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Counting down the best 2015 Pac-12 football games 21-30: Getting to the great games

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Avinash Kunnath & Jack Follman continue their countdown of the 2015 Pac-12 football games.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Part one: http://www.pacifictakes.com/2016/2/23/11037164/ranking-the-pac-12-games-of-2015-92-61-the-worst-pac-12-games-of-the

Part two: http://www.pacifictakes.com/2016/2/24/11101490/ranking-the-pac-12-football-games-of-2015-41-50-weird-games-galore

Part three: http://www.pacifictakes.com/2016/2/25/11110068/ranking-the-pac-12-football-games-of-2015-31-40-oregons-rivals-just

30. September 5 - Portland State 24 Washington State 17

AK: This result still feels implausible. Portland State gashed a Washington State defense that would later become one of the most underrated in the conference, Wazzu made some special teams gaffes, and the Cougar offense wasn't quite ready to get punched in the mouth the way they did.

JF: Wow that first weekend was tough for the Pac-12. Portland State ended up winning the Big Sky, but this one still doesn't make sense as the eventual Sun Bowl champion Cougars lost by seven at home to an FCS school in a super slow game where their usually-dynamic offense struggled to do much of anything.

29. October 17 - Arizona 38 Colorado 31

AK: One of the crueler Colorado losses in a season filled with cruel Colorado losses. The Buffs went into the fourth quarter up 24-17, had rolled off 17 points in a row, and seemingly shut down Arizona's attack for the night. Then Colorado gave up touchdown drives of 97 and 94 yards in a row and let Jerrard Randall and Jared Baker run and run and run and run their way to victory. Cruel.

JF: Same s***, different Saturday for the Buffs here as they let a winnable game get away late with bad defense and offense that couldn't get it done when the game was on the line.

28. September 19 - Stanford 41 USC 31

AK: USC looked unstoppable to start the Pac-12 season opener, rolling up over 200 yards of offense on the first four drives and getting stoked to a 21-10 lead. Then Kevin Hogan decided he was not going to be stopped the remainder of the game. The Cardinal ran up four touchdown drives in five against a USC defense that could not win in the trenches as Stanford converted 3rd and short after 3rd and short.

JF: This is the first really good game on this list in my opinion. We watched Stanford and USC's seasons head down different forks in the road literally in the middle of this game as Stanford's defense took off under Kevin Hogan, USC's defense fell apart and their offense stagnated in a game that went down to the wire.

27. October 3 - Cal 34 Washington State 28

AK: The Cal defense pulled off their bizarro turnover magic for yet another week. Four turnovers, four sacks, a successful onside kick, and a punt block returned for a touchdown were what propelled Cal to victory over Wazzu as Jared Goff and Luke Falk dueled to a standstill.

JF: Luke Falk and Jared Goff fought it out in a very tight game where each team headed in opposite directions shortly thereafter.

26. September 26 - Cal 30 Washington 24

AK: Cal's offense stepped up early with nearly 500 total yards, Cal's defense stepped up throughout in forcing several turnovers. The Huskies managed to make a game of it thanks to a fumble recovery for a touchdown, but the offense could not shooting itself in the foot when it moved down the field.

JF: This was one of those games where it seemed like neither team wanted to win as both squads would have some nice plays but seemed to keep shooting themselves in the foot. Eventually Cal barely held on to win the Lower-Mid-North Bowl in Seattle.

25. October 24 - Colorado 17 Oregon State 13

JF: The Pac-12 Cellar Bowl was ugly, but a tight game where both teams really wanted to win to avoid likely going winless in the Pac-12. Eventually the Buffs broke through in an underrated nice moment where they got their first Pac-12 win in a couple years I think.

24. October 10 - Utah 30 Cal 24

AK: No one had Utah and Cal being the most important Pac-12 game of the first half of the season, but there we were, and it turned out to be a defensive slugfest. Jared Goff had his worst game of the season and couldn't stop throwing interceptions, and Cal still had a chance to win late in Salt Lake thanks to their defense balling out.

JF: An ugly, ugly but huge game that pitted surprise undefeated teams against each other. One of many games this season where Utah's defense made the difference.

23. December 26 - Sun Bowl - Washington State 20 Miami 14

AK: The second half of this football game featured 10 punts and over 60 to 70% of these punts going three and out. If you enjoyed the snow, this was the game for you. (I enjoyed the snow.)

JF: A Pac-12 team playing The U is always fun and we got some rare bowl game snow in this one. The most fun part was probably actually watching Miami do what the Cougs are always accused of an blowing late chances to win the game.

22. October 31 - UCLA 35 Colorado 31

AK: The saddest game for the Buffs. Colorado dominated with 114 plays and 41 minutes of offense and piled up over 550 yards and lost. It's unbelievable. The Bruins had enough big plays (including a 91 yard pick six and an 82 yard run), kept Colorado out of the end zone with two red zone field goals, and could not finish any drives.

JF: Oh Buffs... oh Buffs... stop letting UCLA off the hook. Stop.

21. October 8 - Washington 17 USC 12

AK: The end for Steve Sarkisian, whose USC offense had no idea what to do on a Thursday night at home. The Trojans fumbled and punted and got booed for most of the second half as Washington put the clamps on. Myles Gaskin proved he was legit, piling up over 134 yards, and a WR threw a touchdown, but it was the Washington defense that controlled the game start to finish.

JF: The Sarkisian is burning game was a wild Thursday night surprise as the Husky defense put the absolute clamps on the USC offense and held on for a huge win that ended with Sark wandering around the field for the final time as USC's coach.