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Football: Pac-12 picks, Week 7

The Pac-12 Conference gets two more chances to impress the college football world, but Stanford and Oregon State both must make their case on the road. Won’t be easy.

Oregon and Arizona get the week off, which means a couple scoreboards can breathe easier.

There will be no exhaling for Cal, which heads to balmy Pullman, Wash. (forecast is rain showers and temperatures in the upper 30s) to face Mike Leach and his “zombies.”

A victory for the Bears gives them a tangible reason to get excited about the Big Game that has been judged so important that the traditional bonfire event has been pushed from the Greek Theater by rock ‘n roll zombie Bob Dylan.

LAST WEEK: 4-1
SEASON: 34-15

Thursday

— Arizona State at Colorado, 6 p.m. (ESPN): The Sun Devils (4-1, 2-0), the only remaining Pac-12 South team unbeaten in conference, cannot afford to be looking ahead to Oregon next week. The Buffaloes (1-4, 1-1) are winless in three tries vs. ASU, losing 48-14 last season. Arizona State 31, Colorado 14.

Saturday

— Utah at UCLA, noon (Fox): The Utes (2-3, 0-2) were supposed to have one of the league’s better defenses, but they’ve allowed 75 points in two Pac-12 games. More to come here from the Bruins (4-2, 1-2), smarting after their embarrassing showing at Cal. UCLA 28, Utah 10.

— No. 10 Oregon State at BYU, 12:30 p.m. (ABC): This one falls on the defense for the Beavers (4-0), who will play without injured quarterback Sean Mannion. OSU is allowing just 17 points per game, but BYU (4-2) is unbeaten at home and has surrendered no more than than seven points in four of its six games. BYU 20, Oregon State 13.

— No. 17 Stanford at No. 7 Notre Dame, 12:30 p.m. (NBC): The Cardinal (4-1) will find the Fighting Irish (5-0) play substantially better defense than Arizona, which lost 54-48 at Stanford last weekend. Stanford has won three straight in the series, but this is the best Notre Dame team in some time. Notre Dame 27, Stanford 21.

— No. 11 USC at Washington, 4 p.m. (Fox): The Huskies (3-2, 1-1) shut down Stanford but allowed Oregon 52 points. The Trojans (4-1, 2-1) will look more like the Ducks than the Cardinal in this one. USC 40, Washington 20.

— Cal at Washington State, 7:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks): The Bears (2-4, 1-2) have won seven straight in this series and beat the WSU 30-7 last year. The Cougars (2-4, 0-3) have so impressed coach Mike Leach that he compared his seniors to “zombies” and “empty corpses.” Cal 28, Washington State 17.

Jeff Faraudo