- Ted Miller, College Football
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Some notes to get you through the hours until Saturday. Thanks to ESPN Stats & Information for many of these numbers.
Arizona State wrapped up the Pac-12 South with a win at UCLA last week, but the Sun Devils still have plenty to play for against Arizona. A win would mean they get to host Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game, a loss would mean traveling to Palo Alto for the game.
This matchup has been remarkably even in recent years. The road team has won each of the last four meetings, all of which were one-score games, and the teams have been nearly identical on paper. When you combine the last four games, Arizona State has outscored Arizona by one point and gained 36 more yards.
Arizona is coming off a huge win against Oregon, but can the Wildcats build on it? The last time they won consecutive matchups with AP-ranked teams was in 2006.
According to ESPN's Strength of Schedule Ratings, Arizona State has played the third-most difficult schedule in the FBS behind Utah and California. Yes, the three most difficult schedules in the nation are in the Pac-12.
There should be plenty of scoring in this one. Arizona State has scored at least 30 points in every home game this season (averaging 47.7 PPG in Tempe), while Arizona has scored at least 30 points in four of five road games (averaging 35.8 PPG on the road).
Though they've been Pac-12 rivals for only three years, Colorado leads its series with Utah 31-25-3, and this is both teams' longest series against any Pac-12 team. They played annually from 1903-62 with four exceptions, but then the rivalry went dormant for 49 years before it resumed in 2011 as Pac-12 members.
Last season, Utah's 42-35 win in Boulder was its first over the Buffs since 1962. That game was a back-and-forth affair that was iced by Utah's Reggie Dunn producing his fifth 100-yard kickoff return of his career (an NCAA record) for the winning TD. John White rushed for 168 yards, and Utah's four interceptions matched its season total entering the game.
In this week's NCAA rankings, Utah has the fifth-toughest schedule in the country (down from No. 2 a week ago). The combined FBS record of Utah's opponents is 64-30 and all of its first 11 FBS opponents are bowl eligible. As noted above, according to ESPN.com's Stats & Information, Utah has played the nation's toughest schedule.
The Civil War has been all Oregon lately. The Ducks have won five straight over Oregon State, the second-longest Oregon win streak in the history of this rivalry, and those wins came by an average of 20.0 points. These teams have played each other 116 times, with the first meeting in 1894. The longest winning streak in the series is eight games (1975-92).
Both teams are coming off of losses, Oregon having lost two of three and Oregon State on a four-game skid. Oregon hasn't lost consecutive games in a season since losing three straight in 2007. Oregon State is two losses shy of its longest single-season streak under Mike Riley (lost six straight in 1997).
Oregon had a -26.5 defensive EPA (expected points added) against Arizona last week, its worst in any game in the last 10 seasons.
A win would give Oregon its sixth straight 10-win season. Only Alabama has a current streak that long, with Boise State's seven-year run coming to an end this season.
Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks is approaching several single-season Pac-12 records. He has caught 110 passes for 1,560 yards with 15 TDs. The reception and total yards record was set by USC's Marqise Lee last year -- 118 catches for 1,721 yards. Mario Bailey scored 18 TDs in 1991.
This is the 17th straight season that Stanford is playing Notre Dame. Notre Dame won last year, but Stanford has won the last two home games vs Notre Dame.
Stanford is looking for its fourth straight 10-win season. Prior to that strech, the Cardinal had only three 10-win seasons ever.
Notre Dame enters with three losses, but the Irish have had some impressive wins. In fact, Notre Dame is the last team to beat Arizona State, Michigan State and USC, three of the hottest teams in FBS. Those three teams are a combined 18-0 since losing to Notre Dame.
Stanford has won 15 straight home games, tied for the second-longest active streak in the nation with Ohio State (South Carolina has won 17 straight at home).
Stanford's Tyler Gaffney has proven a workhorse for the Cardinal. Of all rushers with at least 175 carries this season, he has had only 23 rushes for zero/negative yards. That's the second-fewest in FBS behind Auburn's Tre Mason (20).
The Cardinal have nine wins this season, but haven't been too opportunistic. Of the 24 teams with at least nine wins this season, only Stanford (0) and Cincinnati (-5) have turnover margins of zero or worse. But the Irish haven't been effective in that category either. Notre Dame is -3 in turnover margin this season, including -5 over the last three games.
Stanford QB Kevin Hogan is completing 50 percent of his passes thrown 25 yards or longer this season, an increase of 20 percentage points from last season. His 11 touchdowns on such passes leads the Pac-12 and ranks third among AQ quarterbacks behind Bryce Petty (13) and Tajh Boyd (12).
UCLA snapped a five-game losing streak against USC last season with a 38-28 win at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins will be looking for their first road win in the series since 1997 and consecutive wins over their crosstown rival for the first time since winning eight straight from 1991 to 1998.
USC's quarterbacks have a 72.0 opponent-adjusted QBR with Ed Orgeron as their interim head coach after posting a 37.4 opponent-adjusted QBR in their first five games with Lane Kiffin.
USC (red) and UCLA (blue) will wear their home jerseys Saturday at the Coliseum. In 2008, then head coaches Rick Neuheisel (UCLA) and Pete Carroll (USC) decided to revisit a tradition of each team wearing its home jersey in the annual matchup, and they've done it ever since. The decision to do so in 2008 came with controversy, however, as the visiting team (USC) was penalized a timeout for not wearing its away uniforms (UCLA then burned one of its own per pregame arrangement). That offseason, the NCAA approved a rule change that allowed teams to each wear home jerseys so long as they are deemed to be contrasting colors by their conference.
Coming in at 8-3, UCLA is looking to secure consecutive nine-win seasons for the first time since 1997 and 1998 (10-2 each year). That two-season span included a trip to the Rose Bowl in 1998, its most recent appearance in a BCS bowl game.
With a win on Saturday, UCLA coach Jim Mora would break a tie with Tommy Prothro for most wins in a head coach's first two seasons at UCLA in program history. Mora also is likely to join Karl Dorrell as the only head coaches to lead the Bruins to a bowl game in each of his first two seasons at the school.
Washington State has lost 10 of the last 15 Apple Cups against Washington, but they prevailed last year 31-28 in overtime, overcoming an 18-point Huskies fourth-quarter lead.
Washington RB Bishop Sankey enters the week as the nation's No. 4 rusher with 143.2 yards per game. His 17 rushing TDs ranks sixth in the nation, and his 34 career TDs tied him with Napoleon Kaufman for the UW record. He needs 121 yards to eclipse Corey Dillon's single season rushing record of 1,695.
After losing three in a row, the Cougars beat Arizona and Utah, thereby becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2006. They haven't been picked for a bowl game since 2003.
The big question for Washington is whether senior QB Keith Price will get the start. A shoulder injury last week forced Cyler Miles into action. The Huskies rushed for 530 yards last week against Oregon State.
Some notes to get you through the hours until Saturday. Thanks to ESPN Stats & Information for many of these numbers. Arizona State wrapped up the Pac-12 South with a win at UCLA last week, but the Sun Devils still have plenty to play for against Arizona.