- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN Staff Writer
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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 game of the week. If you have the time and means this is the game you want to see.
Friday Sept. 7
Utah at Utah State
Saturday Sept. 8
Washington at LSU
E. Washington at Washington State
Sacramento State at Colorado
Southern Utah at Cal
USC at Syracuse
Wisconsin at Oregon State
Fresno State at Oregon
Nebraska at UCLA
Duke at Stanford
Illinois at Arizona State
Oklahoma State at Arizona
My choice: Washington at LSU
Why: After watching WSU's Jeff Tuel throw for 484 yards and four touchdowns against BYU last week, we shift our focus to defense and the Washington at LSU game. One team has arguably the best defense in the country, the other has a defense that is fighting to overturn its reputation from last season.
But the real question in this game is can the Huskies move the ball against an LSU defense that is loaded from front to back.
Keith Price, who didn't do anything to hurt his Heisman chances last week against San Diego State, now faces the stingiest defense of his career. This game probably won't break his Heisman campaign, but it can go a very long way toward making it.
The X factor is that Price is as good of a dual threat quarterback as the LSU is going to see all season. He was finally healthy in the Alamo Bowl and showed what he can do with his legs. And while Chris Polk was certainly a workhorse back, the by-committee approach might work to Washington's favor to keep fresh legs going against a ridiculously talented defensive front, headlined by Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo. Washington's offensive line issues are certainly a concern going against this group and any weaknesses will be exploited.
Washington's best mismatch is tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. If LSU commits a spy linebacker or safety to Price, ASJ could have some success over the middle with single coverage.
There are a couple of other intriguing matchups in Week 2: Illinois at ASU is a big one and there are a couple of traditional powers on the docket with Wisconsin and Nebraska. But UW's game is the most important for the conference. And while Washington will be considerable road underdogs, every Pac-12 fan should be pulling for the Huskies in this one. Plus, an upset win would be a great way to keep SEC trolls at bay.