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Jacob Thorpe’s Pac-12 football picks

There’s nothing like a clean slate, is there? Right now, everybody is undefeated, and that includes me. After a 34-48 record against the spread in my picks last year, I’m hoping for a bounce-back season.

Of course, the Pac-12 teams aren’t going to make it easy for me. Arizona should have no trouble beating Texas-San Antonio at home, but 32 points? That’s a bet on whether or not coach Rich Rodriguez will keep in his starters and run up the score, not a measure of the respective abilities of the two teams.

Who knows how good Michigan will be in Jim Harbaugh’s first game as head coach, or whether the Boise State crowd will be too much for a freshman quarterback in Chris Petersen’s return?

Regardless, it’s sure to be an exciting opening week to the college football season. And if I can’t do better than 34-48, next year I’m buying a dart board.

Texas-San Antonio at Arizona, UA by 31.5: Anu Solomon, Cayleb Jones and Nick Wilson pile up yards and points in a showcase game for Arizona’s offense. But that line is ridiculous. Arizona, 42-21

Michigan at Utah, Utah by 5: Jim Harbaugh may have gone 4-8 his first year at Stanford. But Michigan has the talent on hand for a quick turnaround. Michigan, 24-21

Colorado at Hawaii, CU by 7.5: Colorado’s final record won’t reflect this, but the Buffaloes are a much-improved football team. Colorado, 28-14

Weber State at Oregon State, no line: Beavers fans better enjoy this win. There won’t be many more. OSU, 35-13

Washington at Boise State, BSU by 12: Washington’s defense will be better than people expect after losing three first-round picks. The offense will be exactly as bad as people expect. BSU, 24-14

No. 21 Stanford at Northwestern, Stan by 12: Two private universities from predominantly public conferences. Stanford may win, but may have to do so without its usual air of smugness. Stanford, 34-24

Portland State at Washington State, no line: The Air Raid offense sure is fun when the other team doesn’t have the athletes to defend it. WSU, 56-21

Grambling State at California, no line: Jared Goff’s campaign to be the first quarterback drafted in the spring gets off to a roaring start by throwing for 600 yards and five touchdowns. Cal, 56-17

No. 15 Arizona State at Texas A&M, TAMU by 3.5: Todd Graham plants his flag in his home state and the Sun Devils establish themselves as playoff contenders. ASU, 35-24

Eastern Washington at Oregon, no line: In a just world, EWU would win the game by returning a Vernon Adams interception for a touchdown in the closing seconds. A just world would be neat. UO, 56-28

Virginia at UCLA, UCLA by 19.5: J-Chosen has a few freshman moments, but Josh Rosen and the Bruins roll in the second half. UCLA, 31-21

Arkansas State at USC, USC by 27.0: With every touchdown the Trojans score, Steve Sarkisian’s off-field issues will get a little harder for fans to care about. USC, 66-24

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