PULLMAN – The two teams most likely to play in the Pac-12 championship game will play contests this week that could have much more at stake than a conference championship.
Arizona State rose all the way to No. 9 in the rankings after a big win over Utah last weekend.
A victory over No. 10 Notre Dame this weekend would make the Sun Devils a legitimate contender, with a couple of more big games with which to pad their playoff resume.
Oregon has already done enough to make the playoffs as long as it doesn’t lose and finishes the regular season against struggling Colorado and Oregon State.
This week’s game at No. 17 Utah is the last major hurdle for the Ducks, other than the conference championship.
They’re the only two Pac-12 teams with one loss and the conference’s last hopes to topple the mighty SEC.
All games are on Saturday.
All picks are for entertainment purposes only.
Notre Dame at Arizona State, ASU by 2: Congratulations to the Sun Devils, who have played well lately and control their destiny – win out and ASU is in the playoffs. But none of ASU’s wins has come against a team nearly as good as Notre Dame and I’m still skeptical that they’re good enough to beat the Irish. Notre Dame 27-21
Washington State at Oregon State, OSU by 8: The Beavers have struggled in Pac-12 play, but OSU is still a challenging opponent for WSU freshman quarterback Luke Falk in his first start. Oregon State has a veteran secondary leading a defense that has been one of the best in the country at defending the pass. OSU 34-24
UCLA at Washington, UCLA by 4 1/2: The Huskies are No. 2 nationally in team sacks and UW’s pass-rushers are bound to make life miserable for Brett Hundley. But the Bruins have shown the ability to win games against good teams and the Huskies have only shown that they can be competitive. UCLA 31-24
Colorado at Arizona, UA by 16 1/2: Credit to Colorado for scaring a few teams in recent weeks, but traveling to the desert to face an Arizona team looking to atone for a miserable offensive performance last week is a recipe for disaster. Arizona 44-21
Oregon at Utah, UO by 9 1/2: Oregon got over the Stanford hump and a Pac-12 championship is in sight. First, the Ducks have to get past a sneaky-good Utah team in one of the conference’s toughest venues for visiting teams. Oregon 38-35
Last week: 6-0 straight up, 2-4 against the spread
Overall: 50-19 straight up, 27-34 against the spread
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