I had a successful time identifying the Pac-12 winners last weekend. I went 10-1 picking the winning team in Week 2, but I struggled to get traction with the point spread.
My Week 2 record vs. the spread: 5-6.
Mediocre, at best.
My two-week total isn’t embarrassing, though. I’m 19-4 overall in Pac-12 games and 13-10 vs. the spread. I need a strong performance against the spread this week to salvage my non-conference reputation.
I’ve got the Week 3 Pac-12 games handicapped. Stanford has a bye. The other 11 teams are in action. Bookmark this entry if you want to avoid hunting down the kickoff times and networks on Saturday. I have you covered. If you’re up for it, comment below with your own picks.
Away we go…
University of South Alabama at UCLA (11 a.m. Saturday, Pac-12 Networks):
Sun Belt vs. Pac-12 in this one. Chip Kelly has never been 3-0 in non-conference play at UCLA, but I think he finally gets there. The Bruins are 15.5-point favorites in this game. I think they struggle to cover the spread, but win the game.
The pick: UCLA 31, South Alabama 20.
Cal at Notre Dame (11:30 a.m. Saturday, NBC):
Justin Wilcox wins a game every season that he shouldn’t win. This one feels like that game to me. Transfer quarterback Jack Plummer won’t be fazed by the stage. The Bears are a 13.5-point road underdog. They not only cover the spread, I think they win the game outright.
The pick: Cal 27, Notre Dame 24.
BYU at Oregon (12:30 p.m. Saturday, FOX):
Dicey game for the Ducks, who are a 3.5-point home favorite. I’m still not sure if Oregon is good, or just OK, or if it is going to struggle this season. I think we’re going to learn more about first-year coach Dan Lanning and quarterback Bo Nix than we learned in the first two weeks. BYU has some injuries and is on the road. I’ll pick Oregon to win but I don’t feel great about it.
The pick: Oregon 27, BYU 26
Colorado at Minnesota (12:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2):
The Buffs are a 27.5-point underdog. I just haven’t seen anything that suggests they can win this game or stay in it. Colorado’s quarterback play has been frustrating this season. Minnesota is just too much in this one.
The pick: Minnesota 45, Colorado 13
Colorado State at Washington State (2 p.m. Saturday, Pac-12 Networks):
Potential trap game for WSU, which is coming off a huge upset of Wisconsin. Will Cougars’ quarterback Cam Ward take a step forward? That’s the question to ask. I think he does. As a result, WSU gets the win and covers the 17-point spread.
The pick: WSU 37, Colorado State 17.
Michigan State at Washington (4:30 p.m. Saturday, ABC):
Big opportunity for the Huskies and first-year coach Kalen DeBoer. Washington is a three-point favorite. I think this game is close, but quarterback Michael Penix Jr. makes enough plays and UW wins.
The pick: Washington 28, Michigan State 27
Montana State at Oregon State (5 p.m. Saturday, Pac-12 Networks):
The Beavers will be without a few key players and may rest some others vs. a Big Sky opponent. The game is being played at Providence Park in Portland. Montana State wants to play a field-position game and keep the score down. I think OSU is happy to do that, too. The spread, if you can find it, has the Beavers as a 13.5-point favorite. That feels about right.
The pick: Oregon State 28, Montana State 14.
San Diego State at Utah (7 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2):
Utah lost this game last season, but won't make that mistake again. The Utes find rhythm and have the home field. I like Utah, a 21-point favorite, to win big vs. the Aztecs.
The pick: Utes 38, San Diego State 13
Fresno State at USC (7:30 p.m. Saturday, FOX):
USC hasn’t turned the ball over this season. Not once. Not an interception, not a fumble. I wonder how long that streak will last for the Trojans. Jeff Tedford’s team has a quality quarterback, good receivers and a solid running back. Fresno State will move the ball and score points. USC is a 12.5-point favorite, but this game feels a little dicey.
The pick: USC 41, Fresno State 35
Eastern Michigan at ASU (8 p.m. Saturday, Pac-12 Networks):
Eastern Michigan got outscored 49-7 in the second half of last week’s loss against Louisiana-Lafayette. I’m certain ASU watched the film and knows what to exploit. For that reason, I think the Sun Devils cover the 20.5-point spread in this game.
The pick: ASU 41, Eastern Michigan 14
North Dakota State at Arizona (8 p.m. Saturday, FS1):
This is a really tricky game for Arizona. North Dakota State is a 1-point favorite in the few places you can find the game. It has won each of its last six games vs. FBS schools. Arizona is at home, but I don’t think the Wildcats win.
The pick: North Dakota State 27, Arizona 24
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Cougs play at 2:00PM
Wow, you really think Notre Dame is awful. Wilcox also loses games he shouldn't -- Nevada, TCU.