No big intro needed this week. The fun is in Eugene and LA Saturday.
Washington (minus 20.5) at Colorado – It might be time for a bit of a Husky letdown, but I can’t envision it mattering much against the Buffs, who are headed for their worst season ever. This ought to be a spot where Washington expands some things in the passing game, because it seems likely the UW will establish the run. Washington, 41-13.
Washington State (plus 22) at Arizona State – There’s a bit of dark intrigue around the Cougars right now. It was impressive that they played extremely hard against UCLA and made a game of that after falling behind by 30 at halftime. Now the test is to see whether it’s a one-time thing, or whether they go back to a feeble performance like they turned in two weeks ago at Utah. They’re meeting a Sun Devil team that has fallen back to earth after a 5-1 start and needs this win to get bowl-eligible – or it may not happen at all. The ominous sign for the Cougars is that ASU has 40 sacks and WSU has allowed 46. Still, I’m thinking this will be competitive. Arizona State, 30-17.
USC (minus 3.5) at UCLA – A year ago, the Trojans cuffed the Bruins, 50-0, and that didn’t do a whole lot for Rick Neuheisel’s job security in Westwood. Now UCLA has a chance to atone, and a victory could do all sorts of things, including reinforce that the Bruins can be on relatively equal footing with USC, as well as turn up the heat on Trojan coach Lane Kiffin. I don’t know who covers Marqise Lee for the Bruins (I don’t know who in college football does that), but I can see UCLA revving up the ground game with Johnathan Franklin and the Trojans having trouble with Brett Hundley. UCLA, 31-30.
Stanford (plus 20.5) at Oregon – History suggests the Cardinal doesn’t have much of a shot here; with Andrew Luck at quarterback the past two years, it allowed Oregon 50-plus points and lost each one by three touchdowns. I’m not sure why, but I sense Stanford making this interesting. Its defense seems to be at its peak of recent years, and it must limit the big play by the Ducks while the offense will need to sustain time-consuming drives. I’ll say it’s a touchdown game and Oregon adds an insurance score late. Oregon, 38-24.
Arizona (plus 1) at Utah – Apparently, Matt Scott is going to play for the Wildcats after some uncertainty about a concussion sustained two weeks ago. On the other side, Utah has been a bit of a schizo team, looking like it had ironed out all the kinks two weeks ago against WSU, but then getting bounced pretty convincingly by Washington last week. I like the Utes to run the ball here and have some success stopping ‘Zona’s offense. Utah also has the urgency of needing the game to remain alive for bowl eligibility. Utah 33, Arizona 24.
Cal (plus 14) at Oregon State – The Beavers’ mindset is a bit of a guess here, as OSU lost a heartbreaker at Stanford, and next has a long-anticipated Civil War game. But there’s still ample reason for the Beavers to care, while I don’t foresee much of that on the depleted Bears’ side. Cal has to be thinking: Just get us out of this season. Oregon State 30, Cal 10.
Last week – 5-1 (3-2-1 versus the spread). Season – 57-20 (38-30-1 versus the spread).