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Pac-12 Confidential

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

September 12, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Pac-12 picks, Week 3

Well, you can’t have much more of a schizoid start than I’ve had, turning in my worst week ever last Saturday at 0-5 versus the number. So we’re back at square one entering Week 3 of the Pac-12 season.

UCLA (plus 4.5) at Nebraska — The Huskers have payback on their minds, and in Lincoln, they usually get it. The Bruins have had a tumultuous, tragic week with the death of freshman receiver Nick Pasquale, which has to have weighed heavily on their minds. Nebraska 34, UCLA 28.

Stanford (minus 29) at Army — Cardinal coach David Shaw spoke eloquently this week of the mission of the Black Knights, who always give a game effort no matter what they’re about. But this is an Army team that got trounced 40-14 at Ball State last week, now going against one of the nation’s better defenses. Stanford 45, Army 13.

Fresno State (minus 9.5) at Colorado — Boulder has had serious flooding late Wednesday night and into Thursday, but a CU official says the game is still scheduled to go on, as Folsom Field has good drainage. UPDATE, 6 p.m. Friday: With continued flooding and police services strapped, officials Friday announced postponement of the game. At first blush, it’s going to be difficult to make it up. But, after a 15-inch deluge of rain in a short period of time, football should be the least of the concerns in Colorado. Good move to postpone.

Boston College (plus 14) at USC — What can you say about the Trojans, except: It’s hard to imagine their offense getting any worse. Maybe the naming of starting quarterback Cody Kessler will help clear the air. On the other side of the ball, the active Trojan defense draws an offense that has scored 24 points twice against undistinguished opposition. USC 31, Boston College 14.

Tennessee (plus 27.5) at Oregon — The Ducks must be an interesting phenomenon for Nevada linesmakers, who seemingly can’t make the spread high enough. I know one thing: I’m not bucking them. Oregon 52, Tennessee 20.

Washington (minus 9.5) vs. Illinois at Chicago — It’s a telling game for the Huskies, who have been mostly miserable on the road in recent years. If they’re legit, they ought to be able to prove it here. Washington 40, Illinois 17.

Southern Utah (no line) at Washington State — Hardly anybody outside Georgia has had a more taxing two weeks than the Cougars, given the travel and the opposition. But they came through it well, picking up an unexpected win at USC. Now they need to develop consistency on offense against this FCS foe. WSU 34, Southern Utah 13.

Ohio State (no line) at California — The lack of a line is due to the fact Heisman Trophy candidate Braxton Miller may not play for the Buckeyes. Cal quarterback Jared Goff looks like the real deal, but you’d think OSU would be a tough test for him. Hard to make a very definitive call here without knowing about Miller. Ohio State 30, Cal 20.

Oregon State (plus 3.5) at Utah — I remain unconvinced about the Utes, despite their 70-point extravaganza last week against Weber State. But the Beavers are so banged up — with injuries at linebacker and all over the offensive line — I can’t side with them, either. Utah 31, Oregon State 17.

Texas-San Antonio (plus 26) at Arizona — UTSA (1-1) put up 35 points against Oklahoma State, so 26 seems like a high number, notwithstanding the early indications that ‘Zona is playing much better defense this year. Arizona 48, UTSA 28.

Wisconsin (plus 5.5) at Arizona State — No doubt the Badgers can run the ball; they already have three backs with 250 yards or more rushing (albeit against lesser foes). The question is, can third-year soph Joel Stave throw when ASU loads up to stop the run? I’m guessing he struggles with that. Arizona State 27, Wisconsin 20.

Last week — 7-2 (0-5 against the spread). Season — 16-3 (6-6 against the spread).

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