No days off this week for anyone, and four teams have had more than a week off to get ready. Four of five games, plus games involving both of next year's new members, are nationally televised in one form or another, so its another opportunity to make a good showing for the conference.
California Golden Bears (4-3, 2-2) at Oregon St. Bevers (3-3, 2-1) at 12:30 on Fox College Sports. The game will also be replayed Saturday night at 7:30 PM on Fox Sports Northwest. The Bears were Golden in their 50-17 rout of Arizona St., which improved their home record to 4-0. The question for Cal is can they finally take their show on the road, where the Bears are winless, twice blown out, and unable to score a touchdown in their other loss. If there was ever to be an opportunity, this is it, as the Oregon St. defense is 119 out of 120 in the FCS in total defense.
It's Homecoming for Oregon St., who is coming off a bye week, after dropping a 35-34 double overtime decision at Washington. The Beavers have taken three straight, and 9 of 11, in the series, but have to re-focus after sitting and reflecting on their struggles in Seattle. Oregon St. fell behind 21-0 early, and gambled on winning rather than extending the game to a third overtime.
#15 Arizona Wildcats (6-1, 3-1) at UCLA Bruins (3-4, 1-3) at 12:30 on the Fox Sports network of regional channels. The Wildcats posted a dominating 44-14 win over Washington, despite having to switch quarterbacks, with Matt Scott filling in for Nick Foles, who is still questionable for this week, recovering from a dislocated knee cap, but will probably play at least some of the time.
The Bruins suffered "Death by Ducks" in a 60-13 beat down by Oregon in Eugene, as Richard Breahaut took over at quarterback for Kevin Prince, who is out for the season with a knee injury.
#13 Stanford Cardinal (6-1, 3-1) at Washington Huskies (3-4, 2-2) at 4 PM on Versus. The Cardinal opened a couple of 24 point leads before coasting to a 38-28 win over Washington St. Stanford will be looking to build on what is already their best start in 40 years, which eventually led to back to back Rose Bowl wins.
The Huskies have followed up a bad performance with a great one three times already this season, and now they have another chance, and need, to do so. With road trips to Cal, Arizona, and Oregon still on their schedule, this is almost a must win in order for Washington to stay in the hunt for a bowl game.
Paul Wulff could earn himself another year in Pullman with an upset victory in Tempe. Dennis Erickson could be on the way out of Tempe if the Sun Devils drop this one.
Remember the note above about Oregon St. being the #119 defense? Guess who is behind them. The Cougars have to get some stops to get a chance at a win. Chances are they might, as Sun Devil quarterback Steven Threet, who suffered a concussion in the Cal game, will probably be operating with a simplified playbook this week.
#8 Utah Utes (7-0, 4-0) at Air Force Falcons (5-3, 3-2) at 4:30 PM (5:30 MDT) on CBS College Sports. The Future Pac-12 South Utes routed Colorado St. 59-6, while the Falcons fell 38-7 to #4 TCU, though they did score the first touchdown in three games against the Horned Frogs. Who just happen to be heading to Salt Lake City next Saturday, for yet another BCS altering showdown.
Colorado Buffalos (3-4, 0-3) at #11 Oklahoma Sooners (6-1, 2-1) at 6:15 PM (8:15 CDT) on ESPN2. The Buffs blew a 10 point lead when Texas Tech ran off 13 unanswered fourth quarter points to pull out a 27-24 win. The Sooners saw their brief stay atop the BCS slip away in Columbia when the Missouri Tigers pulled off a 36-27 upset.
The Main Event
#1 Oregon Ducks (7-0. 4-0) at #24 USC Trojans (5-2, 2-2) at 5 PM on ABC, except in the Big-10 footprint, where it will be on ESPN3 Game Plan. ESPN Gameday will be on hand in the morning as well. Everyone will be interested in whether the Ducks can escape being the fourth #1 ranked team (AP or BCS) to lose on the road to a ranked opponent in four weeks. Considering that Oregon hasn't won in the Coliseum since 2000, it's not out of question that they might.
Oregon comes in as the nation's leader in total offense, with the leading rusher in the nation, in LaMichael James. Try to keep up is their motto, referring to both their 15 seconds per play pace, and their point-a-minute production.
USC just might, having scored 42 points by halftime against Cal, before their bye week. Both of their losses, by 3 points total, and both on field goals as time expired, could just as easily been wins, and we would be looking at a battle of top 5 unbeaten teams. And the Trojans remember the 47-20 thumping they suffered in Eugene last year. As motivation, not intimidation.
Why the Big-10 area gets Ohio St. vs. Minnesota instead of this game is both a marketing mystery, and further proof of the need for a sprinkle of sanity in the next television package. And that has nothing to do with conference partisanship.