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Pac-12 Confidential

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

September 26, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Pac-12 picks, Week 5

Now we jump into Pac-12 Conference games in earnest, with five this week and Utah and UCLA off Saturday as they await a game next Thursday in Salt Lake City.

Colorado (plus 11) at Oregon State — Seems to me Colorado is getting a lot of credit for a team that’s only beaten Colorado State and an FCS opponent. OSU has some issues, defending and running the ball, but I doubt they show up too glaringly here. Oregon State 33, Colorado 20.

Arizona (plus 10) at Washington — What am I missing here? You have an Arizona team whose defense was abysmal a year ago, and while that side is clearly improved, it had miles to go. Meanwhile, the Wildcats’ offense has lost the passing threat of Matt Scott. As for  the 3-0 record, who knows what to make of it? Still, there’s widespread sentiment this is going to be close. I don’t see it. Washington 34, Arizona 17.

Stanford (minus 10)-Washington State at CenturyLink Field — Key guy on the field will be WSU QB Connor Halliday, who will have to deal with a serious Stanford pass rush. The Cougars hung with Stanford last year, and they may again, but last year the Cardinal QB was Josh Nunes, not Kevin Hogan. Stanford 27, WSU 14.

Cal (plus 36.5) at Oregon — I’ve said it before here and I’ll repeat it: No number seems high enough for the Ducks. The assumption is, Jared Goff and the Bears will be worth at least some late points, but I’m not even convinced of that. Oregon 62, Cal 14.

USC (plus 6) at Arizona State — I found this the trickiest play of the weekend. I don’t have a ton of confidence in the Sun Devils, who seemed to have lost a step from a year ago — witness the huge hole they dug for themselves at Stanford last week. On the other hand, there’s the erratic Trojan offense, No. 106 in the nation, with Cody Kessler making his first start. Neither seems a wonderful proposition, but I’ll side with the best unit on the field and call for an upset. USC 23, Arizona State 19.

Last week —  5-2 (4-2 versus the spread). Season — 29-7 (14-12 versus the spread).

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