Pac-12 Football Picks: Predictions against the spread for Week 1

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Nov 29, 2014; Boulder, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Nelson Spruce (22) carries for a touchdown reception against Utah Utes defensive back Brian Blechen (4) in the third quarter at Folsom Field. The Utes defeated the Buffaloes 38-34. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Buffaloes At Hawaii Warriors

Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

The Line: Colorado +2

The long journey back to relevancy is getting closer to completion. The Buffaloes have long been a laughing stock in the conference, but with some legitimate talent on the roster, they are no longer looked at as just an easy win. Wide receiver and future NFL draftee Nelson Spruce leads a high powered Colorado offense that can put legitimate fear into the minds of opponents.

This is no cupcake. Defenses have to bring their best when they venture into Boulder. On the other side, the Hawaii Warriors are looking to improve on a 4-9 season last year. However that included some close home losses to both Washington and Oregon State. Tune in to the CBS Sports Network at 9:00PM, Pacific time Thursday night, to catch this game.

Keys To The game:

Nelson Spruce is one of the best receivers in all of college football, and Hawaii does not have the athletes to cover him one on one. Look for the Warriors to try to double team Spruce all game, leaving the other Buffaloes to have their way on offense. Even with the double team, do not expect Spruce to get shut out.

On defense, Colorado needs to worry about stopping Warriors running back Steven Lakalaka. Hawaii may not have the same athletes, but their offensive line is big and is much better at run blocking than pass blocking. So look for the Buffaloes to do their best to keep Hawaii in third and long situations where the athleticism of their pass rushers can overwhelm the Warriors line.

The Prediction:

Hawaii plays much better at home than on the road, which is understandable given the long flight to and from the islands. It is also not too hard to think that spending a few days in paradise might push football to the back of the minds of some of the visiting players. Regardless, this is a game where Colorado has the better team, but Hawaii might prevail. Look for the Warriors to run the ball down the throats of the Buffaloes defense en route to a 35-21 victory.

Next: Stanford At Northwestern