No “College Gameday” this week as the national turns to campuses in Jacksonville, Stillwater and State College. Still there are still some interesting games across the Pac-12 landscape and one that may actually surprise you.
Utah at UCLA (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
To paraphrase Family Guy’s Peter Griffin, “You think this game might suck but it’s actually not that bad.”
Utah leads jumbled mess that is the Pac-12 South …. and who is right there behind them and with a win would be above .500 in conference play? The UCLA Bruins! I’m pretty impressed with Chip Kelly and what he’s been able to do in the last few weeks. He could’ve lost this team early in the season but now he’s got UCLA playing some of their best ball of the season.
Must see rating, 6.5 out of 10: Better matchup than what it looks like on the surface. Will be a small but important piece in the South Division picture.
Oregon State at Colorado (Noon, Pac-12 Network)
The last two weeks for Colorado have stunk, let’s just be honest about it. First a loss to USC on the road knocked them out of first place in the South Division. Then they go to Washington and face the Huskies and as you know, they lose.
What can cure the ills for a team who’s battled injuries and is trying to stop a mid-season tailspin? Oregon State! The Beavers at 1-6 overall and win-less in conference play. If you’re a Colorado fan, Saturday will be a good day.
Must see rating, 2.3: There will be better games on, trust me.
Arizona State at USC (12:30 p.m., ABC)
Although USC defeated Colorado two weeks ago, all the goodwill that Clay Helton built came crashing down after a meltdown against Utah. I’m not saying that Helton and the Trojans need a win on Saturday. Won’t be easy, with both the starting and backup QBs injured so it could be third-stringer Jack Sears leading the Trojan offense. If USC defeats Arizona State, I will be making a bunch of Sears-themed jokes. If USC loses, expect the same.
Must see rating, 5.1: Competing with Florida-Georgia and Penn State-Iowa in the same time window is going to be a bit challenging but it’s still a game to keep an eye on.
Washington at California (3:30 p.m., FS1)
*Grabs Bullhorn*……..TRRRAAAAAAPPPPP GAAAAMMMMMMMEEEEEEEE!
Washington defeated Colorado last week but much like the Oregon game, the Huskies didn’t look good for long stretches. The Huskies were without Myles Gaskin, who remains questionable, but Jake Browning struggled, going 15 of 25 for 150 yards and a TD while leaning on the ground game’s three-headed monster of Salvon Ahmed, Sean McGrew and Kamari Pleasant. While Vegas has UW as 12-point favorite, don’t be shocked if this is closer than expected.
Must see rating, 6.7: I’d expect this game to have a lot of the focus on those in the Pacific Northwest, especially with Oregon. This game makes a solid alternative to Stanford-WSU.
Washington State at Stanford (4 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
The week’s premier game is the first step in the WSU-UW-Stanford triple threat match that will determine the Pac-12’s North division.
The Cougars main focus is going to be shaking off the hangover from last week’s craziness with “College Gameday” and the showdown with Oregon. Stanford still has Bryce Love, who is not at 100 percent. If Stanford has to throw the ball, there is some potential for a shootout. While the game is big for the Cougs, Stanford needs this game not only to stay in the Pac-12 North race and also for confidence. They haven’t had a “good” win in over a month so beating the Cougars would go a long way in solving that.
Must see rating, 8.0: The competing games in the window aren’t great so this is still worth a watch — for the 14 people who actually get the Pac-12 Network.