After a 5-0 week with the picks in week twelve the season total now sits at 62-17 as we arrive at the end of the regular season. It’s a full schedule to wrap things up heading into championship weekend and on to bowl season, but first a quick review of last week’s results.
Saturday, November 18
USC 28 – UCLA 23 (pick: USC 35-27)
One too many losses to the cross town Trojans led the UCLA administration to relieve Jim Mora of his duties as head coach with one game left on the schedule. Rumors immediately focused on Chip Kelly and the pairing would make for an interesting shift of the landscape in LaLa Land. Unless or until then, the Victory Bell remains in Heritage Hall.
Washington 33 – Utah 30 (pick: Washington 38-17)
Wow, did the Huskies pull a Houdini act in Salt Lake City or what? Trailing 30-23, Washington scored 10 points in the last 58 seconds to escape the upset. Nevertheless, Stanford’s win over Cal ended any chance of Washington repeating as northern division champions.
Stanford 17 – California 14 (pick: Stanford 37-18)
The Ax stays on the Farm and Stanford remains alive in the northern division race, one half game ahead of WSU at the moment. The Cougars hold the tie-break and with a win in the Apple Cup will claim the north. The Cardinal won’t be scoreboard watching however as both the Apple Cup and their annual rivalry game with Notre Dame are set to kick-off at 5:00 pm Pacific.
Oregon 48 – Arizona 28 (pick: Oregon 44-42)
No doubt having the bye week leading into Saturday’s game against the Wildcats help the Ducks fully reacquaint themselves with the deeper pages of the playbook knowing Justin Herbert would likely return. That said, the bye week also proved immeasurably valuable to Jim Leavitt’s defense as well. Herbert deserved his headlines but man did that “D” play well or what? If they can make that a habit thing could get really interesting really quickly.
Arizona State 40 – Oregon State 28 (pick: ASU 33-21)
Trailing 49-14, Oregon State scored 14 meaningless fourth quarter points to provide a little lipstick on the pig but nothing more. The state of affairs in Bennyville is sorrowful and remedies appear to be distant.
Friday, November 24
California @ UCLA
As noted above, the Bruins fired head coach Jim Mora and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch will take over the game over the Bears with UCLA needing a win to become bowl eligible. Good luck with that… the Bears have been a bit up and down under first year head coach Justin Wilcox but they are less in disarray and have more to play for. The Bruins are favored by seven but I’ll take Cal by three, 33-30.
Saturday, November 25
Washington State @ Washington
It is hard to justify the Huskies as a 10-point favorite. Yes, the Apple Cup will be on the shores of Lake Washington and the Cougars haven’t won in Seattle since a 42-35 win in 2005. Yet throughout the 2017 season the Huskies have found it difficult to find the sum greater than all of the parts that good teams can develop. With a win the Cougars face USC in the conference championship game. Upset the apple cart… Cougs 38-35
Notre Dame @ Stanford
The Cardinal and head coach David Shaw don’t often fail to take advantage of the opportunities presented and this one is huge. The 8th-ranked Irish took a hit in their blow-out loss to Miami but a Stanford victory would nonetheless give the Pac-12 conference a bit of luster that has been lacking this season. With the CFP out of the picture, this is the best remaining chance for the Pac-12 steal a bit of the national spotlight. Stanford 27-23.
Arizona @ Arizona State
Oregon gave the Sun Devils the perfect game plan now the question is will Arizona State be able replicate it well enough to keep Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate under wraps for a second straight week. The Ducks did it with good angles of pursuit and team discipline, both qualities that Arizona State has often struggled to find. Tate is capable of slicing such a defense to shreds. Wildcats 44-35.
Colorado @ Utah
A pair of teams harboring more ambitious thoughts in 2017 than the matching 5-6, 2-6 (Pac-12) records would indicate. Winner goes to a bowl. It’s at Rice-Eccles. Utes bowl Buffs, 35-27.
Oregon State @ Oregon
Rivalry games are never cut and dried kind of games. In some instances a match-up that appears to be a blow-out ends up being a thriller as was the case in 2013 when the 12th –ranked Ducks need a Marcus Mariota to Josh Huff touchdown pass to escape what would have been a colossal upset. Sometimes two teams that shape up as being evenly matched end up looking like the Ducks 65-38 win in 2008. 2017 shapes up to be more than latter than the former, Oregon 59-17.
~ Rick Morgan