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The Top 12 Pac-12 football games thus far of the 2010s: USC vs. Stanford showdowns have been epic

Stanford and USC showdowns have been some of the best so far this decade.

Steve Dykes

We aren't very far into the 2010s, but it has been an exciting decade thus far for the Pac-12. Here are some of the best games played by Pac-12 teams so far in the decade. And, of course we aren't including any non-conference games where a Pac-12 team lost no matter how exciting they were.

1. Stanford at Oregon - November 17, 2012 - Stanford 17 Oregon 14 OT

Upset, earth shaking, controversial and down to the wire, this one didn't have a lot of points scored in it, but it had everything else that makes college football great. This one shaped the face of the national and conference title race and came down to made and missed field goals in overtime with the Cardinal pulling off the upset in thrilling fashion. This would be the game that I would point to if someone says that low-scoring games aren't exciting, as the low score kept the tension high at all times with every play seemingly making or breaking the game.

2. Stanford at USC - October 29, 2011 - Stanford 56 USC 48 3OT

The Cardinal and Trojans have locked horns for some epic battles this decade and none were more epic than this one. This one went back and forth with Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley dueling it out in LA and both teams refusing to lose, dragging it into three overtimes before Stanford pulled it out and remained undefeated and in the national title chase.

3. 2012 Rose Bowl - January 1, 2012 - Oregon 45 Wisconsin 38

Almost a perfect game, this one was high scoring, but still featured some good defense, went back and forth and was decided in the fourth quarter. Russell Wilson played a fine game, but De'Anthony Thomas busted out with some huge runs and the Ducks pulled it out in the end, giving Chip Kelly his signature win at Oregon.

4. 2012 Pac-12 Championship Game - November 30, 2012 - Stanford 27 UCLA 24

The Pac-12 Championship Game has usually been a snoozer, but this was an intriguing match-up as the Bruins and Cardinal had met up the previous week with the Cardinal getting a convincing win in LA. The Bruins surprised and had the lead most of the game, but the Cardinal stood up in the fourth, grabbed the lead and held on for dear life to claim the conference title and a trip to the Rose Bowl.

5. Stanford at USC - November 16, 2013 - USC 20 Stanford 17

The Trojans had been held down the Cardinal and lost heartbreaker after heartbreaker to Stanford, so this was an emotional affair that nearly won Ed Orgeron the full-time USC job. The Trojans jumped out front early, but the Cardinal kept it close and kept looking like they were going to take over before costly turnovers gave the Trojans the advantage when they won the game in the final seconds on a long field goal.

6. USC at Oregon - November 19, 2011 - USC 38 Oregon 35

The original mid-November thrilling upset that derailed Oregon's national title hopes, the Trojans ran out to a 24-point lead well into the third quarter before the Ducks roared back and nearly sent the game into overtime. This game turned Matt Barkley and Marqise Lee into stars as they dominated the Ducks in a way that they hadn't been by a Pac-12 team in a long time before the Ducks fought back and took it down to the final play in exciting fashion.

7. Arizona at Stanford - October 6, 2012 - Stanford 54 Arizona 48 OT

A rare high-scoring battle for the Cardinal, Josh Nunes of all people rallied the Cardinal from 14 down midway through the fourth to force overtime and then got help from Stepfan Taylor and his defense to pull the thing out in overtime. This one went back and forth throughout with Matt Scott and Ka'Deem Carey tearing up the Cardinal defense and both teams putting up 14 in the fourth quarter with a Nunes run tying it up with seconds remaining in regulation.

8. UCLA at Arizona State - October 27, 2012 - UCLA 45 Arizona State 43

The best of the yearly Arizona State/UCLA yearly battles for the Pac-12 South, this one came down to a made field goal by a freshman as time expired to give the Bruins the edge in an epic battle that went back and forth all day. Brett Hundley and Taylor Kelly put together marvelous games and it looked like the Sun Devils had grabbed control of the South with just a minute and a half left on a touchdown, but it would be all for not when Hundley led the Bruins right back down the field for a field goal.

9. Washington at Washington State - November 23, 2012 - Washington State 31 Washington 28 OT

A shocking upset, the Huskies thought they had it won when they were up by 18 in the fourth quarter, but a furious flurry of mishaps led to the Cougars sending it to overtime after Washington State made a field goal in the final minutes and the Huskies missed. Things got even crazier in overtime when on the very first play, defensive tackle Toni Pole intercepted a pass and then almost took it back for a touchdown, setting up the win for the Cougars.

10. Oregon State at Oregon - November 29, 2013 - Oregon 36 Oregon State 35

The Beavers nearly beat the Ducks for the first time in half a decade, but Marcus Mariota and Josh Huff teamed up to save the day for Oregon in the final seconds. The Beavers had surprised by taking the lead a number of times throughout the game and grabbed it again with about a minute and a half left, but at the same time left too much time for the Ducks to fly down field and end it on Huff's third touchdown of the game.

11. Washington at USC - October 2, 2010 - Washington 32 USC 31

The highlight of Jake Locker's career at Washington, the star quarterback led the Huskies to their second-straight upset of the Trojans one a last second field goal by passing for more than 300 yards and rushing for more than 100. The two teams traded leads for much of the game, but Locker drove the Huskies down in the final moments to kick a short field goal and pull it out.

12. USC at Stanford - October 9, 2010 - Stanford 37 USC 35

The first of a string of heartbreakers for the Trojans against Stanford, the Cardinal won the game on a short field as time expired after the Trojans had just grabbed the lead with a minute to go. This was yet another epic quarterback battle as Matt Barkley and Andrew Luck put together superb games and together totaled nearly 600 yards and six touchdowns without a single interception.

Others that could easily be on here

Stanford at Washington - September 27, 2012 - Washington 17 Stanford 13

Stanford at Utah - October 12, 2013 - Utah 27 Stanford 21

Oregon State at Utah - September 14, 2013 - Oregon State 51 Utah 48 OT

2012 New Mexico Bowl - December 15, 2012 - Arizona 49 Nevada 48

Wisconsin at Arizona State - September 14, 2013 - Arizona State 32 Wisconsin 30

Arizona State at UCLA - November 23, 2013 - Arizona State 38 UCLA 33

Oregon at Cal - November 13, 2010 - Oregon 15 Cal 13