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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 15, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Pac-12 picks, Week 12

It’s the last full weekend of games in the Pac-12 — USC and Cal will be done after this weekend — and the one that may finally decide the division titles.

It’s also another chance for me to continue my late-season surge in the picks. I was perfect straight-up and have missed just one game in two weeks in that category, and I was .500 on the spread. And I missed the Stanford-Oregon State game only because the Cardinal went for two following its final touchdown and failed, thereby winning by four instead of five, with the spread at 4.5 — thus again illustrating why making money at this stuff isn’t all that easy.

On to this week’s games, though as always I will save the UW-Colorado contest for a separate entry:

WASHINGTON STATE AT ARIZONA STATE (Devils by 22): Two reeling teams here — ASU has lost four in a row after a 5-1 start and could be on track for a similar record to the one that got Dennis Erickson fired a year ago, while the Cougars have lost seven in a row. After a tumultuous week, the Cougars had a weird game against UCLA last Saturday, blasted early on the scoreboard but dominating most of the stats. A similar effort would probably beat the spread in this game, though it’s hard to know what to expect of WSU after another week of headlines and now going on the road. ASU’s season turned out to be totally one based on the schedule — 5-1 against six unranked teams, 0-4 against four teams that are currently ranked. WSU does one thing pretty well — passing the ball — ranking sixth in the nation. But ASU has what is statistically the best pass defense in the conference. ASU should win rather easily, but the Cougars may do enough to beat the number: ASU 41, WSU 21.

ARIZONA AT UTAH (Utes by one): The fact that there is a little bit of uncertainty over Arizona’s QB situation has this one off the books in a lot of places, but VegasInsider lists a couple lines of Utah favored by one, so that’s what I’ll go with. Utah has played well at home, terrible on the road. Arizona also has not been great on the road, 0-3 away from Tucson, though it did take Stanford to overtime. Matt Scott is now expected to play for Arizona, however, so that will be enough for me to assume the Wildcats can score enough to get it done, though you have to figure Utah will play better after its showing here last week, and knowing it has to win out to get to a bowl (with Colorado on tap next week). Still, I’ll go with what simply seems to be the better team here in the Wildcats. ARIZONA 35, UTAH 27.

CAL AT OREGON STATE (Beavers by 14): Is this really going to be it for Jeff Tedford at Cal? Hard to imagine after the job he did the first five years there, taking what at the time was the worst program in the conference and quickly turning it into one of the best (he probably could have had the UW job in 2004 if he’d wanted it). Everything seems to be pointing to a change, and this game won’t matter in that you wouldn’t think. The Beavers are coming off a touch loss at Stanford that basically ruined their BCS hopes. But their defense alone — do you realize the Beavers haven’t allowed a run longer than 29 yards all season? — should be enough against an injury-riddle Cal offense. OREGON STATE 24, CAL 13.

STANFORD AT OREGON (Ducks by 21): Here’s one of the two big ones in the conference this week as the Cardinal travels to Eugene. An Oregon win clinches the North title for the Ducks. Stanford needs to win this and then beat UCLA in Pasadena next week. The spread is indicative of Oregon’s seeming dominance of the conference this year and hard not to figure the Ducks won’t also win this one easily. Stanford has some impressive defensive stats. But the Cardinal struggled against Arizona, giving up 48 points and 617 yards, the one other team that plays pretty much like Oregon on offense. Difficult to imagine Stanford’s offense keeping up. OREGON 52, STANFORD 24.

USC AT UCLA (Trojans by 3.5): This game is a little more simple — whoever wins takes the South Division, regardless of UCLA’s game next week against Stanford. The Trojans got back on track last week with its 38-17 win over ASU, and need to take this one to salvage a season that began with national title hopes. The Bruins, meanwhile, can prove that the “football monopoly” in LA is changing sides in Jim Mora’s first season. The whole key may be which quarterback plays better — UCLA freshman Brett Hundley or USC senior Matt Barkley, whose 13 interceptions are the most in the Pac-12. This feels like one last moment for Barkley and the Trojans. USC 34, UCLA 28.

RECORDS
LAST WEEK
STRAIGHT-UP: 6-0
AGAINST THE SPREAD: 3-3

SEASON TOTALS
STRAIGHT-UP: 57-20.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: 32-42.

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