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Pac-12 Confidential

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

October 11, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Pac-12 picks, week 7

Thursday night

Arizona State (minus 22.5) at Colorado — Not much doubt about the superior team here, even though ASU doesn’t have a win over an FBS opponent with a winning record. Whether it’s competitive seems to boil down to how much focus ASU can bring to the game when it hosts Oregon in a week. I’m guessing it’s vaguely interesting. Arizona State 35, Colorado 20.

Saturday

Stanford (plus 7.5) at Notre Dame — This ought to be an old-fashioned, pound-it-out kind of game where the battles in the trenches will be fierce. Josh Nunes makes his second road start (his first didn’t go so well), and the thought here is the Irish defense — allowing a mere 39 points this year — will be too much for him. That, and the fact the Irish have lost three in a row to Stanford. Notre Dame 26, Stanford 14.

Oregon State (plus 6) at Brigham Young — Very tough to read this one, inasmuch as both teams are going away from quarterbacks who just suffered knee injuries. At least BYU’s Riley Nelson has significant experience under center, while Cody Vaz of OSU makes his first start under difficult conditions. Beaver defense, which was superb last week against WSU, will need to be again. BYU 20, Oregon State 17.

USC (minus 12) at Washington — Feeling here is that Washington will be much more comfortable going against a traditional type of attack rather than the high-tech, spread-option, space-age stuff that Oregon runs. In my mind, the key to it being close is the Huskies mustering at least occasional pressure on Matt Barkley. Utah didn’t do that, and Barkley torched the Utes last week. The Huskies have to hope Desmond Trufant is up to having some success against the standout USC wideouts. USC 34, Washington 27.

Utah (plus 8) at UCLA — For one of these two, it’s going to be time to check the hole card. UCLA, 4-2, has come back to earth after a sizzling 3-0 start. Utah (2-3) has been something of a disappointment all season. I think the Utes are dangerous, though, getting John White going again, and they’ll make this close, if not win it outright. UCLA 27, Utah 21.

Cal (minus 7.5) at Washington State — These are restless times around Pullman, and you can tell Mike Leach isn’t used to consistent struggles like the Cougars are going through, especially on offense. But I’ve felt all along they’re good enough to rise up maybe twice during the conference season, and this is a spot as good as any, against a Bear team that might not be all that cranked to play a Saturday-night game in the Palouse. At times, the Cougars have been salty on defense, and they should be able to mount some pressure on beleaguered Zach Maynard. WSU 27, Cal 24.

Last week — 5-0 (3-2 versus the spread). Season — 35-13 (21-19 versus the spread).

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