September 5, 2013 at 3:00 PM
Pac-12 football picks, Week 2
A good start to the 2013 season. Now, let’s keep it going.
Sacramento State (no line) at Arizona State — There might be two concerns for the Sun Devils: This is the undercard to a brutal four-game stretch of Wisconsin-Stanford-USC-Notre Dame for ASU, so it’s possible it doesn’t come focused. Second, the Hornets have a game under their belts, albeit a 24-0 loss to San Jose State. But that’s not enough. Arizona State 41, Sacramento State 10.
Weber State (no line) at Utah — Weber, coached by ex-Washington State receiver and assistant coach Jody Sears, wasn’t especially convincing in its opener, beating Stephen F. Austin, 50-40. Utah is 35-0 against current members of the Big Sky, 3-0 against its in-state rival. The Weber staff also includes veteran former Washington and WSU offensive line coach Steve Morton and offensive coordinator Robin Pflugrad, ex-WSU aide and former Montana head coach. Utah 38, Weber State 13.
Oregon (minus 21.5) at Virginia — Very difficult to tell anything about the Ducks off their blowout of Nicholls State; this is the first semblance of a challenge for first-year coach Mark Helfrich. Cavaliers were opportunistic in a 19-16 victory over BYU, but their offense netted a mere 223 yards. My gut says this will be vaguely interesting, partly because the Ducks are traveling three time zones, but the Cavs don’t have the chops to trade touchdowns with Oregon. Oregon 35, Virginia 17.
Portland State (no line) at California — Ex-Husky Nigel Burton’s PSU team opened with a 57-17 victory over Eastern Oregon. But Cal is a different animal, unless the Bears fall flat in the middle of a tough September stretch that includes Ohio State and Oregon. Cal 41, Portland State 24.
Hawaii (plus 27) at Oregon State — The line seems awfully large considering the Beavers’ deflating loss to Eastern Washington last week. This may be counterintuitive, but I’m thinking OSU bounces back in a big way, anxious to prove the opener won’t define its season. Oregon State 40, Hawaii 10.
Central Arkansas (no line) at Colorado — Central Ark won 58-7 last week over the Incarnate Word Cardinals, who, much to my surprise, are an independent FCS team — same level, ostensibly, as Eastern Washington. This wouldn’t be a good time for Colorado to get too fat-headed about its opening win over Colorado State, because Central Arkansas is No. 6 ranked in the FCS poll. Colorado 30, Central Arkansas 20.
Washington State (plus 15) at USC — Notwithstanding its strong effort last week at Auburn, this one comes with some danger signs for WSU. The Trojans’ defense is better than Auburn’s, and surely SC’s passing game is superior to the Tigers’, too. This makes two straight long trips for the Cougars, who are undeniably better than last year. USC 33, Washington State 16.
Arizona (minus 10.5) at UNLV — This is a make-or-break season for former Washington assistant and current UNLV coach Bobby Hauck, who is being criticized in Vegas for his refusal to quit coaching special teams while handling the big job. The Rebels (0-1) have a capable quarterback in Nick Sherry, and if they’re going to make a stand, this just might be the spot. UNLV 31, Arizona 27.
San Jose State (plus 26.5) at Stanford — According to the Times’ line, the spread has jumped up eight points since it opened, which is a ridiculous leap in Vegas. San Jose State has the advantage of having played a game last week, blanking Sac State, but standout QB David Fales was average, completing only 16 of 32 for 225 yards. He doesn’t figure to find the going easy against what should be a terrific Stanford defense, and a Cardinal team that might feel a need to justify its No. 5 ranking. Stanford 42, San Jose State 14.
Last week — 9-1 (6-1 vs. the spread).
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