The plot thickens this weekend, particularly in the Willamette Valley, where the proceedings in Eugene and Corvallis will tell us more about the importance of the Oregon-Stanford game Nov. 7 (or whether we really ought to be paying more attention to Oregon State).
Utah (plus 7) at USC — This is a battle of teams dogged by injuries — especially the Trojans, who are essentially without tight ends for this game. Utah QB Travis Wilson appears able to play despite a bad hand, and USC’s Marqise Lee will try to go on a gimpy knee. Probably going to be a low-scoring headbanger. USC 17, Utah 14.
UCLA (plus 23) at Oregon — Last week, I intrepidly took the points with WSU against the Ducks (after missing on Oregon three times earlier, but let’s not dwell on that) and Oregon failed to cover the number for the first time this year. I’m not getting in the way of that train again. Although there’s reason to think UCLA is better offensively than it showed last week at Stanford, this is hardly the place to find yourself. Oregon 45, UCLA 17.
Arizona (minus 14) at Colorado — I have little confidence in the Buffs, for whom the reality must be setting in that they’re not very good. But in a competitive grinder of a league, it’s not going to be easy for Arizona to simply put behind it the breakthrough victory over Utah last week. Buffs, to keep it close. Arizona 31, Colorado 24.
Stanford (minus 4) at Oregon State — Sometimes, a team that isn’t that good can become a believer with win after win, and prevail seemingly on its momentum. And sometimes, that team is on borrowed time, and about to be exposed. We’re going to find out which of those describes Oregon State. I’m swayed, ultimately, by the fact the only real good running team OSU has faced is Utah, and the Utes clicked for 260 yards rushing — 142 of which were by a quarterback running threat like Kevin Hogan (Utah’s Travis Wilson). This figures to be close, but I think Stanford’s run game and OSU’s lack of one might spell the difference. Stanford 34, OSU 27.
California (plus 25) at Washington — You’d think the Huskies would be primed to take out their frustrations on somebody, and that outfit is Cal. The points are too high, but Cal’s secondary is a mess and whether the Bears start Jared Goff or Zach Kline, there’s doubt at quarterback. Washington 42, Cal 14.
Last week — 6-1 (5-1 versus the spread). Season — 47-12 (29-19 versus the spread).