The college football season heads into Week 6 with two very big Pac-12 games on tap, plus another game which carries an amazing historical fact. It’s all part of a very consequential weekend in the West.
Utah Utes at UCLA Bruins
Odds: Utah -3.5
This is a huge game. Utah and UCLA are both unbeaten in Pac-12 games, while UCLA is unbeaten overall. The winner of this game takes a very big step toward qualifying for the Pac-12 Championship Game in Las Vegas this December. The loser concedes any remaining margin for error in the Pac-12 title chase; it will have to win the rest of its conference games to have a good chance of playing for the league title. Utah is the defending Pac-12 champion, but UCLA is coming off a very impressive win over the Washington Huskies. Utah struggled to defend a mobile dual-threat quarterback, Florida’s Anthony Richardson, in a 29-26 loss to the Gators in Week 1 of this season. The Utes need to show they can defend a dual-threat quarterback when they go up against UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson. UCLA’s defensive line played well against Washington’s offensive line last week, but Utah’s offensive line is a far better unit than anyone UCLA has faced to this point in the season. Utah’s experience and its defensive toughness should be enough for the Utes to win this huge showdown.
Pick: Utah -3.5
Washington State Cougars at USC Trojans
Odds: USC -13
The line opened with USC as a 10.5-point favorite but has moved a few points toward the Trojans. This is the case because people see how good Caleb Williams is as USC’s quarterback. He threw for nearly 350 yards this past weekend and helped the Trojans score 42 points in a comfortable win over Arizona State. Cam Ward, the Washington State quarterback, has had some really good moments this season, but in Washington State’s most recent game against Cal, the Cougars scored just 28 points. People think Washington State won’t score enough to keep pace with USC. However, USC’s offensive line is dealing with multiple injuries. Justin Dedich and Courtland Ford have both been banged up and have played very limited minutes in recent weeks. Washington State has a defense which can bother USC and keep this game very close. This sets up as a game in which the Cougars are very likely to cover the spread and will at least have a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter. We’ll see if they can pull off the upset.
Pick: Washington State +13
Washington Huskies at Arizona State Sun Devils
Odds: Washington -14
The big historical fact attached to this game is quite remarkable, when you consider that Washington made the Rose Bowl a few years ago and made the College Football Playoff six years ago, all while Arizona State football has generally struggled over the past 25 years: Washington has not won on the road at Arizona State since 2001. That’s right: Washington has not won on the ASU campus in Tempe in 21 years. Washington has only one loss this season, and Arizona State has only one win this season. If ever there was a time for Washington to break its crazy losing streak in Tempe, this is the moment. Washington probably wins outright to break the streak, but ASU is likely to keep it close and interesting.