tie the number of wins (three) he had at Michigan in his first year there in 2008, while also quickly making the trip to Tucson one all teams that have to do it this year — such as UW — suddenly fear a whole lot more. ARIZONA 55, SCS 17.

USC AT STANFORD (Trojans by 8): And now for the game of the week in the conference, one that the Huskies will be avidly watching as this features two of the next three opponents on Washington’s schedule (Stanford coming in Sept. 27). The Cardinal have won four of the last five against the Trojans. But the last two could have gone either way — 37-35 in 2010 and 56-48 in three OTs in 2011. It’s USC’s and Matt Barkley’s turn this year. USC 34, STANFORD 21.

SEASON TOTALS

STRAIGHT-UP: 17-6.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: 8-13.

And as always, I’ll reveal my UW pick in a separate entry on Friday.

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