Picks of the week: Oregon and Utah cover, but Stanford and USC win; Arizona does both; ASU makes Washington work


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The Hotline described Oregon-Stanford as the game that could have been … or never was … or however you’d like to classify what would have been an enticing matchup rendered less so in the wake of Justin Herbert’s injury.

But in a general sense, we’ve seen it before.

The 2013 showdown between the then-North powers was framed by an injured Oregon quarterback and an unstoppable Stanford running back, albeit both matters were packaged differently than what we see this week.

Back then, the injury was to Marcus Mariota’s knee, and it greatly limited his mobility.

The Stanford running back was Tyler Gaffney, who rushed for 157 yards — a total well within range Saturday for Bryce Love.

(Gaffney also had 45 carries, which is not in Love’s range.)

That game ended with a modest final score: Stanford 26, Oregon 20 — one of only two times in the past dozen meetings that the winner did not produce at least 35 points.

I expect a similar situation Saturday.

In general, it’s an odd weekend in the Pac-12 from a point-spread standpoint:

* Five of the six games featuring a double-digit favorite.

* Three of those double-digit favorites are the road team.

* The biggest underdog is at home, coming off a bye.

That sets us up for a few upsets and/or wild finishes. There’s always one weekend of pure chaos. Maybe this is it.

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Last week: 1-4
Season: 21-21-1
Five-star special: 3-3

All picks against the spread.
Lines taken from vegasinsider.com

Washington State (minus-15) at Cal (Friday): Tough assignment for the Cougars the way Friday night road games coming off Saturday road games are tough for any team, anytime. Add the potential for a post-USC/Oregon letdown and for Cal’s defense to make things difficult … and the number seems high. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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