Pac-12: Oklahoma State Sooners

Welcome back to the road trip. We're taking a week-by-week look at the entire Pac-12 schedule and picking out the game we feel is the marquee game of the week. If you have the time and means this is the game you want to see.

Week 2

Friday Sept. 7
  • Utah at Utah State
Saturday Sept. 8
  • Washington at LSU
  • E. Washington at Washington State
  • Sacramento State at Colorado
  • Southern Utah at Cal
  • USC at Syracuse
  • Wisconsin at Oregon State
  • Fresno State at Oregon
  • Nebraska at UCLA
  • Duke at Stanford
  • Illinois at Arizona State
  • Oklahoma State at Arizona
My choice: Washington at LSU

Why: After watching WSU's Jeff Tuel throw for 484 yards and four touchdowns against BYU last week, we shift our focus to defense and the Washington at LSU game. One team has arguably the best defense in the country, the other has a defense that is fighting to overturn its reputation from last season.

But the real question in this game is can the Huskies move the ball against an LSU defense that is loaded from front to back.

Keith Price, who didn't do anything to hurt his Heisman chances last week against San Diego State, now faces the stingiest defense of his career. This game probably won't break his Heisman campaign, but it can go a very long way toward making it.

The X factor is that Price is as good of a dual threat quarterback as the LSU is going to see all season. He was finally healthy in the Alamo Bowl and showed what he can do with his legs. And while Chris Polk was certainly a workhorse back, the by-committee approach might work to Washington's favor to keep fresh legs going against a ridiculously talented defensive front, headlined by Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo. Washington's offensive line issues are certainly a concern going against this group and any weaknesses will be exploited.

Washington's best mismatch is tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. If LSU commits a spy linebacker or safety to Price, ASJ could have some success over the middle with single coverage.

There are a couple of other intriguing matchups in Week 2: Illinois at ASU is a big one and there are a couple of traditional powers on the docket with Wisconsin and Nebraska. But UW's game is the most important for the conference. And while Washington will be considerable road underdogs, every Pac-12 fan should be pulling for the Huskies in this one. Plus, an upset win would be a great way to keep SEC trolls at bay.

Pac-10 power rankings

September, 8, 2008
9/08/08
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

No changes from last week.

1. USC: Help me out here: Who does USC play this weekend? Ohio State? Wow. Why haven't I heard more about this one? Buckle up for this week's Game of the Century, though watching the Buckeyes struggle with THE Ohio University made many wonder if this one could transform into another Trojans romp.

2. Oregon: There's nothing to learn from pounding Utah State. Guessing the Ducks will get tested this weekend at Purdue.

3. Arizona State: All QB Rudy Carpenter needs to carve up up a defense is adequate time in the pocket. He'll get that this weekend against UNLV -- but will he get it in two weeks against Georgia?

4. California: The Golden Bears bandwagon suddenly looks very appealing -- like they're offering a free seafood buffet and an open bar with business class seating. Might this trip to Maryland sneak up on them though as they, perhaps, start to admire their reflection in the mirror?

5. UCLA: The Bruins probably weren't scared by what they saw out of BYU at Washington because they have the defense to slow the Cougars. But UCLA does have a pattern of ruining a great moment by going rear-end-over-tea-kettle shortly thereafter.

6. Arizona: If the Wildcats turn in a third-straight beatdown, this time at a respectable New Mexico State program, then it's time to buy shares of that Mike Stoops stock that folks have been shorting the past few months.

7. Stanford: The Cardinal is a much improved team, but Arizona State showed them how far they still have to go. No reason they can't take another step forward at TCU, though.

8. Oregon State: I'm not going to type anything nice about the Beavers after singing about their upset potential last week earned me some mean, gloating e-mail from Penn State fans. Get back to me, Beavers, when that typical second-half surge takes place.

9. Washington: The referees reminded Washington that there are no celebrations in college football. The officious officials need not worry, though, things are pretty dreary around this once proud program right now, and they don't figure to get better with Oklahoma headed to town.

10. Washington State: Worst defeat in program history? It's going to be a long season in Pullman.

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