Gas up the family station wagon and hit the Holiday Road. The Ultimate Road Trip is back! Over the last couple of weeks we've been looking at each week during the 2014 season and picking the can't-miss game (and maybe for Thursday/Friday games, we picked two).
Start planning accordingly as the Ultimate Pac-12 Road Trip concludes.
Welcome to Week 14.
Friday, Nov. 28
Arizona State at Arizona
Stanford at UCLA
Saturday, Nov. 29
Notre Dame at USC
Utah at Colorado
Oregon at Oregon State
Washington at Washington State
BYU at California
My choice: Stanford at UCLA, Washington at Washington State
Why: We had a partial rivalry week last week with The Big Game and USC-UCLA and part two spills into the final week of the season. Depending on kickoff times, you might be able to swing the Friday-Saturday double. So for the sake of argument, let’s just say we could pull that off.
For the Friday game, it only makes sense to pick Stanford and UCLA. They are regarded as two of the top three teams in the conference and, perhaps like in 2012, we might see these two teams again in the conference title game a week later. There won’t be any lack of star power, either, with some of the top offensive and defensive players in the country squaring off on both sides of the field. Not to mention two of the league’s elite coaches.
As for the rest of the games, well, trying to justify or validate one rivalry over another is a futile practice that the Pac-12 blog does not wish to engage in. You’d be hard-pressed to convince an Arizona fan to take in the Apple Cup instead of the Territorial Cup. So we’re not going to even bother.
We all know Rich Rodriguez has some work to do to gain some ground on Todd Graham, who holds a 2-0 edge in the series since both coaches were hired. The Civil War has been one-sided (though last year’s game was pretty awesome) and the Colorado-Utah series is coming along -- though I’m not sure it’s reached “rivalry” status yet. Of the two nonconference games, Cal-BYU is what it is and USC-Notre Dame comes on the heels of the Trojans showdown with UCLA. Could be a big two-week swing in terms of public perception for Steve Sarkisian.
Of the remaining games, we’re going with the Apple Cup simply because it’s exciting to see a new coach indoctrinated into the rivalry. We all know what happened in Mike Leach’s first season. And the Huskies, of course, returned the favor last year.
This time around you have Chris Petersen at the helm, facing an Air Raid offense that will likely be putting up some big offensive numbers behind Connor Halliday and his cast of receivers. If the Cougars want to build off of the momentum of last season, beating a Petersen-led team would certainly be a good way to establish themselves as major players in the North.
There should be plenty of jockeying for bowl position going on as well. Whether it’s teams like Oregon, UCLA and Stanford fighting for a spot in the conference championship game, or teams like Utah or Washington State looking to become bowl eligible (and everything in between).
This is one of those weeks where you can’t go wrong because of your allegiances to your team. But big picture, Stanford-UCLA should be thrilling and the Apple Cup presents some fascinating storylines.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the road trip. You can review the complete list here.