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College Hotline - Pac-12 football: Picks of the Week and head-to-head vs. the committee’s...

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    One final thought on the committee rankings before we get to the Pac-12 picks of the week (and it’s a bit of a ho-hum week, actually):

    Remember back in September, back when the league was producing less-than-stellar results in key intersectional matchups? Seems like the committee remembers, too — as it should.

    The Pac-12 is 1-5 in non-conference games against teams in the committee’s top 25, the lone victory being Utah over Michigan.

    The Losses:
    USC to Notre Dame
    Oregon to Michigan State
    ASU to Texas A&M
    Oregon State to Michigan
    Stanford to Northwestern

    Add the fact that there are only three Pac-12 teams in the top 25, and that undermines the cases for Stanford and Utah.

    Stanford has one win over a top-25 team (No. 23 UCLA), and the same goes for Utah (No. 17 Michigan).

    The outlines are emerging of a picture that looks something like this: The Pac-12 champ gets left out of the playoff, chairman Jeff Long is asked about it on the morning of Dec. 6, and his response is essentially: When we looked at the results, we just didn’t feel the league was as strong as some of the others.

    I’m not suggesting that fate is unavoidable by any means — so much can happen in the next month, and any one-loss Power 5 champ is in the discussion — but nor should we be surprised if that’s how it plays out.


    Last week: 3-2
    Season: 30-24-3
    Five-star special: 4-5

    All picks against the spread.
    Lines taken from vegasinsiders.com

    STANFORD (minus-16) at COLORADO: After five consecutive night games, Stanford plays early. It’s the Cardinal’s first morning kickoff since the opener at Northwestern that went so swimmingly. This performance should be better. The Buffs’ spunk will last only so long, then they’ll get steamrollered. Pick: Stanford.

    UTAH at (pick) WASHINGTON: If it’s not 7-6, it will be 10-9 or, at most, 14-13. Pick: Utah.

    CAL (plus-7) OREGON: Money flow has been to Cal, causing the line to drop to 5.5/5/4.5, depending on location. This is a far better matchup for the Bears than any of their recent encounters with the Ducks — don’t be surprised if Cal steals one. Couldn’t help notice the over/under of 76. The forecast call for rain. But if it’s dry, 76 combined points should not be an issue. Pick: Cal.

    ARIZONA STATE (plus-2.5) at WASHINGTON STATE: Given the swing — ASU opened as a 1.5-point favorite — we’ll use the updated line. Was impressed with the Cougars last week but not convinced they can rebound from a disheartening, first-place-at-stake loss with the effort required to beat the Sun Devils. The dynamic is different for WSU than it has been in eons. Pick: Arizona State.

    ARIZONA (plus-16.5) at USC: JuJu or no JuJu, the Trojans should have no trouble scoring against the depleted Wildcat defense. USC’s defense has been more stout in recent weeks and doesn’t need to be anywhere close to perfect against the struggling Wildcats, who are back on the road after a 46-point loss in Seattle. Pick: USC.

    UCLA (minus-15.5) at OREGON STATE: OSU’s slim prospects for that elusive league win were derailed with the injury to Seth Collins. No idea what UCLA team we’ll see from series to series, but it’s tough to image the Bruins losing (no matter how hard they might try). Pick: Oregon State.

    Straight-up winners: Stanford, Utah, Oregon, Arizona State, USC and UCLA.

    Five-star special: Utah. Not excited about any of the six games, but Utah in pick situation (win outright) is the best of the bunch.



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    by Jon Wilner
     

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