A messy month of nonconference play is over, with the Pac-12 taking blow after blow, week after week.
No. 24 UCLA football (2-1) lost to Fresno State, Arizona State fell out of the rankings, Utah has lost back-to-back, USC is doing a midseason coaching search, Arizona is winless and that's just in the South division.
USC and Stanford facing off in Week 2 marked the first Pac-12 contest of the season, but now every team in the Pac-12 is playing a true conference game. The Cardinal will try to topple another ranked LA team with UCLA coming to town, and the Trojans, Sun Devils and Utes will try to salvage their seasons as two-score favorites at home.
And then, of course, there's Oregon, which is sitting pretty above the rest of its conference foes, waiting for a consistent and reliable challenger to arise.
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 4:
Utah (-14.5)* vs. Washington State
Saturday, 11:30 a.m. PT
Salt Lake City, Utah
Two tight losses in a row to a ranked team and another team on the fringe of the top 25 is not what Utah was hoping for out of its nonconference slate, but it could have been worse. San Diego State and BYU are good teams, so there isn't a real reason to sound the alarm for the Utes just yet. Washington State just got stomped at home by a USC team with a first week interim coach and a third-string quarterback, so even though the Trojans were far more talented, that's still a crushing defeat. Utah, playing at home, won't make the same mistake of losing to a visiting team in turmoil.
Stanford vs. No. 24 UCLA (-4.5)*
Saturday, 3 p.m. PT
The recent games between the Bruins and Cardinal have always been entertaining, for everyone outside of Westwood at least. UCLA and Stanford usually put on a good show, and while the pessimism tied to the Bruins' recent history in the rivalry has led to many fans conceding this one already, they're the lone road favorite in the Pac-12 for a reason. This is a talented, deep, solid UCLA team going up against a Stanford squad that is allowing over 200 rushing yards per game. That will likely play to the Bruins' strengths, and they'll come out with a much-needed win to prove the Fresno State game is safely in their past.
Washington (-7.5)* vs. California
Saturday, 6:30 p.m. PT
Still trying to rid themselves of the stink associated with their season-opening loss to Montana, Washington still hasn't done much to proved they're a new team. The Huskies looked better but still lost to Michigan, then beat up on Arkansas State, but Cal – for all its faults – has put together a much more promising and successful season to this point. The Golden Bears' losses to Nevada and near-ranked TCU came by a combined seven points, and they too handily defeated an inferior opponent in Sacramento State last week. It's honestly a coin flip, but don't look past Cal picking up a road upset.
No. 3 Oregon (-29)* vs. Arizona
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. PT
If any team were to ever win a conference game by 100 points, this might be the one for the Ducks. Arizona is a true bottom feeder, while Oregon continues to roll and prove itself on the national stage. Not much to discuss here – it isn't a matter of who wins, it's a matter of by how much they win by.
Arizona State (-14.5)* vs. Colorado
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. PT
Even with a loss to round out their nonconference schedule, the Sun Devils have plenty to look forward to. BYU is a top-20 team and also beat Utah, so losing to them doesn't set Arizona State back much in the race for the Pac-12 South title. They'll open conference play at home against Colorado, the second-worst team in the division coming off two embarrassing offensive performances and zero points in their last seven quarters. At this point, two field goals may be all Arizona State needs to win.
Pick: Arizona State
USC (-10.5)* vs. Oregon State
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. PT
Los Angeles, California
The injury questions and coaching drama continue to hang over the Trojans, but they showed a week ago that talent will win out when everyone is at least on the same page. Interim coach Donte Williams seems to be running a pretty tight ship, which fits well for a team of five stars without a true guiding force or idea of what the future will hold. It worked on the road against Washington State, and although Oregon State is slightly more talented than the Cougars, USC should get good quarterback play out of whoever's available and improve to 3-1.