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Utah, BYU, USU should win on Turkey weekend (plus weekly predictions)

Utah hosts Colorado, USU travels to New Mexico, BYU finished regular season at USC

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File — Utah Utes defensive ends Hauati Pututau (41) and Mika Tafua (42) tackle Colorado Buffaloes running back Alex Fontenot (8) for a loss during the second half of an NCAA football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. The Utes and Cougars meet in the 2021 regular season finale Friday afternoon.

Colter Peterson, Deseret News

Can Utah ride the tidal wave of emotion that obliterated Oregon? Will Utah State rebound from a thrashing at the hands of Wyoming and will BYU be able to muster one final win over its fifth Pac-12 opponent?

This is the final regular-season campaign for all the in-state FBS programs and it will set the tone for postseason play. Everyone is qualified to live another day and play in bowl games.

In short, yes, Utah will kill Colorado in Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Utah State will make pudding out of New Mexico.

BYU is favored to beat Southern Cal and should do so.

The Utes are enjoying a unique momentum every team wants to have in late November.  The Cam Rising-led offense and run support is clicking. Morgan Scalley has the Utes defense playing physical and fast.  

The Utes are averaging 43 points a game in their four-game winning streak while giving up an average of 16.7. You can bust Kyle Whittinghm’s squad down any way you want over that streak but only one thing is necessary to understand the current state of affairs: Utah kicked the feathers out of No. 3 Oregon last Saturday night in an event that saw Utah cratering the Pac-12’s highest-ranked football team.

Colorado comes in with a 2-2 record in the past four and in the last two road trips, the Buffs lost 52-29 in Eugene and 44-20 at UCLA. When they have to pack, they leave out their fight pills.

Utah State got generally embarrassed by Wyoming in the final home game and that makes you wonder if they Aggies are sinkable against New Mexico since the Lobos beat Wyoming 17-3. But the Lobos are 1-3 in the last four, managing just 17 against UNLV, 7 against Fresno State and zero against Boise State. The Aggies’ firepower should prevail.

BYU and USC both give up yards but the Trojans do it more leniently than the Cougars.  

You have to love Jaxson Dart and he’s had a tremendous freshman experience but USC will struggle to stop BYU’s receiver timing with Jaren Hall, and if healthy after all his work this season, Tyler Allegier will be very productive against the Trojans defense.

BYU-USC will boil down to who has the fewest turnovers and the Cougars have been very stingy in giving up the ball.

Kalani Sitake’s staff has done an impressive job carving out a “love and learn” culture that’s carried the Cougars to a 20-3 record the past two seasons. It is not smoke and mirrors, it is not a fluke and it isn’t based on luck of the draw. His team beat Arizona, ASU, Utah and Washington State in the trenches and with fewer mistakes in a rebuilding year. Add in the win over Virginia and the Cougars are 5-1 against Power Five teams this season.

BYU opponents ASU and Utah and Washington State all have had folks project them for outright or shared Pac-12 divisional titles and Utah actually stood out in earning one.

A win over USC would give Sitake a 10-2 season heading into the early signing day in December. In that game, winning is a valuable talking point.

This week’s predictions

San Diego State 23, Boise State 21

Utah State 31, New Mexico 24

Iowa 31, Nebraska 17

Cincinnati 38, East Carolina 17

Washington State 37, Washington 21

Georgia 44, Georgia Tech 14

Ohio State 31, Michigan 28

Oregon 28, Oregon State 24

Michigan State 28, Penn State 24

Utah 38, Colorado 21

Oklahoma 28, Oklahoma State 24

BYU 27, USC 21

Last week 9-5; overall 126-59 (.681).