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The Finale: Week 13 in the Pac-12

I’ve been previewing and predicting the outcomes of games
in the Pac-10/Pac-12 for the last few years, and things
have pretty much gone according to plan on a week-to-week
basis.

That hasn’t been the case this year, as evidenced by back-
to-back weeks of going 3-3 on my picks. Since debuting
this feature upon my arrival here at ArizonaSports.com in
time for Week 7, my mark is a very humbling 23-13.

There’s a lot to be determined this week in the
conference, namely who will represent the South by getting
their teeth kicked in by the North Division champ a week
from Friday.

Time to jump in to Week 13 in the Pac-12…

The Game of the Week

UCLA (6-5, 5-3) at USC (9-2, 6-2) – Saturday 8:00 p.m.
at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – Los Angeles, CA
– I
can sum up UCLA’s season by comparing it to one of my
favorite movies. In the 1996 flick “That Thing You Do!”,
which chronicles the meteoric rise of a one-hit wonder
band in the 1960s, there’s a moment toward the end
of the film
that stands out. Right
before the band is about to make their national television
debut before millions of people, the guitarist looks at
the drummer and asks, “how did we get here?”
Knowing that a win over USC will propel the Bruins to the
Pac-12 Championship Game, Rick Neuheisel has got to be
asking himself the same question. The Bruins are 3-1 in
their last four games, and have been boosted by the recent
stellar play of quarterback Kevin Prince, who has been one
of the best dual threats in the conference as of late.
USC, still playing for pride, may be the most dangerous
team in the country right now. Matt Barkley, since a bad
game in a loss to ASU, has been terrific, throwing 27
touchdown passes against only four interceptions.
USC has won the last four in this rivalry, eleven out of
the last twelve and UCLA hasn’t won at the Coliseum since
1997.

USC 34…UCLA 19

The rest of the slate

California (6-5, 3-5) at Arizona State (6-5, 4-4) –
Friday 8:15 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium – Tempe, AZ

Hear that sound of a large object hurtling toward Earth?
That’s the Sun Devils’ season. Once 6-2 and firmly in the
driver’s seat in the Pac-12, Dennis Erickson’s squad has
squandered their own destiny in each of the last three
weeks. This has many calling for the firing of Erickson,
who’s just two games above .500 as ASU’s coach. Defensive
tackle Bo Moos’ comments after the loss to Arizona last
week didn’t help. The senior told the gathered media that
the Devils “lost hunger” and felt at one point of the
season like “they had arrived”. Oops. Arizona State
needs a win and some help from USC to win the South.
Cal is bowl eligible again after a one-year absence. The
Bears are playing pretty good football as well, having won
3 of 5, including a tough 3-point loss to rival Stanford
last weekend. Cal is 3-1 against Erickson-coached ASU
teams.
California 30…Arizona State 28

Colorado (2-10, 1-7) at Utah (7-4, 4-4) – Friday 1:30
p.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium – Salt Lake City, UT

Utah was my preseason pick to win the South based largely
on the fact that they avoided Stanford and Oregon on their
schedule this year. After an 0-4 conference start, they
were written off. But now, with a win over Colorado and
wins by USC and Cal, the Utes could still win the
division. Utah has ridden the back of RB John White IV,
who has run for 667 yards and 7 touchdowns during their 4-
game winning streak, which will continue on Saturday.

Utah 41…Colorado 17

Oregon State (3-8, 3-5) at Oregon (9-2, 7-1) – Saturday
1:30 p.m. at Autzen Stadium – Eugene, OR
– This is a
huge game for the Ducks, who were knocked out of BCS
championship contention with their loss to USC, still need
a win to wrap up a hosting spot in the Pac-12 Championship
Game.
Considering last Saturday was the Ducks’ first loss at
Autzen since the beginning of the 2008 season, I think
they’re in pretty good shape against the woeful Beavers.

Oregon 48…Oregon State 21

Louisiana-Lafayette (8-3) at Arizona (3-8) – Saturday
2:00 p.m. at Arizona Stadium – Tucson, AZ
– What a
week for the Wildcats. First they beat their rivals at
ASU, putting a huge dent in the Sun Devils’ conference
title hopes, and then they hire Rich Rodriguez as their
new head coach in a glitzy move by AD Greg Byrne. Can
they end the season on a high note? Quarterback Nick
Foles, who hurt himself while handing the ball off against
ASU (I’m not making that up), is questionable for the
game.
The Ragin’ Cajuns, out of the Sun Belt Conference, are
decent, having won 8 games to this point. Their first-
year head coach Mark Hudspeth could be a name to watch in
the offseason coaching carousel. Who knows, maybe Arizona
State will be interested?
Arizona 31…LA-Lafayette 27

Washington State (4-7, 2-6) vs. Washington (6-4, 4-4) –
Saturday 5:30 p.m. at Century Link Field – Seattle, WA

– I’ve never been a big fan of rivalry games played at
neutral sites, but The Apple Cup will be played off-campus
in Seattle. The Huskies have been the north’s version of
Arizona State, completely collapsing down the stretch with
three straight losses. At least Washington can point to
the fact that their quarterback got hurt and they lost two
of those games to really good teams.
Washington State got a shot in the arm in the passing game
from redshirt freshman Connor Halliday the last two weeks,
but he’s out for this game and senior Marshall Lobbestael
will get the start.

Washington 34…Washington State 27

#22 Notre Dame (8-3) at #6 Stanford (10-1) – Saturday
6:00 p.m. at Stanford Stadium – Stanford, CA
– The
Cardinal need a win to stay in contention for an at-large
BCS berth. They don’t even need a win to stay in
contention for the Pac-12 North title, because if Oregon
loses to Oregon State, Stanford will host the championship
game.
Notre Dame is playing well, having won 8 of their last
nine games. The only loss in that stretch was to a Pac-12
team in USC.

Stanford 35…Notre Dame 27