Week 12 of Pac-12 football features six conference games, three of which match teams that haven’t met since 2010. A fourth, Cal-Colorado, marks the first Pac-12 game between the two (their 2011 game, remember, was a non-league affair scheduled before the league announced expansion in 2010 for the next season).
Washington-UCLA, WSU-Arizona and Utah-Oregon pit programs that haven’t seen each other in three years.
Washington (plus 2.5) at UCLA — On a Portland radio show the other day, I got asked what the Washington fan base thinks of Steve Sarkisian. My answer was: Teetering. As in, the general feeling after 2013 will be swayed heavily on the Huskies’ final three regular-season games. The consensus could be quite positive, or be in the dumper. As for this one, I’m not convinced UCLA’s offense is anything special, especially with a jumbled line pocked by injury. I think Washington outscores the Bruins with its varied weapons. Washington 30, UCLA 24.
Washington State (plus 13) at Arizona — The Cougars have been on a downward arc since their victory at Cal Oct. 5, but I think the trend improves here. ‘Zona isn’t playing for anything significant, while WSU (4-5) has to know its bowl chances are in the balance. I’m going to stop short of picking WSU outright, but I think it has a shot. Arizona 28, WSU 26.
Utah (plus 26) at Oregon — So much depends here on Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota and his banged-up knee that limited him against Stanford. I’m not convinced we’ll see him all the way. And I’m not convinced Utah can score much, either. Oregon 35, Utah 13.
Cal (plus 2.5) at Colorado — If a tree falls in the forest and . . . ? For no good reason, I’ll side with the Bears and a more capable passing attack. Cal 27, Colorado 24.
Stanford (minus 3.5) at USC — No doubt this will be a slugfest; the two teams’ defenses are the superior units. Although it’s an obvious come-down spot for Stanford, I can’t see the Cardinal not being ready for two reasons — It’s USC, and there’s obviously still much at stake for Stanford, potentially as much as a national-title berth. I think the Stanford defense has a better chance of engulfing the Trojan offense than the Troy defense does against the Stanford offense. Stanford 23, USC 16.
Oregon State (plus 14) at Arizona State — A couple of competing factors here: ASU has a head of steam going, knowing its Pac-12 South fate is in its hands; and OSU typically hangs in late in the season, giving a game effort. Two other things to consider: ASU’s big game next week at UCLA, and the fact Mike Riley is 9-3 in Pac-12/10 games coming off byes since 2003. Arizona State 38, Oregon State 30.
Last week — 2-3 (3-2 versus the spread). Season — 56-17 (35-27 versus the spread).