BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 22: Head Coach Jon Embree of the Colorado Buffaloes paces the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Oregon Ducks at Folsom Field on October 22, 2011 in Boulder, Colorado. Oregon defeated Colorado 45-2. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Previous parts of the list: 90-81
We continue our ride up the top Pac-12 games of the 2012 regular season. We move up the list a rung to rank the games from the 71st to the 80th.
These are the games with the greatest blowout potential or might just not seem like very compelling matchups no matter what way the game breaks. There's a definite possibility any of the favorites get upset unlike 90 to 81, but it's still highly unlikely hijinks ensure (although there could be entertainment).
There is a lot of Colorado on this part of the list, namely because (1) they're new, but still run such homogenous material that they don't really get out of the box, and (2) no one expects them to do anything next season, and they are going to be heavy underdogs much of the year. Not much to enjoy about rebuilding projects unless they really surpass the greatest expectations.
80. Washington State vs. Eastern Washington, Sept. 8: This actually makes Part 2, thanks to how close EWU came to upsetting the Huskies last year in Seattle. Kudos to you Eastern Washington. Now, Washington did have a defensive coordinator that probably wasn't fit to build a sand castle, but Wazzu is still well-behind the Huskies in talent. It might surprise and actually be one of the more entertaining matchups this far down the list.
T-78. Colorado at USC, Oct. 20
Colorado at Oregon, Oct. 27
Here's your Pac-12 in-conference nadir, as the rebuilding Buffs get a brutal back-to-back to LA and Autzen. They lost to these two teams by a combined 68 points at home last year. No real chance for an upset of either, and a 95% possibility of being swept because of the lack of support. .
77. Washington State at UNLV, Sept. 15: Back before everything went horribly, horribly wrong for the Cougars, WSU beat the ever-living stuffing out of UNLV at home. I don't see how anything changes on the road with a more experienced offense and better coach.
76. Stanford vs. Duke, Sept. 8: Duke is getting more competitive under Cutcliffe, but despite causing Stanford some trouble early on last season, they were eventually pounded into the ground. That shouldn't change in the rematch in Palo Alto.
75. Arizona vs. Toledo, Sept. 1: Kind of intriguing since this is Rich Rod's debut, and Toledo is coming off a 9-4 season ... and Toledo did upset Rich Rod his first year in Michigan. This is the part of the list where we start getting to teams where the opponent has a reasonable chance at victory, even if it is remote.
74. USC vs. Syracuse, Sept. 8: Kind of fun because this is in an NFL stadium. Less fun because USC usually manhandles their September out-of-conference schedule nearly every year without fail. USC had a fairly convincing three touchdown victory over Syracuse last season, althought he Trojans had yet to kick into high gear. Doesn't bode well for a team chasing a title.
73. Oregon State at Stanford, Nov. 10: The Beavers play the Cardinal, and this is probably a mismatch on paper--Stanford's power is just the wrong formula for a Beaver defense that has no real stout playmakers up front. Expect a slow, methodical death for OSU.
72. Stanford at Colorado, Nov. 3: Oh man, this murderer's row continues for the Buffs. Home games with USC and Oregon followed by having to deal with one of the most physical defenses in the conference at home. The Buffs should be competitive, but they're probably not ready to compete yet.
71. UCLA at Rice, Sept. 1: Jim Mora's first game in the Pac-12 will be the second-most intriguing game on opening night. Will he get the Bruins roaring in the right direction? Rice is a bit of a pushover, but they did upset Purdue at home, so they can be feisty if you don't treat them right. A strong opening statement on the first night of the season could go a long way.
The most compelling Pac-12 game ranked #80 - #71 is ...
USC vs. Syracuse (147 votes)
UCLA at Rice (84 votes)
Arizona vs. Toledo (81 votes)
Washington State vs. Eastern Washington (199 votes)
Another game (102 votes)
613 total votes