Picking the Pac: Week Four

Taking a page from Seinfeld, expect Oregon State to hang around in their Pac-12 opener at UCLA.

LOS ANGELES – After a thoroughly mediocre start, I'm resorting to a move so formulaic, it could have spewed from the PowerBook of the laziest Hollywood hack. Since my instincts are so off, I'm rolling with "The Opposite," the technique that vaulted George Costanza to the job of assistant to the traveling secretary of the New York Yankees by doing the opposite of whatever his instincts were.

Regardless of whether or not it works, you're responsible for your own Pez and Junior Mints.

Last week: 7-3 straight up, 3-4 against the spread
Season to date: 23-10 straight up, 13-14 against the spread

Saturday
UCLA 24, Oregon State (+7) 20 –
The Beavers are basically a complete unknown, having played only one game so far this season, completely dominating Wisconsin in a 10-7 upset that has been devalued since by the Badgers' subsequent struggles. UCLA has plenty of firepower on offense, but has yet to face an offense with real balance. Logic dictates a comfortable win for the home team, so Costanza theory would call for Mike Riley's club to keep it close.

Washington State (-20) 38, Colorado 10 – Colorado is awful. You could say they've hit rock bottom, but the Buffaloes still have games at USC and Oregon. Even a guy biting into onions could see this one will get out of hand.

USC 30, California (+16.5) 17 – We've seen this story before: USC loses its conference road opener, but get healthy by pummeling the Bears. However, Zach Maynard played a great game at Ohio State, the Trojans' offensive line is struggling, and Cal has to play them close sooner or later, right?

Arizona State (-6.5) 28, Utah 20 – The Sun Devils face their third straight backup quarterback, and should benefit from returning home after blowing a great opportunity in SEC country last week. Jon Hays and Travis Wilson have to pump up the Utes' scoring output to avoid wasting another tremendous defense, which ranks in the top 28 nationally in every significant category, including points and yards allowed.

Oregon 51, Arizona (+21.5) 38 – Get you popcorn ready for a late-night shootout. Rich Rodriguez may be the godfather of the spread read-option offense, but even he can't manufacture the miracles necessary to contain De'Anthony Thomas and the explosive Ducks. Arizona ranks last in the Pac-12 in sacks and isn't much better at generating tackles for loss, averaging only 5.67 per game.

Dan Greenspan is the publisher of Cal Sports Digest and writes about the Pac-12 for Fox Sports Next. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.


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