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Saturday, October 13, 2012
Quick look at today's Pac-12 games

By Ted Miller

Here's what's happening in the Pac-12 today.

Utah (2-3, 0-2) at UCLA (4-2, 1-2) 3 p.m. Fox: Both teams are coming off losses. The Utes have lost two in a row, the Bruins two of three. UCLA leads the series 8-2, but the Utes have won the past two by a combined count of 75-12, including 31-6 in 2011. Last season, the Utes started 0-4 in Pac-12 play before winning their next four conference games, including a win over UCLA. The Utes are the only conference team that averages fewer than 300 yards per game and they also rank last in third-down conversion percentage (29.7 percent). UCLA leads the conference with 10 interceptions. The Utes are last with two.

No. 10 Oregon State (4-0, 3-0) at BYU (4-2) 3:30 p.m. ABC: The Beavers will be without QB Sean Mannion, who had knee surgery this week and will be out two to four weeks. Junior Cody Vaz will get his first career start. The series is tied 5-5, but BYU has won the past two, including 38-28 last year. BYU ranks ninth in the nation with 3.3 sacks per game. It also is third in the nation in scoring defense, yielding just 8.8 points per game. For the first time in the modern era, BYU will wear a black uniform.

No. 17 Stanford (4-1, 2-1) at No. 7 Notre Dame (5-0) 3:30 NBC: Stanford needs QB Josh Nunes to bring the same efficiency he's shown at home in wins over USC and Washington to the road. Notre Dame leads the series 17-9. This is the 16th straight year that Stanford and Notre Dame have met. Stanford has won the past three meetings, including 28-14 last year, which is the Cardinal’s longest streak in the series. Two years ago, Stanford won 37-14 in South Bend. That is the Cardinal’s largest win over Notre Dame. Stanford will try to be the first team to beat both USC and Notre Dame in four consecutive seasons. Notre Dame is second in the nation in scoring defense (7.8 ppg) and seventh in turnover margin. The Irish only average 211 yards passing per game, but they average 187 yards rushing per game. Stanford is 6th in the nation against the run (77.2 ypg). The Irish play two QBs, Tommy Rees and Everett Golson, but Golson had the best game of his career against Miami, completing 17 of 22 passes for 186 yards and rushing for 51 yards.

No. 11 USC (4-1, 2-1) at Washington (3-2, 1-1) 7 p.m. Fox: Washington winds up a brutal schedule stretch, while the Trojans try to work their way back into the national title discussion. USC leads the series 50-28-4, including a 40-17 win last year in L.A. But before that game, the Huskies had won two in a row versus the Trojans. The series is 9-9-1 over the past 19 games. Washington RB Bishop Sankey has rushed for 100 yards in three straight games, but the Huskies rank last in the Pac-12 in passing offense, with just 184.2 yards per game and five TD passes. The contest features head coaches Lane Kiffin of USC and Steve Sarkisian of Washington, former Trojan offensive assistants who spent five years together in Heritage Hall under Pete Carroll.

California (2-4, 1-2) at Washington State (2-4, 0-3) 10:30 p.m. Pac-12 Network: Is California on the way back after an awful start? Can the Cougars find themselves in year one under Mike Leach? Cal leads the series 43-25-5 and has won seven in a row in the series, including a 30-7 win in Berkeley last year. When playing in Pullman, the Cougars hold a 12-7-1 advantage but the Golden Bears have won the past three meetings and seven straight overall. Leach has faced Cal before, posting a 45-31 win over the No. 4 Golden Bears in the 2004 Holiday Bowl. WSU WR Marquess Wilson’s 2,947 career receiving yards are the second highest total in the country among active receivers, only behind Duke’s Conner Vernon at 3,230. Coug OLB Travis Long is tied for first in the country with 7.5 sacks.