Some things are just too good to be true. After five straight weeks at .500 or better, this scribe laid an egg in Week 6. Khalil ‘freakin’ Tate’s dominance in Boulder, California’s stout defense, and Stanford’s upset of Washington on The Farm led to a 1-3 record last week. Time to bounce back. Five Pac-12 contests highlight one of the biggest weekends in College Football, and it all kicks off Friday night when the Buffaloes travel to Autzen Stadium for the first time since 2016.
Overall Record (ATS): 24-16-1
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11
Colorado (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12) vs. #13 Oregon (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12)
Time, Network: 8:00pm MT, Fox Sports 1
Spread: Oregon -21 (o/u 60 1⁄2 )
Since their season-opening 27-21 loss to Auburn, Oregon’s defense hasn’t allowed more than seven points in each of their last four games. That will change Friday night. Even with star wideouts Laviska Shenault and K.D. Nixon listed as day-to-day, Steven Montez and the Buffaloes offense should put points on the board. On the flip side, the Ducks offense hasn’t exactly been lighting up the scoreboard with projected first round pick Justin Herbert at the helm. Herbert has only cracked 300-plus passing yards in a game twice this season and Oregon ranks 101st in the FBS in red zone offense, scoring only 75 percent of the time. That said, the Ducks should win, but for the sixth time this season I’m taking the Buffaloes to cover.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12
Washington State (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12) vs. #18 Arizona State (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12)
Time, Network: 1:30pm MT, Pac-12 Networks
Spread: Arizona State -1 1⁄2 (o/u 59 1⁄2 )
After dropping their last two contests to UCLA and Utah, Washington State had a much needed bye week to prepare for this big test in Tempe. The Sun Devils also earned a rest after knocking off then-15th ranked Golden Bears 24-17. Arizona State holds a 27-15-2 all-time record in the series, but Washington State has won the last two. I’m tempted to take the Cougars in this one, but I believe Eno Benjamin and Arizona State running attack will be the difference. The Arizona State junior seems to have regained his sophomore-year form after rushing for 183 yards and five touchdowns the last two games, while Washington State’s defense is allowing 178.6 rush yards per game. Behind Benjamin, the Sun Devils will control the clock and cover the one and a half points.
USC (3-2) vs. #9 Notre Dame
Time, Network: 5:30pm MT, NBC
Spread: Notre Dame -10 1⁄2 (o/u 59)
The Trojans are 3-0 at home this season, but 0-2 on the road, losing at BYU and Washington. USC signal caller Kedon Slovis is back after missing time due to a concussion, but so is Notre Dame running back Jafar Armstrong, who sat the last four games with an abdominal injury. Advantage Irish. With a talented receiving core at his disposal, Slovis should put up yards against an Irish secondary that surrendered 334 to Virginia’s Bryce Perkins. However, USC’s quarterbacks haven’t exactly been mistake free this season, throwing nine interceptions through five games. Look for the Irish to take advantage of two or more Slovis mistakes and Armstrong to have a big game against a Trojans defense allowing 4.5 yards per rush. Take Notre Dame at home giving 10 and a half.
#15 Utah (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) vs. Oregon State (2-3, 1-1 Pac-12)
Time, Network: 6:00pm MT, Pac-12 Networks
Spread: Utah -14 1⁄2 (o/u 59 1⁄2 )
Oregon State is coming off an impressive 48-31 win at UCLA, while Utah had the week off after demolishing Washington State 38-13. Behind quarterback Jake Luton, running back Artavis Pierce and wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins, the Beavers offense has exploded for 475.6 yards per game which ranks third in the Pac-12. But they haven’t faced a defense this season like Utah’s. The Utes are surrendering a mere 14.4 points and 282.4 yards per game, which rank second in the league. Utah’s offense also ranks fifth in the FBS in time of possession, holding the ball an average of 35 minutes per game. Look for Utah to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball as they cover the 14 1⁄2 points.
Washington (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) vs. Arizona (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12)
Time, Network: 9:00pm MT, Fox Sports 1
Spread: Washington -6 (o/u 59 1⁄2 )
If you are thinking Arizona’s Khalil Tate will match last week’s career-high 404 passing yards and 3 touchdowns against Colorado, think again. Despite losing at Stanford 23-13 last weekend, the Huskies secondary is allowing 218.2 pass yards per game which ranks third in the conference. While Tate will have trouble racking up passing yards in this one, his counterpart Jacob Eason won’t. Look for the former Georgia signal caller to bounce back after a sub-par performance (16-36, 206 yards, TD, INT) against Stanford. Eason will have a field day against a Wildcats secondary surrendering 336.2 passing yards per game (128th in FBS). Take the Huskies to cover on the road and cause a big shakeup in the Pac-12 South Division.
*Point spreads are as of Friday, October 11 per the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook*