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Pac-12 picks: North battle between Stanford and Oregon isn’t as intriguing as it once was

UPDATED: Tue., Sept. 17, 2019

Spokesman-Review Washington State beat writer Theo Lawson picks Week 4 of the Pac-12 college football season.

Utah at USC

Utah by 4 (Fri. 6 p.m., FS1) – If any Washington State fans out there want a hint as to how well Utah can defend the Air Raid, tune in Friday night for a game that will pit the Utes’ highly productive defense against Graham Harrell’s high-volume passing offense. The pick: Utah 31, USC 24.

Cal at Ole Miss

Ole Miss by 2 1/2 (Sat. 9 a.m., ESPNU) – Cal’s highly touted defense has been stingy against North Texas, Washington and UC Davis, allowing 49 points in three games. The Golden Bears could use another nonconference boost before tough Pac-12 games against No. 24 Arizona State and No. 16 Oregon. The pick: Cal 24, Ole Miss 17.

Washington at BYU

UW by 6 (Sat. 12:30 p.m., ABC) – It’ll be the fourth consecutive Power Five opponent for BYU and third Pac-12 foe in the last four weeks. The Cougars won each of their last two games by three points. While I’d expect them to test the Huskies in Provo, I see UW pulling away by two scores or more in the second half. The pick: UW 28, BYU 14.

Oregon at Stanford

Oregon by 10 (Sat. 4 p.m., ESPN) – Coming into the year, this game projected to be a consequential one in the division. That the Ducks are more than a one-touchdown favorite on the road shows how much less appealing this classic Pac-12 North rivalry is now, compared to three weeks ago. The pick: Oregon 35, Stanford 21.

Colorado at Arizona State

ASU by 7 1/2 (Sat. 7 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) – The Buffaloes won’t have to see the wishbone this week, but they will run into an Arizona State team with mounds of momentum after a big upset of Michigan State in East Lansing. Were this game in Boulder, I’d be tempted to choose the Buffs, but I expect the Sun Devils to handle their business in warm Tempe. The pick: ASU 31, Colorado 27.

UCLA at Washington State

WSU by 18 1/2 (Sat. 7:30 p.m., ESPN) – Chip Kelly’s defense squares off against the Air Raid for the second consecutive week. Did the Bruins learn anything from their 48-14 loss to Oklahoma? We’ll see. The pick: Will be in Saturday’s paper.

Theo Lawson’s records

Last week: 9-3 overall; 3-6 against the spread

Overall: 24-6 overall; 9-18 against the spread

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