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Pac-12 Confidential

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

September 4, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Pac-12 picks, week 2

Rugged start to the season here (but not as rugged as it was for WSU and Colorado). But onward . . .

Thursday night

Arizona (minus 7) at Texas-San Antonio — UTSA is a bit of a sleeper here, a Conference USA team that returns 20 starters, beat Houston with ease last week and is no doubt lusting to do something big against a power-five-conference team. If I’m going to say it’s close, I might as well call an upset. It’s Arizona QB Anu Solomon’s first test on the road. UTSA 30, Arizona 24.

Friday night

WSU (minus 3.5) at Nevada — Either WSU’s limp effort defensively against Rutgers is an aberration, or those are alarm bells going off. This won’t be easy, but I think the Cougars bounce back. WSU 37, Nevada 28.

Saturday

Sacramento State (no line) at Cal — Cal opened by beating Northwestern. Sac State opened with a 49-13 victory over . . . wait for it . . . Incarnate Word. I can’t attest to the power of Incarnate Word, but I’m guessing the Bears are the wise choice here. Cal 35, Sacramento State 13.

Eastern Washington (no line) at Washington — Obviously, Washington will get Eastern’s best shot, but it might be the wrong time to catch the Huskies, who were nearly chastened at Hawaii and will install QB Cyler Miles. Washington 38, Eastern Washington 21.

Fresno State (plus 10.5) at Utah — I doubt Fresno is as bad as it looked against USC’s squadron of athletes. But the Bulldogs are breaking in a new quarterback and Utah’s Travis Wilson looks frisky again. Utah 35, Fresno State 21.

Colorado (minus 17) at Massachusetts — How, exactly, does a Pac-12 team end up playing a MAC team on the road? Not much to recommend UMass, a 30-7 loser to Boston College last week, but I can’t work up a lot of confidence with Colorado, either, as it got dominated in the second half by Colorado State. A letdown by CU is almost inevitable. Colorado 27, UMass 17.

USC (plus 2.5) at Stanford — It’s easy to be impressed by what USC did last week, and Stanford is capable of bringing the Trojans back to earth. But this might be a spot where the losses the Cardinal suffered a year ago on defense show up. A couple of Trojans, notably defensive tackle Leonard Williams (ankle) have missed practice time this week. USC 27, Stanford 23.

Michigan State (plus 12.5) at Oregon — The spread seems astonishingly high here, but that’s a reflection of the respect Oregon gets for its turbocharged offense. You know the Ducks are lusting to prove they can hang one on a physical, traditional outfit like Michigan State. And they might. But State deserves better than the number indicates. It’d be fun to have an inside look at how much both squads have kept hidden from the other. Oregon 34, Michigan State 30.

Arizona State (minus 26) at New Mexico — Oddly, the teams haven’t met since 1977, and in a (very) broken series, ASU hasn’t lost to the Lobos since 1942. Not much doubt which is the better team, but the youth on the Sun Devil defense might keep this interesting for a while. ASU 42, New Mexico 28.

Memphis (plus 24.5) at UCLA — Have to believe UCLA is getting all sorts of grief for its shaky win over Virginia, particularly the offensive line. Meanwhile, Memphis rocked Austin Peay last week, 63-0, but Peay hasn’t won a game since two seasons ago. We’ll go with the Bruins big, assuming they’re not looking ahead to Texas next week. UCLA 41, Memphis 12.

Oregon State (minus 11) at Hawaii — Hard to get a read on how OSU might fare by watching the Huskies, whose Jeff Lindquist struggled mightily throwing the ball. That’s not likely to be the case with Sean Mannion, although he doesn’t have Brandin Cooks around anymore. OSU 30, Hawaii 17.

Last week — 9-3. Against the spread — 2-5.

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