Nick at Night: Pac-12 plays to consider

Who will take Saturday night's clash between the Cardinal and Trojans? Our Nick Kostos picks and previews the Week 3 College Football prime time slate.
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If, like me, you picked the Chiefs to cover at -3 on Thursday night, you're itching for the opportunity to get back on the damn horse and pick more football games.

If you aren't like me (which would make you an intelligent member of the human race) and took the Broncos, then you're probably excited about doubling down Saturday night.

Either way, you win! Because the Saturday night college football slate is awesome, and there are a number of value plays to whet your late-night wagering whistle.

Here's #NickAtNight for Week 3 of college football, with my picks sitting at 4-2 thus far.

Stanford at USC (-9.5, 50), 8 p.m. ET, ABC

Through two weeks, the Trojans have looked like an unstoppable force, blowing out their opponents (albeit creampuffs in Arkansas State and Idaho) by the combined margin of 114-15.

That's pretty good.

Meanwhile, Stanford suffered a tough loss to Northwestern in Week 1 before bouncing back to beat UCF. Despite last week's victory, people are down on the Cardinal, and conventional wisdom points to a USC blowout.

Here's the thing, though: David Shaw is a significantly better coach than Steve Sarkisian. And Cody Kessler isn't the only experienced passer in this game, as Stanford will trot out senior Kevin Hogan.

I don’t think the Cardinal have enough juice to pull the outright upset, but I expect the Trojans to struggle in their first game against legitimate competition. I'm looking for Stanford running back Christian McCaffery to have a big game.

Give me Stanford to fall inside the number.

Pick: Stanford (+9.5)

(Note: The consensus line is Stanford +9.5, O/U 50 as of 11 a.m. ET Saturday)

Click here for SportsLine's projection and pick on Stanford-USC

BYU at UCLA (-16.5, 60), 10:30 p.m. ET, FS1

#TannerMagic. #MangumTime. #MangumStyle.

These are all hashtags used to describe the heroics of BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum, who has led the Cougars to consecutive improbable victories, both of the Hail Mary variety.

And I had BYU in both of those games, so I've been dancing to #MangumStyle for two weeks.

Unfortunately for my Cougars, I can't roll with them this week. The #TannerMagic will come to an end against quarterback Josh Rosen and UCLA.

When you see two ranked teams playing and a spread this high -- and examine the game with the knowledge that Mangum has become one of college football's darlings -- the desire is to take BYU with the points. Hey, the Cougars are good enough to keep it close, right?

Nah. They aren't.

UCLA is the better team with the better coach, the better defense and the better quarterback -- and Rosen will thoroughly outplay Mangum. Bruins by 20-plus.

Pick: UCLA (-16.5)

(Note: The consensus line is UCLA -16.5, O/U 59 as of 11 a.m. ET Saturday)

Click here for SportsLine's projection and pick on BYU-UCLA

Utah at Fresno State (+14, 54), 10:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network

I've nailed both Utah games this year. I had them to cover against Michigan in Week 1, and I grabbed Utah State with the points in Week 2.

With that working in my favor, I figured I'd pick the Utes' next game, which sees them on the road against Fresno State. And I'm grabbing the underdog yet again.

The Bulldogs might be coming off a thrashing at the hands of Ole Miss (73-21), but that's only enabled them to be undervalued in this contest. There's no shame in getting blown out by an excellent Ole Miss team, and it's safe to say the Rebels are significantly better than the Utes.

I'm expecting Fresno State running back Marteze Walker (245 yards rushing in two games) to find daylight against a normally stingy Utes defense. And it's difficult to imagine Utah's backup quarterback, Kendal Thompson, playing as well as the normal starter, Travis Wilson, who's out with a shoulder injury.

The Utes will win and extend their nonconference unbeaten streak to nine. But the Bulldogs will cover.

Pick: Fresno State (+14)

(Note: The consensus line is Fresno State +13.5, O/U 52.5 as of 11 a.m. ET Saturday)

Click here for SportsLine's projection and pick on Utah-Fresno State


Last week: 2-1

Michigan State (-5.5) vs. Oregon - (Michigan State 31, Oregon 28)
BYU (+2.5) vs. Boise State - (BYU 35, Boise State 24)
UCLA (-31) at UNLV - (UCLA 37, UNLV 3)

Season to date: 4-2

A confident, sometimes brash New Yorker, Nick Kostos is a host and executive producer at SiriusXM and formerly covered the NFL for Bleacher Report. He enjoys nothing more than a cold beer and going against the public.

Nick Kostos#MrMondayNight