Pac-12 teams that haven’t already hit the halfway point of their schedules will do so this week, as the season churns into its second half. The first six weeks have been relatively kind to yours truly, yielding an against-the-spread record nine games above the .500 mark. Plenty of time left to dip into the red, though, so let’s get to it.
As always, our pick for the Washington game will come in a separate post on Friday. And as always, all lines are courtesy of VegasInsider.com, and are intended solely for entertainment purposes, or for entertaining porpoises, assuming those porpoises are really into sports betting.
Last week: 3-2 straight-up, 3-2 against the spread.
Season: 36-14 straight-up, 25-16-1 against the spread.
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UCLA at Stanford, 7:30 p.m., ESPN (Stanford by 7) -- The Cardinal have worn the Bruins out in recent years, winning seven consecutive games against their California counterparts. And I don’t see that streak ending tonight. Stanford appears on a serious roll, led by the rushing skills of Christian McCaffrey, and when we last saw the Bruins, they were losing by 15 points at home to an Arizona State team that scares precisely nobody. This spread feels ... generous. Probably intended to take advantage of existing perception of UCLA as one of the Pac-12’s big dogs. Stanford will further disprove that notion tonight. The pick: Stanford 34, UCLA 23.
Oregon State at Washington State, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (WSU by 8) -- It would be just like the Cougars to lose this game, what with last week’s big upset of Oregon and all. Nobody has ever accused WSU of handling success very well. But this team might be different. And by this team, I mean Oregon State. Don’t think the Beavers are good enough to win in Pullman. The pick: WSU 48, OSU 31.
USC at Notre Dame, 4:30 p.m., NBC (Notre Dame by 6.5) -- Sometimes, a coaching change can rally a team. See: USC in 2013, following the firing of Lane Kiffin and the promotion of Ed Orgeron to interim coach. And by all accounts, USC’s players seem to be embracing Clay Helton’s promotion in the wake of Steve Sarkisian’s firing this week. But winning in South Bend against a top-15 team just five days after a very public, very messy firing -- and just nine days after a pretty ugly performance in a bad loss to Washington -- seems a lot to ask of the Trojans, no matter how talented they still are. The pick: Notre Dame 28, USC 21.
Arizona at Colorado, 6 p.m., FOX Sports 1 (Arizona by 8) -- Wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Colorado pulling this one out at home. Arizona’s defense isn’t great, and the Buffaloes can throw the ball a little. But I’m going to pick the more talented team. The pick: Arizona 35, Colorado 24.
Arizona State at Utah, 7 p.m., ESPN (Utah by 6.5) -- Interesting that this is the same point spread attached to Utah’s game against California last week. The Utes won that game but did not cover. Here’s a guess they do both this week against the Sun Devils. The pick: Utah 24, ASU 17.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple