The Pac-12 schedule gets under way in earnest with five conference games on the Saturday calendar. We’ll go with all five home teams, although I’m not sure the outcome would be different in most of them if the locations were flip-flopped.
So, with a tip of the hat to USC coach Lane Kiffin and his 28-second news conference this week, we will dispense with wordiness and get right to the picks.
LAST WEEK: 8-2
– Oregon State at No. 19 UCLA, 12:30 p.m. (ABC/ESPN2): The Beavers (1-0) were impressive in their upset of Wisconsin, but they’ve played just once so far and haven’t ventured away from home. The Bruins (3-0), one of the league’s biggest surprises, are averaging 40.7 points and a conference-best 622 yards per game. That’s too much for the Beavers. UCLA 27, Oregon State 17.
– Colorado at Washington State, 1 p.m. (FX): The Cougars (2-1) are very much a work in progress and new coach Mike Leach said this week he would invent fiction rather than disclose injuries to the media/public/gamblers/opposing team. We’re assuming he cannot have enough guys hurt to lose to the Buffaloes (0-3), who rank 112th nationally in scoring defense (40.3 ppg) and still won’t have played anyone good after this weekend. Washington State 35, Colorado 13.
– Cal at No. 13 USC, 3 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks): The Bears (1-2) did lots right on the road against Ohio State, but couldn’t finish the job. They say they are ready to eliminate the decisive mistakes, but USC (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) will be just as motivated after a stumble at Stanford. Plus, Cal hasn’t won in L.A. since Brendan Bigelow was a second-grader. USC 27, Cal 20.
– Utah at Arizona State, 7 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks): The Utes (2-1) showed some guts with a win over in-state rival BYU just days after a shoulder injury forced quarterback Jordan Wynn to retire. But ASU (2-1) has more offense and perhaps just as good a defense. Arizona State 28, Utah 22.
– No. 22 Arizona at No. 3 Oregon, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN): Rich Rodriguez’s Wildcats (3-0) are an offensive revelation, averaging 46.3 points and 604.7 yards per game. And if they try to engage the Ducks (3-0) in a shootout, they’re in trouble. Oregon ranks just 10th in the Pac-12 in time of possession but it doesn’t matter because the Ducks score a point an average of every 30 seconds they’re on offense. Oregon 49, Arizona 21.