The volatility witnessed throughout the Pac-12 last week also took a toll on our overall straight-up picks record. Though oddly enough, we were better against the spread. Usually it's the opposite. But I guess that's what happens when zero home teams win and every game comes down to the final possession (and in a few instances, the final play).
It's a light Pac-12 slate this week, with only four games. And, as always, our pick for the Washington game will come in a separate post tomorrow. Lines (listed in parentheses) are courtesy of VegasInsider.com, and are for entertainment and gambling purposes only.
Last week: 2-4 straight up, 3-3 against the spread
Season: 36-12 straight up, 18-24 against the spread
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Washington State at Stanford, 6 p.m., ESPN (Stanford by 17) -- Oh, how tempted I am to pick Washington State, especially given all this recent Pac-12 upheaval. Strange is it might sound, this seems like a decent matchup for the Cougars. If they can protect Connor Halliday and continue racking up passing yardage, Stanford's offense might not be good enough to keep up, even against a WSU defense that allowed 60 points last week (though to be fair, two of those touchdowns came on kick returns). So, we could find out just how good Stanford's defense really is, pending how they fare against the nation's top passing attack. Halliday has more than once termed this a "must-win" game for WSU, and he's probably right. Perhaps that urgency will help. But it isn't quite enough to justify picking WSU to beat the Cardinal, like I (quite stupidly) did last year. Stanford won that game 55-17. Oops. The pick: Stanford 31, Washington State 28.
Oregon at UCLA, 12:30 p.m., FOX (Oregon by 2) -- A battle of two teams with a ton of offensive talent and not much ability to protect their quarterbacks. Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley have been beat up behind suspect offensive lines the past few weeks. This game might come down to which quarterback can stand upright the most. A tough call, but here's a guess that Oregon will be the team still standing in the College Football Playoff race once this one is over. The pick: Oregon 34, UCLA 31.
USC at Arizona, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2 (USC by 2.5) -- I know what you're thinking: Steve Sarkisian + the desert = blowout loss. But you would be wrong. This should just be a regular 'ol loss. Even though the Trojans are favored (for some reason), the smart money seems to be on the Wildcats here. USC's defense should have a long day. The pick: Arizona 41, USC 35.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple