Pac-12 ultimate road trip: Week 9


We're taking a look at the best week-by-week trips to make in the Pac-12. My editors call it the Ultimate Road Trip. I call it dangling meat for you guys until we can start writing about actual games. Chow down, gang.

Welcome to Week 9.

Thursday, Oct. 29

  • Oregon at Arizona State

Saturday Oct. 31

  • Arizona at Washington

  • USC at California

  • Colorado at UCLA

  • Oregon State at Utah

  • Stanford at Washington State

My choice: Oregon at Arizona State

Why: We on the Pac-12 blog love the phrase “Could be a preview of the Pac-12 championship game!” because we know you like a little troll sugar with your morning oatmeal. But this time, we actually mean it.

While many are pointing to the Week 12 showdown of Oregon at USC as the potential title game trailer, it could just as easily be this game. Because, why not? The Sun Devils have as good a chance as any team to emerge from the southern silliness that began last year and is expected to sweep into 2015.

The last time the Ducks visited Tempe, things went pretty well. “Buh, buh, if Will Sutton hadn’t have gotten hurt ...” chirped the bitter Fork faithful. Maybe it’s closer than the 43-21 final, maybe not. But the past is in the past. And we on the Pac-12 blog are not big on living in it (oh, wait, we totally bring up the past all the time, never mind).

This Sun Devils team should be exciting in 2015. The defense came along nicely last year and has some good experience. The offense has playmakers and the quarterback has poise and a live arm. But can they match Oregon’s speed? That seems to be the question every team has asked itself for the last decade.

Oregon’s quarterback -- whoever that ends up being -- should be well-versed in the offense by this point in the season. The only question is, will the Ducks’ passing game take flight or will they have to lean on the run game? Either way, it will be a great test for the Sun Devils on both sides of the ball.

The South can clamor all it wants about being the toughest division in college football (and I’m on record saying that it is). But until it actually wins a Pac-12 championship, it’s still second chair to the Ducks or Stanford. This is a serious show-me game for Todd Graham and the Sun Devils.