Halfway home. We're getting into the real good games that we recommend really taking a look at if you have the time, although they won't be quite as mandatory as our top 40.
We now start looking at games that could be good but aren't quite meaningful enough, or could stink despite the fact the matchups are high-profile. We're not cutting into the toughest games of the schedule.
50. Oregon State at Washington, Oct. 27: The Beavers beat the Huskies last season. Yeah, you forget this, but Oregon State pulled another rabbit out of their hats and took advantage of the fact that Nick Holt was still a coach during the final weeks of the season. You'd expect harsh revenge from a Washington team that has big aspirations, but Mike Riley is one failed two-point conversion in Seattle away from being 3-0 against Steve Sarkisian. This could be one exciting contest.
49. Colorado at Arizona, Nov. 10: This is one of those contests I'm going out on a limb on. But the Wildcats should have their run offense in full effect by then and finally have a hold on what they're going to be. Colorado likes to stop the run, so the result should be a close, exciting matchup, even if there are probably no implications going into the contest.
48. Oregon State at Washington State, Oct. 6: The Beavers pummelled the Cougars in Seattle last season, so you figure WSU will be ready to closely contest OSU on their homefield and make some headway in their race up the totem pole. OSU still probably lacks the personnel to beat spread teams on a regular basis, making this contest all the more compelling.
47. Cal at Washington State, Oct. 13: The last time Tedford and Leach went up at each other, Texas Tech pulled off a pretty strong embarrassing of #4 Cal in the Holiday Bowl after the Bears were snubbed in the Rose Bowl. Cal's defense against WSU's offense will provide one of the more underrated battles of the season.
46. Oregon State at BYU, Oct. 13: Oregon State generally loses out-of-conference, but this figures to be the game where they should show up and actually give themselves a fighting shot. Pretty much any shot at a successful season hinges on good road performances (their home schedule is rough), and beating the Cougars in Provo would send a strong message to the rest of the conference.
45. Washington at Colorado, Nov. 17: This game shouldn't be compelling. It shouldn't even be close. But this late in the season, right before the Apple Cup, it just feels like a game the Huskies could blow. Steve Sarkisian's miserable road record should also be taken into account when calculating these contests. Washington has proven they can handle elevation though, torching Utah in Salt Lake last season.
44. Washington State at Arizona State, Nov. 17: Last year Connor Halliday torched the Sun Devils in this game. This late-year showing in the desert figures to bring out the fireworks, as WSU's pass-attack will come up against ASU's run-heavy approach. This is the first of many, MANY high-profile offensive showdowns on this list.
43. Stanford at UCLA, Nov. 24: The California afterthought rivalry, the Bruins get a chance to prove they're no longer the lowest in the Pac-12 pecking order by hosting a Cardinal team fresh off a rough visit to Oregon. Could be a trap game for Stanford, particularly if the game isn't as significant for them as it needs to be, but the
42. Cal at USC, Sept. 22: We all know Cal will lose (eight straight losses to the Trojans), so this is our first chance to see how USC fares against the better defensive units in the conference. It's a good taste of what the Trojans will deal with when they face more formidable teams like Utah or Oregon on their schedule.
41. Washington State at Stanford, Oct. 27: Conventional meets unorthodox. Pass-heavy meets run-heavy. This is one of those games you'd love to just see on tape because you'll never see a better blend of two composite styles of offense.
WSU's quick passing Airraid should be the perfect antidote for the blitzing Cardinal linebackers. Unfortunately, Washington State's defense probably has no match for the power sets they like to run, and Stanford might just grind the game out with field position. It's another compelling matchup on the slate.