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Pac-12 Confidential

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

October 2, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Pac-12 picks, week 6

Week 6, good grief. Time flies when you’re spinning wheels with picks . . .

Thursday night

Arizona (plus 23) at Oregon — It’s a bunch of points to give, considering ‘Zona has a lot of playmaking receivers and QB Anu Solomon has been putting up gaudy numbers. But I’m inclined to go with the Ducks big, because (a) this will be Solomon’s first significant test in a hostile road environment; (b) because Oregon surely remembers the 42-16 whipping the Wildcats put on them last year in Tucson, and (c) the Ducks are no doubt a little nettled at hearing about what a close call they had at WSU two weeks ago. They have to play better up front on offense, however. Oregon 47, Arizona 22.

Saturday

Stanford (minus 2) at Notre Dame — Huge game for the Pac-12 profile. Notre Dame’s Everett Golson completed 26 straight passes last week against Syracuse, but he also coughed up four turnovers. Tempting to go with the home team; the Irish have opened with four 30-point-plus games for the first time since 1943. But it’s against highly inferior opposition, and until the Stanford defense proves vulnerable, I’m on the Cardinal. Stanford 20, Notre Dame 14.

Oregon State (minus 7) at Colorado — The Beavers were unexpectedly poor last week at USC, throwing for only 123 yards. The knee-jerk reaction might be to assume the improved Buffs, at home, will make this a tussle, but I’m not ready to give up on OSU yet. Mike Riley is good at coaxing a team to stay the course. Receiver Victor Bolden was due to have sutures removed from an injured finger Thursday, and his return would be good news for Sean Mannion. Oregon State 31, Colorado 21.

Arizona State (plus 11.5) at USC — Wonder how it was received at USC when Nick Aliotti told John Canzano of the Oregonian that he thought Justin Wilcox’s defense was playing “soft”? And to think, Wilcox played for a year for Aliotti at Oregon. Meanwhile, hard to gauge exactly what the Sun Devils are. They were a mess defensively against UCLA after taking a double-digit lead early. I think ASU finds a way to make this competitive. USC 45, Arizona State 35.

Utah (plus 13) at UCLA — Another rotten start in Pac-12 play for the Utes, who haven’t opened with a win in all four years of membership in the league. Their passing game was atrocious against Washington State, and you know that’s gotten a lot of attention this week in Salt Lake City. Bruins exploded at ASU, but with a potentially mammoth game next week with Oregon, I’m not sure this is the spot where we see the best from the Bruins. UCLA 27, Utah 21.

Cal (plus 3) at Washington State — Maybe I’m missing something, but if the Cougars play to the level of the past two weeks (minus the ungodly first 10 minutes at Utah), that’s a better team than Cal, even at 3-1 for the Bears. To me, the game boils down to a single key — how much pressure the Cougars can get on Jared Goff. They’ve been pretty good at that the past two weeks. Washington State 44, Cal 31.

  Last week — 4-1 (3-2 against the spread). Season — 35-7 (17-17 against the spread).

 

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