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Best Pac-12 Football Games in 2012, 40 To 31: Utah Football The Sleeper?

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Moving onto the top 40 Pac-12 games of the season (that are being measured by excitability, potential for close contest, heated rivalry, and relevance), it's starting to get to that point where every game figures to feature some of the best matchups of the year.

40. Utah at UCLA, October 15. Trap game for Utah? UCLA dealt a critical blow to the hopes of Arizona State to win the Pac-12 South when they scored an upset in the Rose Bowl. Utah's defense is very good, but their offense will be facing a decent Bruin defensive front that will give the Utah run-heavy offense some difficulties.

Previous Pac-12 games on the list: 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41

39. Washington State at Utah, November 10: The Cougars offense against the Utes defense is going to be one of those fierce matchups that'll test how well WSU can perform if they have to face a strong front seven to go up against their thin WSU offensive line.

38. Oregon State vs. Wisconsin, September 8: The Beavers got obliterated last season in Camp Randall, but don't expect a repeat of that calamity. Well, you could: Oregon State has generally been a terrible out-of-conference team. But the Beavers should show better at home in Corvallis against a rebuilding Badger squad, and if their offense is in gear, an upset is possible.

37. Utah at Washington, November 10: Utah got obliterated by Washington when they visited Salt Lake City, but their quarterback Jordan Wynn got knocked out of that contest. The Utes also turned the ball over a bizarre five times. Expect this offensive-defensive matchup to be a lot closer and be one heck of a late season under-the-radar matchup.

36. Arizona at Stanford, October 6: Run spread meets run power. The past meets the future. This would go higher if Stanford didn't have a superior defense, but the Wildcats could make this one interesting for awhile before the Cardinal establish themselves on the ground.

35. Arizona State at USC, November 10: The Sun Devils upset the Trojans last year in a turnover-fest, and for some reason Matt Barkley has always struggled against them. ASU's defense won't be quite as good, but they'll be bringing the type of spread-running style of play that USC seems to have always struggled with. Intriguing game, particularly with USC coming off the monstrous Oregon matchup.

34. Utah at Arizona State, September 22: Utah got pummelled by ASU last year, but that was a different offense. The Utes are going to really show what they're capable of in the Pac-12 South when they face the first of several spread-oriented offenses.

33. Washington at LSU, September 8: This game is kind of intriguing except for the fact that LSU never loses in Death Valley to non-SEC teams not named Tulane. Never ever never. Still, this is a chance for Keith Price to show he's capable of leading an offense to beat the best and could give Washington a statement game going into Pac-12 North play.

32. Arizona at Utah, November 17: Like Utah-ASU, except this could be a dark horse Pac-12 decider. I emphasize dark horse, as either Utah or Arizona would have to score upsets on the Trojans to make it this way, but it could happen.

31. Houston vs. UCLA, September 15: The Bruins couldn't stop anyone who could pass the football last year, and no one is better at flinging it around than the Cougars. Shutting down a passing attack as formidable as Houston's is another step in the right direction to making the way back in the Pac-12 South.