Dick Harmon: Does recruiting bad apples help football teams?

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 5 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

This week's picks:

Utah 21, Utah State 10: The Aggies are capable of pulling off the upset, and Gary Andersen has done wonders in Logan. If USU's defense can force turnovers and somehow throw a balanced attack at Utah and succeed in moving the ball, they have a chance — but it's not a safe bet.

Southern Cal 38, Syracuse 7: The argument remains ... Alabama or USC as No. 1? While the Orangemen aren't exactly a great test, neither was Michigan for the Tide and this won't be settled this week, or possibly even this month. Look for the Trojans to roll.

Wisconsin 24, Oregon State 10: It's in Pac-12 territory, but Wisconsin's offensive line will move like a wave across Corvallis and the Badgers will mow some grass.

Oregon 42, Fresno State 7: Don't know exactly which part of a dozen wardrobes Nike U will don, but we know they'll be in fast motion and be a blur against the struggling Bulldogs.

LSU 34, Washington 14: Steve Sarkisian brought a live tiger to practice this week for some odd reason. How that will find him a defense on a road trip to the toughest place to play in the land is anybody's guess. Cage fodder.

Nebraska 24, UCLA 17: The Bruins are on the right track, but the question is whether the rails are accepting a fast-track transition in September. It'll take a little more time in Westwood. Nebraska's line is too tough.

Oklahoma State 45, Arizona 17: Ever since T. Boone Pickens opened his wallet in Stillwater, the Cowboys have shot to the top of NCAA offensive statistics with an explosive display of touchdowns and talent. Don't know if there's a criminal in the bunch, but something's working.

Arizona State 21, Illinois 14: The Sun Devils may be on to something. Don't know if the parties have exactly ended at 2 a.m. nightly in Tempe, but some football is getting done on the field with Todd Graham at the helm. He sent a strong message by suspending three players before last Thursday's opener, but they'll be back. Perhaps they'll give the Sun Devils "an edge."

BYU 34, Weber State 3: Cody Hoffman should return, and Riley Nelson will need the timing and execution progress to catch up with Bronco Mendenhall's defense if this becomes a successful prelude to a run at the Utes next week.

email: dharmon@desnews.com

twitter: harmonwrites

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