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Weekly predictions: Will Bo be a go or will he watch when Utes, Ducks meet Saturday?

Utah can gain key momentum in the chase for a Pac-12 championship game berth with a win over Oregon, but much hinges on whether Ducks’ star QB can play.

SHARE Weekly predictions: Will Bo be a go or will he watch when Utes, Ducks meet Saturday?
Oregon quarterback Bo Nix eludes a tackle during game Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Eugene, Ore.

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix eludes a tackle during game against Washington, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. Nix was injured during the game and his status for Saturday’s Pac-12 showdown with the Utes is in question.

Andy Nelson, Associated Press

Utah and Oregon has all the markings of a barnburning spectacle in Eugene.

But there’s uncertainty about Oregon QB Bo Nix taking to the field.

If Nix isn’t ready to go, this close pick turns into a Utah nod very fast.

Oregon’s defense has turned into a liability as Washington proved last week in taking down the Ducks. Autzen Stadium will be a hurdle and it has proven to be a huge asset, but without Nix, you have to like Utah’s chances to outscore Oregon with Cam Rising on the field and possible production from running back Tavion Thomas.

If Nix is able to play, he has to use his mobility and legs to get the full Nix factor effectiveness. If he can’t run, he becomes an easy target for Utah’s pass rush. His replacement Ty Thompson isn’t the threat Nix is.

If Utah can beat Oregon, it will add layers to what the Utes did to Oregon a year ago en route to the Pac-12 title. Predict this game? Somebody announce the status of Nix, a smart, big, strong, agile NFL-bound talent.

BYU vs. Utah Tech

Kalani Sitake is looking forward to getting his independent team to a bowl game to savor the extra practices it will afford his Cougars. To do that, BYU needs to defeat the Trailblazers Saturday during Senior Day.

Utah Tech is riding a three-game win streak after cranking up head coach Paul Peterson’s Spread ’N Shred offense for 47, 48 and 34 points in wins over Stephen F. Austin, Southern Utah and Tarleton State. 

It will be interesting to see how BYU’s defense reacts to the Trailblazers’ spread attack and at what point will Aaron Roderick’s offense create enough point differential to get starter Jaren Hall off the field for Jacob Conover to receive developmental experience. That isn’t a knock on Utah Tech, but a necessity for the Cougars. The last time BYU played an instate school, Hall was injured in a win over Utah State — an incident that affected the month of October.

Utah Tech’s offensive coordinator Craig Stutzmann had similar jobs at Washington State and Hawaii and his bio specifically points out he helped lead Hawaii to a 38-34 win over BYU in the 2019 Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu.

Utah State vs. San Jose State

You’ve got to admit it, Blake Anderson has a magical way of willing his players to win. It isn’t as if the Aggies are playing their best football in winning four of their last five games — they just find ways to win.

At Hawaii last week it was USU’s defense that had four takeaways, three of those were interceptions that led to 10 points, ultimately the difference in holding off Hawaii late in that game in Honolulu. Safety Ike Larsen had two of those interceptions, including a pick-six.

Cooper Legas is coming off a career performance at Hawaii with 238 yards and three TDs passing. A win could make USU bowl eligible for the 10th time in 12 seasons. This is from a school that went to just six bowl games in its first 119 years. 

The key will be turnovers and the cold. The Californians are in for a treat in Logan for a night game on Fox 1. Bundle up. This isn’t for the warm-blooded beach types.

This week’s picks

TCU 34, Baylor 21

Kansas State 28, West Virginia 24

Arizona 31, Washington State 28

Oregon State 27, Arizona State 24

Georgia 38, Kentucky 28

Ohio State 42, Maryland 24

Texas 33, Kansas 17

California 17, Stanford 14

Texas Tech 38, Iowa State 17

Oklahoma State 27, Oklahoma 21

USC 28, UCLA 24

Washington 34, Colorado 10

BYU 38, Utah Tech 14

Utah State 24, San Jose State 21

Utah 28, Oregon 27

Last week 11-3; overall 94-45 (.676).