Three weeks remain in the regular season and this scribe sits seven wins below .500 after a sub-par 2-4 performance last week. But with 18 games left, anything is possible. Will Utah take down Oregon without quarterback Tyler Huntley? Which Pac-12 teams will punch their postseason tickets in Week 11? Arizona State, Colorado, Stanford and USC, all at home this week, can become bowl eligible with a win. Here are my selections for Week 11. Choose wisely!
OVERALL RECORD: 27-34-1 (7-3 LOCK OF THE WEEK)
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10
UCLA (2-7, 2-4 Pac-12) vs. Arizona State (5-4, 3-3 Pac-12)
Noon MT, Pac-12 Networks
Line: Arizona State -13 (o/u 61 ½)
After a big win over Utah last week, Arizona State is in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 South. UCLA on the other hand has dropped two straight games. The Bruins’ two wins this season have come by way of turnovers. UCLA had five takeaways in a 37-7 victory over California on October 13 and three in a one-point win against Arizona the following week. Unfortunately for the Bruins, Herm Edwards’ gang has only turned the ball over seven times in nine games this season. Look for Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin (27 car, 175 yards, 2 TD vs. Utah) and wide receiver N’Keal Harry (9 rec, 161 yards, 3 TD vs. Utah) to have big games against UCLA. Take the Sun Devils, 4-1 against the spread at home this season, to cover the 13 points in Tempe.
8 Washington State (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) vs. Colorado (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12)
1:30 PM MT, ESPN
Line: Washington State -6 ½ (o/u 61 ½)
Washington State is 8-1 against the spread this season. The Cougars lead the Pac-12 in a number of categories including points per game (38.3), total offense (469.2 yards per game) and sacks (27). So why are the 8th-ranked Cougars only a six-and-a-half-point favorite against a Buffaloes team that has lost four straight games? The answer is Laviska Shenault Jr. Despite missing the last three games with a toe injury, the talented athlete still leads the conference in receptions (60) and receiving yards per game (130.0); and ranks 3rdwith 780 receiving yards. The junior hinted via instagram that he may be returning for this week’s game, although head coach Mike MacIntyre still contends he’s “day to day.” Even though Washington State is 8-1 against the spread this season, Mike Leach is a career 0-3 at Folsom Field. Maybe it has something to do with his adoration of Ralphie. Wait until an official announcement on Laviska Shenault is made before deciding on this game. If Viska plays, take the Buffs plus six and a half points in a shootout. If he doesn’t, Washington State should cover.
Oregon (6-3, 3-3 Pac-12) vs. Utah (6-3, 4-3 Pac-12)
3:30PM MT, Pac-12 Network
Line: Utah -4 (o/u 53 ½)
The good news for Utah? They are 3-1 against the spread at home this season. The bad news? They’ll be without starting quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zach Moss for this game and potentially the remainder of the season. Huntley broke his collarbone in Saturday’s loss at Arizona State while Moss suffered a severe knee injury in practice this week. The Ducks are 1-2 ATS in road games this season, but with no Huntley or Moss to contend with, I like Justin Herbert and company getting four points in this game. Take the Ducks in what is my LOCK OF THE WEEK.
Oregon State (2-7, 1-5 Pac-12) vs. Stanford (5-4, 3-3 Pac-12)
7:00 PM MT, Pac-12 Networks
Line: Stanford -24 (o/u 61 ½)
Oregon State is coming off a 38-21 loss at home to USC. Stanford has dropped two straight games (vs. Washington State and at Washington) by a total of seven points. 24 points is a lot to cover for a Cardinal team that ranks second to last in the conference in total offense (372.2 yards per game). The Beavers defense however can’t stop anyone. Tim Tibesar’s unit is allowing 536.9 points per game, ranking Oregon State 128thout of 129 FBS teams in total defense. The Cardinal will win this game, but I’m taking the Beavers getting 24.
California (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12) vs. USC (5-4, 4-3 Pac-12)
8:30 PM MT, ESPN
Line: USC -5 (o/u 46)
The Golden Bears are 5-4 ATS this season while the Trojans are 3-6. California has last 14-straight games to USC, their last win coming during Aaron Rodgers’ tenure in Berkeley. Both offenses are averaging a shade over 380 yards per game. The difference in this one will be California’s defense, which ranks 3rdin the Pac-12 and 19thin the nation allowing just 323.2 yards per game. Assuming the turnover-prone Golden Bears – 22 turnovers in nine games – can hold onto the ball, I like them to cover Saturday night in the Coliseum.
*Lines as of Friday, November 9 per the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook*