Has there ever been a more consequential weekend of football in the desert than this one? A surging Arizona team hosts No. 15 Washington State in Tucson and No. 21 USC pays a visit to Tempe to face upstart Arizona State. All four of those teams are still in the running for a conference title and those of you plugged into the Pac-12 South race should be especially interested in the 7:45 p.m. kickoff at Sun Devil Stadium.
We pick the winner of USC-ASU and four of the other five games taking place around the Pac-12 this weekend.
Stanford at Oregon State
Stanford by 21 – If Stanford lays down the lumber in Corvallis – which it surely will – and Washington State handles Arizona, could College Gameday sill consider a trek to Pullman next week? The pick: Stanford 41, Oregon State 17.
Utah at Oregon
Utah by 3 – Darren Carrington will shake hands and trade hugs with a number of his old teammates, but don’t think the former Oregon wideout, who was dismissed last summer, doesn’t want a piece of the Ducks. UO falls to 0-4 without Justin Herbert. The pick: Utah 34, Oregon 28.
Washington State at Arizona
WSU by 3 – Khalil Tate presents a definite challenge for WSU, but maybe not as much of one as the Air Raid presents for Arizona. In the last three meetings, the Cougars have averaged 50.3 points and nearly hung 70 last year. The pick: will be in Saturday’s paper.
Cal at Colorado
Colorado by 3 – The Buffs have a quandary at quarterback, but certainly not at running back. Phillip Lindsay (1,093 yards) is one of three Power Five running backs with 1,000 yards on the season. The pick: Colorado 35, Cal 28.
UCLA at Washington
UW by 17 – NFL scouts will gather to watch the quarterbacks, but the game itself shouldn’t provide much suspense. The pick: Washington 41, UCLA 21.
USC at Arizona State
USC by 3 – We always figured USC would be one of the teams in the midst of the Pac-12 South race. But Arizona and Arizona State, too? The Sun Devils have been stingy on defense. If they can keep it up, they might have their second Top 25 upset in three weeks. The pick: Arizona State 24, USC 21.
Theo Lawson’s records
Last week: 4-1 straight up, 2-3 against the spread
Overall: 47-12 straight up, 21-30 against the spread