It’s a week of big games (Oregon-Arizona State tonight) and Big Game (the oddly-timed Stanford-Cal game in October).
And it’s also a big weekend for my picks as I continue to do pretty well picking them straight-up, but am down into A-Rod batting average territory against the spread.
As always, the lines are from today’s Seattle Times. And as always, I’ll save the UW-Arizona pick for a separate entry Friday.
OREGON AT ARIZONA STATE (Ducks by 8.5): Some of you may have noticed that I have Arizona State rated as high as anyone else in the country in my AP Top 25 this week, at No. 17. But I’ll grant ASU has not played the toughest schedule yet — what I like about the Devils is the way they have handled that schedule, beating the bad teams the way ranked teams should, other than the one struggle on the road at Missouri (which was the first road game for QB Taylor Kelly, as well). But we’ll really start to find out now how good ASU is as the Devils play Oregon this week, then host UCLA next week followed by trips to Oregon State and USC. But for as good as the Devils have looked, Oregon has looked better and has more experience playing and winning games like this. OREGON 38, ASU 27.
STANFORD AT CAL (Cardinal by 2.5): Welcome to the new Pac-12, where Big Game is now in October. Hard to tell how that may change the dynamic of this one, which generally is pretty close regardless of the difference in the talent levels of the two teams. Stanford is coming off a tough loss at Notre Dame, and continues to struggle to score much consistently. Cal has gotten off the mat nicely after a 1-4 start that led to a lot of speculation about Jeff Tedford, with comfortable wins since over UCLA and WSU. The whole key here may be the quarterbacks, each of whom give a whole new meaning to the term “erratic.” Here’s a hunch that the home field helps Zach Maynard find his good self and get the Bears right back in the bowl picture. CAL 23, STANFORD 17.
COLORADO AT USC (Trojans by 40.5): Even given how bad Colorado is, this seems like a crazy amount of points to give. But then this might be the week Lane Kiffin decides to let Matt Barkley and company really throw it around after the struggles of the last few weeks, especially against the Huskies. This also might be USC’s last real shot at an easy game with a schedule ahead that remains tricky. So figure the Trojans to try to impress the pollsters. USC 52, COLORADO 10.
UTAH AT OREGON STATE (Beavers by 10.5): A battle of two teams going in really opposite directions — the Utes are one of just three Pac-12 teams without a conference win, joining Arizona (also 0-3) and WSU (0-4). The best way to win a game on the road against a good team is to run the ball well. But that’s been the biggest mystery of Utah’s season is its inability to run — the Utes are averaging just 100 yards per game, ahead of only WSU. The Utes are going to stick with freshman Travis Wilson at QB. OSU may be going again with Cody Vaz. But he was one of the surprises of last week with his play at BYU in relief of injured Sean Mannion. Beavers should get a relatively easy win to get to 6-0 before coming to Seattle to play UW next week. OREGON STATE 31, UTAH 14.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: 2-4
AGAINST THE SPREAD: 17-32.