Jon Wilner picks BYU-Oregon, Fresno State-USC matchups

With Week 3 almost upon us, Pac-12 insider Jon Wilner gave his weekly picks. There are several draw games.

BYU-Oregon, Michigan State-Washington and SDSU-Utah are the largest. Matchups between the Pac-12 and good Mountain West programs, like Fresno State-USC, are regularly interesting. USC is a heavy favorite against Fresno State, but we’ve seen the Bulldogs make life difficult for Pac-12 teams over the years. In 2021, Fresno State won at UCLA in a September night game. USC needs to be on guard against the Bulldogs.

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Other games, like Colorado vs. Minnesota, should be lopsided, though we really never know in today’s era of college football.

Here is Wilner’s picks for Week 3 in his latest column for The San Jose Mercury News.


July 29, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; UCLA Bruins coach Chip Kelly speaks during the Pac-12 media day at the Novo Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

We expected a line closer to 20. While it’s understandable to question UCLA’s degree of interest and urgency with another creampuff, there’s also reason to believe the Jaguars will not hold the line of scrimmage in the second half. The Bruins’ running game should take control and top that 15.5 points.
Take: UCLA


September 10, 2022; Berkeley, California, USA; California Golden Bears cornerback Isaiah Young (41) celebrates with linebacker Oluwafemi Oladejo (10) and cornerback Collin Gamble (21) after intercepting a pass to end the game against the UNLV Rebels at FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita – USA TODAY Sports

An ideal situation for the Bears, with Notre Dame reeling from the opening loss at Ohio State, then the jarring collapse at home against Marshall. Everything revolves around the first trimester. The Bears need to make some big plays early to put the Irish on their heels. At that moment, doubt sets in and he rushes to the wire.
Take: Cal (+10)


September 3, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Oregon Ducks head coach Dan Lanning on the court during the second half game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine – USA TODAY Sports

The Cougars survived a major test last week, beating Baylor in overtime, and are set for another head-to-head win over the Pac-12. The line essentially represents home-court advantage for Oregon. If played at a neutral site, no team would be favored by more than one point. We suspect the outcome depends on the special teams – either big plays or big mistakes.
Take: BYU


October 2, 2021; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffaloes head coach Karl Dorrell calls a timeout in the second quarter against the USC Trojans at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve been burned twice by Colorado’s incompetence on offense, first against TCU and then against the Air Force. (The Buffs scored 23 points, overall, in the two games.) If CU covers, good for those brave enough to take all the points. We’ll believe it when we see it.
Take: Minnesota


November 13, 2021; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Jake Dickert walks onto the field during a first half timeout against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen – USA TODAY Sports

Situation of massive disappointment for the Cougars after the decisive victory in Wisconsin. Look for a tight game in the fourth quarter, when the WSU defense shuts the door on a CSU offense that lacks playmakers in the passing game and can’t make the only leap forward that could fuel an upset .
Take: state of colorado


September 10, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes running back Jaylon Glover (1) celebrates a fourth quarter touchdown against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Sounds like a few points too many to give a program of SDSU’s caliber, except we have vivid memories of Utah quarterback Cameron Rising coming off the bench — a quarter too late, by the way — and slicing the defense of the Aztecs at the start of last season. . Our guess: He picks up where he left off, and the Utes retaliate with a stunning performance just before the start of conference play.
Take: Utah


September 3, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer talks to quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) during the first quarter against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Washington quarterback Michael Penix. Jr. faced the Spartans in Indiana and should feel comfortable throughout. The key for UW (besides turnover avoidance): Enough yards on first down to give DeBoer and offensive coordinator Ryan Grubbs plenty of options on third. Keep the MSU defense on the field and the UW defense off.
Take: Washington


December 21, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; General view of the Las Vegas Bowl between the Fresno State Bulldogs and the Southern California Trojans at Sam Boyd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

The Bulldogs have a full roster of Southern California players and generally perform well during visits to USC and UCLA. They won’t stop Caleb Williams and Co. but should move the ball effectively against the revamped Trojans defense – just like Stanford did last weekend. USC has been more opportunistic than robust so far. We think FSU protects the ball and keeps it close.
Take: Fresno State +12.5 (SU: USC)


PROVO, UT – SEPTEMBER 18: Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Herm Edwards speaks into his BYU Cougars helmet during their September 18, 2021 game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Logan, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

It looks like a trap game for the Sun Devils after their loss at Oklahoma State and with Utah arriving next week. But the Eagles couldn’t hang on to Louisiana and were understaffed to tie ASU in four quarters, especially in the Heat.
Take: Arizona State

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