League play finally heats up with several teams playing their first Pac-12 Conference game of the year. There are two teams with byes but that's because the following week #9 Stanford will play at Washington on Thursday night with a nationally televised event. In the meantime, Saturday September 22nd will offer a full slate of conference matchups that will likely tell us more about who are the contenders and the pretenders. Here are the five games and a brief look at each.
Oregon State Beavers at the #19 UCLA Bruins - The Beavers (1-0) have played only one game so far, which was an upset win over Wisconsin. The Bruins (3-0) look like one of the surprise teams in 2012 with an offense that hasn't been stopped yet. UCLA should win by a couple touchdowns.
Colorado Buffaloes at the Washington State Cougars - The Mike Leach era offense might finally be taking hold as glimpses of it showed up at the Cougars' (2-1) win over UNLV. There's not much positive you can say about the Buffaloes (0-3). Washington State wins easily.
California Golden Bears at the #13 USC Trojans - Both these teams need wins (see related articles) - the loser may go into a major tailspin. Neither defense has played well but at least the Trojans (2-1) show promise. It's either a nail-biter or USC blows out the Bears (1-2). I lean towards a blowout with Cal head coach Jeff Tedford's seat getting hotter.
Utah Utes at the Arizona State Sun Devils - This is a critical matchup for both teams if they want to compete for the South Division crown. But the game means more to the Utes (2-1) who want to stay relevant after losing a couple weeks ago to Utah State. However, Sun Devil Stadium isn't an easy place to win at and the Sun Devils (2-1) have a legitimate team that's capable of beating almost anyone. I wouldn't call it an upset but Arizona State wins a close low-scoring affair.
#22 Arizona Wildcats at the #3 Oregon Ducks - The Wildcats rebuilding program with new head coach Rich Rodriguez is going great with Arizona ranked and 3-0. Well, let's hope they enjoyed their little stay in the sun because the Ducks (3-0) are going to show the Wildcats how it's done at the top. Oregon wins by at least three touchdowns.
USC and Utah will have a bye after this coming week so they can prepare for what was to be an expected showdown on a Thursday night October 4th. Not sure now … unless of course both win their games Saturday.
Sources - Pac-12 Conference
Daryle lived in Los Angeles Ca. most of his life and has been a longtime fan of USC and the Pac-12, having closely followed the Trojans since he was just a youngster. Fight On!
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