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Picking the Pac, Week 2: Home Dog Night

Favorites go on the road as Pac tries to continue early hot streak

NCAA Football: Southern California at Stanford Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

A 4-5 ATS record in Week 1 isn’t ideal, but it’s not disastrous given that there is so much to learn about each team. Of the 5 ATS losses, 4 came from underestimating the Pac-12 team in the matchup. Only UCLA underperformed relative to my expectations. Will the Pac continue to exceed expectations in Week 2? Let’s look at the match-ups.

All betting lines from DraftKings Sportsbook. Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details

Utah @ Baylor, Utah -7

Two years ago, Dave Aranda was among the hottest names in nationwide coaching searches. Now, Baylor finds itself on a five-games losing streak, most recently against recent FBS joiner Texas State. Even without Cam Rising, Utah pushed around Florida up front on both sides of the ball. I have no reason to think they won’t do the same to the Bears.

Utah 30 - Baylor 21

Nebraska @ Colorado, Colorado -3.5

The perception of Colorado changed drastically over the weekend, but at least some of the adjustment needs to be a downward adjustment to our perception of TCU. Yes, Travis Hunter is unreal and Colorado has offensive weapons. But the Nebraska defense will be miles ahead of where TCU was a week ago.

Nebraska 30 - Colorado 28

Oregon @ Texas Tech, Oregon -6.5

We’re already on the second of an amazing six road favorites in Pac-12 games this week. This game looks a lot like the Utah-Baylor game. A Pac-12 team with an impressive Week 1 travels to Texas to face a team with a horrible Week 1 loss. I have more faith in Texas Tech than Baylor this year. Still, I was impressed enough by Oregon sustaining offensive fireworks without Kenny Dillingham that they’re going to be a tough opponent for anyone.

Oregon 45 - Texas Tech 35

Wisconsin @ Washington State, Wisconsin -6.5

NCAA Football: Washington State at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

This line tells me that the public puts more weight on Wisconsin playing well under new coach Luke Fickell and OC Phil Luongo than it does on Ben Arbuckle possibly impelling Cam Ward to take the proverbial leap for the Cougs. This looks like a close game to me. Wisconsin had a pair of 100 yard rushers last week. If WSU can hold up against the ground attack, they could pull the upset for a second year in a row.

Wisconsin 34 - WSU 31

Arizona @ Mississippi State, MSU -10

Both teams dominated FCS opponents last week, so we’re still working off of preseason expectations to a large degree. Mike Leach’s death remains an unquantifiable factor for the Bulldogs, but they are the more talented team in this match-up. Arizona will score points all year with Jayden de Laura throwing to Tetairoa McMillan and other talented receivers, but it is going to be a difficult game up front.

Mississippi State 35 - Arizona 24

UCLA @ San Diego State, UCLA -13.5

SDSU always finds a way to be good. But what if they don’t? Yes, the Aztecs are 2-0, but one-TD wins at home over Ohio and Idaho St are not what one would expect. The offense has been one-dimensional (just over 200 passing yards total) and they have surrendered almost 300 yards/game through the air. UCLA stumbled out of the gates against a respectable Coastal Carolina team. The offense surged when Dante Moore replaced Ethan Garbers. TJ Harden and Carson Steele appears to be a RB duo Chip Kelley can work with. My gut says this line is a little too high, so consider my pick a full-throated endorsement of the resurgent Pac-12 superiority.

UCLA 31 - SDSU 17

Stanford @ USC, USC -29.5

Even if Arizona and Wazzu win as underdogs, I have a pretty strong gut feeling that the Pac-12 will suffer its first loss by the time this game ends. USC did everything they needed to do against Nevada. They scored TDs on 8/12 drives on the day. Nevada left a few points on the board, but one of their two TDs came in garbage time. I was impressed with Troy Taylor’s Stanford debut. The Cardinal skeleton crew moved the ball effectively against Hawaii and scored enough points that it might be tricky for UCLA to get the cover. On the other hand, this is a big step up in competition and USC proved last week that it can cover a 30-point spread without a perfect defensive showing.

USC 56 - Stanford 23

Auburn @ Cal, Auburn -6.5

NCAA Football: UCLA at California Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Expect to see the ball on the ground for most of this game. Auburn rushed for 289 yards against UMass and Cal topped that with 357 against UNT. Both teams ran significantly more than they passed. So, who will hold up better against the run? The Cal defense was better than Auburn’s last week, but I would be surprised to see the Bears own the trenches in this one. The cross-country flight gives Cal a puncher’s chance, but they will operate at a talent disadvantage.

Auburn 27 - Cal 20

Oklahoma State @ Arizona State, OSU -3.5

Oklahoma State managed only 27 points against Central Arkansas and was somehow the better Week 1 performer of the two. While ASU has a built-in excuse of weather delays that threw off their performance, the narrow win against Southern Utah sets off all sorts of alarm bells. ASU will need heroic performances from Jaden Rashada to win many games this year. OSU’s defense will not make it easy for him to do it.

OSU 30 - ASU 24