We've finally made it through the maze of blowouts and close-calls that always is the nonconference season, and now all 10 Pac-12 teams in action this week are playing conference games. Welcome to the real season, folks.
The slate is obviously highlighted by tonight's game between No. 11 UCLA and No. 15 Arizona State. So let's get right to the picks. Lines (in parentheses) are for gambling and entertainment purposes only, and, as always, come courtesy of VegasInsider.com.
As always, our pick for the Washington game will come in a separate post on Friday.
Last week: 4-2 straight up, 1-5 against the spread (ouch).
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Season: 31-6 straight up, 13-18 against the spread (also ouch).
UCLA at Arizona State, 7 p.m., FOX Sports 1 (UCLA by 4) -- Jim Mora still isn't saying whether quarterback Brett Hundley will play in this game, though ASU coach Todd Graham expressed his certainty earlier this week that Hundley will be just fine come kickoff. The Sun Devils, however, will be starting backup quarterback Mike Bercovici after Taylor Kelly suffered a foot injury during ASU's Sept. 20 victory over Colorado. Bercovici is more than competent, and I'd wager ASU has looked like a better team than UCLA through the season's first four weeks. So we're going with the home team here. The pick: Arizona State 37, UCLA 34.
Colorado at California, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (Cal by 14) -- The Golden Bears were so painfully close to heading into this game with a chance at a 4-0 start. The Hail Mary hangover is a legitimate concern after what happened in Tucson last week, but Cal simply looks like a much better team than Colorado this season. Playing at home should help, too. The pick: California 41, Colorado 20.
Washington State at Utah, 5 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (Utah by 13.5) -- This feels like a classic WSU letdown game. And the last time the Cougars visited Salt Lake City, that's exactly what they got, losing 49-6 to the Utes (and sparking an infamous postgame media session from coach Mike Leach) just one week after taking Stanford to the wire in a 24-17 loss. Well, WSU took Oregon to the wire in Pullman last week. Will this Cougars team respond to its moderate improvement with complacency, as it has in the past? Or will it actually keep improving? Also, Utah appears to be a pretty formidable outfit after thrashing Michigan in Ann Arbor. Tough to see this one going WSU's way. The pick: Utah 37, WSU 28.
Oregon State at USC, 7:30 p.m., ESPN/WatchESPN (USC by 9) -- The Beavers haven't won in the Coliseum since 1960, losing 22 consecutive games to USC in Los Angeles. And with the Trojans coming off a bye week, which followed an awful loss to Boston College, the guess here is that they'll come out a little more prepared. They should at least rush for more than 20 yards, anyway. But can they stop Sean Mannion? The pick: USC 31, Oregon State 24.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple