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Pac-12 Confidential

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

October 18, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Pac-12 Picks, Week 8:

Thursday night

Oregon at Arizona State (plus 8.5) — Interesting that this is a matchup of teams whose schedules have been questionable; No. 2-ranked Ducks’ only victories over winning teams are against Arkansas State and Fresno State, both 4-3. Sun Devils, meanwhile, don’t have a victory against an FBS team with a winning record. I’ve had the feeling that despite its lofty ranking, this Oregon team might not have the firepower it has had recently — the question is whether its improved defense makes up for that shortfall (if indeed there is one). I think Arizona State runs the ball here, its defense has the speed to hang with the Ducks, and the home crowd keeps the Sun Devils in the game. Oregon 37, Arizona State 35.

Saturday

Stanford at California (plus 2.5) — Bears are resurgent, while Stanford took a controversial setback at Notre Dame last week in overtime. Cal somehow has to get its playmakers like Keenan Allen and Brendan Bigelow in space against the Cardinal. It might, but I see Stanford getting a big rush on Zach Maynard, something WSU couldn’t do last week. Stanford 24, California 20.

Colorado at USC (minus 40.5) — I’ve had it with the Buffs. I took them last week to hang with Arizona State — which they did for a half before caving like a wet cardboard box in the second half. USC figures to use this as the antidote for its off-and-on passing game. Matt Barkley needs three TD passes to tie the Pac-12 career record of Matt Leinart, and if he doesn’t have it by halftime, something’s wrong (or Silas Redd is scoring all the touchdowns). USC 55, Colorado 7.

Washington at Arizona (minus 7.5) — Arizona has picked up quickly on Rich Rodriguez’ offensive plan, and Matt Scott is having a terrific year. Meanwhile, the Huskies have played fitfully, performing much better on defense but not getting the offense untracked consistently. I think this is a spot that happens, and the upset pick is tempting. Arizona 41, Washington 38.

Utah at Oregon State (minus 10.5) — Almost seems like a too-low point spread. Utah struggled offensively at UCLA last week, went to freshman quarterback Travis Wilson, and Kyle Whittingham has been yearning to give RB John White more carries. Even if he does, it’s questionable whether the rugged Beaver run defense will allow much, and that puts it on the shoulders of Wilson. Obviously, OSU has been simply rolling in most aspects. I’m torn between the logic of a Beaver blowout or the hunch of a competitive effort by Utah. Oregon State 26, Utah 16.

Last week — 4-2 (3-3 versus the spread). Season — 39-15 (24-22 versus the spread).

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