Pac-12: transform 120712

Pac-12 viewer's guide: Week 9

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24
10:00
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video (All times Pacific)

Friday, 7 p.m.

Oregon at California, Fox Sports 1

[+] EnlargeMariota
Jaime Valdez/USA TODAY SportsMarcus Mariota and Oregon figure to be in a shootout against California.
This is a matchup between the two Pac-12 leaders in scoring offense: The Ducks average 43.6 points per game, and the Bears are at 41.6. The difference on paper -- and likely on the field, too -- comes on defense. Cal sports the conference's second-worst unit (38.4 points per game), and the Ducks have upped their defensive play to reach fourth in the conference rankings (23.6 points per game). This will be the first college football game at Levi's Stadium and comes on a massive sports night in the San Francisco Bay Area: Game 3 of the World Series will be happening there, too.

Saturday, 11 a.m.

UCLA at Colorado, Pac-12 Network

It's turned into another long season for the Buffs, and the journey certainly doesn't become any easier with UCLA's explosive bunch coming to town. Turnovers, though, have been a major issue for the Bruins this season. Cal scored 21 points off UCLA miscues to keep the game close last week, and that might well be Colorado's formula to have a puncher's chance at Folsom Field. For Brett Hundley's squad, this should be a chance for a tuneup before a challenging finishing stretch: vs. Arizona, at Washington, vs. USC, vs. Stanford.

12:30 p.m.

Oregon State at Stanford, ESPN2

The Beavers will certainly be sniffing upset in Palo Alto. Stanford is a very vulnerable team right now: The offense is faltering, and that supersonic defense has taken two gut punches with injuries to linemen David Parry and Aziz Shittu. That being said, the Cardinal have been excellent when faced with adversity in the David Shaw era. The fourth-year coach has yet to lose consecutive games in his tenure, and Stanford is desperate to right the ship at home.

3 p.m.

Arizona at Washington State, Pac-12 Network

The Cougars won 24-17 in Tucson last season, but we will likely see more points this Saturday in Pullman when Rich Rodriguez and Mike Leach resume battle. Arizona and Washington State are the Pac-12's two top teams when it comes to total offense. They are averaging a combined 1,091 yards per game. Since both defenses are ranked in the conference's bottom half, expect fireworks and an intriguing duel between senior Connor Halliday (who is on an NCAA record-smashing pace) and freshman Anu Solomon.

7 p.m.

USC at Utah, Fox Sports 1

This Utah squad reminds our Kevin Gemmell of the 2012 Stanford squad that won the Pac-12 championship, and I agree with him: The Utes don't ask for much out of their quarterback (62 pass yards last week), they run the ball with vigor (229 yards from Devontae Booker last week) and they set up frequent shop in opposing backfields (nation-leading 5.5 sacks per game). Both teams have also established a hashtag for their pass rush: 2012 Stanford had #PartyInTheBackfield, and 2014 Utah has coined #SackLakeCity. So USC is tasked with beating this rugged Ute team in a raucous road environment. This game is a significant step in figuring out the convoluted Pac-12 South puzzle.

7:45 p.m.

Arizona State at Washington, ESPN

There is a 70 percent chance of rain in Seattle. They call that "Dawg Weather" in the Pacific Northwest, and Washington hopes that will aid in its quest to win the turnover battle -- the Huskies are ranked second nationally in turnover margin even after last week's substandard performance at Oregon. Taylor Kelly returns to the quarterback role for Arizona State, but Todd Graham expects Mike Bercovici will also get snaps. Washington's offense has sputtered this season (league-worst 5.0 yards per play), and it will be interesting to see who gets the upper hand in its matchup with the Sun Devils' unremarkable defense.

Who will transform the bowls?

December, 7, 2012
12/07/12
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Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey has a great opportunity to show a heck of a lot of people why he landed on several All-America lists -- including first-team Walter Camp -- and why he should get some Heisman buzz in 2013.

We all know that he's the national leader in rushing with 1,757 yards, 20 touchdowns and an impressive 6.4 yards per carry. But people are going to tune into the Gildan New Mexico Bowl for several reasons. For starters, it's the first game of the bowl season -- kicking off next Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. So he'll have an opportunity for the whole country to be watching (yes, even East Coast people won't be asleep yet).

Second, Nevada running back Stefphon Jefferson is right behind Carey in the national rankings, coming in at No. 2 with 1,703 yards, 22 touchdowns and an average of 5 yards per carry. People are going to tune in to watch the only 1,700-yard rushers in FBS football go head-to-head.

Carey has risen to prominence this season with his explosive running, his ability to break tackles and his overall consistency. He's gone for at least 100 yards in nine games, and four times he's had at least 150 yards on the ground. Not to mention his Pac-12 record-setting performance against Colorado -- a 366-yard day that included five touchdowns and a whopping 14.6 yards per carry.

The Pac-12 has plenty of stars on display during the bowl season. But few have skyrocketed as quickly in 2012 as Carey. And what he does to close out 2012 could make him a national star heading into 2013.

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