We've made it, folks. It's officially the last week of Pac-12 football in the regular season, and every team will be playing one last game to try and improve their record. Except for Arizona. They decided to end early, I guess.
For the University of Oregon crowd, this time of year is marked with desperately concocting ways in which they could conceivably "smell roses."
Here's Dan Rubenstein to tell you why that's not going to happen!
If anything, Oregon is catching some nice scents of hard, frozen chicken. They're currently predicted by Sports Illustrated to play in the Foster Farms Bowl against Indiana. For a team that has vastly underperformed this year, their fan base still likes to bring the heat on twitter:
There are many questions I have. Are Oregon and Oregon State not considered schools of equal academic stature? I'm not going to spew a bunch of facts detailing why OSU students are smarter than Oregon students, but I will say that I think most people would agree that OSU and Oregon are pretty much on equal grounds for academics. So, is the Autzen Student section admitting that Oregon is filled with self-loathing, undereducated students, or does this person just not realize what they are saying? If the latter is the case, aren't they backhandedly proving their own point by putting their own stupidity on display? Clearly, things can get a little weird in Eugene when the the football season does not go according to plan.
Did I mention that it's Civil War week? Of course, OSU and Oregon will throw down, Washington and Washington State will battle for the Apple Cup, Los Angeles will be up for grabs as USC takes on UCLA, and there's still plenty at stake.
The Apple Cup will kick the week off on Friday, with #20 Wazzu (8-3, 6-2) making the trek to Seattle to play at UW's (5-6, 3-5) house. Wazzu has a chance to finish second in the Pac-12 North, while Washington will be fighting to become bowl eligible. Wazzu is the favorite for the first time in a long time for this game, and it should be interesting to see how UW responds with the tables turned. Watch this game on Friday 12:30 pm PT FOX or FOX Deportes.
Up next on Friday will be the Civil War. I never feel good predicting blowouts, but OSU's (2-9, 0-8) recent play has me feeling queasy. #17 Oregon (8-3, 6-2), for all of their perceived struggles this season, is playing really well. Royce Freeman will be (presumably) playing his last game at Autzen, and OSU's run defense is so porous this year that he might end up running the equivalent of a marathon on the football field.
You never know, though. I have fond memories of the Oregonian's Jason Quick predicting OSU to lose 69-0 in 2013 before the Beavers took the Ducks to a 36-35 nail biter. That year, the Beavers were playing at Oregon and coming off a blowout loss to the Huskies at home, too. Are the stars aligning for a possible competitive Civil War? Maybe not. As Brian Rathbone of the Daily Barometer noted, "this game is almost set up like the 2013 Civil War, except there is no Sean Mannion and no Brandin Cooks."
What the Beavers do have is a potential sneak attack at wide receiver. Seth Collins has been working this week with WR coach Brent Brennan. The thought of Jordan Villamin and Collins on the outside with Bolden in the slot is tantalizing, given someone can throw to them. Marcus McMaryion holds our fate in his hands, as he will get the nod over Nick Mitchell this week. That also makes my stomach churn. However, the fact that Collins is at wide receiver this week and not quarterback makes me think something is up OSU's sleeve. We will see. The Civil War will kickoff at 1:00 pm PT on Fox Sports 1.
Colorado (4-8, 1-7) will travel to #23 Utah (8-3, 5-3) to start Saturday off. This is a mostly uninteresting bout, as Utah's loss to UCLA gave away their spot atop of the Pac-12 South and along with it their chance at the Rose Bowl. It's been a rough end of the season for Utah, as they recently lost offensive centerpiece Davonte Booker to MCL surgery and tanked from playoff contenders to mere bowl eligibility. Still, they will likely clobber the Buffaloes with ease. Watch this game on Pac-12 Networks at 11:30 am PT.
The UCLA (8-3, 5-3) and USC (7-4, 5-3) matchup will decide who gets the chance to play Stanford in the Pac-12 championship for the Rose Bowl. Both teams have struggled with inconsistency this season, but still find themselves playing for the the top spot in the Pac-12 South. UCLA has been the better team throughout the year, but it is still remained to be seen how their freshman QB Josh Rosen responds to the immense pressure. Watch this game at 12:30 pm PT on ABC/ESPN 2.
#6 Notre Dame (10-1) will travel to #13 Stanford (9-2, 8-1) to take on the Cardinal in the season finale. Notre Dame has a shot to vault themselves into the playoff picture with a win, while Stanford's win would mostly be a confidence boost going into the Pac-12 champion ship game with the Pac-12 North already locked up. The entertainment level should be top notch when these high-flying teams take the field. Tune into FOX at 4:30 pm PT to see what happens.
Finally, Cal (6-5, 3-5) and Arizona State (6-5, 4-4) will take each other on to close the final Pac-12 week. It's a bit of an anticlimactic ending, as Cal and ASU are both locked into bowl games and are not playing for anything particularly riveting. Hit up Fox Sports 1 at 7:00 pm PT if you feel your football fix has not been thoroughly satisfied.
Here's the complete, national schedule, adjusted as always for East Coast Bias Time!