Pac-10 Football Against the Spread: Take USC, Stay Away from Stanford

Delete AccountCorrespondent ISeptember 9, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 05:  The USC Trojans stand in a tribute to team friend and fan Ryan Davidson, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 16, during pregame ceremonies befoe playing the San Jose State Spartans on September 5, 2009 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.   USC won 56-3.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Taking a page from Jon Wilner’s College Sports Hotline—this marks the first of what will be a weekly feature at Bleacher Report modeled after Wilner’s Picks of the Week. The concept is the same (I’ll make fearless Pac-10 picks against the spread every Wednesday morning), but the picks aren’t.

The Arizona and Cal games both don't have lines this week because of FCS opponents (Eastern Washington and Northern Arizona), while Arizona State has a Week Two bye—meaning seven Pac-10 games with point spreads in Week Two.

With four marquee road games, the Pac-10 will be under the microscope particularly with two nationally televised match-ups (USC and UCLA).

A sweep of those two (however unlikely) could do wonders for the conference’s perception. And away we go…

This season: 0-0

All picks against the spread.
Lines taken from

I have Boise State at No. 10 in my Week Two top-25 and give them most of the credit for Oregon’s embarrassing opener.

That said, the Ducks’ offensive line isn’t going to be an easy fix, LeGarrette Blount will be hard to replace and if T.J. Ward misses any time this could be a slippery slope for Oregon. Still, the Ducks have won 20 of their last 25 at Autzen and Purdue gave up 493 yards to Toledo in a 52-31 win. I’ll take: Oregon

OREGON STATE (minus-7) AT UNLV: Oregon State is 0-for-seven in early-season non-conference road games since 2003. But the opponents in those games were better (Penn State, Boise State, LSU) and farther (Cincinnati, Louisville) than UNLV. I think this is a statement game for the Beavers, who are knocking on the Top-25 door. I’ll take: Oregon State

STANFORD (plus-3) AT WAKE FOREST: Stanford is better than Baylor, and Wake Forest looked bad against the Bears in Week One. But combine the loss of Cardinal sixth-year tackle Matt Kopa in Week One with a cross-country trip and a 9 a.m. PT start time and I think Stanford beats itself in this one. I’ll take: Wake Forest

IDAHO (plus-21) AT WASHINGTON: Coming off a tough, but close, home loss against LSU in Steve Sarkisian’s head coaching debut, Washington should break its 15-game losing streak in emphatic fashion against the Vandals. I’ll take: Washington

USC (minus-6.5) AT OHIO STATE: This line feels eerily familiar to last year, when then-No. 1 USC trounced then-No. 5 Ohio State 35-3. Once again, the Buckeyes are one of the country’s most overrated teams. I’ll take: USC

UCLA (plus-8.5) AT TENNESSEE: As far as road tests go for first-year starting quarterbacks, at Neyland Stadium ranks right up there with one of the stiffest. The Vols gave it away last season, and they’ll be gunning for the Bruins—Kevin Prince should see a lot of turf. I’ll take: Tennessee

HAWAII (minus-2) AT WASHINGTON STATE: Washington State paid $300,000 to pull out of their 2011 game at Hawaii. Not exactly a move that strikes confidence in your team heading into a Week Two game against the Warriors. But Hawaii needed a fourth-quarter comeback to beat an FCS team (which is what the Cougars basically amount to). Home-field wins out in this one. I’ll take: Washington State

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