If last week was out of sight, out of mind week for the Conference in much of the country, this week is the biggest week of the season, as far as nationally significant games go, and one of the biggest ever.
Nine of ten teams are playing teams from BCS conferences, or coming off bowl appearances, if not both. Nine of ten games involve ranked teams. And the games will be visible, with ten games involving current or future Pac-10 teams televised nationally. Not much need for a Pac-10 network this week.
It is time to lock and load, though, as the conference has the opportunity to answer criticism of an east coast bias, and apathy. A string of strong performances this week will be noticed, but so will any so-so ones. And if that happens, it might be a while before there is another opportunity of this magnitude to showcase the conference, and rightfully so.
The Cal Bears, #25 in the Coaches' poll kick things off Friday night at 7 with a visit to Reno, to take on the Nevada Wolfpack from the WAC. It's the first of four matchups of so-far unbeaten teams involving Pac-10 teams, and ESPN2 has the coverage.
The 12:30 Saturday time slot is loaded, with two games in Big-10 country, and the conference's most highly ranked opponent in the four games.
The Arizona St. Sun Devils visit the eleventh ranked Wisconsin Badgers. Both teams are undefeated, and the game is the ABC regional game in most of the Big-10 area, excluding Pennsylvania, and in Arizona & New Mexico. The rest of the country will get the game on ESPN2.
The eighth ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers visit the Washington Huskies, and it will be the ABC regional game exclusive of the areas carrying the ASU-Wisconsin game, and the southeast. ESPN2 has the game in the ASU-Wisconsin ABC area. Only in the southeast, where top ranked Alabama will be demolishing Duke on regional tv will a viewer need the ESPN3 game plan to get the game.
Husky nation is making a push to have Husky stadium shaking up the camera for this one.
The Louisville Cardinals visit the Oregon St. Beavers, ranked 25th. in the AP poll, at 2:30, and Fox Sports Northwest will have the game. Outside the northwest, viewers will need an extended sports package that provides all the Fox regional channels, not just the one for their area, to get the game, but it is available nationally.
At 3:15, the only game not against an FBS team, and therefore not available nationally, kicks off, when the Portland St. Vikings visit the Oregon Ducks, ranked 5th. by the AP, and 6th. by the coaches. The game is only available in the northwest, on Comcast, and systems carrying Comcast.
Three evening games are also on the slate.
At 7:30, the Iowa Hawkeyes, ranked 9th. by the AP, and 10th. by the coaches, visit Tucson to take on the Arizona Wildcats, ranked 18th. by the coaches, and 24th. by the AP. Both teams are undefeated so far, and it's the only Pac-10 game where both teams are ranked, so the game gets national coverage by ESPN.
At 8:15, the last matchup of unbeaten teams ends the evening, as the ACC's Wake Forrest Demon Deacons come west, to take on the 19th. ranked Stanford Cardinal down on the farm.
Future Pac-11/12 member Utah is also on tv, as The Mountain network has the 14th. ranked Ute's visit to Albuquerque to take on the still Mountain West rival New Mexico Lobos.
Eventual Pac-12 member Colorado is available on the web via the college's system for the Buffalos' 12:30 contest against the Hawaii Rainbows.
And also of interest, the 3rd. ranked Boise St. Broncos, Oregon St.'s next opponent, visit Laramie to take on the Mountain West's Wyoming Cowboys at 5, and CBS College Sports has national coverage of this game too.
So load up the DVR or VCR, or, given the overlap, maybe a couple of them; there's enough relevant content there to carry you all week!