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Football: Week 4 picks — go with the home team

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
SEASON: 24-9

Saturday

– 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.

Jeff Faraudo

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    So I spoke with my ex-USC coaching contact last night about Saturday’s game.

    He said “I know you want a Trojan victory but by how much?”

    I said “The score doesn’t matter but I am hoping the final score will be close.”

    He said “But in the past you always wanted our team to destroy them. Why the change?”

    I said “Because if UCB state keeps the score close in a losss then their fake fans will want to retain Tedford. Those fake fans are into moral victories.”

    BTW I will be his guest at one of their Seattle games in the next couple of weeks. I get to say hi to Coach again.

  • rotfogel

    I spoke with someone with news about Robert Woods…sore ribs…

    Cal Cbs, make sure you take some shots to his rib section.

    This is not fiction like Morens is.

    Message to the D Line. You’re playing the weakest O Line you’ll face all year, take advantage of it.

  • Steve W

    I just read Jeff’s article about how Cal needs to follow the Stanford blueprint by putting relentless pressure on Barkley and taking him out of his pocket comfort zone. Cal has shown it does not have the same front 7 talent – not even close – that Stanford has. I have seen NO pass rush from Cal’s front 7 this year. That allowed a middling talent like Nevada’s quarterback to carve up the Bears on third down conversions and win the game.

    With ample protection, Barkley is the Heisman talent that everyone projected him to be. I don’t see any way that he doesn’t have a monster game through the air against Cal. Look at the game two years ago at the Coliseum. I am going to fast forward through the Cal defense (Tevo the only way to go with Cal this season) and focus on what the Cal offense can do against the SC defense.

    USC 41-Cal 24. I think Vegas is dead on.

  • rotfogel

    Ou Contre mon Frair.

    Cal’s defense hasn’t been 100% healthy yet this season AND they started off playing Nevada, who is turning out to be a decent team.

    Cal’s front 7, in my opinion, is actually more talented than Stanfords’…when healthy. Jalil and Coleman on the ends plus Tipoti make for a formidable bunch.

    I’ll give you this, they haven’t played great so far compared to Stanford, but they were also more injured than Stanford.

  • wehofx

    The hopeful optimistic part of me agrees with Rotfogel. Also against nv and osu the d line (+ 1 lb) had to stay at home to stop the dive and set the edge – something they did badly against nv and pretty well against osu.

    against $c the d line should be able to go hard for bark.

    I just hope our corners play press coverage like furd’s. they got burned a few times – to be expected – but the cb’s stayed in-your-face aggressive. imo agressive cb play was just as critical as the d line in furd’s victory.

    I hate it when our cb’s play 4 yards off soft the whole damn game. I get mixing/changing coverages but I sure hope cp’s game plan against $c is AGGRESSIVE!

    Go Bears! Beat $c!!!

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    rotfogel Says:
    September 21st, 2012 at 8:59 am
    Message to the D Line. You’re playing the weakest O Line you’ll face all year, take advantage of it.
    _________________________________________________________

    HAHAHAHHA…it won’t make a bit of difference. UCB state fans won’t put any pressure on Matt.

    I remember last season when the fake fans on the board were saying the same very things about Colorado’s terrible OL (and they were awful).

    Your DL put absolutely no pressure on the QB and their WR went off for about 300 yards and their QB about 500.

  • BlueNGold

    rotfogel was directing his comment to the Cal d line, not the dooshbag troll. Butt out.

    BTW, most intelligent people would agree that Cal fans won’t put any pressure on the sleazy cheater QB. Try being insightful for a change, instead of always posting the obvious and irrelevant.

  • Woj

    My Mom is nearly 70, a die-hard Cal fan and told me she has almost zero interest in this coaching dead, lack of discipline Cal football team. She said it is a shame because they have some good players. She said Cal won’t be good again until Tedford is gone. If she can see this and thousands of Cal fans see the same, why does anyone even show up to future home games. Empty seats will speak volumes about getting rid of Tedfraud. It is game day and Cal barely registers a pulse on my sports viewing day.

  • Woj

    I have to laugh – all this babbling analysis of Cal football like the 11th place team in the conference is even relevant (I’m assuming Colorado is worse). USC 52 Cal 14. I should start betting against the Bears so at least I make some $$.