The first week of the season has finally arrived, and in power conferences like the Pac-12, that usually means a couple weeks filled with mostly lopsided scores against inferior opponents.
There are at least a couple intriguing games in the conference this week to provide some opportunity for yours truly to botch a pick or two. With all that said, here we go with our weekly Pac-12 predictions. All lines (courtesy of VegasInsider.com) are for entertainment purposes only, unless you want to use them to gamble. I don’t really care. As always, the pick for the Huskies’ game will come in a separate post on Friday.
Idaho State at Utah, 4:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (Utah -41.5)
That’s a lot of points for the Utes to be giving, considering they haven’t been all that explosive offensively in recent years. But the Bengals have been totally noncompetitive against power schools, so even if Utah doesn’t cover, this one shouldn’t be close. The pick: Utah 45, Idaho State 6.
Rutgers at Washington State (Seattle), 7 p.m., Fox Sports 1 (WSU -9.5)
It’s the final game of a forgettable string of ventures to CenturyLink field for the Cougars. Here’s a guess Connor Halliday and Co. take advantage of a young Rutgers secondary and leave Seattle with one final victory. The pick: WSU 31, Rutgers 24.
Weber State at Arizona State, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (ASU -46)
This won’t be close. The pick: ASU 56, Weber State 7.
Colorado State vs. Colorado (Denver), 6 p.m., Fox Sports 1 (Colorado -3)
This is a must-win for a Colorado team searching for its first bowl appearance since 2007. CSU will miss big running back Kapri Bibbs, who is now on the Broncos roster. Bellarmine Prep product Sefo Liufau will key a Buffaloes’ victory. The pick: Colorado 24, Colorado State 20.
UNLV at Arizona, 7:30 p.m., ESPN (Arizona -24)
Relatively soft landing for redshirt freshman Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon. Rebels will have a hard time keeping up with Wildcats’ crop of talented receivers. The pick: Arizona 45, UNLV 10.
UCLA at Virginia, 9 a.m., ESPN (UCLA -23)
Cavaliers enter this game riding a 9-game losing streak. Make it 10. The pick: UCLA 38, Virginia 10.
California at Northwestern, 12:30 p.m., ABC (Northwestern -12)
It’s probably fair to expect the Golden Bears to be a little more competitive than they were last year. But a tough road game in the opener isn’t the way to ease into a season. Should be close, at least. The pick: Northwestern 31, California 24.
Portland State at Oregon State, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (no line)
Beavers fans have to be wary about this one after losses to Eastern Washington and Sacramento State in recent years. Can OSU stand up to the mighty Big Sky this time? Well? The pick: Oregon State 35, Portland State 17.
UC Davis at Stanford, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (no line)
The Aggies actually won this matchup in 2005, but I wouldn’t look for a repeat this time around. Unless Chris Petersen comes back to play quarterback for Davis or something. The pick: Stanford 42, UC Davis 9.
Fresno State at USC, 4:30 p.m., FOX (USC -22)
It’s been a crazy week for the Trojans and first-year coach Steve Sarkisian, with Josh Shaw lying to the team about how he injured his ankles and now Anthony Brown quitting the team and accusing Sarkisian of racism. Not an ideal start to the season. Won’t matter on Saturday. Trojans are still really talented. The pick: USC 35, Fresno State 14.
South Dakota at Oregon, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (no line)
Yawn. The pick: Oregon 65, South Dakota 0.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple