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Pigskin Pete:     

Pac 12 Race Wide Open,
UO Recovers, OSU Dies 
          By Fred Delkin
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            Two weeks in, the Pac 12 has brought no major surprises amidst its members.  North division favorites Oregon and Stanford look like the class of that bunch, while Arizona State and Utah seem supreme in the South.  Only one conference matchup occurs this week, with Stanford  traveling to Arizona and expected to go home happy.  Conference South members Utah and USC staged a wondrous battle in the L.A. Coliseum Saturday, with the Tojans thankful to escape, though NCAA sanctions eliminate them from league title consideration. 
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Coming up this week:
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MISSOURI STATE at OREGON the Ducks seem to have fully recovered from their loss to LSU, their offensive weapons unstoppable, 69-20, over a good Nevada team.  The UO coaches  taught frosh phenom DeAnthony Thomas how to hold onto the football and his 10 yards per carry, two TD pass receptions and 204 all-purpose yards have anointed him as a true threat.  No team on the rest of the Duck schedule will present the up-front line dominance shown by LSU and the UO defense now will prosper with the return from first game suspensions of defensive stars Cliff Harris and Kiko Alonso.  Missouri State has just come into a Division I status after performing at a lower level as SW Missouri State, and they will be cannon fodder for the Quackers, who'll get to clear their bench again.  OREGON by 35 (at least).
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STANFORD at ARIZONA-the Cardinal is 2-0 after cake walks over San Jose State and Duke, and Arizona had big trouble with Oklahoma State's aerial offensive which is not as potent as Stanford's Andrew Luck-led barrage.  We'll see Wildcat  coach Mike Stoops exceed his sideline histrionics norm to no avail.  STANFORD by 14.
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WASHINGTON at NEBRASKA-the Cornhuskers will be itching to scratch their 2010 Holiday Bowl loss to the Huskies and seem to have the horses to do that job.  The Huskies are 2-0 after last gasp home wins over Eastern Washington and Hawaii, but haven't shown enough to scare their hosts in this one.  NEBRASKA by 14.
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ARIZONA STATE at ILLINOIS-the Sun Devils are unbeaten and figure to stay that way, even in this battle with a Big Ten contender.  ASU mentor Dennis Erickson led his students to victory over a strong Missouri squad and unveiled the towering talent of 6-8 junior QB Brook Osweiler to complement his usual crew of renegade defenders.  Now, if Dennis can just calm his boys into committing fewer fouls, they will triumph.  ARIZONA STATE by 6.
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WASHINGTON STATE at SAN DIEGO STATE-the woebegone Cougars have been unsullied to date, despite losing their starting QB Jeff Tuel to injury in the opening laugher vs. Idaho State. They whipped a weak UNLV this past week, and now travel to San Diego State.  The Host Aztecs are no powerhouse, but they should have enough to return the Cougars to reality.  SAN DIEGO STATE by 10.
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TEXAS at UCLA-the Bruins out-pointed a sorry San Jose State by not that much last week, and don't have the talent to greatly disturb their Rose Bowl guests this week.  This will be another kick in coach Ricky Neuheisel's stern on his probable banishment at season's end from coaching his alma mater.  TEXAS by 20.     
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UTAH at BYU-the Utes showed a lot in their narrow loss at USC, and they may have enough to triumph in this match, which the citizens of Utah dub the 'Holy War.'  This is an even match, but we'll call it UTAH by 1.
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COLORADO vs, COLORADO STATE in Denver.   The new Pac 12 members have yet to win this season, and while they've dominated this rivalry over the years, we think the Rams will edge by them this time around.  COLORADO STATE by 3.
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SYRACUSE at USC-the visitors will be easy pickings for the University of Spoiled Children, who've achieved a 2-0 start against Minnesota and Utah.  Their visitors are in a 'down' stage and won't be much of a show for the Coliseum crowd.  USC by 21.
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PRESBYTERIAN at CALIFORNIA-Cal should be ashamed of scheduling this mismatch.  The visiting Blue Hose (really!) didn't upgrade their program to FCS status until 2008.  They were routed last season in a pair of visits to Division I Wake Forest and Clemson. CAL by 35
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OREGON STATE has this week off, and coach Mike Riley has announced that he's leaving the no-win land of quarterback shuffling by appointing redshirt freshman Sean Mannion as a starter replacing veteran Ryan Katz, who was unnecessarily humiliated by Riley's indecision in the first two games of the season.
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NORTHERN ARIZONA @ PORTLAND STATE-the Vikings should expect to stay undefeated at their new home grounds as they open their Big Sky season.  Vik coach Nigel Burton has made progress in replacing the disastrous Jerry Glanville era.  He's fine tuned the 'Pistol' offensive scheme he learned as an assistant at Nevada.  PORTLAND STATE by 9.
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ROSES & RASPBERRIES...posies are appropriate for those who believe Kelly & Co. will wind up as the new Pac 12's best team, though folks in Palo Alto CA beg to differ...there's no sympathy deserved for those who believe that there's never enough post-season bowl games.. ..
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