What's coming up in the Pac-12

November, 17, 2012
11/17/12
12:00
PM ET
Here' what coming up today. All times are ET. All games are Saturday.

No. 25 Washington (6-4, 4-3) at Colorado (1-9, 1-6) 1:30 p.m. FX: Washington wants to win its fourth in a row and climb the bowl ladder. Colorado is hoping for something positive to come from a lost season. The Huskies lead the series with Colorado 6-5-1 and have won three in a row, including a 52-24 win last year. Colorado has lost six in a row by at least 25 points since it beat Washington State on Sept. 22. The Buffaloes are 120th or last in the nation (no, there aren't 124 FBS teams, so stop incorrectly saying that in the comments section) in scoring defense, yielding 47.20 points per game. They are 115th in scoring offense, getting 17.60 ppg.

Washington State (2-8, 0-7) at Arizona State (5-5, 3-4) 3 p.m. Pac-12 Network: Arizona State, which has lost four in a row, can become bowl eligible with a victory. The Sun Devils lead the series 24-12-2, but lost 37-27 in Pullman last year, which ended a seven-game winning streak in the matchup. The Cougars are 103rd in the nation in scoring offense (20.7 ppg) in their first year running Mike Leach's "Air Raid" offense. The Cougars have lost seven in a row since a 2-1 start, though three of those defeats came by eight points or fewer.

No. 18 USC (7-3, 5-3) at No. 17 UCLA (8-2, 5-2) 3:05 p.m. FOX: The stakes are simple: The winner takes the South Division and advances to the Pac-12 title game, which means a shot at the Rose Bowl. Further, the rivalry took an interesting turn this week when UCLA decided that the Trojans drum major couldn't do his traditional pregame turf stab. USC leads the series 46-28-7, and the Trojans have dominated the series of late, winning five straight and 12 of the past 13. All five victories during the current winning streak have been by at least 14 points, including a 50-0 win last season. UCLA’s last win in the series came in 2006 when it upset the Trojans 13-9 at home, knocking USC out of the national title game. A key for the Bruins: Protecting quarterback Brett Hundley. USC ranks fourth in the nation with 3.7 sacks per game, while the Bruins yield 3.1 sacks per game, which ranks 107th in the nation. USC quarterback Matt Barkley’s completion percentage has dropped by 10.6 percentage points when opponents blitz this season compared to last. Yet, that could change with UCLA on the schedule this week. Last season, Barkley completed all 15 of his passes, including four touchdowns, when the Bruins sent five or more rushers on a play. UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin is averaging 127.0 yards per game, sixth most in FBS and 4.1 more yards per game than USC’s combination of Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal. One key to Franklin’s success is he has been hard to bring down. Franklin has gained 514 yards after contact this season, second most in the Pac-12.

No. 13 Stanford (8-2, 6-1) at No. 2 Oregon (10-0, 7-0) 8 p.m. ABC: Both teams control their own Pac-12 North destiny, and Oregon is trying to keep its national title hopes alive. If either wins its final two games, it will win the Pac-12's North Division and host the Pac-12 title game. Stanford leads the series 44-30-1, but Oregon has won nine of the past 10. The Ducks have scored 105 points combined in the past two games while winning each by more than 20 points. Stanford will be the highest-ranked opponent that Oregon has faced thus far this season. A key question for the Ducks is the health of their defense, which might be without several starters due to injury. Stanford has the Pac-12's best defense. Oregon has the best offense. The critical matchup is the Ducks' running game, which ranks third in the nation (325 yards per game), against Stanford's run defense, which ranks No. 1 in the nation (58.6 yards per game). Stanford has not allowed an opponent to rush for more than 150 yards this season. Oregon has rushed for at least 180 yards in every game it’s played this season, and has averaged 285.3 rush yards per game in three games against Stanford under Chip Kelly. Of course, California did a nice job against the Ducks running game last weekend, but quarterback Marcus Mariota passed for 377 yards and six touchdowns.

Arizona (6-4, 3-4) at Utah (4-6, 2-5) 10 p.m ESPNU: The big news this week on this one was Arizona quarterback Matt Scott being listed as probable after he sat out last week against Colorado with a concussion. Junior college transfer B.J. Denker made his first start against the Buffs, completing 12 of 14 passes for 136 yards, also running nine times for 44 yards. But the Utes at home are a far tougher challenge, whoever plays quarterback. And, if Scott starts, will he last the entire game? Utah leads the series 20-15-2 and has won three in a row, including a 34-21 win last year. The Utes must win their final two games to become bowl eligible for the 10th consecutive season. The game presents an interesting strength-on-strength (Arizona offense vs Utah defense) and weakness-on-weakness (Arizona defense vs. Utah offense) matchup.

California (3-8, 2-6) at No. 16 Oregon State (7-2, 5-2) 10:30 p.m. Pac-12 Network: The Beavers can't look ahead to the Civil War with Oregon, and this might be Cal coach Jeff Tedford's final Pac-12 game after an 11-year tenure. Tedford meets with athletic director Sandy Barbour on Sunday to hash things out. An Oregon State win would give it an 8-2 record, only the second time after 1962 the school has been 8-2 or better through 10 games. It was 9-1 in 2000. In 1962 it went 8-2 before winning the Liberty Bowl to finish 9-2. California leads the series 34-29, including a 23-6 win last year. But before that, the Beavers had won four in a row and 10 of 12 in the series. Both teams are going with backup quarterbacks due to injury, with Sean Mannion starting for Cody Vaz (ankle) and Allan Bridgford replacing Zach Maynard (knee). Vaz and Mannion have attempted 62.8 percent of their passes after lining up under center. They have thrown 14 touchdowns and two interceptions from that formation. In comparison, when taking snaps from a shotgun formation, Vaz and Mannion have thrown two touchdowns and seven interceptions. Cal also will be without wide receiver Keenan Allen and tackle Matt Summers-Gavin. Bridgford will face a tough challenge against the Beavers' defense. Cal ranks 90th in the nation in scoring with 23.82 ppg, and it has yielded 3.64 sacks per game, which ranks 118th.

Ted Miller | email

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