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Utah running back Zack Moss (2) runs for a 91-yard touchdown during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Oregon State in Corvallis, Oregon, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019.
Utah running back Zack Moss (2) runs for a 91-yard touchdown during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Oregon State in Corvallis, Oregon, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. |Amanda Loman | Associated Press
NCAAF

NCAA Football: Madwed picks the Pac-12 — Oregon State vs California, Oregon vs Washington, Arizona State vs Utah, Arizona vs USC, and more

Jesse Madwed

Jesse Madwed

CALIFORNIA -10.5 over Oregon State, 2:30 PM EDT

Oregon State had a hard come down from their big win over UCLA two weeks ago. They were absolutely crushed last week against Utah. They are likely closer to the team we thought they were at the beginning of the season than the somewhat competitive team they appeared to be in the early parts of the season. They are able to score points, but their defense is a sieve for the ground game, and they are only middling in passing defense. Cal has been a painfully one-dimensional team since Chase Garbers was injured mid-game two weeks ago. However, their only full game without him was against Oregon, who has the best defense in the conference. Cal’s defense will put the team on their back in this one. They need to win to have any hope of competing for the Pac-12 North. The spread is dangerously large, but I am going to trust in Cal’s ability to stop the Beavers at home.

(12) Oregon -3 over (25) WASHINGTON, 3:30 PM EDT

This rivalry has gone through several stages. Washington dominated the first hundred years, beating up on the Ducks throughout the entire 20th century. The tide turned in the early 2000’s and Oregon won a shocking twelve times in a row, while the Huskies had one of the worst stretches in program history. Finally, both programs are competitive at the same time. Washington won big twice after their losing streak, but the game last year in Eugene showed how exciting this annual game could become. Both teams come into this game ranked, and Washington desperately needs to win to have a chance to win the conference championship. Oregon has taken Washington’s place as the best defense in the conference, and Washington has been too inconsistent on offense to trust them. Justin Herbert has had his own struggles, but Oregon is too versatile for the Huskies this year. I see the Ducks playing a more complete game and winning by more than a field goal.

(17) Arizona State +14 over (13) UTAH, 6 PM EDT

Utah is coming off a blowout win against Oregon State, and Arizona State won a close on against Washington State. I still see Utah winning this one, but it will be closer than the linemakers think. A big reason is the Sun Devils’ run defense. Utah was able to run all over Oregon State, but ASU is much more stout against the run. They will force Utah to be a bit more daring in the passing game, which is not what the Utes want to do. Arizona State, led by Jayden Daniels and Eno Benjamin, has also come alive offensively of late. They should provide a much more balanced opponent than Utah has had in their last few weeks, and that will result in a game decided by less than two touchdowns.

Colorado +12.5 over WASHINGTON STATE, 7 PM EDT

A part of me is a bit worried about the matchup between Washington State’s prolific passing game and Colorado’s week passing defense. However, I don’t think the Cougars have a good enough defense to be favored by 12.5 points over almost anyone in the conference. WSU has yet to give up less than 38 points in their three Pac-12 games thus far, and I wouldn’t be too confident that they will start holding up now. I do think that Washington State could win this one outright, but it will be the result of yet another shootout.

USC -10 over Arizona, 9:30 PM EDT

USC is coming off their toughest three game stretch of the year. They won against Utah and lost at Washington and Notre Dame. The Notre Dame game was closer than many expected, and the Trojans will come into this one eager for a win. The Utah win actually puts USC in a position to control their own destiny. They are currently at the top of the Pac-12 South and will have the chance to own any tiebreaker that matters. Beating Arizona is a big step in the direction of an opportunity to return to the Rose Bowl. Washington provided a blueprint to contain Khalil Tate last week, and USC would be smart to follow suit. Kedon Slovis did well in a hostile environment in South Bend and he should continue to roll against an average Wildcats pass defense. I see USC winning convincingly and keeping their Pac-12 title hopes alive.

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