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Jacob Thorpe’s Pac-12 football picks

Shayne Skov, right, and Cardinal dealt Tommy Rees and Irish only home loss in last 16 games. (Associated Press)
Shayne Skov, right, and Cardinal dealt Tommy Rees and Irish only home loss in last 16 games. (Associated Press)

The Pac-12 will pit three of its football teams against No. 9 Notre Dame this season. How the conference fares against the renowned independent will go a long way toward shaping how the conference is perceived nationally.

Stanford will take the first shot at the Irish this weekend and a win would put the Cardinal back in the playoff picture. Elsewhere in the conference, Oregon will likely avenge last year’s loss to Arizona, USC will try to avoid another letdown and Cal and Washington State will try to break every combined passing record in Pullman.

Arizona at Oregon, UO by 23: There won’t be any question of motivation this week for the Ducks, who are still smarting after last season’s embarrassment in Tucson. Oregon 55-28

Stanford at Notre Dame, Stanford by 2 1/2: Stanford has too many offensive weapons to truly be this bad in the red zone. The Cardinal are due for a correction. Stanford 27-24

Oregon State at Colorado, OSU by 7: A dominant receiver, emerging quarterback and home crowd are enough to get the Buffaloes their first Pac-12 win. Colorado 32-28

Arizona State at USC, USC by 12: Arizona State can’t be as bad as it looked against UCLA and USC still has some issues to sort out. Still, playing at home against a battered defense gives the Trojans the edge. USC 31-21

Utah at UCLA, UCLA by 13: Utah got a big lead early last week and then collapsed. UCLA fell behind and then cruised. The teams will continue to move in opposite directions this week. UCLA 41-28

California at Washington State, WSU by 3 1/2: What happens when two of the nation’s leading passers face a pair of young secondaries? The only certainty is a game that threatens to go past midnight. WSU 41-35

Last week: 2-3 straight up, 3-2 against the spread

Overall: 34-8 straight up, 17-18 against the spread.

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