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College Hotline - Pac-12 football picks of the week: A test for Washington (finally!), more...

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Sep 22, 2016.

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    Please note: The Hotline will have a new home, and new url, starting Monday. The address will be posted here. Thanks in advance for your understanding.

    We touched on several matchups Wednesday with my Four Questions for Week Four post. One game I purposefully did not addressed in much detail, in part because I was saving it for this space, is the Cal-Arizona State duel.

    The relevant number for me is not Cal’s national ranking in run defense (126th) or ASU’s national ranking in pass defense (128th, which is dead last). Nope, it’s this:


    That’s the combined point total in the highest scoring conference game in Pac-12 history: Cal 60-59 over Washington State two years ago. It will be in jeopardy late (late) Saturday night.

    Remember Oregon’s crazy, 61-55 triple-overtime victory over ASU last season? This weekend’s tangle in Tempe could make that seem like amateur hour.

    Last week: 5-4
    Season: 12-12
    Five-star special: 2-1

    All picks against the spread
    Lines taken from vegasinsider.com (opening lines used)

    Bye: Washington State

    USC (plus-1) at UTAH (Friday): Yes, Rice-Eccles is a tough place for any visitor, much less a rookie quarterback. And yes, the Utah defense is relentless. But the switch to Sam Darnold improves USC’s prospects because of his mobility — and because things couldn’t have been much worse under Max Browne. And yet, the QB switch won’t be enough. Pick: Utah.

    COLORADO (plus-7.5) at OREGON: Assuming Sefo Liufau is healthy enough to make a difference, this should be entertaining — a prime candidate for Pac-12 game of the day. The Buffs finally have the manpower to keep pace with Oregon, certainly for three quarters and maybe for four. The line has jumped to Oregon -10.5. Wrong direction. Pick: Colorado.

    STANFORD (minus-3) at UCLA: The line inexplicably opened with UCLA as a 1-pt favorite but has swung so dramatically that I feel compelled to play the current number, which, by the way, is still too low. The Cardinal has won the past three by at least 14 points. How much has really changed? Pick: Stanford.

    BOISE STATE (minus-14) at OREGON STATE: Would like the Beavers to push their guest to the brink if not for the fact that BSU is off a bye. Not a blowout, but not down to the wire, either. Pick: Oregon State.

    CAL (plus-6.5) at ARIZONA STATE: Last possession doesn’t win. Last possession sends it to overtime, and the first possession of the second OT is the difference. (How’s that for specifics?) The over/under of 82.5 stands no chance. Both teams will be well over 50 by the time it’s over. Pick: Cal.

    WASHINGTON (minus-10) at ARIZONA: Maybe the Huskies stroll into Arizona Stadium and carve up the struggling Wildcats. That’s an entirely reasonable outlook … but not one I’m inclined to buy. First road game for UW, a roiling atmosphere and a revved-up host that, oh-by-the-way, has beaten a top-10 team four years in a row. Pick: Arizona.

    Straight-up winners: Utah, Oregon, Stanford, Boise State, Cal and Washington.

    Five-star special: Stanford. Hit the no-brainer five-star last week with Stanford over USC and see no reason to veer from the Cardinal just because it’s a different L.A. school. Bruins haven’t beaten Stanford since 2008 and won’t start now.

    *** Here’s episode 2 of the College Hotline podcast, with guest Chris ‘Rankman’ Dufresne, former national columnist for the L.A. Times and co-founder of TMGcollegesports.com. We addressed the SEC as a destination for homeless quarterbacks, Big 12 expansion chaos and several Pac-12 topics, including a deep dive into USC’s football woes and the university’s misguided approach to hiring.

    *** And please note: The Hotline podcast is available on iTunes.

    The post Pac-12 football picks of the week: A test for Washington (finally!), more trouble for USC, Colorado makes Oregon sweat and Stanford rolls UCLA (again) appeared first on College Hotline.

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    by Jon Wilner

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