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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

October 27, 2011 at 10:39 PM

Pac-picking, Week Nine

We’re hitting the final weekend of October, and in the big picture, nothing has changed from what we anticipated in the summer: Oregon and Stanford (or Stanford and Oregon, to be more precise) are right now the class of the Pac-12, and on a collision course Nov. 12 on the Farm.

This week:

Arizona (plus 4.5) at Washington – Seems to me a lot of people are overvaluing Arizona, merely off its landslide victory over a sketchy UCLA team last week. I know the Washington defense is as dubious as a three-dollar bill, but I think the Huskies rebound from the Stanford mess, helped by the suspensions to the Wildcats’ secondary. Pick: Washington, 40-28.

WSU (plus 35.5) at Oregon – Cougars played Oregon fairly tough last year in Pullman before succumbing, but Ducks seemingly can’t help but score these days. It’s questionable whether QB Darron Thomas or RB LaMichael James plays, but their backups are obviously capable. Pick: Oregon 51-21.

Oregon State (plus 5) at Utah – Beavers seemingly found themselves last week at CenturyLink Field, while the Utes are still looking for their mojo. Utah figures to get more pressure on OSU’s Sean Mannion than he saw last week, and that might result in some OSU mistakes. Pick: Utah, 24-23.

Cal (minus 5) at UCLA – The Bears used QB Zach Maynard on the run more last week in beating Utah handily. Meanwhile, the Bruins are without three receivers after the Arizona brawl last week, and walk-on Jerry Rice, son of the legendary receiver, will get on the field for the first time. “Adversity is nothing more than an opportunity camouflaged,” UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel told AP this week. In Westwood right now, it’s more than camouflaged, it’s buried. Pick: Cal, 37-20.

Stanford (minus 7.5) at USC – Stanford has 38 straight scores this year in the red zone. Maybe that’s why USC coach Lane Kiffin says QB Andrew Luck “is pretty much perfect.” Curtis McNeal has become the USC tailback of choice, running it 10 straight times to kill the clock last week at Notre Dame. Meanwhile, highly touted TB Dillon Baxter is off the team. This looks like a really fun game. Pick: Stanford, 38-31.

Colorado (plus 31) at Arizona State – This week, the Gallup Healthways Well Being Index announced that Boulder residents scored the highest among all cities surveyed, naming the place the “happiest” in America. That doesn’t include the guys around the Buffs football program, laboring through a beat-up, one-win season. CU’s lack of quickness likely will show up here, and Nick Hirschman, a redshirt freshman quarterback, may play for CU if Tyler Hansen’s concussion doesn’t allow it. Pick: Arizona State, 42-3.

Last week — 2-4 (1-5 vs. spread). Season — 45-14 (25-26 vs. spread).

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