Pac-12 Picks

Pac-12 Picks: Putting my good record on line with five games this week

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Javier Morales 2013 Overall Record: 9-3 (.750).

Javier Morales Against the Spread: 8-4 (.667).

Helmet.OreDucks

helmet.Washington

OREGON at WASHINGTON

When: Saturday, 1 p.m., Tucson time. Where: Husky Stadium, Seattle. TV: Fox Sports 1.

Spread: Oregon by 13.5.

When does Oregon play Arizona?: Sat., Nov. 23, Arizona Stadium

When does Washington play Arizona?: The Huskies defeated Arizona 31-13 on Sept. 28 in Seattle

Why Oregon will win: The Ducks can literally run over opponents and Washington had its problems with Ka’Deem Carey a couple of weeks ago. Oregon ranks third in the nation with 335.8 rushing yards per game. Sophomore Byron Marshall has gone over 100 yards in three games and is averaging 89.6 yards per game. De’Anthony Thomas averages 84.5 yards per game, and Heisman front-runner Marcus Mariota, the quarterback, averages 67.6 yards per game on the ground.

Why Washington will win: The Huskies are dangerous at home with convincing wins over Boise State and Arizona to date. They are also coming off a 31-28 loss at Stanford in which the Huskies had a chance to convert a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. In short, Washington is legit and should not be overwhelmed by Oregon at a raucous Husky Stadium.

Outcome: Oregon by 17

Reason: The Ducks have a way of making good teams look average and that should be the case again in this game. The only difference is this won’t be a 55-10 victory. This will be of the 38-21 variety.

Helmet.StanCard

Helmet.Utah

STANFORD at UTAH

When: Saturday, 3 p.m., Tucson time. Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City. TV: Pac-12 Networks.

Spread: Stanford by 7.5

When does Stanford play Arizona?: The teams are not scheduled in the regular season.

When does Utah play Arizona?: Next Saturday at Arizona Stadium.

Why Stanford will win: Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan and receiver Ty Montgomery are one of the best combinations in the Pac-12. Hogan is 10-0 as a starter and has 11 touchdowns with only five interceptions. Montgomery has 23 receptions and five touchdown receptions. He is a game-changer. Against Washington last week, he had a 99-yard return for a touchdown and a 72-yard return to set up another touchdown.

Why Utah will win: His six interceptions against UCLA notwithstanding, Utah quarterback Travis Wilson is still one of the best Pac-12 quarterbacks. Mobile at 6’6”, Wilson currently ranks in the top 25 nationally in several categories. He’s second in pass plays of 50 yards or greater; 12th in total offense (330.8 yards per game) and points responsible for per game (19.2); 15th in passing yards per completion (14.7); and 21st in passing yards per game (281.2).

Outcome: Stanford by 10.

Reason: The Cardinal will put enough pressure on Wilson to keep him unsettled. Stanford, which led the nation in sacks last year, has 14 through the first five games, after sacking Washington’s Keith Price five times last week.

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COLORADO at ASU

When: Saturday, 7 p.m., Tucson time. Where: Sun Devil Stadium. TV: Pac-12 Networks.

Spread: ASU by 26.

When does Colorado play Arizona?: Sat., Oct. 26, Boulder, Colo.

When does ASU play Arizona?: Sat., Nov. 30, Sun Devil Stadium

Why Colorado will win: Mike MacIntyre was a very good hire for Colorado and he has the Buffaloes believing in themselves despite lopsided losses to Oregon State (44-17) and Oregon (57-16) in the last two weeks. It the Buffaloes get a couple of breaks early, the unexpected can happen. The Beavers did not pull away from Colorado at home until late in the second half.

Why ASU will win: The Sun Devils have momentum after coming up short against Notre Dame last week. They finished a difficult four-game stretch against Stanford, Wisconsin, USC and Notre Dame with a 2-2 record and coach Todd Graham has them believing they can challenge UCLA for the Pac-12 South title.

Outcome: ASU by 35.

Reason: ASU quarterback Tyler Kelly is having an All-Pac-12 kind of season. He is one of just three players in the FBS to throw for more than 300 yards in each game this season. He is much better at home as a starter, with 10 of his 15 interceptions coming on the road.

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helmet.UCLA

CALIFORNIA at UCLA

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Tucson time. Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif. TV: ESPN2.

Spread: UCLA by 25.5

When does Cal play Arizona?: Sat., Nov. 2, Berkeley, Calif.

When does UCLA play Arizona?: Sat., Nov. 9, Arizona Stadium

Why Cal will win: … Um, I won’t waste my time or yours with this one. …

Why UCLA will win: Cal’s defense ranks 121st of 123 FBS teams and its facing a potent UCLA offense engineered by Heisman hopeful Brett Hundley. The Bruins rank fourth in the country in total offense, and Hundley ranks 15th individually in total offense.

Outcome: UCLA by 45

Reason: Not only is Cal outmatched player for player, unit for unit offensively and defensively, the Bruins have the revenge factor suffering an embarrassing 43-17 loss at Berkeley last season. Arizona fans remember what UCLA did to the Wildcats winning 66-10 last year at the Rose Bowl after the Wildcats humiliated the Bruins in a 48-12 win the year before in Tucson.

Helmet.OSU

Helmet.Wazzu

OREGON STATE at WASHINGTON STATE

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Tucson time. Where: Martin Stadium, Pullman, Wash. TV: ESPNU.

Spread: Pick ’em.

When does Oregon State play Arizona?: The teams are not scheduled to play in the regular season.

When does Washington State play Arizona?: Sat., Nov. 16, Arizona Stadium.

Why Oregon State will win: Sean Mannion leads the nation in passing and Brandin Cooks is the country’s top receiver. Whenever a combination like that exists a team is always dangerous. Mannion is the most underrated player nationally for how he has played to this point.

Why Wazzu will win: Yes, it was against Cal’s porous defense last week, but Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday threw for 521 yards, the best single-game passing performance by anyone in the FBS this season. It was the second-highest mark in school history, and Halliday’s 67 pass attempts also set a school record. Halliday was coming off an injury the previous week against Stanford. He can play.

Outcome: Oregon State by 6.

Reason: These are the type of games Oregon State coach Mike Riley is famous for winning — mid- to late-season games against teams that are evenly matched against the Beavers (who have won four straight after losing to Eastern Washington). Riley is as good of a game-preparation coach as anybody in the conference. Plus, you just can’t go wrong with Mannion.

WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and TucsonCitizen.com.

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