There are two Pac-12 teams playing in bowl games today — Washington State and USC — so I figured I’d throw up a quick predictions post before it’s too late.
As always, all betting lines are courtesy of VegasInsider.com.
To the picks …
NEW MEXICO BOWL
Washington State (6-6) vs. Colorado State (7-6), 11 a.m., ESPN/WatchESPN (WSU by 5) — Colorado State certainly posted some impressive offensive numbers this season, and WSU’s defense showed enough inconsistency at times this season that you have to think Cougar fans are a little concerned about this one turning into a shootout. Also important to keep in mind: CSU lost to Colorado this season (though it was in the season opener). The vibe I get from this one is that it’s a game the Cougars could lose, but also a game they should win. So we’ll go with WSU: The pick: Washington State 41, Colorado State 31.
LAS VEGAS BOWL
USC (9-4) vs. Fresno State (11-1), 12:30 p.m., ABC (USC by 4.5) — Hard to say which Trojans team shows up for this one, considering the coaching change and the interim coach situation. Clay Helton will become the third person to serve as head coach for the Trojans this season. Have to wonder, too, about motivation for Fresno State in this game. Are they disappointed about not finishing undefeated and getting a crack at a BCS game? Or are they fired up to be playing a strong Pac-12 program like USC, and eager for the chance to knock them off? With everything that’s happened in Los Angeles over the past few weeks, the guess here is that Fresno State probably wants this one a little more, and the Bulldogs, led by quarterback Derek Carr, are good enough to pull off the mild upset. The pick: Fresno State 31, USC 24.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple