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Jacob Thorpe’s Pac-12 football picks

With only five weeks left in the regular season, the games are becoming more significant. Four of the conference’s five best teams will face off in two keys games this weekend, and because all four teams hail from the Pac-12 South, the two winners will emerge as frontrunners for the spot in the conference’s championship game.

Up north, Stanford and Oregon will meet in a matchup of teams that have combined to win every Pac-12 championship since 2008. There’s still plenty of time left in the season but chances are the team that will emerges on top in December will win a big game this weekend.

Washington at Colorado, UW by 4: What better way for the Washington offense to get back on track than by going up against the league’s second-worst scoring defense? UW 31-24

USC at Washington State, USC by 7: The Cougars can get pressure on USC’s offensive line, which could start three freshmen on Saturday, and USC has a good pass defense so this should be a lower-scoring game than expected, just like last year. USC has the special teams edge and that will make the difference in a hard-fought game. USC 24-17

Stanford at Oregon, UO by 8: Oregon ends its two-year streak of having its season derailed by Stanford, but not without a scare from the Cardinal. Oregon 34-28

California at Oregon State, OSU by 3: Two teams that badly need their prolific quarterbacks to deliver a win, but Cal’s Jared Goff has more offensive weapons to help him out. Cal 31-28

Arizona at UCLA, UCLA by 6 1/2: The Bruins return home after somehow salvaging road wins over California and Colorado. An Arizona team that appears to be peaking is going to present a much bigger challenge. UCLA will win at home, but this point spread is too high. UCLA 34-31

Utah at Arizona State, ASU by 5 1/2: The Sun Devils are firing on all cylinders right now and should win convincingly at home to take control of the Pac-12 South and make the loss to UCLA nothing but a foggy memory of a bad performance. ASU 31-21

Last week: 4-2 straight up, 2-3 against the spread

Overall: 44-19 straight up, 25-30 against the spread

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