Picking the Pac: Week Eight

Oregon faces its first true road test of the season, but should hold off Arizona State on Thursday night.

Last week: 6-0 straight up, 5-1 against the spread
Season to date: 37-17 straight up, 27-21 against the spread

Thursday
Oregon (-8) 38, Arizona State 23 –
For two teams that are a combined 11-1, doesn't it feel like there is a staggering lack of information about the Sun Devils and Ducks? Oregon is only now playing its first true road game of the season, which has to impress the stodgiest SEC homer, while Arizona State loss at Missouri looks worse by the week. Neither has a win over a team from a BCS conference with a record over .500, while the closest thing to a marquee victory would be Oregon's evisceration of Fresno State. Even with quarterback Marcus Mariota facing a truly hostile crowd, the Duck defense and special teams will be enough to overcome some early mistakes by the redshirt freshman and pull away by a comfortable margin.

Saturday
California (+2.5) 25, Stanford 20 –
It's the 30th anniversary of The Play, and the Bears have to have this game for their most realistic route to bowl eligibility. Stanford has been on a roller coaster for the past month, every game having been in doubt on the final possession, and quarterback Josh Nunes not progressing the way one would have hoped, Cal will load the box and dare the Cardinal to win through the air. Wide receiver Keenan Allen will set the new school record for receptions and secure his signature win in his time in Berkeley so far.

USC 48, Colorado (+40.5) 10 – The spread might be outrageous, quarterback Matt Barkley might be struggling, but this will not be 2007 all over again. The Trojans have gone so far as treating the Buffs like they are Alabama this week. Expect Barkley to get back on track, wide receiver Robert Woods to collect five receptions to pass Dwayne Jarrett and his 216 career catches for the new USC all-time mark, and an easy win that sets the stage for a closing stretch with only one more game outside of Los Angeles.

Arizona 27, Washington (+7.5) 20 – Both teams have been put through the ringer, with the Wildcats having played their last three games against ranked opposition, the Huskies four of their last five. Yet, Arizona quarterback Matt Scott still leads the Pac-12 in total offense, bolstered by running back Ka'Deem Carey and receiver Austin Hill. Even with the improvements Washington has shown on defense under coordinator Justin Wilcox, that trio at home will be enough to continue the push for the postseason in year one of the Rich Rodriguez era.

Oregon State (-10.5) 31, Utah 14 – Relying on Beaver Juice, In-N-Out Burger, and the decidedly Mike Riley-approved cheer of hip hip hooray, Oregon State is now in the top ten and setting the stage for the biggest Civil War ever. Cody Vaz was beyond impressive stepping in for injured quarterback Sean Mannion, throwing for 332 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in a win at BYU. Add in the top run defense and best turnover margin in the conference, this magical ride might not end until New Year's Day.

Dan Greenspan is the publisher of Cal Sports Digest and writes about the Pac-12 for Fox Sports Next. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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