Pac-12: Madwed picks Utah at USC, Cal at Ole Miss, Washington at BYU, Oregon at Stanford, Colorado at Arizona St., Wash. St. at UCLA
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(10) Utah -4.5 over USC, Friday 9 PM EDT
After a looking good against Stanford, it seems like the reality all along was that Stanford is not who we thought they were. Utah has given up just under 10 points per game in their first three and should keep that up against a USC offense led by freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis. Slovis showed cracks last week against BYU when he threw 3 interceptions. I see Tyler Huntley continuing to play mistake-free football and a healthy dose of Zack Moss on the ground. The experienced Utah defense will be able to force more mistakes from USC, and the Utes win this one by a touchdown or more.
(23) California +2.5 over MISSISSIPPI, 12 PM EDT
Cal looked less than dominant last week against North Texas, but most of the points that made it a close game were given up in garbage time. The Golden Bears will have more motivation this week against an SEC team. Despite Ole Miss being a weak team in their conference, a win down south would help put Cal on the map. The Rebels lost an ugly game against Memphis in Week 1 and beat Arkansas convincingly the week after. Their offense has been humming, but against some bad defenses. Cal’s D will be stifling and I believe they will win outright. Regardless, this one looks at worst like a toss-up, so I will take the points and run.
(22) Washington -6.5 over BYU, 3:30 PM EDT
Jacob Eason and the Huskies came back in a big way after a horrendous game against Cal two weeks ago. Hawaii did not put up much of a fight, but crushing bad teams is something any good offense should do. BYU has played a power conference schedule thus far, with games against Utah, Tennessee and USC. They won the latter two, but the first game is more indicative of how this one game will go. Utah has a similar profile to Washington and they were able to shut down the Cougars. As we noted in this space last week, the Huskies know they cannot afford a slip-up the rest of the season to have any hope of making their second CFP appearance. I predict that slip-up will occur, but it will be later on in the season in a more emotional conference game. Washington should dominate on offense and do enough on defense to win by a touchdown or more.
(16) Oregon -10.5 over STANFORD, 7 PM EDT
Stanford has a nearly non-existent home field advantage and is coming off two terrible losses to USC and UCF. Oregon has had two blowouts against bad teams since their disappointing season opener against Auburn. Similar to Washington, I see Oregon playing with the urgency of a team that needs every win it can get. The Ducks offense, led by Justin Herbert, should continue to hum against the Cardinal. Stanford has not seen results from the quarterback position, even with KJ Costello coming back from injury. Oregon has a very strong secondary and will force enough mistakes to win comfortably.
(24) Colorado +7.5 over ARIZONA STATE, 10 PM EDT
These might be the two most difficult teams to figure out in the conference thus far. Colorado seemed to be on their way to a surprising season after a win against Nebraska only to fall against Air Force the next week. On the other hand, Arizona State barely beat Sacramento State and then went and beat a ranked Michigan State team on the road. What seems clear is that the Sun Devils have a stout defense and an almost equally shaky offense. Another thing that seems evident is that Colorado starts slow and finishes fast. Unfortunately for them they took too long to get started last week. I could see ASU winning this one, but I believe Colorado will keep it within a touchdown.
UCLA +18.5 over Washington State, 10:30 PM EDT
UCLA will almost surely lose to Washington State late Saturday night, but I am taking the points here. The Bruins lost by 34 to Oklahoma last week, a team is a supercharged version of Washington State. Both teams have high-powered spread offenses and defenses that do enough to win most games. Against the Cougars, UCLA will be able to keep it closer. Their offense has looked near pathetic in the early stages of the season, but Washington State doesn’t have a strong enough defense to completely shut them down. They are coming off a narrow win against Houston, giving up 24 points in the process, and are not powerful enough to be favored by almost 3 scores on the road.