Pac-12 Picks Week 13
(23) USC -13.5 over UCLA, 3:30 PM EST
The Trojans are still holding on to the slightest bit of hope that they can win the conference. Sure, they would need Utah to stumble against Arizona or Colorado, but crazier things have happened. All they can do is control what they can control from this point on. That means taking care of business in their annual rivalry game against UCLA. The Bruins were trending in the right direction before meeting a buzzsaw in Utah. Losing big to the Utes this year is nothing to be ashamed of, they have destroyed every team in their path except Washington and USC. Kedon Slovis is really starting to make a name for himself as the next in a long line of notable USC quarterbacks. Not many have lit up the tough Cal defense like he did last week. UCLA shouldn’t stand much of a chance in slowing down their passing attack. I think USC will win big and keep their postseason hopes alive for another week.
California +2.5 over STANFORD, 4 PM EST
The Big Game won’t mean much in terms of the conference pecking order this year. That doesn’t mean it won’t be an emotional game. Sometimes rivalry games can mean even more in seasons like these. With nothing else to play for, the entire focus of the rest of the season is on this weekend. Stanford does have a chance to become bowl eligible by beating Cal and Notre Dame to finish the season, but I don’t see them beating the Irish. Both teams come into this week near the end of a disappointing season. Cal was ranked after the first month and proceeded to lose five of their last 6. Stanford’s hope was dashed early after consecutive losses to USC, UCF and Oregon. Each side has also gone through difficult quarterback issues this year. I think Cal’s defense rebounds after a rough outing against USC and they come out with a win.
(6) Oregon -14 over ARIZONA STATE, 7:30 PM EST
Oregon goes down to the desert needing to win out to have any hope of making the Playoff, but they have already clinched a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Arizona State is the Cal of the South division in that they started off with big dreams until a series of crushing defeats. The Sun Devils have now lost four in a row, but they will at least go into the offseason with some hope after the emergence of quarterback Jayden Daniels. Oregon is humming on both sides of the ball and has been almost all year. I believe the Ducks will continue to roll and put away the Sun Devils early.
Oregon State +10.5 over WASHINGTON STATE, 9 PM EST
This matchup of 5-5 teams demonstrates how different teams can feel in the same situation. Oregon State has to be riding high after being far and away the worst team in the conference the last few years. Meanwhile, the Cougars undoubtedly regard this season as a disaster. Under Mike Leach they have grown to expect to be on the precipice of contention in the North. Oregon State rebounded on offense against Arizona State after looking helpless two weeks ago against Washington. I would expect them to find minimal difficulty scoring points on the Cougars, just as I expect WSU to move the ball as well. I see this game as more of a toss-up. I will confidently take the points and Oregon State.
(7) Utah -22.5 over ARIZONA, 10 PM EST
Like Oregon, Utah will have a shot at the Playoff if they win out. Utah has looked downright dominant this year, winning all of their games by three scores or more outside of their close loss to USC and close win at Washington. Arizona is in the class of the other teams the Utes have beat up on throughout the season. The Wildcats continue to have no defense to speak of while giving up 30 or more points in their last six games, the last five of which were losses. Firing their defensive coordinator mid-season did nothing to improve the play on the field, suggesting the problem is bigger than one or two people. Utah will have no problem moving the ball any way they want. Arizona is also coming off a terrible offensive showing against Oregon. Utah’s defense is even tougher. While this line is huge, I think Utah will continue their streak of blowing out teams that sit below the upper echelon.
Washington -14 over COLORADO, 10 PM EST
The Huskies head over to Colorado looking to salvage some sense of pride going into the offseason. Coming into 2019 expecting to contend for a Playoff spot, it can be hard to take positives out of a season with four losses and counting. Chris Peterson has raised expectations to the point where anything less than Pac-12 championship contention is a failure. Colorado is coming off a win against Stanford that ended their five-game losing streak. Their offense has been abysmal in four of their last five. Things won’t get any easier against a Huskies defense that has improved throughout the year. Replacing nine defense starters from last year was never going to be easy, but several young Huskies have started to develop into future stars. On the other side of the ball, Jacob Eason should find success against a pass defense that ranks last in the conference. I believe Washington will leave Colorado with a convincing win.
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