The Bruins are back this weekend, and the Pac-12 landscape has shifted drastically since the last time they took the field.
No. 13 UCLA football (2-0) was unranked heading into its last game against then-No. 16 LSU. Washington, Utah and USC were all ranked and Oregon was about to face down Frenso State.
Now it's the Bruins who will take on the Bulldogs, who gave the Ducks a run for their money back in Week 1. Oregon eventually jumped into the top-four after upsetting then-No. 3 Ohio State, Washington lost to FCS foe Montana and Big Ten powerhouse Michigan and USC fired coach Clay Helton after his Trojans were upset by Stanford.
Ups and downs have always defined Pac-12 football, and that clearly hasn't changed at all in 2021.
Here are All Bruins' picks for each of the contests including a Pac-12 team in Week 3:
Colorado (-3)* vs. Minnesota
Saturday, 10 a.m. PT
The Buffaloes very nearly upset then-No. 5 Texas A&M last weekend, and that was with an offense that couldn't run or pass for most of the afternoon. The Golden Gophers don't have nearly as much talent as the Aggies, and it doesn't look good that Minnesota only beat Miami (OH) by five points. At home, Colorado is the considerable favorite in this one, even with PJ Fleck having the coaching advantage over Karl Dorrell.
Oregon State vs. Idaho
Saturday, 12:30 p.m. PT
After keeping things respectable in a loss to Purdue in Week 1, Oregon State bounced back with a three-score win over Hawaii. As was evident in their game against UCLA, the Rainbow Warriors aren't exactly a world beater, but taking care of business against an inferior opponent is exactly what the Beavers needed to prove they could do heading into a matchup with an FCS team in Idaho.
Pick: Oregon State
Washington State vs. USC (-8)*
Saturday, 12:30 p.m. PT
The lone conference matchup of Week 3 pits one team that just fired its coach to the new owner of the hottest seat in the Pac-12. Teams that have fired their coach two games into a season are 0-8 in their next contest, so while USC certainly boasts more talent than Washington State, that trend seems difficult to buck. Interim coach Donte Williams has his supporters, but it would be a surprise if he could take the Trojans on the road and win just five days after getting the job.
Pick: Washington State
California vs. Sacramento State
Saturday, 1 p.m. PT
The Golden Bears' two losses have come by a combined seven points, so it isn't as if it's been a total disaster for them to start the season. Nevada was a solid Mountain West team and TCU stands to be an above average Big 12 team knocking on the door of the top 25. A Big Sky opponent shouldn't stand a chance with Cal playing at home.
Washington (-16.5)* vs. Arkansas State
Saturday, 1:15 p.m. PT
No pick is too obvious for the Huskies anymore, not after they lost to FCS program Montana in Week 1. Losing once to a team of that caliber at home is going to stick around Washington for a while, and doing so twice might lead to the program being dissolved on the spot. Even though Arkansas State is better than Montana and the Husky offense is borderline useless, Washington should win this one comfortably.
San Diego State vs. Utah (-9)*
Saturday, 4 p.m. PT
Coming off a crushing defeat to in-state rival BYU, Utah dropped out of the rankings and now has to face another respectable West Coast program. Opening the season against Weber State gave the Utes a big win, but it remains to be seen if that 40-17 victory had more to do with Utah being good or Weber State being bad. San Diego State beat Arizona by 24 points in Week 2, so the Aztecs certainly have a shot. This could end up being the closest Pac-12 game of the weekend, but Utah should still be expected to pull out the win.
No. 4 Oregon vs. Stony Brook
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. PT
One week removed from beating Ohio State, Stony Brook might as well just not even show up to Autzen Stadium on Saturday. This has no shot of being a trap game for the Ducks, even with their sights probably set all the way ahead on their Oct. 23 matchup with UCLA. They can overlook the Seawolves all they want and still come away with a blowout win.
Vanderbilt vs. Stanford (-12)*
Saturday, 5 p.m. PT
Putting aside Stanford's big road upset over then-No. 14 USC last week, Vanderbilt shouldn't be expected to beat any Power Five opponent at this point. The Commodores avoided total disaster by squeaking out a three-point win over Colorado State in Week 2, but that hardly erases the stink of their 23-3 loss to East Tennessee State in the season opener. As unpredictable as David Shaw's recent Cardinal teams have been, they deserve to be the heavy favorites.
Arizona (-3)* vs. Northern Arizona
Saturday, 7 p.m. PT
The Wildcats only losing by eight to a BYU team that went on to take down Utah seems to say good things about Arizona, until you see that they got their doors blown off by San Diego State one week later. Northern Arizona is no San Diego State, though, so even with the messy and thin roster down in Tucson, Arizona is still a reliable enough pick Saturday at home.
No. 23 BYU vs. No. 19 Arizona State (-4)*
Saturday, 7:15 p.m. PT
The only ranked-on-ranked matchup of the weekend pits the Cougars and Sun Devils against each other in central Utah. Undefeated Arizona State has cruised to two wins without facing a true quality opponent, while BYU has already taken care of business against two Pac-12 squads. The Cougars haven't played a quarterback as dynamic as Jayden Daniels though, so he should be the difference maker that leads the Sun Devils to an early season-defining win.
Pick: Arizona State
No. 13 UCLA (-11.5)* vs. Fresno State
Saturday, 7:45 p.m. PT
The night cap to end all night caps, the matchup between the Bruins and Bulldogs should be a fun one for the neutral viewer and a nail-biter for everyone else. For one, if all the other games go as predicted, the Pac-12's perfect weekend will all come down to this. In terms of what's actually going to go down on the gridiron, UCLA's world-class rushing attack and aggressive defense will come face to face with Jake Haener and one of the most explosive passing games in the country. In what stands to be a high-scoring affair, the Bruins should defend their home turf and enter conference play undefeated alongside Oregon and Arizona State.