Pac-12 TV Guide Week 8: Stanford and UCLA fight for second place

Ezra Shaw

Each week Avinash Kunnath and Jack Follman rank all of the Pac-12 games and break down why you should watch them.

Game of the Week - UCLA at Stanford 12:30 pm ABC

AK - Pac-12 Oktoberfest continues in Palo Alto! The Cardinal and Bruins are definitely top tier Pac-12 teams, but both have shown plenty of vulnerability the last few weeks. UCLA runs a similar type of offense to the one that just bested the fearsome Cardinal front, and they nearly won last year too. But the Bruins run game just hasn't shown enough punch since Jordon James went down. Stanford pretty much has to win to stay alive in the BCS/Rose Bowl race. There's a lot at stake.

JF - Wow, so much at stake here for both teams as UCLA can solidify themselves as an elite Pac-12 team and setup a Top 10 showdown in Eugene next week and Stanford NEEDS to win to have any hope of staying in the race for the North. I love the matchup as I think UCLA will be motivated by losing twice to Stanford last year and Stanford by getting upset last week. On the field, I think it will also be thrilling to see Brett Hundley go against a suddenly questionable defense with their backs against the wall as he hopes to give Marcus Mariota competition in the Heisman race.

2. Washington at Arizona State 3 pm Pac-12 Network

AK - Washington is reeling from two straight losses to the best in the conference, and now they deal with a type of offense (spread it out) that gives them all sorts of problems in a place (the road) that gives them all sorts of problems. ASU is a pretty mighty team when they play at home, so expect a lot of fireworks in the afternoon in the desert.

JF - This might be the best game that the Pac-12 Network gets this year as it's a huge one for Steve Sarkisian and the Huskies who are coming off two brutal losses and the Sun Devils who need to try and keep pace with UCLA in the South. The Sun Devil defense hasn't been able to stop any decent offense all season, but the Husky defense suddenly looks questionable and they are terrible on the road under Sarkisian. I expect a back-and-forth battle between two teams fighting for the edge in the upper-middle section of the Pac-12.

3. USC at Notre Dame 4:30 pm NBC

AK - Ed Orgeron can really put his name in the race for the USC job if he can upset their archrivals in South Bend. The Trojans aren't quite a top 25 team yet, but a win here could springboard them to a late season finish--they'll be favorites in four of their next five games.

JF - Can the Trojans live up to their potential now that the cloud of Lane Kiffin is gone? It certainly looked like it in their first half against Arizona, the second half, not so much. This will be a good test to see if they can though as the Irish are a strong, but utterly beatable team that a win over would do wonders for morale and fan support.

4. Utah at Arizona 7 pm Pac-12 Network

AK - Utah seems destined for bowl eligibility after their Stanford win, but four of their next five on the road. Up next is an Arizona team in desperate need of a Pac-12 victory.

JF - Another great matchup for the Pac-12 Network and one that like, Utah, is underrated. The Utes should be sky high after upsetting Stanford but can't rest at all against an Arizona squad that looks like it discovered a passing game in the second half last week against USC. There is a lot at stake here too, as one team will walk away with three conference losses, essentially knocking themselves out of the race for the South crown.

5. Oregon State at Cal 7:30 pm ESPN2

AK - Watch out for the Beavers as a sneaky BCS at-large contender. Oregon State is undefeated against FBS opponents, and another winnable game against Cal awaits.

JF - As bad as Cal has looked thus far this season, especially on defense, I think they are going to win a Pac-12 game against someone other than Colorado because of how prolific their passing game is, could this be it?

6. Washington State at Oregon 7 pm Fox Sports 1

AK - Washington State's defense does have the potential to slow down Oregon's offense. But what exactly will their offense do against the speed of the Duck front?

JF - The Ducks look undefendable with Marcus Mariota this year and the interception machine that is Connor Halliday facing off with Oregon's Pac-12-best secondary in Eugene seems like a recipe for disaster. But hey, someday, the seemingly unflappable Ducks are going to be challenged or lose to a monumental underdog, it's just pure odds and logic, right? Okay, probably not. Tune in to watch Marcus Mariota and see what a corporate college football machine looks like when firing on all cylinders.

7. Charleston Southern at Colorado 11 am Pac-12 Networks

AK - This has the potential to be a good one. Charleston Southern is undefeated in FCS play, including edging out Appalachian State. Colorado is reeling and is in desperate need of a win.

JF - Nice, the Buffs, who need a win like a crackhead needs a hit, replaced a tough game against Fresno State with an FCS opponent... wait, Charleston Southern is 7-0. Uh, I really think the Buffs are much better this season under Mike McIntyre, but are shaky at quarterback right now and this one could be more interesting than it should be.

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