Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday Primer

Today should bring a little more clarity to the Pac-12 race as conference play begins in earnest. There are several intriguing match-ups today. There are three early games and two late games. Utah and Stanford have a bye week. Your early morning preview:

Colorado @ Ohio State (-15.5)

12:30 PM, ESPN2/ABC

Game Thoughts: Colorado has looked better this season than the past few seasons. Ohio State has taken a definite step backwards this year. However, playing back in "The Horseshoe," Ohio State will be looking to get a sour taste out of their mouths.

The Pick: Ohio State

UCLA @ Oregon State (-2.5)

12:30 PM, Fox College Sports

Game Thoughts: Both teams come in needing a victory. UCLA shocked Oregon State on the road in 2010 with a close 17-14 victory. Both teams have had some trouble settling on a quarterback this season, but Oregon State, the slight favorite has the home field.

The Pick: Oregon State

California @ Washington (-3.0)
12:30 PM, Fox College Sports

Game Thoughts: Neither team has looked overly impressive early in the season with Washington struggling to close victories over FCS Eastern Washington and WAC opponent Hawaii. Washington comes off of a tough loss at Nebraska. California has played a little better with wins against Fresno State and Colorado. California has an edge with better defensive performance early in the season.

The Pick: California

USC @ Arizona State (-3.0)
7:15 PM, ESPN

Game Thoughts: USC has won a couple of close games against Minnesota and Utah and sailed to an easier victory over Syracuse. Arizona State has been up and down early this season with a big overtime win against Missouri and a loss to Illinois. USC's defense has performed better early this season than they did last year. Arizona State is susceptible to a good passing game.

The Pick: USC

Oregon (-14.5) @ Arizona
7:15PM, ESPN2

Game Thoughts: Arizona has struggled mightily against Oklahoma State and Stanford the last two weeks and now faces a third straight top 10 opponent. After a season opening loss to LSU, Oregon bounced back with dominating wins over over-matched Nevada and FCS foe Missouri State. Arizona, though, has not played well on defense in any of their three games, including giving up a 77% completion percentage to FCS team Northern Arizona. They have been one dimensional on offense with the passing game accounting for nearly 87% of their total offense.

The Pick: Oregon
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