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The Top 10 2016 Pac-12 conference football games: Stanford and USC looms large again

These are the Pac-12 games you need to watch in 2016.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. September 17 - USC at Stanford - This is a full-fledged rivalry and with USC looking like the best team to have a shot at knocking off Stanford for the Pac-12 title in 2016, it looks like the biggest game going in. The early-season timing is kind of strange, but always seems to give it a special as the first true meaningful Pac-12 game of  the season. Also, tune in to see both teams' new QBs square off.

2. November 19 - USC at UCLA - Another game that is becoming a yearly must-see. USC finally punched back in the rivalry last year and can really get back to asserting themselves as THE team of LA by winning again, in the Rose Bowl. The Bruins will almost assuredly be up for protecting their turf though with Josh Rosen wrapping up his sophomore year and there will almost assuredly be major South race implications on the line here.

3. November 12 - Stanford at Oregon - The rivalry that just won't die where who ever needs the win more loses. Even if both, or one, of these teams takes a slight step back in 2016, this one is sure to be heated in Eugene and the contrast of styles always seems to be able to produce a crazy game. Will likely play a huge role in the North race as well yet again.

4. September 24 - Stanford at UCLA - The Bruins are probably the team after USC that has a shot at taking the conference away from Stanford and they get the Cardinal at home early in the season while they break in a new quarterback. The Bruins play Stanford as bad as any good team plays any other team, but they might be due for a breakout game here.

5. November 5 - Oregon at USC - This could be a game that decides who is the other Playoff contender outside of Stanford in the Pac-12 down the stretch in a bit of an elimination game. There will also be a lot of pressure on USC to win this one as they haven't beaten the Ducks in quite a while.

6. November 25 - Washington at Washington State - The Apple Cup is getting good again. Both teams should be at the edge of the Top 25 and fighting to get into the top third of the North and boot out Oregon or Stanford for the first time in almost 10 years. The tension will be high on the frozen Palouse for this one.

7. September 30 - Stanford at Washington - This will be Washington's first chance to make noise in the North. The Huskies have played the Cardinal very well for the most part in recent history and might be ready to break through at home in a game that will be huge in the North.

8. October 8 - Washington at Oregon - The Huskies will have to go to Autzen to try and end their neverending losing streak against Oregon, but this might be their best chance in more than a decade with a questionable Oregon team and a ton of buzz building around the Huskies. Either way, there will be a lot of North money on the line here between two programs that are looking to rebuild a rivalry.

9. October 1 - Oregon at Washington State - The Cougars' double-overtime upset of the Ducks in Eugene last year was one of the best games of the season and Mike Leach's pass attack seems to give Oregon troubles so expect them and Luke Falk to stand their ground in Pullman and make an early statement in the North.

10. October 8 - Washington State at Stanford - The Cougars came so close to beating the Cardinal last season in Pullman on Halloween and will get their rematch, but this time in Palo Alto. If the Cougars are going to make a true run at the top of the North, this is one they might have to win and will assuredly bring their A game.