The only conference game until the bowl games is the Pac-12 Championship Game, which has continually moved further south each season. This year's game is also on Saturday, after Friday night games (and traffic jams) the first 2 years in Eugene and Palo Alto. It's also on ESPN, after being featured by Fox the first 2 editions.
#7 Stanford (10-2, 7-2) visits #11 Arizona St. (10-2, 8-1) at 5:45 PM AST (4:45 PST), despite the fact that the Cardinal won the head to head meeting 42-28 back on Sept. 21, in Palo Alto. A pair of interceptions and a pair of blocked punts put the Sun Devils in far too many deep holes to be able to climb out of.
Stanford lost the home field advantage when they lost at USC 3 weeks ago, but regained the Pac-12 North's berth in the Championship game when Arizona upset Oregon.
With the door wide open, the Sun Devils rolled past Oregon St., jumped ahead of UCLA in the Rose Bowl and held off a Bruin rally for a 38-33 win to claim the Pac-12 South, and then blew rival Arizona out 58-21 in the Territorial Cup to gain home field advantage in the title game.
Sun Devil Stadium isn't normally that intimidating a venue (not that Stanford Stadium is either), and in December, the heat that's a problem the first 2 months of the season has turned into a pleasant evening for everyone. But this year, Arizona St. has been a vastly different team in Tempe, where they not only are undefeated in 7 games, other than their win over Wisconsin, every other victory has been by more than 2 touchdowns.
On the road, in addition to their 2 losses, they only escaped Utah by 1 point, and of course the 5 point win in Pasadena, where they hope to return on New Year's Day. Only in Pullman on Halloween night were the Sun Devils able to win handily on the road.
Stanford was also undefeated in 7 home games, and while several were close, 4 of the Cardinal's opponents were ranked at the time. On the road, Stanford lost in Salt Lake City and in the LA Coliseum, and needed a goal line stand to escape Reser with the win. Like Arizona St., the only team the Cardinal were able to handle easily on the road were the Cougars.
Stanford has one clear advantage though, a healthy Tyler Gaffney who was named Second Team All-Pac-12, and could see somewhere in the vicinity of 40 carries.
Arizona St. on the other hand will have to rely on D.J. Foster, who ran for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns against the 'Cats, as Marion Grice, the other Second Team All-Pac-12 RB, is likely out again, after suffering what's been reported to be a broken leg late in the UCLA game.
The Sun Devils have the edge at quarterback though, in Second Team All-Pac-12 Taylor Kelly, who threw for 3,337 yards, and 27 touchdowns, against only 11 interceptions, and also ran for another 437 yards and 8 more scores.
Stanford's offensive line, which placed 4 members onto either the first or second team All-Pac-12 squad, will again focus on neutralizing Arizona St. DT Will Sutton, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Once the identity of the Pac-12's representative is determined, you can quickly switch over to Fox to learn more about who the opponent in the Rose Bowl might be, as the Big 10 Championship Game starts about a half hour later in Indianapolis, and should be somewhere around the start of the 4th quarter.
If #10 Michigan St. (11-1, 8-0) beats #2 Ohio St. (12-0, 8-0), there's no doubt about it; the Spartans will be in Pasadena. But if the Buckeyes win, there's still a good chance it will be Michigan St. in the Rose Bowl, as a replacement for Ohio St., who hopes to make it to the National Championship Game the next week, also in the Rose Bowl.
That will depend a lot on how the SEC Championship Game earlier in the day in Atlanta, starting at 4 PM EST (1 PM PST) between #5 Missouri (11-1, 7-1) and #3 Auburn (11-1, 7-1) on CBS turns out, as an impressive Auburn win could eclipse Ohio St. if the Buckeyes barely beat the Spartans.
Here's the complete Saturday schedule:
|TIME||ROAD TEAM||HOME TEAM||NETWORK|
|12 p.m. ET||No. 17 Oklahoma, 9-2||No. 6 Oklahoma State, 10-1||
|12 p.m. ET||No. 16 UCF, 10-1||SMU, 5-6||
|12 p.m. ET||Marshall, 9-3||Rice, 9-3||
|1 p.m. ET||Memphis, 3-8||UConn, 2-9||
|3:30 p.m. ET||No. 25 Texas, 8-3||No. 9 Baylor, 10-1||
|3:30 p.m. ET||Furman, 8-5||North Dakota State, 11-0||
|4 p.m. ET||No. 5 Missouri, 11-1||No. 3 Auburn, 11-1||
|7:30 p.m. ET||USF, 2-9||Rutgers, 5-6||
|7:45 p.m. ET||No. 7 Stanford, 10-2||No. 11 Arizona State, 10-2||
|8 p.m. ET||No. 20 Duke, 10-2||No. 1 Florida State, 12-0||
|8 p.m. ET||UL Lafayette, 8-3||South Alabama, 5-6||
|8:17 p.m. ET||No. 2 Ohio State, 12-0||No. 10 Michigan State, 11-1||
|10 p.m. ET||Utah State, 8-4||No. 23 Fresno State, 10-1||