The Pac 12 conference schedule kicks off in full in Week 4 with every team playing a conference foe. Now is the time that the early surprises show what they’re really made of and prove that they’re for real, or fade into the depths of the standings and hope for better things next season.
The Pac 12 North holds a 1-0 edge over the Pac 12 South in the standings after Week 3, and there will be three more inter-division matchups this week as we wait to see which division proves the more dominant.
So without further ado, here are the picks against the spread for the Pac 12 in Week 4. As always, picks are underlined.
Oregon State Beavers @UCLA Bruins(-7)
Oregon State has played just one game this season and it was a good one. Upsetting the then No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers in Corvallis was a huge way to start off the season. But the Badgers have shown in their other games this year that they aren’t the same team that won back-to-back Big Ten titles, struggling to score against Northern Iowa and Utah State. The Bruins on the other hand, are clicking offensively, averaging over 300 yards on the ground through three games. Jonathan Franklin and Brett Hundley will pose a much bigger test for the Beavers. Too much of a test, in fact. Bruins by 14.
Colorado Buffaloes (+20) @ Washington State Cougars
The Buffs have been historically bad in their first three games, but the Cougars haven’t been that much better despite their 2-1 record. The defense has been porous against a soft early season schedule, surrendering 451 yards per game. The offense is going to score points, and maybe even more consistently than they did in Las Vegas with Connor Halliday set to make his second start, but the WSU defense is going to give Colorado every opportunity to keep the deficit under 20. Cougars by 17.
California Bears @ USC Trojans (-16.5)
The Trojans got taken down a peg last week when they lost to the Stanford Cardinal in Palo Alto. Matt Barkley saw his Heisman candidacy take a hit as Lane Kiffin questioned the senior’s decision making and the offensive and defensive line depth that was a concern in the preseason became a full-blown problem. The Trojans suffered an early loss last season too, however, before rattling off 10 wins with a reckless disregard for the feelings of their opponents. The Bears are coming off giving the Ohio State Buckeyes their best shot and coming up short. Don’t expect them to keep it as close this week. Trojans by 24.
Utah Utes (+7) @ Arizona State Sun Devils
The Utes are coming off a thrilling victory in the Holy War over the BYU Cougars and are riding a high of confidence into conference play. The Sun Devils had an opportunity to show they were for real against the Missouri Tigers and came up short. Todd Graham will need to figure out how to get Cameron Marshall on track to key the Devil offensive attack against a stout Ute defense. Don’t expect either team to run away with this one in a run-oriented defensive struggle. Sun Devils by 3.
Arizona Wildcats @ Oregon Ducks (-22)
This is a matchup of spread attacks that could be argued was created by Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez, but has been taken to the next level by Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. And while the talk leading up to this game has all been about how many points these two squads could score, the real difference in this game could be the defense. Namely, which one can make enough stops to give their team the edge. Arizona is still learning the ins and outs of Rodriguez’s 3-3-5 defense and they are thinned out by injuries. Oregon, on the other hand, has the deeper and more talented squad in this game, even without the services of injured senior John Boyett. With the offenses pressing the gas pedal, this game will be one of attrition, and the Cats just don’t have the bodies to hang with Oregon for four quarters quite yet. Ducks by 30.