Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Jacob Thorpe’s Pac-12 Picks

PULLMAN—So, this is a little awkward.

Those of us on the west coast who have watched SEC schools take home eight of the last 10 national championships have taken solace by reminding ourselves that, unlike those southeastern pansies, Pac-12 schools have the guts to challenge themselves and schedule some real heavyweights in their nonconference games.

So what did the SEC do? Schedule a bunch of Pac-12 schools.

USC sure did not shy from a challenge, agreeing to play college football hegemon and defending national championship Alabama. Uh, best of luck boys.

The UCLA Bruins are also willing to carry the Pac-12 standard against those vile southerners, traveling to Texas A&M to face the Aggies and their 12th man. The rest of the openers are fairly blasé from a national perspective, although that rivalry game in Colorado is sneaky good.

Here’s how I see the week shaping up.

Hawaii at California, Cal by 20.5: I made this pick on Twitter a couple hours before kickoff and assumed Hawaii would cover because both teams would be so jetlagged from the trip that the game would be sloppy and close. My instincts were correct, barely, as the Rainbow Warriors pulled off a 20-point loss to beat the spread, 51-31. My pick was … Cal, 35-21

Southern Utah at Utah, no line: A nice, easy tune-up game for the Utes. Although it’s becoming more and more rare that these “guarantee” games are nice or easy. Utah, 38-10

Oregon State at Minnesota, Minnesota by 13: I’m pretty down on the Beavers this season. But Gary Anderson knows the Big Ten and I bet he’s got a good game plan for this one. Still, a road upset is asking a little much. Minnesota, 31-28

Colorado at Colorado State, Colorado by 8.5: The Buffaloes certainly won’t overlook CSU, but honestly I think they stopped doing that a couple years ago. CU may upset some teams this year, but I like a motivated CSU team at home. CSU, 28-24

Kansas State at Stanford, Stanford by 14.5: The Cardinal lost to a mediocre Big Ten team in last year’s season-opener. Don’t bet on it happening again. Stanford, 41-21

Rutgers at Washington, UW by 26.5: This is the “A” game on Washington’s out of conference schedule. Maybe Rutgers looked tough when this game was agreed to, but the Huskies may regret gorging on cupcakes in September. UW, 45-10

UCLA at Texas A&M, TAMU by 3: Maybe it’s the blue-and-gold tinted glasses, but I think Josh Rosen and the Bruins get it done in College Station. Which of you let me buy these ocular monstrosities? UCLA 31-24

UC Davis at Oregon, no line: I really can’t lose these “no line” games, so let’s say Oregon wins 6,000-2. OK, that’s not sporting. UO, 63-7

Alabama at USC, ‘Bama by 11.5: For Lane Kiffin, this game is going to make the move from Los Angeles parties to Tuscaloosa crawdad boils almost worth it. ‘Bama, 42-21

Eastern Washington at WSU, no line: I think the Eagles will give the Cougars a real scare, but no FCS upsets in Pullman this year. WSU, 48-34

Arizona at BYU, UA by 1.5: The other Cougars always seem to have something up their sleeves for Pac-12 teams, and the Wildcats are a little short on talent compared to recent years. BYU, 27-21

Northern Arizona at Arizona State, no line: Another classic rivalry game undone by one team having literally all of the talent. ASU, 48-13