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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Pac-12 picks: UW’s competitive advantage over UCLA; ASU handles Utah; Cal hangs with Oregon

The hotline usually scrutinizes key trends and statistics, comparing Pac-12 games to the scoring range, but not always.

Under certain circumstances, we make choices without hesitation or hesitation.

A visit by the University of California to Washington on Saturday afternoon is one such circumstance.

The Husky is a simple challenge, and here’s our 12-word explanation: Second consecutive away game against the home team leaving bye.

UCLA is playing their second roadie game against the host who had two weeks to prepare.

What’s more, the Bruins are doing so after a nightly game in Tucson that was in doubt until the middle of the fourth quarter. They returned to campus in the wee hours, quickly turned around to prepare for UW, and then hit the road again.

Meanwhile, the huskies were sitting near Montlake for two full weeks, resting, getting treatment and getting ready for the Bruins.

This is a significant competitive advantage that Huskies are familiar with, albeit from a different perspective.

Three years ago, Washington played a tough game in Pasadena that was in doubt at the end of the fourth quarter. The next week, they hit the road again — to Eugene — for an afternoon encounter with the Ducks.

Oregon lay in ambush for two weeks, rested and focused entirely on the UW. The game went into overtime with a predominance of “ducks”.

Then, as now, the home team had a significant competitive advantage in two weeks to prepare.

Now let’s be honest. The conference office made significant scheduling changes that put teams at a disadvantage outside of the standard competitive spectrum for years to come.

(For example, when teams played away games on Friday after away games on Saturday. Or when Cal was playing USC for a short week and the Trojans had extra time to prepare. Or when the WSU played three overnight away games (conferences) over a four week period) .)

And the timeline for 2021, drawn by Football Operations Chief Merton Hanks and Assistant Commissioner Dustin Rock – both relatively newcomers to their role – is by far the most competitively balanced publication in recent years.

Except for this week.

Of course, a perfect schedule is not possible for 12 teams in 13 weeks. But when we see a well-traveled visitor in front of a well-rested host, we don’t think about the point spread.

Advantage, UW.

Last week: 0-4
Season: 19-20
Special five-star: 4-2

All bets against the spread
The lines are taken from vegasinsider.com
Pacific Time Zone

Cal (+14) in Oregon (Friday)
Kick off: 19:30 on ESPN
A comment: Both teams had an extra week to prepare: Oregon recovered from their defeat at Stanford and needed time to heal, and Cal suffered the defeat in Washington State and needed time to find his soul. Two years ago, the Bears made the game at Eugene interesting, and last season they won unconditionally. We expect another good defensive plan and we are curious to see Ducks without CJ Verdell. If Cal is avoiding employee turnover, it should be a close affair with low scores. Choice: Cal.

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Arizona (+6.5) to Colorado
Kick off: 12:30 pm on the Pac-12 network
A comment: A lose-lose visitor against a one-lose host: so ugly it is beautiful, so bad it is good, so impossible to watch that we cannot wait to start. The line opened at 6.5 and hasn’t budged, despite confirmation that Arizona will be left without its most promising quarterback, Jordan McCloud. Previously featured on the Hotline, but lost in the mud and bears repeating: Colorado’s defense is good enough to win four or five games. We love buffs, but we love Under (47). Pick: Colorado

Stanford (-2) in Washington State
Kick off: 16:30 ESPNU
A comment: A critical game for two teams trying to jump to the right side of the math bowl. The Cougars should have plenty of chances to score against Stanford’s shaky defenses, but we’re not sure if the same goes for Tanner McKee and company. WSU protection will play a key role in the slopes and butt-routes that Stanford relies on for much of its area. The Cougars have won four in a row in the series (no games last year). Make five. Choice: Washington State.

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