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The most important game for each Pac-12 football program in 2014

These games could make or break each team's season.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona: Arizona State - November 28

The Wildcats haven't won the Territorial Cup under Rich Rodriguez and their fans have to be worried about what Todd Graham is building up the road in Tempe, so it is high time that Rodriguez grabs a win in the rivalry, especially with the Sun Devils rebuilding in 2014 and the game being in Tucson. Also, the Wildcats and Sun Devils are universally expected to fight for the third spot in the South and this game could easily decide that standing and/or if the Wildcats go to a bowl game.

#2 USC - October 11

Arizona State: at Arizona - November 28

Read above, well kind of. Graham earned a lot of cache by winning the South last season and having to replace his entire defense this season so they can probably get away with not winning the South this season, but it would be best for them to stay on top of the Wildcats.

#2 UCLA - September 25

Cal: Colorado - September 27

The Bears need to pick themselves off of the absolute floor and get a Pac-12 win in 2014 and the good news is that they get their most winnable in-conference game for an opener. If the Bears can't down the Buffs at home, there isn't much hope for them winning many more Pac-12 games in 2014.

#2 at Washington State - October 4

Colorado: Colorado State - August 29

Mike MacIntyre made a big statement by winning the opener last year against the Rams in Denver and he absolutely needs to do it again to hold court. The Buffs absolutely need to sweep their soft non-conference schedule and this is the toughest game on the slate.

#2 Utah - November 29

Oregon: Stanford - November 1

I think Michigan State or at UCLA might be a bigger challenge, but this one is a no-brainer with the Cardinal dominating the Ducks offense the past two seasons and shutting them out of the Pac-12 Championship and national championship. This is a must-win for the Ducks for so many reasons and likely, once again, the game that will decide the North.

#2 Michigan State - September 6

Oregon State: at Washington - November 22

Tough call here as the Beavers are kind of floating around in the Pac-12 power spectrum right now, but I would argue that their trip to Seattle will be the most important, because their once strong standing as the third-best team in the North has fully been stolen by the Huskies and they will have to beat them to hope to get it back.

#2 Oregon - November 29

Stanford: at Oregon - November 1

Most expect the Cardinal to take at least a small step back this season, but I'm sure they think that they will win the North for a third-straight season and they will need to win a major showdown in Eugene to do that.

#2 at Washington - September 27

UCLA: USC - November 22

Their showdowns against Oregon and Stanford might be more high profile, but this is likely the game that will decide the South and the Bruins need to keep holding the Trojans down, especially now that Lane Kiffin won't be around anymore to do it for them. The Bruins may have the power in LA right now, but this is their money year under Jim Mora and a loss to the cross-town Trojans could easily erase all of the good feelings from the past two years and signal a resurgence for USC under Steve Sarkisian.

#2 Oregon - October 11

USC: at UCLA - November 22

This will be Sarkisian's first shot at the LA throne and there is a good chance that they will also be within striking distance of making this a game for the Pac-12 South throne. Regardless of the standings, this will be a monstrous game for the Trojans as they try to avoid losing their third-straight to the Bruins.

#2 at Stanford - September 6

Utah: Arizona - November 22

The Utes desperately need to move up from the fifth spot in the South and get to a bowl again and this is the game that they need to win if they are going to do that. The Utes get a golden opportunity here, bringing the beatable Wildcats up to frigid Salt Lake City in late-November.

#2 at Colorado - November 29

Washington: Stanford - September 27

The Huskies have been battling to crack the top two of the North for a long time and with the Cardinal breaking in more key players than ever before and having to travel up to Seattle, this might be their best chance to break through. Beating the Cardinal in their conference opener would set the tone for a breakout season for the Huskies, but dropping the game at home could also start the Pac-12 season right off with a sobering realization.

#2 at Washington State - November 29

Washington State: Washington - November 29

The Apple Cup almost always seems to be the most important game of the season for the Cougars, but this year it is not just because of hatred and rivalry. The Cougars will once again be battling to get back to a bowl and to move up into the mid-section of the North and this is their best chance to knock off a team that will be competing with them for that territory.

#2 at Oregon State - November 22