Hitting the home stretch of the season . . .
Oregon (minus 20.5) at Arizona — I see a bounce-back effort from Arizona after the upset by WSU last week, but that only carries you so far against a speedier team like the Ducks. The imponderable is whether Marcus Mariota is running the ball again (or whether he won’t until Oregon’s bowl game) or if he’s reduced to being a passer (at which he’s still pretty darn good). Oregon 41, Arizona 24.
Utah (plus 1) at Washington State — It’s all on the table for the Cougars, who can get bowl-eligible with a victory, and I have little doubt that if they get that sixth win, the athletic director, Bill Moos, will find a way to get them to the post-season. The Utes are hard-nosed and physical, but they’re going with a backup quarterback, and even though at four wins, they’re also playing for their post-season lives, you’d think the tantalizing nearness to the goal would be a bigger plus for the Cougars. I see a lower-scoring game than most people, maybe one in which WSU’s kicker, Andrew Furney, plays a big part. WSU 23, Utah 17.
Cal (plus 32) at Stanford — This is the biggest spread in Big Game history, and the rivalry might be the only thing that stirs the slumbering Bears out of a funk punctuated by last week’s decisive loss at Colorado. Hard to go against Stanford’s physical edge and the notion that the Cardinal might be ready to take its two losses out on somebody. Who better than the beleaguered Bears? Stanford 48, Cal 13.
Arizona State (minus 2.5) at UCLA — Bruins have been resilient, piecing together a workable offensive line and using Myles Jack in a two-way role to great effectiveness. But here’s a shaky vote to ASU, and the possibility its veteran front may trouble the young Bruin offensive line. Arizona State 30, UCLA 27.
USC (plus 22) at Colorado — There’s a 30-percent chance of snow for Boulder Saturday, and temperatures will be around freezing or below for a 7:30 p.m. Mountain start. Those conditions, and the likelihood USC may not be at peak fever after the Stanford upset last week, tilt me to figuring on a competitive effort from the Buffs. USC 34, Colorado 21.
Washington (no line) at Oregon State — In the Disappointment Bowl, two teams try to get off the mat from earlier expectations to make something of their seasons. Given the Huskies’ well-chronicled road problems, and the uncertainty that surrounds their quarterback situation, I have to side with the Beavers. If there’s a line out later Friday, we’ll try to post it. Update: Times line late Friday is OSU minus 1.5. Oregon State 31, Washington 26.
Last week — 2-4 (3-3 versus the spread). Season — 58-21 (38-30 versus the spread).