Football: Pac-12 Picks, Week 6

Didn’t go well for me last week, but no worse than it was for Cal and Stanford, both losers in games I expected them to win.

Both are home this weekend in games critical to them for different reasons. Stanford must turn things around to remain in the hunt for the Pac-12 North title — and to stay in the Top-25 rankings.

For Cal, the stakes are higher. The heat is on coach Jeff Tedford to pull his team out of the worst funk of his 11-season tenure. The Bears are coming off a disheartening 27-17 home loss to Arizona State in which they appeared overmatched, undisciplined and inconsistent.

SEASON: 29-14


— No. 13 USC at Utah, 6 p.m. (ESPN): The Trojans (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12), coming off a bye week, visit the Utes (2-2, 0-1) for the first time since 1917. The score that day was 51-0 for the Trojans. Won’t be nearly that bad this time, but Trojans are ready to bust out on offense. USC 35, Utah 20.


— Arizona at No. 18 Stanford, noon (Fox): This is where we find out whether the Cardinal (3-1, 1-1) is for real. The Wildcats (3-2, 0-2) also, for that matter. Stanford’s defense is for real, but Washington exposed the Cardinal offense by putting nine in the box and daring Josh Nunes to win the game. He couldn’t. Arizona won its first three but has dropped two in a row and now must face a motivated Cardinal team on the road. Stanford 27, Arizona 21.

— Washington State at No. 14 Oregon State, 3 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks): I can’t decide if the Beavers (3-0, 2-0) are overrated or underrated. Sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion is averaging 362.7 passing yards, but pass defense is worst in the league. Problem is, the Cougars (2-3, 0-2) can’t run the ball so they won’t be able to keep their own helpless defense off the field. Oregon State 28, Washington State 17.

— No. 25 UCLA at Cal, 7 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks): The Bears (1-4, 0-2) need this game to begin rescuing their season, but it seems like a bad matchup for them. This is Cal’s fourth opponent in six games that utilizes some form of the spread offense, and the Bears haven’t stopped the first three. UCLA (4-1, 1-1) will sent TB Johnathan Franklin and QB Brett Hundley against a Cal defense ranked last in the Pac-12 against the rush. UCLA 31, Cal 24.

— No. 23 Washington at No. 2 Oregon, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN): The Huskies (3-1, 1-0) have dropped eight straight games by at least 17 points each to the Ducks (5-0, 2-0), and that streak won’t end here. Oregon has played two straight games where the score was close for a half. Betcha that doesn’t happen this time. The Ducks don’t like UW. Oregon 49, Washington 20.

Jeff Faraudo