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Pac-12 Football Schedule: Stanford vs. Notre Dame, Oregon State vs. BYU, USC vs. Washington The Games To Watch

On the Pac-12 football schedule this week, the Stanford Cardinal facing the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in South Bend, the Oregon State Beavers battling the BYU Cougars in Provo, and the USC Trojans heading to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies are the main games to watch.

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Avinash Kunnath, Pacific Takes & California Golden Blogs (Cal): Oregon State at BYU is going to be a critical game for the Beavers. The Cougars will have the best defense the Beavers have faced this season, and Oregon State's offense showed some cracks last week in their win over Washington State. A win here and the road is clear for OSU to become a serious BCS contender; a loss will make the gap between Oregon and most of the rest of the Pac-12 that much wider.

AndyPanda, Building The Dam (Oregon State): I agree about the Oregon St.-BYU game, which will be huge for the Beavers and the conference, and BYU too, for that matter. And the coaching matchup is especially interesting. Bronco Mendenhall has had his way with Oregon St. the last 2 meetings, but Mike Riley wasn't calling the plays. He is now.

The other one I'd watch if I wasn't busy in Provo at the time is the Stanford-Notre Dame game. Not because I expect great viewing, but because this game is of massive importance on the national scene. It's over-hyped as all Notre Dame games are, but not that much this time, and IF (Big IF) Stanford can win this one on the road, it has major implications on perceptions.

Kevin Zimmerman, Arizona Desert Swarm (Arizona): Utah at UCLA. While it won't be the most hyped game on the schedule, this one just might clear up a very confusing Pac-12 South. Utah didn't look all that bad this weekend against USC, and UCLA will provide a pretty even matchup. And if for some reason Washington can pull an upset against the Trojans, then this game is all the more important if any team hopes to catch the ASU Sun Devils atop the South rankings.

Gekko Mojo, UW Dawg Pound (Washington):
The Washington-USC match has a number of subplots from the relationship between Kiff and Sark to the winning record UW has versus USC under Sark to the fact that this is the first match-up between the two in Seattle since Sark upset a Barkley-less #3 USC squad in his first season. Most relevant to the Pac 12, though, is the fact that nobody really knows who either team is. Both have had their moments of stellar execution and of dizzying ineptitude. A dominating USC win restores the Pac 12 race to what many thought it would be - a two man affair between Kiffin and Kelly. On the flip side, an upset by the home dog (or dawg) will leave the Pac 12 South race in total chaos and UW 2-2 after a first six that featured four highly ranked teams in LSU, Oregon, Stanford and USC.

thecassino, UW Dawg Pound (Washington): USC at Washington. The Huskies play a whole lot better at home, where they haven't gotten USC since 2009. The UW defensive personnel and coaching staff seem a lot more comfortable against a more traditional attack, so the Huskies could give the Trojans a game.

The matchup of Desmond Trufant against either one of USC's wideouts will be fun to watch.

norcalnick, California Golden Blogs (Cal): Stanford vs. Notre Dame. Right now it looks like Arizona is in the conversation with Colorado and Washington State for the title of worst defense in the conference. So: Can Josh Nunes do against Notre Dame what he did against Arizona? I doubt it, but I doubted that he could do what he did against Arizona.

Beyond that storyline, this is arguably a BCS play-in type game (assuming Stanford's current ranking is an accurate representation of their true talent). If Notre Dame wins, it's likely that only Oklahoma and USC stands between them and an undefeated season. If Stanford wins they add a 2nd huge win to their resume and become the biggest challengers to Oregon's supremacy.

Ben Knibbe, UW Dawg Pound (Washington): If I would be able to catch the game, it would be Stanford taking on an upstart Notre Dame team in Notre Dame. It would be interesting to watch if Nunes can build off of his impressive game and take the play on the road, and it could also be a way for Stanford to make another testament to the strength of the Pac-12 by defeating a strong Fighting Irish team.

David Piper, Addicted to Quack (Oregon): Oregon State at BYU. Can the Beavers keep it rolling with Sean Mannion out? BYU has a great defense, but if you score ten on them, you have a great shot at a victory. If Oregon State has a legit chance at ten wins this season, its time to see their depth tested.

Jack Follman, Pacific Takes (Washington): Stanford at Notre Dame. It's one of the bigger national games of the week and I think both teams are probably a little overrated but evenly matched. I'm expecting a low scoring slugfest with whoever can make the plays late in the game winning.

Adam Butler, Pacific Takes (Arizona) & Pac Hoops:: Across the entire conference, Stanford’s visit to South Bend features a pair of good teams but does anyone know really how good they are? I don’t know if the outcome of this game will tell us even that much more but it’s an intriguing matchup. The in-conference slate is a little dry but that USC visit to Seattle gets me excited. After all the talk of how good Washington could be, they were swiftly dismissed by Oregon. Ok, it happens. I’m interested to know if the Oregon game was an exception or the rule.

Josh Schilchter, Fish Duck (Oregon) & Pacific Takes: Stanford's and Oregon State's out of conference tests are obviously the big time matchups (#17 Stanford vs. #7 Notre Dame, and #10 OSU against a decent BYU team in Provo), but the USC-Washington matchup has potential to be a close one. Justin Wilcox is much better suited to face normal offenses, and the Huskies should be able to move the ball down the field in Seattle as well.

Jon Woods, Ralphie Report (Colorado): Can I say OU/Texas? BYU is very good at slowing down games to a nearly unwatchable pace, but it will be interesting to see how much Sean Mannion's injury will effect the Beavers. Can Cody Vaz get a road win in a important, but non-conference game? I think Notre Dame gets a comfortable win against the Cardinal so I'll stick with the Oregon State.