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Pac-12 Football Game Picks: Can Cal Improve to 4-1 With a Trip to the Palouse?

Golden Bears take on Washington State in final game before their Oct. 8 bye.

It's Week 2 of the Pac-12 schedule and Cal treks to the Palouse to take on Washington State. A win would send the Bears into their bye week at 4-1 with a road matchup vs. winless Colorado looming a week later.

The Bears haven't started 2-0 in the conference since 2015.

The six-game conference slate features two other games that should help begin to sort out the pecking order in the Pac-12: Unbeatens Washington and UCLA collide at the Rose Bowl on Friday night before Oregon State visits Utah on Saturday in a duel of strong one-loss teams.

Here are our picks for the week:

Week 4 records: Jeff 4-2, Jake 3-3

Season records: Jeff 31-9, Jake 26-14

All picks against the spread

Betting line from


-- WASHINGTON (minus-3.5) at UCLA, ESPN, 7:30 p.m.

Jake: This is the Huskies’ first road game, but the Rose Bowl is not an intimidating place to play, even at night, and the Bruins have been playing nothing but patsies in going 4-0. Pick: Washington.

Jeff: We find out Friday night at the Rose Bowl whether facing Alabama State or Michigan State was better preparation for important Pac-12 games. Pick: Washington


-- OREGON STATE (plus-10.5) at UTAH, Pac-12 Networks, 11 a.m.

Jake: Oregon State was impressive in its loss to USC, and Utah was unimpressive in its win over Arizona State. Beavers QB Chance Nolan won’t throw four picks again like he did against the Trojans, but the Utes will play better at home. Pick: Utah

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Jeff: Since losing at Florida in its opener, Utah has won by margins of 67, 28 and 21 points. The Beavers gave USC all it could handle, but that game was in Corvallis, not Salt Lake City. Pick: Utah

-- STANFORD (plus-16.5) at OREGON, FS1, 1 p.m.

Jake: Stanford QB Tanner McKee will face even more pressure now that running back EJ Smith is done for the season, and Autzen is no picnic for visitors, especially after the Ducks are coming off a comeback road win. Pick: Oregon.

Jeff: Hard to believe, but Stanford hasn’t beaten an FBS team since knocking off the Ducks in overtime last Oct. 2. A lot has happened in 364 days since then, not much of it good for the Cardinal. Pick: Oregon

-- CAL (plus-4) at WASHINGTON STATE, Pac-12 Networks, 2:30 p.m.

Jake: The Cougars’ defense will focus on stopping Jaydn Ott, so it’s up to QB Jack Plummer to provide a passing game. Incarnate Word is getting exposure for giving WSU a budding star in QB Cameron Ward. Pick: Cal

Jeff: I don’t expect Jaydn Ott to run for 274 yards, but the threat he poses should rattle a defense that is susceptible in the secondary. If the O-line gives quarterback Jack Plummer time to operate, the Bears should take a 4-1 record into their bye week. Pick: Cal

-- COLORADO (plus-17.5) at ARIZONA, Pac-12 Networks, 6:30 p.m.

Jake: Colorado has not been closer than 25 points in any game while starting 0-4, and now the Buffs are on the road. Colorado’s only chance is if Arizona QB Jayden de Laura throws a bunch of interceptions, which cannot be discounted. Pick: Arizona.

Jeff: The Buffaloes are terrible, but this is a huge spread favoring a team that was on its way to losing 20 straight games at this time last year. Pick: Colorado

-- ARIZONA STATE (plus-26.5) at USC, ESPN, 7:30 p.m.

Jake: This is a huge spread, but the Trojans’ potent offense will be geared up to show its 17-point effort against Oregon State was a mere blip. The question is whether ASU is better than Colorado. This week’s games may solve that pressing issue. Pick: USC

Jeff: The Trojans, who averaged more than 50 points in their first three games, will be amped to rev it up again after slipping out of Corvallis with a 17-14 win over Oregon State. Pick: USC

Cover photo of UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson by Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA Today

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo