It’s mid-season showdown time in the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions. Both the North and South division matchups this week highlight the teams at the top of pecking order, and come Sunday morning, we will have a clearer vision of the Pacific-12 Conference football endgame.

The border war between Oregon and Washington renews itself in Seattle, while Arizona State and Utah go at it in Salt Lake City. All four teams are ranked right now, and the winners of the two games will be feeling a lot better about their prospects for the Pac-12 Championship Game in December.

With a 36-17 mark currently on our 2019 predictions, we are hoping to build momentum by correctly picking these two games and all the others in Week 8, starting tonight in Palo Alto … all times Pacific!

This also is the first week of all 12 teams playing league contests, so let it ride.

UCLA at Stanford (6 pm Thursday): We attended this game 26 years ago in Palo Alto, which is the random thought of the week. The Bruins haven’t done much since their surprising effort against Washington State last month, and the Cardinal are the definition of average this year so far (3-3 overall, 2-2 in conference play). This is a game only alumni will be interested in watching. Stanford 34, UCLA 24.

Oregon State at California (11:30 am Saturday): These two teams are tied for fourth in the North Division, and the Golden Bears were once ranked 15th before losing twice in a row. They will look to flex some defensive muscle at home over the Beavers, who have two wins already over teams from California. Go figure. Cal 28, Oregon State 17.

No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington (12:30 pm Saturday): If this game was in Eugene, we would have more confidence picking the Ducks. Meanwhile, the Huskies are smarting from two losses they never should have happen. That makes the home team very dangerous here. However, we’re going to give the edge to the visitors, based on defense alone. Oregon 24, Washington 21.

No. 17 Arizona State at No. 13 Utah (3 pm Saturday): We have been saying this for awhile now, but the Sun Devils aren’t this good. Last season, ASU won four games by a combined 10 points, and this year, the team has three wins by a combined 14 points. Winning the close games is nice, but that luck disappears sooner or later. The Utes are the better team here, and better coached, too. Utah 34, Arizona State 21.

Colorado at Washington State (4 pm Saturday): It dawned on us that Cougars Head Coach Mike Leach is like famed British manager Brian Clough—minus the actual championships, of course, because we all know Leach has never won anything, really. The Buffaloes are the tougher team, but WSU seems to play better at home (ignore that UCLA meltdown?). After losing two straight on the road, the Cougars are back home where they play best. Washington State 38, Colorado 31.

Arizona at USC (6:30 pm Saturday): This is another game only the alumni will be watching, really. Both teams are coming off disappointing losses last week, and although they are both currently in a four-way tie for first place in the South (with ASU and Utah), no one expects either of these teams to hang there. Yet, the winner still will be tied for first place. Go figure. USC 45, Arizona 31.

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