Is it fair to say the Pacific-12 Conference football title is up for grabs, officially? Pretty much, although we would still put money on Oregon and Utah to meet in the league title game in December—if we were the kind to bet on college sports, which we are not.
Besides, last year, we would have cleaned up with our excellent predictions. This year? Not so much! Our picks over 48 games have produced just 31 winners, and that’s not a good rate for actually throwing money down.
Now, on to this weekend’s games, starting Friday night in Eugene. All times Pacific!
Colorado at No. 13 Oregon (7 pm on Friday): The Ducks scratched out a close(r than expected) win over California last week, and it means this game against the Buffaloes is less clear to us now. Colorado has played solid football this year, overall, yet Oregon still has a chance for a special season if the team can play consistently well in the next few months. We will bank on that potential. Oregon 38, Colorado 17.
Washington State at No. 18 Arizona State (12:30 pm on Saturday): Let’s be clear. The Sun Devils aren’t the 18th-best team in the country … not even close. That being said, the Cougars stink, too, and they’re on the road trying to crack a two-game slide. It is very cold on the Palouse right now, and it will be somewhat warmed midday in Tempe on Saturday. That’s why we think the home team will squeeze this one out late. Arizona State 35, Washington State 31.
Southern California at No. 9 Notre Dame (4:30 pm on Saturday): The Irish should clean the Trojans’ clocks, but you never know in rivalry games. USC is still searching for an identity and a healthy QB situation, while Notre Dame has been playing pretty well despite a close, late loss to Georgia. Again, potential matters. Notre Dame 34, USC 20.
No. 15 Utah at Oregon State (5 pm on Saturday): The Utes should win this game, but the Beavers are making positive strides, and at home, they’re going to be a tougher out than most visiting team are thinking. Utah, like Oregon, has the inside track to come out ahead in its division and reach the conference championship. That’s where our prediction comes from, again. Utah 41, Oregon State 28.
Washington at Arizona (8 pm on Saturday): Interesting how it’s a night game in Tucson for the Huskies, which should play into their favor. Washington is still smarting from that bad loss to Stanford last weekend, so the Huskies are going to be mad. Comparative score analysis? The Wildcats lost to Hawaii by seven points, while the Huskies beat the Rainbow Warriors by 32 points. That’s enough for us to predict a double-digit win for the visitors here. Washington 48, Arizona 28.
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