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Monday, July 15, 2013
Pac-12 Ultimate Road Trip: Week 14

By Kevin Gemmell

We've been looking at the Pac-12's can't-miss games of the 2013 season.

Welcome to Week 14.

Friday Nov. 29
Saturday, Nov. 30
My choice: UCLA at USC

Why: After 13 weeks and approximately 11,953 miles, the road trip is coming to an end. And it was a blast.

Longest stretch: Returning from South Bend, Ind. to Eugene Ore., approximately 2,209 miles.

Shortest stretch, Los Angeles to Pasadena, 10.9 miles. Though it still took three hours.

I'm never letting Chongo or 55 drive ever again. Spicy was in charge of the music, and it rocked. We homered it up with bigeazy206 and heard arguments for why Ed Reynolds should win the Thorpe. We missed SDZald most of the trip. He's got his own agenda. BiggusDuckus gave numerous lectures and we survived 14 of Coach's Friday confessions. Maybe someone will post pics on Facebook? You all have accounts, right?

But now we wrap it up.

This week, everyone is a winner, no matter where you go. Every game is important. Every game has meaning to the fans and some sort of ramifications, be it off-season momentum or good old-fashioned pride. Some teams might be trying to lock up bowl berths. Others might be trying to lock up division titles.

And that's why we're going to stay in Los Angeles. Last year's Apple Cup was amazing. The Territorial Cup (which was our final stop last season) didn't disappoint. Every option is a good one this week. Stanford and Notre Dame could have national championship implications, as could the Civil War. The faux-rivalry between Utah and Colorado got turned up last year, thank you, Reggie-freaking-Dunn, prompting one of the best quotes of the year from Kyle Whittingham: "I can't for the life of me figure out why they kicked to Reggie Dunn. But we're glad they did."

But if we're looking at overall league implications -- which has always been the top priority of this trip -- then it has to be USC-UCLA. For starters, the winner might clinch the South Division title and play again next week in the conference championship (at Oregon? at Stanford? hosting?) and that alone is reason to stay in Los Angeles for this week. Last year's UCLA-USC game was a huge step forward for the Bruins, who went on to win the South and ultimately give Stanford a run in the title game. Every team in the league recruits Southern California, and winning this game goes a long way toward gaining an edge in a target-rich environment. Depending on what happened last week against ASU, the Bruins could be looking for a third-straight trip to the conference title game. And they'd like nothing better than to punch their ticket at USC's expense, and on their field.

Conversely, the Trojans would be elated to reclaim the South (remember that critical game against ASU way back in Week 5, how much is that playing a factor this week?) by beating UCLA in front of their fans. It's also very possible that this is the game that decides Lane Kiffin's future as USC's coach. If the Trojans are stuck at seven wins going into this game and lose -- we might see a change pre-or-post bowl game. A Trojan victory (depending on how the rest of the season goes) could cool his seat.

Adding a little more intrigue to the game are possible Heisman implications for Marqise Lee and Brett Hundley. Will one of them be in the mix? Both? Neither?

Enjoy this week for what it is -- a great week of football, regardless of what city you are in. If it rivals last year's week of regular-season finale games, it's going to be a phenomenal two days.

You can relive the entire road trip here.