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Pigskin Pete: Grudge Match Opens Pac12 Football Season

By Fred Delkin

Pete played a starring role in last week’s performance of Forecasting Follies, with upsets littering the landscape, topped by an Oregon State revival versus Wisconsin.  New Pac12 coaching regimes created unexpected surprises in Arizona and L.A. This week the conference season opens with private school members staging what should be their usual grudge match.

SOUTHERN CAL at STANFORD…these two have staged many memorable matches, and this one should be another doozy. The Cardiunal has yet to play a formidable foe, while favored USC got unexpected resistance last week from Syracuse. Nonetheless, the Trojans have too much offensive firepower to fail in this visit, though it will be close. USC by 3.

TENNESSEE TECH at OREGON…the Ducks new QB phenom, Marcus Mariota, proved he was human, losing a pair of fumbles in the second half as UO repeated a letdown after romping to a big lead. We expect Chip Kelly to have his warriors keep their feet on the gas throughout this tussle. Last week rushing was the Webfoot way as Kenjon Barner and DeAnthony Thomas ran wild. OREGON by 35.

ARIZONA STATE at MISSOURI…Todd Graham, a big winner at Rice & Tulsa,
jumped at ASU’s head coaching offer after only a year at Pitt. He has already demonstrated that he is capable of guiding ASU’s huge potential to a role on the national stage, routing a good Illinois team last week. Missouri is a tough challenge, playing at home after narrowly losing to SEC power Georgia. We think this one goes to the home folks. MISSOURI by 3.

CALIFORNIA at OHIO STATE…the Golden Bears got well last week, routing the Big Sky’s Southern Utah, but Tedford’s troop will find Buckeye Stadium a most unfriendly place to visit. Cal does have enough talent to make a game of it. OHIO STATE by 14.

HOUSTON at UCLA…the Bruins new coach, Tim Mora, has already shown that he’s used his NFL-honed mentoring talent to abruptly turn Ricky Neuheisel’s failure around (and Ricky’s found his true calling as a broadcaster for the Pac12 network). The Bruins stunned a ranked Nebraska team last week and should find Houston easy pickings. UCLA by 21.

SOUTH CAROLINA STATE at ARIZONA…new Wildcat coach Rich Rodriguez uncovered a star QB in previously untested Mick Scott and whipped up a convincing win over favored Nebraska this past Saturday. Now he gets to give his entire bench oodles of playing time against this FCS patsy. ARIZONA by 42.

COLORADO at FRESNO STATE…the Oregon Ducks can testify that Fresno has a very capable offensive force, while the stumbling Buffaloes couldn’t get by Big Sky representative Sacramento State (which last year shocked Oregon State).

WASHINGTON STATE at UNLV…new Cougar coach Mike Leach had a woeful debut against BYU, but righted his ship last week versus a good Eastern Washington bunch. The host Runnin’ Rebels are just awful, losing to FCS Northern Arizona after suffering a route at Minnesota in their opener. WSU by 21.

BYU at UTAH…the Utes were upset by a surprisingly good Utah State squad, and lost their lead QB to injury. This traditional rivalry match won’t be one-sided, but Utah’s injury issues should guide the result. BYU by 7.

PORTLAND STATE at WASHINGTON…the Vikings clouded our crystal ball by losing on their expedition to North Dakota. Now Vik coach Nigel Burton takes his crew to play Burton’s alma mater, and the Dawgs, after being humiliated at LSU last week, will not be congenial hosts. The Vik Pistol offense will only seem like a pop gun to UW. WASHINGTON by 28.

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