Games start Saturday at 5 pm EDT. Oregon at Hawaii goes off at 11:59 pm EDT
(22) WASHINGTON STATE -38.5 over Northern Colorado, 5 PM EDT
Washington State defied expectations last week by destroying New Mexico State 58-7, and I expect them to do the same with a Northern Colorado team less talented even than NMSU. It is tough to project a team to win by 39 or more points because you are at a certain point relying on what happens during a long period of garbage time, but Wazzu showed last week that their offense hardly slows down when the backups come in. I expect the Cougars to have trouble on defense once they get into the Pac-12 schedule, but Northern Colorado demonstrated no ability to move the ball in their week 1 matchup against San Jose State. The enormous line creates some unpredictability, but Washington State should put up a performance similar to last week.
Nevada +23 over (16) OREGON, 7:30 PM EDT
Nevada surprised with a week 1 win over a Purdue team that is likely to struggle this year. I have no expectations that Nevada can beat Oregon, but I am taking the points in this one. The Ducks ran hot and cold in THE game of last week against Auburn, blowing a big lead and taking the loss on a last second touchdown pass. Justin Herbert should have no trouble moving the ball against a defense that gave up 423 passing yards to Purdue, but Nevada will score enough in the second half to keep this from being a bad blowout.
(14) WASHINGTON -13.5 over California, 10:30 PM EDT
The Pac-12 opener for both teams becomes a bit more interesting after Cal linebacker Evan Weaver said “we’ll beat ‘em” in a post-game press conference last week when asked about this game. Cal did beat Washington last year in an ugly 12-10 contest that ruined the Huskies chances of making the College Football Playoff for the second time. I see the result playing out differently this time. In addition to UW being the home team this year and seeking revenge, the Huskies now have a passing game that can challenge the Cal defense in ways they couldn’t before. Jacob Eason showed that in week 1 by throwing long and short to the tune of 349 yards and 4 touchdowns. That was against Eastern Washington, but he demonstrated a deep pass ability that Jake Browning lacked last year. I see the Washington defense holding Cal to less than 20 points and the offense doing enough to cover.
(23) Stanford +2.5 over USC, 10:30 PM EDT
I was somewhat shocked to see that Stanford would be getting points after USC lost their starting QB, JT Daniels, in a narrow week 1 win over Fresno State. With freshman Kedon Slovis starting his first career game, this is the pick that most excites me in week 2. Stanford does have some serious issues: QB KJ Costello is questionable with a head injury and their star left tackle Walker Little will be out for a few weeks, but I believe that even with Davis Mills under center, Stanford can score enough to pull out a win.
Northern Arizona +26.5 over ARIZONA, 10:45 PM EDT
Arizona showed nothing in a week 1 loss to Hawaii to demonstrate that they will be competitive in conference this year. Luckily they get to play a much weaker team in Northern Arizona, but I do not see their defense holding up enough to cover the spread. Arizona, led by Khalil Tate, should have no trouble scoring, but they simply are not a team that will be blowing teams out by 30. Their defense was nothing short of a sieve while allowing 45 points to Hawaii. Arizona should get an easy win here, but look for Northern Arizona to cover.
HAWAII -6.5 over Oregon State, 11:59 PM EDT
Oregon State’s defense is even worse than Arizona’s. That means another big day for the Rainbow Warriors’ offense. Oregon State as a whole is also worse than Arizona, and Hawaii would have covered a 6.5 point spread against the Wildcats (albeit by one yard after tackling Khalil Tate just short of the end zone with time expiring). By the transitive gambling property, this pick was not a difficult one to make. On a more serious note, Oregon State returns nine starters on defense. That might not be a good thing after their 2018 unit was the worst among power conference defenses since 2005, per S&P+. This should be another high scoring affair for Hawaii, but this time they will pull it out by multiple scores.
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