Welcome back to the road trip. We're taking a week-by-week look at the entire Pac-12 schedule and picking out the game we feel is the marquee matchup of the week. If you have the time and means, this is the game you want to see.
Saturday, Nov. 10
Colorado at Arizona
Utah at Washington
Arizona State at USC
Oregon at Cal
Oregon State at Stanford
UCLA at Washington State
My choice: Oregon at Cal
Why: What will Oregon's mentality be heading into this game? Will they be flying high after knocking off USC in the Pac-12's regular season game of the year? Will they be down in the dumps, doubting themselves after falling to the Trojans? The answer is no or no. Regardless of what happened the week before, the Ducks are one of the most level-headed teams in the conference.
They have only lost back-to-back games once under Chip Kelly and it wasn't even in the same season; the national championship game at the end of the 2010 season to No. 1 Auburn and then the season opener last year against No. 4 LSU. Not offering a prediction on the USC-Oregon game, but I don't think either outcome changes how the Ducks approach Cal.
And Cal will be coming off what many expect to be a slugfest with Washington the previous week in a battle for Pac-12 North pecking order. All of that builds up to a game that may very well determine the Pac-12 North champion. If Cal took care of business against Stanford and Washington (and there's certainly no promises it did) this game could send the winner to the conference championship.
Something to note: This will be Cal's second straight home game and third in the last four weeks. On the flip side, Oregon will have been on the road three of the last four weeks. For those of you who buy into trends, this isn't exactly a game-changer, but it's still worth consideration. Recent history shows the Bears are much tougher against Oregon at home. The Ducks crushed Cal 42-3 in '09 and 43-15 last season. But there was the 15-13 Oregon win at Memorial Stadium in 2010, where the Bears held the Ducks to just one offensive touchdown and Cal won the 2008 meeting at home, 26-16.
Cal's defense is one of the best in the conference -- and it will get a chance to showcase just how good it can be against what will likely be its toughest test to date.
Also worth noting that this caps a four-game stretch for the Bears where they would have played Stanford, Utah, Washington and then Oregon. If they haven't taken care of the aforementioned business you have to wonder about the toastiness of Jeff Tedford's seat by this point in the season.
You can check out the rest of the road trip here.