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Pac-12 predictions: Week 4

9/21/2011

Went 8-2 last week -- missed on Utah (good job Utes) and Arizona State (drrr, Sun Devils) -- and the season record stands ot 25-7.

Conference play! Which is much harder to pick (my degree of confidence is high on only one of these picks).

All games are Saturday.

California 28, Washington 24: The Huskies defense is struggling and this is the best offensive line it will have faced. Cal QB Zach Maynard making his first start in a tough road venue is a concern, but not as much as Huskies QB Keith Price running around on a pair of sprained knees. And, Cal, I'm warning you ... don't make me wrong (again). You wouldn't like me when I'm wrong.

Ohio State 30, Colorado 17: My hunch is the Buckeyes are going to come out highly motivated in front of the Horseshoe crowd to show folks they are still relevant after falling out of the top-25 for the first time since 2004. And, well, the Buffs haven't won outside the state in 19 games.

Oregon State 33, UCLA 30: The edge goes to the Beavers because of home field and the return of receiver James Rodgers and tight end Joe Halahuni. If you want a basis for reservations, it's not good that the Beavers are missing their two best defensive tackles and their starting running back, or that my Twitter feed lit up with reports of INTs from new starting QB Sean Mannion during Wednesday's practice.

Oregon 44, Arizona 28: It would be pretty cool if these two teams put on another show like they did in Tucson in 2009, but the Ducks defense is good enough to handle a one-dimensional team. That said: If the Wildcats find a running game against a Ducks run-D that has been curiously suspect, this could be closer than the experts think. And by "experts," I mean all Oregon fans, of course.

Arizona State 27, USC 24: I really wish that Sun Devils defensive end Junior Onyeali didn't get hurt because I love how he plays and his presence would make me more confidence in this pick. But I like the Sun Devils bouncing back at home and ending an 11-game losing streak in the series. And I'm wondering if we might get one of those flat performances we saw from the Trojans in 2010.