It’s still a tale of two divisions in the Pac-12 Conference. In the North, everyone but Oregon State has at least three wins and the Beavers are the only ones with more than one loss. Atop the South, No. 21 Colorado is still unbeaten at 4-0, but five other teams have at least two losses each and not including the Buffaloes, the division is just 10-13.
The North has four more opportunities to assert its dominance over the South this weekend and the Buffs could continue to pull away from their peers by winning an all-South matchup with Arizona State.
Arizona State at Colorado
Colorado by 2 1/2 – The tests are getting incrementally harder for the Buffaloes, who’ll face the best individual skill player they’ve seen all season in Sun Devils running back Eno Benjamin. But which ASU team will show up? The one that lost to San Diego State, or the one that beat Michigan State and went toe-to-toe with Washington? The pick: Colorado 38, ASU 31.
Washington at UCLA
Washington by 21 – Chip Kelly versus the Huskies was always a foregone conclusion. The former Oregon coach led the Ducks to a 4-0 record against UW while he was in Eugene, winning those games by a combined 182-73. Should be a foregone conclusion this weekend, but Kelly will have to adjust to being on the other side of the score. The pick: UW 48, UCLA 14.
Washington State at Oregon State
WSU by 17 – Likewise, Jonathan Smith enjoyed a pretty good run against WSU while coordinating the offense for Chris Peterson at UW. He beat Mike Leach and the Cougars four times in four years, scoring 162 points during that span. The cupboard isn’t totally bare for Smith at OSU, but Jermar Jefferson might need another record rushing day if the Beavers hope to keep pace with Leach’s Air Raid in Corvallis. The pick: will be in Saturday’s paper.
California at Arizona
Cal by 2 1/2 – Khalil Tate’s wheels may be broken, but the dynamic Arizona quarterback at 50 percent still seems to be a better bet than either of Cal’s signal-callers – Chase Garbers or Brandon McIlwain – at 100 percent. The Golden Bears’ QBs combined to throw four picks last week in a 42-24 loss to Oregon. Cal can’t afford to give Arizona those extra possessions Saturday in Tucson. The pick: Arizona 35, Cal 31.
Utah at Stanford
Stanford by 5 – The Utes, considered by many a favorite to win the Pac-12 South, have not had it easy the first three weeks of the conference season playing Washington at home, then WSU and Stanford on the road. We can assume Utah’s brethren in the South will take some of their own lumps when they clash with the North, but reaching the conference championship game becomes that much harder if the Utes fall to 0-3 in Pac-12 play this weekend. The pick: Stanford 24, Utah 17.
Theo Lawson’s records
Last week: 6-1 straight up, 5-2 against the spread
Overall: 35-9 straight up, 18-17 against the spread