Gotta get out of this slump . . .
Cal (plus 14.5) at USC — It’s well-documented that Cal can’t stop the pass and Cody Kessler has a 25-2 touchdown-interception ratio. So the Trojans figure to put up points. But the Bears have been scoring as well — 41 against Oregon and 45 against Oregon State the past two games. I think Cal might be the more focused team here, since it needs a sixth win to get bowl-eligible. USC 41, Cal 35.
Washington (plus 9) at Arizona — I think I’ve been overestimating Washington, believing that Chris Petersen was left a pretty decent roster by Steve Sarkisian. But there obviously were key personnel losses, and there have been injuries. Bottom line, right now, I don’t see the Huskies as bringing much to the table; that was evident in their blowout defeat to UCLA last week. Now, with John Ross and Shaq Thompson moving to defense, there just isn’t a lot of prospective offensive punch there. Arizona 34, Washington 21.
Utah (plus 7.5) at Stanford — Two similar teams, but Stanford comes off a bye while Utah had a loss to Oregon in which it had to lay it all on the line, and, but for Kaelin Clay’s gaffe, might have turned the Pac-12 and college football upside down. I don’t see the Utes’ offense getting much done against the Stanford defense. Stanford 27, Utah 10.
Arizona State (minus 9.5) at Oregon State — This is a lot of points to give in a road game against one of the league’s traditionally stout programs, but having just seen the Beavers up close, I don’t know that there’s a lot of resemblance between OSU and many of its previous teams. The offensive line isn’t very good, the receivers are spotty and Sean Mannion is sure to face a decent pass rush from the Sun Devils. The 7:45 p.m. start is also going to ensure that the crowd support for OSU will be minimal. ASU might come flat after the pasting of Notre Dame, but I can’t side with the Beavers. Arizona State 37, Oregon State 20.
Last week — 2-3 (1-4 versus the spread). Season — 52-22 (28-37-1 versus the spread).