Finally I managed a slightly better week with the picks, going 4-1 last week to push me to 37-10 on the season. The lone miss was Oregon State earning their first win of the season over Arizona, which may have led directly like to Zona Coach Mike Stoops' firing a couple days later.
I'm not overly surprised the Beavers won. If you have watched them the last couple weeks you've seen a very young team improve dramatically week to week. If they continue to improve at this rate, it wouldn't be a total shock to see them at 4-4 when they visit Stanford on November 5th (I wouldn't put money on it, I'm just saying).
One tidbit I want to point you to this week, from ESPN's Ted Miller. For his second half prediction article he posted today he predicted a Pac-12 championship game matchup of a 9-3 ASU and 11-1 Stanford. I have no problem with him choosing those two teams, but I do have a question: How does Stanford win the Pac-12 North and end up with an 11-1 record?
One of two things must happen for Stanford to win the division and lose a game.
1 - They beat Oregon, but lose to someone else. Given the rest of their schedule I just don't see a game the Cardinal lose if it's not Oregon. If both teams finish with one conference loss, the first tie-breaker is the head-to-head matchup.
2 - Stanford beats Oregon but loses to someone else (Washington? USC?) and the Ducks also lose another conference game (Washington)?
I find either of these, given the conference dominance by Stanford and Oregon, unlikely. I strongly believe the winner of the Oregon-Stanford game - November 12th in Palo Alto - will determine the Pac-12 North winner. And nothing else. That means Oregon will represent at 11-1 overall (with the loss to LSU), or Stanford will at 12-0. If Stanford finishes the season at 12-0, they have a strong shot at going to the national championship game, and if they finish 11-1 (with only a loss to Oregon), they have a strong shot at going to another BCS game with an at-large bid.
But 11-1 and playing in the Pac-12 title game? I can't see it.
On to the games! Rankings in parentheses (AP, ESPN). All times Pacific.
(Time - Matchup - Network - Pick)
6pm - USC (31, NR) at Cal - ESPN - CAL
9am - Utah at Pittsburgh - ESPNU - PITTSBURGH
12:30pm - Colorado at Washington (27, 27) - ROOT - WASHINGTON
1pm - BYU at Oregon State - Fox College Sports Pacific - OREGON STATE
4:30 pm - Stanford (7, 5) at Washington State - Versus - STANFORD
7:15pm - Arizona State (18, 20) at Oregon (9, 9) - ESPN - OREGON
This week Arizona and UCLA are off. Stanford and ASU can both become bowl-eligible with wins this week.
Who do you pick?