Let’s make some picks again, shall we?
Just five Pac-12 games this week, with Arizona State and Oregon both off. UCLA plays on Thursday again, to Jim Mora’s chagrin. Unranked USC is favored at home over No. 3 Utah. Colorado and Oregon State, the last two teams without a win in Pac-12 play, face each other. So, that’s something.
As always, all lines are courtesy of VegasInsider.com and are for entertainment purposes only, if you’re a square. And as always, our pick for the Washington game will be made in a separate post on Friday.
Last week: 5-1 straight up, 4-2 against the spread.
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Season: 41-15 straight up, 29-18-1 against the spread.
California at UCLA, 6 p.m., ESPN (UCLA by 3.5) -- California’s defense is still suspect enough that I could see this being a shootout, especially considering how hard it was for the Bruins to stop anything Stanford did to them last week. A victory would qualify Cal for a bowl game for the first time since 2011. Here’s a guess they get it, behind a big statistical day from Jared Goff and just enough defense to escape the Rose Bowl with a win. The pick: California 41, UCLA 38.
Washington State at Arizona, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (Arizona by 7.5) -- There’s a lot riding on this game for WSU fans. ESPN is considering sending its College GameDay crew to Pullman for the first time for next week’s game against Stanford, but the Cougars almost certainly have to beat Arizona first to make that happen. And I’m not convinced they’re going to pull it off. The Wildcats are plenty vulnerable defensively, especially in the secondary -- and they’re of course playing without star linebacker Scooby Wright III, whom they lost to an injury -- so I do think WSU will score some points. But the Wildcats are still a really dangerous offensive team -- quarterback Anu Solomon got benched last week, but his backup, Jerrard Randall, is averaging 11.1 yards per rush, and the Wildcats rank 11th nationally with 42 plays of 20 or more yards this season -- and I’m still not sold on WSU just yet. Its win over Oregon came with Vernon Adams on the bench, and beating Oregon State handily at home should be the expectation for every team in the conference. I like Arizona in a close one. The pick: Arizona 35, WSU 31.
Utah at USC, 4:30 p.m., FOX (USC by 4) -- This is the bizarro betting line of the week, but hey, the Trojans are still as talented as anyone in the conference, so I guess it makes some sense. And I’m tempted to go with USC after the way they hung in there against Notre Dame last week. But I just can’t bring myself to pick the Trojans right now, even if nobody should be all that surprised if they win. Plus: Devontae Booker. The pick: Utah 28, USC 24.
Colorado at Oregon State, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (OSU by 2.5) -- Call this my lock of the week. Haven’t seen anything from Oregon State to make me think the Beavers are a better team than the Buffaloes, who showed a lot more fight against Arizona in a close loss last week than OSU did in a blowout a few weeks ago. Yeah, yeah, I know -- only a fool would apply the transitive property to college football. So instead, I’ll just say that I think Colorado is the better team here. The pick: Colorado 38, OSU 28.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple