Pac-12 Game of the Week - Stanford at Arizona State - 7:30 p.m. ESPN
JF: The Stanford offense and defense will make sure that this one is low-scoring and the Sun Devil offense has the playmakers on offense to keep Stanford on their toes and possibly get a minor upset at home. This might finish as a 17-14 game, but it will be a nerveracking one.
AK: Pac-12 championship rematch! Here you have a flawed Stanford offense taking on a flawed ASU defense. Then there's an ASU offense that likes to put up yards but not necessarily points. Stanford has owned this rivalry though, which is why I have this one in the middle. Their defense just shuts down spread teams with their size up front, and Arizona State isn't fundamentally a different team than last year. Only Stanford's weak sauce offense can keep this one close.
2. Utah at Oregon State - Thursday 7 p.m. Pac-12 Network
JF: Kind of an elimination game in my opinion for lower division dwelling teams hoping to compete for their division titles. A very even match-up in my opinion though with two teams with limited, but solid traditional offenses and good, but not great defenses.
AK: What to make of either of these teams? The Utes and Beavers are probably the least impressive of the one-loss Pac-12 teams left, but both are still firmly in command of their divisional destinies right now. Utah should have a slight advantage with Nate Orchard the boss, but Oregon State also is pretty fierce and scrappy as well.
3. UCLA at Cal - 12:30 p.m. ABC
JF: Two teams trying to bounce back from devastating losses at home. This is a must, must win for UCLA, but the Bears are no easy out even if they looked pretty bad against Washington. I expect this one to turn into a shootout with two high-powered offenses going against struggling defenses.
AK: Man, these Bruins. They are dangerously close to a .500 season if they lose on Saturday, and they could still win the Pac-12 South if they grease the wheels back up (home dates with USC/Arizona plus Utah has a minefield of a schedule ahead of them). Cal is not exactly in urgency mode to win this game, but it would pretty much lock up their bowl spot if they could get this win (I don't foresee this offense dropping seven games in a row).
4. Washington at Oregon - 5 p.m. FOX Sports 1
JF: I might have this at the top spot, but with the way the Ducks played at UCLA, Washington's offensive struggles and it being in Eugene, I don't know how close this will be. However, this is a fantastic match-up on paper, Washington has the best defense the Ducks will face the rest of the way outside of Stanford, are due for a lucky game against Oregon and have been playing the kind of balanced, controlling football that does well against Oregon. The Huskies could easily at least turn this into a tight one if Oregon doesn't play at their best.
AK: I know the Huskies looked real good in shutting down Cal. But Oregon isn't Cal, and the Washington offense is probably the second worst in the conference. You need both points and defense to stop the Ducks, and I'm pretty sure the Huskies don't have the former in them in Autzen. If Washington is going to pull this one out, the defense might have to hold Oregon to 20 points or less. Unless you're Stanford, that NEVER happens.
5. Colorado at USC - 3 p.m. Pac-12 Network
JF: Colorado is still much improved and USC perpetually iffy, but I think the Trojans can get a comfortable win at home against the Buffs. However, as I already said, USC is just so hard to count on to win convincingly right now so you never know.
AK: I think this game will be pretty competitive for awhile if Sefo Liufau makes enough throws. Their offensive line is not well-matched at all against that USC front, and the Buff defense is just asking to be shredded by Buck Allen for a second straight year.