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Pac-12 picks: A smaller slate this weekend means a better chance for perfection

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 19, 2018, 6:09 p.m.

We correctly picked the winners for 10 of the 11 games last weekend, and could have been 11 for 11 had officials in the game between Arizona State and San Diego State determined Manny Wilkins’ 48-yard pass to Frank Darby was complete – a decision that would have given the Sun Devils the ball back on the 2-yard line, trailing by seven points with 6 seconds left.

Then again, the Aztecs still could have protected their goal line, or held off ASU in overtime, to win and ruin the perfect weekend anyway.

It’s a smaller slate this weekend, with one Friday game and just three on Saturday. Here’s how we see it playing out.

Washington State at USC

USC by 4: Gardner Minshew didn’t have nearly the same recruiting profile JT Daniels did coming out of high school, but the experience of Washington State’s fifth-year senior could be essential Friday night at the Coliseum. And if the Trojans can’t get the run game going, it’ll be a long night for USC coach Clay Helton. The pick: will be in Friday’s paper.

Arizona at Oregon State

Arizona by 6 1/2: Through three games, Khalil Tate has rushed for only 40 yards, which makes him just the fifth-leading rusher on this Arizona team. On the other hand, Oregon State running back Jermar Jefferson is up to 391 yards and six touchdowns through three games. If those types of numbers hold up for both players in Corvallis, the Beavers could have their first big win of the Jonathan Smith era. The pick: Arizona 35, Oregon State 28.

Stanford at Oregon

Stanford by 1 1/2: If the Huskies slip up at any point during Pac-12 play, it’ll probably be one of these two right on their heels. But which one? Saturday’s game in Eugene could go a long way toward determining that. The Cardinal have a Heisman-caliber tailback; the Ducks have one of the nation’s top quarterbacks. Home-field advantage sure is a sweet thing. The pick: Oregon 31, Stanford 30.

Arizona State at Washington

UW by 17: The Huskies probably have to run the table for a shot at earning a College Football Playoff berth. They’ll encounter some tough games along the way, but I’m not sure Herm Edwards and Arizona State are quite ready to give them one. The pick: UW 41, ASU 21.

Theo Lawson’s records

Last week: 10-1 straight up, 3-3 against the spread

Overall: 27-6 straight up, 12-12 against the spread


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