It's hard to believe it's already Week 5 and a third of the regular season is over, but here we are.
For the most part, the Pac-12 season has been without major surprises: Cal has significantly outpaced external expectations, while Oregon State has done the opposite, but the rest of the conference hasn't veered too far off course. That all figures to change once #Pac12AfterDark really finds its stride. The phenomenon has made a few brief appearances, but it hasn't quite thrown a wrench into things like it has been known to do. Not yet, at least.
Does that change Friday night in Pullman?
There hasn't been a more meaningful game between Washington State and USC since 2002, when Drew Dunning kicked the Cougars past the Trojans -- and eventual Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer -- with a field goal in overtime. That was the last time USC lost on the Palouse. A repeat would immediately be considered one of the signature wins in Wazzu history.
On to the picks! Visit our college football PickCenter page for additional information on these games and many more.
Friday, Sept. 29
No. 5 USC (4-0, 2-0) at No. 16 Washington State (4-0, 1-0)
Edward Aschoff: First off, let me clear the air here: I take full responsibility for calling Wazzu "Wazzou" earlier this week. Cougars fans pointed it out to me and were really cool about it, but I'm sorry for screwing up your nickname. That sort of positive attitude from you guys almost had me pick you over USC. But the one thing I've learned while out here is that Sam Darnold is an absolute gamer, and he owns fourth quarters. USC 30, Washington State 27
Kyle Bonagura: From the minute the schedule was released, this was the scary one for USC. It's a second straight road game, on a short week against a dangerous team with its own conference title aspirations. The atmosphere at sold-out Martin Stadium should be electric, but the Trojans should still find a way to come out 5-0. USC 31, WSU 28
Saturday, Sept. 30
Arizona State (2-2, 1-0) at Stanford (2-2, 1-1)
Aschoff: I'm very surprised to see Arizona State at 2-2, and with the way Oregon came out of the gate, I didn't see the Sun Devils hanging around with the Ducks, let alone beating them. But I also didn't expect Stanford's defense to take so many steps back this fall, either. This one should be pretty good from start to finish, but Bryce Love grinds the Cardinal to victory. Stanford 34, Arizona State 30
Bonagura: Opposing running backs are averaging 6.58 yards per carry against ASU, which is the second-worst mark among Power 5 programs. Stanford's Love is averaging 10.78 yards per carry and has 787 yards rushing through four games. That doesn't bode well for the Sun Devils. Stanford 38, Arizona State 27
No. 6 Washington (4-0, 1-0) at Oregon State (1-3, 0-1)
Aschoff: The Huskies proved last week that they should yet again be taken very, very seriously when it comes to the College Football Playoff. Oregon State has yet to score 30 points twice this season. Washington 51, Oregon State 9
Bonagura: This one has the potential to be the most lopsided result in Pac-12 play this season. Washington 49, Oregon State 10
Colorado (3-1, 0-1) at UCLA (2-2, 0-1)
Aschoff: Outside of the Northern Colorado game, the Buffaloes haven't exactly looked like they have much of an offense at all this season. Luckily for them, UCLA's defense has surrendered 500-plus yards and 44-plus points in three of its four games. Colorado 40, UCLA 30
Bonagura: A year ago, UCLA had one of the conference's best defenses and it was wasted by a lack of offensive production. Through four games, that equation has flipped. Colorado took a step back last week against Washington, but this one should help the offense get back on track. Colorado 41, UCLA 35
California (3-1, 0-1) at Oregon (3-1, 0-1)
Aschoff: The Ducks are coming off a bad loss to Arizona State, while Cal actually played USC tough for most of the first three quarters. This is a gut-check game for both teams, and being back home should be the emotional lift the Ducks need. Oregon 42, Cal 30
Bonagura: Even though it lost to USC last week and turned the ball over six times, Cal still managed to further validate its undefeated nonconference schedule. Oregon, meanwhile, did not in a loss to Arizona State. It'll be an interesting opportunity to learn more about the conference's two first-year coaches. Cal 31, Oregon 30
2017 picks records: Bonagura 33-5, Aschoff 32-6