One last weekend of the Pac-12 regular season, and one that could yield a conference title game that few would have envisioned — UCLA vs. Stanford.
First, though, those two teams have play their regular-season game, potentially setting up the oddity of a rematch next week. That, and maybe college football’s most important historical rivalry (USC-Notre Dame) highlight the weekend. So here we go:
UTAH AT COLORADO (Utes by 22.5): That feels like a lot of points for Utah to cover on the road, considering the Utes haven’t won a road game all season. Utah also could be deflated a bit now with its hopes for a bowl game gone. On the other hand, Colorado is pretty darn bad. I’ll call for the Utah win but the CU cover. UTAH 27, COLORADO 7.
ARIZONA STATE AT ARIZONA (Wildcats by 3): This series has been as unpredictable as any the last few years, so I’m not sure anyone can really say they know how this one will turn out. But Arizona has been the better team this season and is at home, so I’ll go with the percentages. ARIZONA 41, ASU 31.
NOTRE DAME AT USC (Irish by 6): I’m among those who would have been tempted to take USC if Matt Barkley were healthy — not sure there’s a great deal of difference in physical talent in the two teams and kind of feels like the Irish have been living right a lot this season and that maybe it would be time for that to run out. But now, with freshman Max Wittek going instead of Barkley? That makes it hard to pick against the Irish, who maybe are simply having one of those dream seasons. NOTRE DAME 27, USC 20.
OREGON AT OREGON STATE (Ducks by 9.5): The Ducks saw their national title hopes pretty much dashed last week. But there’s still lots to play for, so I can’t imagine emotion and all of that will be any real issue. And assuming that, Oregon is simply better than Oregon State, especially in one key stat — the Ducks are rushing for 307 yards per game in conference play, Oregon State just 125.9. Oregon seemed to get away from the run at times last week. In don’t see that happening in this game. OREGON 41, OSU 27.
STANFORD AT UCLA (Cardinal by 2): What a potentially odd scenario here with Stanford maybe needing to win the game — it’ll know by kickoff if Oregon State has beaten Oregon and it’s already in as the Civil War starts at noon and this game at 3:30 p.m. There’s been lots of talk about what the two teams should do — if UCLA should sort of not worry much if the Cardinal wins since it might rather play Stanford than Oregon in the Pac-12 title game. But I really can’t imagine the coaches are thinking anything other than to play it as they usually would. Stanford showed last week it can stop a spread offense. But can it rise to that level of emotion two weeks in a row? The Cardinal is usually pretty steady that way. And UCLA is in the same boat there, having also had a hugely emotional win last week. The line has shifted from pick-em to Stanford by two. But in a game where so many things seem pretty even, I like the boost the home crowd should give the Bruins. UCLA 27, STANFORD 21.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: 2-4
AGAINST THE SPREAD: 34-46.