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Pac-12 Confidential

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

November 21, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Pac-12 football picks, final full weekend:

Whole bunch of stuff to be determined this final weekend, including the Pac-12 North champion, whether USC can sabotage Notre Dame’s national-title bid, and of course, some rivalry games. Lines are from Thursday’s Times:

Friday

Washington (minus 13) at Washington State — If you can throw out the record book as they say with rivalries, that would be fine with the Cougars. I see them putting out a good effort, but my major question is whether they get anything done with their passing game against a good UW defense against the pass. I don’t see a big day for Bishop Sankey; the Cougars have at times been stiff against the run. But I could envision Keith Price having a big game, since the past three starting QBs WSU has faced — Utah’s Travis Wilson, UCLA’s Brett Hundley and ASU’s Taylor Kelly — have combined for 55 completions in 65 attempts, or 84.6 percent. Too many issues at WSU right now. Washington 30, WSU 13.

Utah (minus 22.5) at Colorado — Utes are about a three-touchdown pick, which, if I recall, was roughly the same number as a year ago in Salt Lake City, when the Buffs shocked them. No such surprise is in store here; the question is how much fight Colorado has left after a punching-bag season, and whether Utah comes to play after its bowl hopes were extinguished last week. In any case, hard to back the Buffs. Utah 35, Colorado 10.

Arizona State (plus 3) at Arizona — Earlier, the book on ‘Zona was: Terrific offense, little defense. Then last week at Utah, in a game the Utes desperately needed, the Wildcats essentially shut down the Utah attack and won a game I certainly didn’t expect them to win. This is an unpredictable series, but I like the ‘Cats and the way they’ve taken to RichRod’s system. Arizona 37, Arizona State 30.

Saturday

Oregon (minus 9.5) at Oregon State — The Ducks need to win to keep alive three possibilities — the national title, a BCS bowl, and more specifically, the Rose. If they win, then they root for UCLA to knock off Stanford, which would not only put the Ducks in the Pac-12 title game, it would give them another quality game to help their strength-of-schedule component (if that indeed still matters when the BCS dust clears). I doubt whether Oregon can muster the fever pitch the Ducks would be at if they had beaten Stanford last week, while OSU figures to be sky-high. Since I was going to call this one close, I might as well go whole hog and pick the upset. Oregon State 30, Oregon 28.

Stanford (minus 2) at UCLA — You might have to go back years to find a Pac-12 game in which the combatants came off more exhilarating victories. How they handle that euphoria might say a lot about how this one ends up. The Oregon-OSU game should be over by the 3:30 kickoff in this one, so Stanford will know whether it needs to win to preserve a place in the title game (with a Rose Bowl berth on the line), or whether (if OSU beats Oregon) it’s just playing the Bruins for home-field advantage in that game. This may be counter-intuitive, since I picked OSU, but there’s a greater chance Stanford has more to play for here, and it may be the better team in any case. Stanford 28, UCLA 21.

Notre Dame (minus 6) at USC — Huge test for the Irish, who can stamp their spot in the BCS title game with a victory of any kind. I doubt Notre Dame has seen anybody close to Marqise Lee this year, but the other question is, can backup QB Max Wittek get him the ball (and not throw it too often to the other guy)? Somehow, I can see USC keeping this close, but it’s also hard to envision a defense the quality of Notre Dame’s not doing some things to bother Wittek — perhaps decisively. Notre Dame 27, USC 23.

Last week — 4-2 (4-2 versus the spread). Season — 61-22 (42-32-1 versus the spread).

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