The Pac-12 winds up the second half of the season with a big game in the South, a handful of other games that could impact division races and a matchup between Notre Dame and Southern California that has added significance after the Trojans fired coach Steve Sarkisian.
Here’s a few things to look for this week in the Pac-12:
GAME OF THE WEEK: Arizona State at No. 4 Utah. The Utes (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) have been the dominant team in the Pac-12 so far, rising to the top of the Pac-12 South with a balanced offense and a defense that’s tied for second nationally with 17 turnovers. The Sun Devils (4-2, 2-1) got off to a shaky start, including a blowout loss at home to Southern California, but are starting to play their best football of the season after convincing wins over UCLA and Colorado. A win by Utah will put it firmly in control of the Pac-12 South. An upset by Arizona State throws the division potentially into a bit of chaos. The Sun Devils won by three in overtime in Tempe last season.
BEST MATCHUP: Oregon at Washington. The Ducks have dominated the series, winning the last 11 games. The 108th meeting could have a different feel to it. Oregon, which played for last season’s national championship, already has three losses – two of those at home. The Huskies have been steady most of the season and picked up the marquee win in two seasons under coach Chris Petersen when they beat USC in Southern California last weekend. This is Washington’s best chance yet to beat Oregon for the first time since 2003.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Utah is one of 16 undefeated FBS teams. … Pac-12 road teams are 10-5 in conference games. …. Oregon State and Washington State will be meeting for the 100th time. … California is the lone Pac-12 team with a bye week. … Arizona leads the Pac-12 in scoring with 42.3 points per game and is on pace to break the school record of 38.5 set in 1954.
IMPACT PLAYER: Luke Falk, Washington State. The Cougars’ quarterback had a huge game against Oregon last week, throwing for 505 yards and five TDs ib 50-of-74 passing. He will face the Pac-12’s best pass defense in Oregon State, which gives up 177.6 yards per game through the air.
Complied by AP College Football Writer John Marshall