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2014 Pac-12 trap games: Cal and Colorado could sneak up on teams in 2014

Picking the best candidate to be a "trap game" for each Pac-12 team

Steve Dykes

Arizona: at UTSA - September 4

UTSA is only freshly FBS, but they are one of the best new FBS teams out there who are coached by Larry Coker and won seven games last season, including their final five. The Wildcats are much more talented than the Roadrunners, but this one could be treacherous as the Wildcats are doing one of my least favorite things in college football scheduling in scheduling a road game at a school from a lesser conference. This will be the biggest game the Roadrunners play in the Alamodome and the Wildcats will only two games into trying to break in new starters at quarterback and running back.

Arizona State: at Colorado - September 13

Mark this down... the Buffaloes will upset one (maybe two teams) in conference play this season. The Sun Devils could be that victim as heading to Boulder in just the third week of the season could be a landmine due to the fact that the Sun Devils are breaking in an entirely new starting defense. The Sun Devils should be a much better team than the Buffaloes, but the Buffs will be fired up to truly show just how much they have improved and the Sun Devils still might be a work-in-progress on defense.

Cal: Sacramento State - September 6

The Bears got their only win last season in a tight affair against a struggling Portland State program and going into 2014, this is probably the only game that they will be favored to win, so it is the only potential "trap game" for them. I expect the Bears to be better in 2014, but they still aren't above having to show up to beat an FCS team, especially one like Sacramento State who has recently beaten Colorado and Oregon State.

Colorado - at UMass - September 6

Like the Bears, the Buffs are hard to choose a "trap game" for as they won't be favored in many games, but a trip all the way to Boston a week after a heated battle with rival Colorado State will be tough even though the Buffs will almost assuredly be favored. UMass should be really, really bad in 2014 and Colorado improved, but they still have a long ways to go before a cross country road trip a week after a potentially brutal battle doesn't warrant worry.

Oregon - at Utah - November 8

I originally had this as The Civil War, but I don't think the Beavers will sneak up on the Ducks this year after coming way too close to dropping The Civil War last year. Instead, their trip to Salt Lake City could be a perfect trap game. The week after a Stanford game that could easily leave the Ducks physically banged up, they have to travel to what is becoming one of the toughest home field advantages in the conference against a Ute team that played them better than expected in 2013 in Autzen and should be improved next season.

Oregon State - at Colorado - October 4

Back to that Colorado is going to upset someone in the Pac-12 subject. The Beavers should be solid in 2014 with Sean Mannion coming back and an experienced defense, but they are oh-so beatable and a perfect target for the Buffs to take out in early-October if the Beavers overlook it.

Stanford - at Cal - November 22

The Cardinal face one of the toughest schedules in the nation in 2014 that might make them pretty gassed by the time late-November rolls around. The Bears will still be a major work in progress and the Cardinal very strong even if this ends up being a bit of a rebuilding year for them, but the Bears should be fired up to take on Stanford and the Cardinal's plodding style frequently leaves the door open for lesser teams to make it a game if they can pull off a few big plays.

UCLA - at Cal - October 18

Don't assume that because I keep putting Cal on here that I think they will have a good season in 2014, but impossible not to put them here with the Bruins coming off of their showdown with Oregon on the 11th. There is a good chance that the Bruins will be traveling up to this one absolutely worn out from the Ducks and/or over-confident from a win or dejected from a loss.

USC - at Washington State - November 1

Steve Sarkisian was notorious for having his teams perform poorly on the road when he was at Washington, so the Trojans will be suspicious on the road until he can prove that he can get his teams to show up away from home. The Trojans might be stepping into a trap heading all the way up to what could be a frigid Pullman in November against a pass-happy Cougar team that could wear out their razor thin secondary a week after having to travel to Salt Lake City to play Utah in another trap game.

Utah - Washington State - September 27

The Utes don't really have a trap game, but I will still give them this one since I'm sure most Utah fans are penciling off a home game against the Cougars as a win, but I think it will be a tight game that goes down to the wire.

Washington - at Cal - October 11

The Huskies have a full cupboard for Chris Peterson in his first season and the Bears are a mess, but this game is sandwiched between showdowns against Stanford and Oregon for the Huskies and the Bear Raid could give their questionable secondary major issues on the road.

Washington State - at Nevada - September 6

These aren't the ultra-dangerous Colin Kaapernick Wolfpack, but Cody Fajardo is an underrated talent and never over-look a solid mid-major conference program when they host a team from a greater conference. The Wolfpack have upset Pac-12 teams too many times to count and the Cougars can't afford to over-look this one or they could be next.