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The pick: Why Colorado will beat Washington State

Colorado linebacker Jimmie Gilbert, top, hits UCLA quarterback Mike Fafaul in the first half of an NCAA football game in Boulder, Colo. Gilbert was called for targeting on the play. (David Zalubowski / AP)
Colorado linebacker Jimmie Gilbert, top, hits UCLA quarterback Mike Fafaul in the first half of an NCAA football game in Boulder, Colo. Gilbert was called for targeting on the play. (David Zalubowski / AP)

PULLMAN – The Washington State Cougars are on a tear – all they do is win. The Cougars have not lost a game since mid-September, and they have not come close since October.

They also have not played anybody good in a long, long time. No. 20 WSU’s seven consecutive conference wins have come at the expense of teams who have a combined Pac-12 record of 13-37. WSU has dominated the bad teams it has played, but it has been a long time since the Cougars were really tested against a talented, well-coached opponent with some momentum.

That is exactly what they will face at No. 12 Colorado. The Buffaloes have the best defense the Cougars are likely to face in 2016, and it is particularly well suited to stopping the Air Raid.

CU ranks No. 2 nationally in yards allowed per pass attempt and sixth in opponent completion percentage. Furthermore, Jimmie Gilbert is one of the Pac-12’s best pass rushers.

The Buffaloes are not bad at offense, either, and rank in the top half of the Pac-12 in both rushing and passing offense. WSU is a good team that has a lot to fight for right now, but so is CU, which arguably has more at stake given the three-way race for the Pac-12 South lead.

WSU on the other hand, can lose to CU and will still play in the Pac-12 Championship Game as long as it wins the Apple Cup.

The Buffaloes are more battled tested, having played No. 4 Michigan and No. 15 USC, and are playing at home. I think those factors are enough in a tight game between two heavyweights.

The spread: CU by 4.5

The pick: CU, 32-28

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