Here we go again. The college football season is in the home stretch, and with that comes more intrigue in the Pacific-12 Conference. The College Football Playoff remains a long shot for the Conference of Champions—but you never know what can happen.
We have five games on the slate Saturday, as Arizona and Washington have late bye weeks as both chase for a potential division title. The Wildcats are currently tied atop the South with two games left to play, while the Huskies trail by a half game in the North with two games to play.
The other ten teams are all in action, though, with almost every game having an impact on the standings. We’re 52-18 this season with our predictions, but it gets harder every week with so much emotion on the line—not to mention postseason opportunities.
UCLA at Arizona State (11 am Saturday): The Bruins cannot make a bowl game, but if they win their final three games, they can finish at 5-4 in the division. And depending how a lot of other games go … ah, forget it. That is too complicated. Meanwhile, the Sun Devils can win their final three games and finish at 6-3 in the South, which gives them a legit shot at the conference title-game berth. ASU plays better at home, so we will give them the nod here, thus ending UCLA’s odd dreams. Arizona State 34, UCLA 24.
No. 8 Washington State at Colorado (12:30 pm Saturday): This is the “big game” of the week, as the Cougars are the only ranked team in the league, and they’re the only team with a semi-legit shot at the CFP. Meanwhile, the Buffaloes have lost four in a row. We have picked them to win in three of those defeats, so if we pick Colorado to lose this time? We will probably be wrong again. The Buffs are a caged animal, but this WSU team looks solid on both sides of the ball, enough to handle this challenge. Can the Cougars pull out another close one? Why not? Washington State 41, Colorado 37.
Oregon at Utah (2:30 pm Saturday): Both teams are bowl bound already with 6-3 records, but the Utes have more to play for—and they’re at home. Utah’s somewhat shocking loss at Arizona State last weekend was bad, but the Utes know they’re the better team here on paper. Look for Utah to rebound and win. Utah 35, Oregon 24.
Oregon State at Stanford (6 pm Saturday): This is a mismatch on paper, and with the Cardinal all but out of the North chase, maybe the Beavers could pull off another improbable road upset. But we doubt it. Stanford should be pissed to find itself with a 5-4 record right now. That anger is going to be unleashed on poor OSU. Stanford 42, Oregon State 14.
California at USC (7:30 pm Saturday): We were very impressed by the Golden Bears on the road last week in Pullman, so heading down to USC with confidence will make this game a lot of fun. The Trojans are still tied atop the South, but we like the way California is playing on defense right now. Upset alert! California 24, USC 17.
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