With a couple of showdown games involving Pac-12 schools this week, the 2014 season is already beginning to get interesting.
This week’s picks are as follows:
CAL over SACRAMENTO STATE … stop the presses, Cal will be on a two-game winning streak after this one is over and there will be no stopping Sonny’s boys the rest of the way. Already we’re hearing cries of “Break up the Bears.” Sac State, meanwhile, is feeling its oats after routing Incarnate Word’s after-school intramural team last week.
OREGON over MICHIGAN STATE … the winner of this early-season contrast of styles moves into the driver’s seat for one of the four national championship playoff spots. It’s the Spartans’ NFL defense against Oregon’s Arena Football offense. The Autzen Crazies win this one for the Ducks.
UCLA over MEMPHIS … after laying an egg and still winning their road opener, the Bruins come back to the Rose Bowl and show just what they’re capable of.
NOTRE DAME over MICHIGAN … two traditional powers struggling to regain respectability. Everett Golson has learned his lesson well and will lead the Irish to victory.
WASHINGTON STATE over NEVADA … to “Coug It” is Palouse talk for “choke,” and that’s exactly what the Cougars did last week against Rutgers. This is a team in desperate need of a win since the schedule gets only tougher as the season progresses.
ARIZONA STATE over NEW MEXICO … the Sun Devils think they’re the team to beat in the Pac-12 South. Only time will tell, but USC and UCLA may have something to say about that.
OREGON STATE over HAWAII … the Islanders nearly upset mighty Washington last week and should throw a scare into a Beaver team that was less than impressive in beating the Big Sky’s Portland State.
UPSET OF THE WEEK: USC over STANFORD … the Cardinal has reached the highest echelons of college football, where USC formerly resided. The Trojans, coming off seemingly a decade of penalties from the Pete Carroll era, are ready to roll. Just ask Fresno State. (Upset record: 1-0).
ROUT OF THE WEEK: Alabama over Florida Atlantic … the Tide is still trying to find a quarterback, but will have no trouble with this bottom-feeder even if no quarterback shows up to play. (Rout record: 1-0).
DON’T BET ON IT, BUT: Washington over Eastern Washington … several years ago the upstart Eagles almost pulled the upset of the century over the Huskies. Chris Petersen has generated a ton of excitement since taking over in Seattle, but after last week’s 17-16 dud over Hawaii, Husky fans are restless. (Don’t bet record: 1-0).
FIVE (OR SIX) EASY PICKS: Baylor over Northwestern State, Auburn over San Jose State, Florida over Eastern Michigan, Clemson over South Carolina State, Florida State over Citadel, and Texas A&M over Lamar. (FEP record: 4-0).
AGGIES over FORT LEWIS … Fort Who? Our local heroes stepped way up last weekend and they’ll step way down this weekend. The home opener is a lock for the boys in Blue and Gold. Take the Ags by 31.
OTHER GAMES: Oklahoma over Tulsa, Wisconsin over Western Illinois, Nebraska over McNeese State, Kansas State over Iowa State, Missouri over Toledo, Tennessee over Arkansas State, Connecticut over Stony Brook, Illinois over Western Kentucky, Penn State over Akron, Rutgers over Howard, Mississippi State over Alabama –Birmingham, Utah over Fresno State, Colorado over Massachusetts, Bowling Green over VMI, Maryland over South Florida, Iowa over Ball State, Oklahoma State over Missouri State, Virginia over Richmond, Georgia Tech over Tulane, Arkansas over Nicholls State, Mississippi over Vanderbilt, North Carolina State over Old Dominion, South Carolina over East Carolina, Louisville over Murray State, Miami (Fla.) over Florida A&M, Duke over Troy, Marshall over Rhode Island, Louisiana-Monroe over Idaho, LSU over Sam Houston State, Texas over BYU, West Virginia over Towson, Ohio State over Virginia Tech, North Carolina over San Diego State, Houston over Grambling, Utah State over Idaho State, UNLV over Northern Colorado, Wyoming over Air Force, and Boise State over Colorado State.
— Last week: 56-5, season: 56-5, percentage: .918.