By Fred Delkin
Our state’s football fans have never had it so good so far. Oregon and Oregon State are the only unbeaten Pac12 teams halfway through this college football season…and very likely to stay that way following Saturday’s matchups. Oregon is a prohibitive favorite to crush Colorado in front of Autzen Stadium’s worshipers, while Oregon State visits Washington with a mere 4.5 point edge awarded by the oddsmakers. Pigskin was perfect in last week’s picks, a 7-0 mark.
The Beavers face a pack of maddened Dawgs, whose fortunes have shrunk to a 3-4 record to date and the Seattle press is stirring the Husky stew. This should be a memorable struggle, but we’ll give the edge to the Beaver defense.
OREGON STATE at WASHINGTON–the hosts were humiliated at Arizona last week as the Wildcats’ hurry-up spread offense functioned to perfection. This week, OSU brings a more staid brand of attack, with a UW pass rush able to keep the score down. The Huskies will mount an improved and highly motivated defense, but their offense should weaken by the second half under the relentless pressure of the Beaver dam-makers. OREGON STATE by 7.
COLORADO at OREGON–Webfoot coach Chip Kelly’s “Win the Day” philosophy will keep his charges focused on the task at hand, without the danger of overconfidence that the 1-6 Buffaloes tend to inspire in their foes. Just another first half Duck blowout and more exercise for UO bench-riders after the intermission. Next up for the Ducks, a trip to L.A. and payback for a Trojan squad that had the temerity last year to forge an upset win at Autzen. OREGON by 40+.
SOUTHERN CAL at ARIZONA–as Washington can attest, the Wildcats are a dangerous bunch in their home den. The oddsmakers agree, and have posted SC as only a 6.5 point favorite. We think the hosts’ Oregon-style attack will take a toll on the Trojans’ thin ranks by the fourth quarter, but the bevy of NFL-type talent commanded by QB Matt Barkley will post an insurmountable lead. SOUTHERN CAL by 7.
UCLA at ARIZONA STATE–be not confused by Oregon’s rout of the Sun Devils last week. That only certified just how good the current Duck squad is. The Bruins come to the desert with a good 5-2 record and still have a shot at a south division Pac12 title. Webelieve, however, that a chastened but talented home team will prevail. ARIZONA STATE by 7.
WASHINGTON STATE at STANFORD–the Cardinal have earned our consideration of them as the Pac12′s second-best squad. They are both big and fast and will pose little barrier to the visiting Cougars, who are very much a work-in-progress. STANFORD by 28.
CALIFORNIA at UTAH–Golden Bear coach Jeff Tedford is covered in tarnish with an unexpected 3-5 record. The Utes are only 2-5 on the season, but they will shake their injury and depth woes on home soil. Tedford is now a top conference candidate to face a mandated retirement after entering this season as a predicted contender, but now 3-5. UTAH by 3.
PORTLAND STATE at UC DAVIS–we watched the Vikings’ televised second half collapse at undefeated and Big Sky-leading Cal Poly and realize PSU’s hopes for title and playoff contention were only a pipe dream. The Viks are now 2-5 on the year and only an even bet to beat Cal Davis on the wine academy’s own turf. PORTLAND STATE by 1.
ROSES & RASPBERRIES–a hearty boo to that other form of futbol represented by the Portland Timbers, who showed undeserved elation after beating woeful Vancouver B.C. last week…a beauteous bouquet to the Portland Trailblazer’s rookie Damon Lillard, proving that he has the real goods for point guard stardom…no kudos can be given for Nike’s too reluctant dumping of one Lance Armstrong, but they did have a lot of dough tied up in years of his promotion.