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Pac-12 Ultimate Road Trip: Week 12

7/11/2013

We’re taking a look at the can’t-miss games of the 2013 Pac-12 season. The Ultimate Road Trip continues.

Welcome to Week 12.

Friday, Nov. 15

  • Washington at UCLA

Saturday, Nov. 16

  • Washington State at Arizona

  • Oregon State at Arizona State

  • Stanford at USC

  • California at Colorado

  • Utah at Oregon

My choice: Stanford at USC

Why: While the recent history between these two teams has been decidedly one-sided with the Cardinal winning four in a row and five of the last six, the series itself has provided us with some of the most thrilling football of the last half decade.

Consider:

2007: Tavita Pritchard's last-minute touchdown to Mark Bradford capped a stunning victory for the Cardinal, 41-point underdogs.

2008: The Trojans rushed for 282 yards and scored 28 unanswered points in the second half for a 45-23 blowout at Stanford.

2009: Toby Gerhart ran for three touchdowns in Stanford's 55-21 win. Inquiries of deals were exchanged.

2010: Nate Whitaker drilled a 30-yard field goal as time expired. Cardinal win 37-35.

2011: Triple-freaking-overtime! Besides the USC-Texas national championship, this was probably the most exciting football game I've covered at any level.

2012: Shocking, at least it was at the time. Take nothing away from Stanford and its touchdown win over then-No. 2 USC, though history would later prove Stanford was the superior team. Still, an extremely exciting football game that came down to the final minute.

The point is, with the exception of the 2008 game, the remaining five have been so thrilling, so nail-biting, so amazingly dramatic that they have become iconic and etched in conference lore. Pritchard's pass is iconic. Andrew Luck's pick-six is iconic. Gerhart's two-point conversion was iconic. The fact that Matt Barkley beat every team in the conference -- except Stanford -- is iconic.

What will 2013 bring? Recent history suggests another contest that won't be decided until late in the game. The 2010, 2011 match-ups came down to the final play. Stanford will have a couple of extra days to prepare because it will be coming off its Thursday night game with Oregon. It will be interesting to see what the mentality is of the Cardinal players -- win or lose against Oregon.

There are other good games this week -- and if you have the finances, it's worth spending Friday night in L.A. and taking in Washington vs. UCLA at the Rose Bowl and making it a 2-fer. No doubt, the Pac-12 blog will be staying, per usual, in the Presidential Suite of the J.W. Marriott in downtown L.A. If you have the means, I highly recommend it.

Oregon State and Arizona State is also intriguing and will likely be a battle of ranked teams.

But if you're looking for a game that has a good chance to come down to the wire -- and potentially a pair of top-10 teams (will Stanford be No. 1 or No. 10?), then this is the can't-miss game of the week.