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The best 2017 Pac-12 in-conference games: Stanford poised for big showdowns with USC and Washington

Counting down the 12 best Pac-12 conference games of 2017.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Last week we looked at the best non-conference games on the Pac-12 schedule in 2017...well let’s look at the best in-conference games.

Honorable Mention

Utah at USC - October 14

Oregon at Stanford - October 14

Colorado at Washington State - October 21

Stanford at Washington State - November 4

Colorado at UCLA - November 30

12. Utah at Washington - November 18

A rematch of what was the Pac-12’s best 2016 game in my opinion. This time, the Utes will get a shot at the Huskies in what should be a chilly Husky Stadium with both teams right in the thick of their division races and, possibly, the Playoff race. This should also be another fun clash between two of the conference’s best defenses.

11. UCLA at Stanford - September 23

This California rivalry has been dominated by Stanford as of late, but the Bruins should have a great shot at ending the Cardinal’s nine-game winning streak with a healthy Josh Rosen and Stanford coming off back-to-back road games at USC and San Diego State.

10. UCLA at Washington - October 28

UCLA and Washington haven’t played in a couple of years, but they in Husky Stadium in late-October when both teams should be in the thick of their division races. This will also be the first meeting of star quarterbacks Josh Rosen and Jake Browning.

9. USC at Washington State - September 29

The conference favorite Trojans have to head all the way up to Pullman to take on Luke Falk and the Cougars. The Cougars are good enough to take down the Trojans if they don’t bring their A game and this is a major trap game on the way to their potential Pac-12 championship run.

8. Washington at Colorado - September 23

This rematch of the 2016 Pac-12 Championship Game isn’t as big of a game as it could be because the first game was a blowout and because Colorado lost a ton of talent, but it is still a very good one, especially considering it is the Pac-12 opener for both and because it is in Boulder. This will be a major test for the Huskies out the gate as they try to put together back-to-back elite seasons.

7. Colorado at Utah - November 25

The Rumble in the Rockies could decide the South again, or, at least, give Utah a chance for revenge and dictate Pac-12 bowl slots. Both teams should be really good again and there is a slight rivalry actually starting to develop.

6. USC at Colorado - November 11

The Buffs damn near beat USC in LA with an injured Sefo Leiufau last year and now get to host the Trojans in what should be a huge game in Boulder. The Buffs have to reload at a lot of spots and the Trojans should be one of the strongest teams in the country, but this will be a major late-season challenge.

5. Oregon at Washington - November 4

The Huskies ended a more than 10 year losing streak to their bitter rival last year with a 70-21 slaughter in Autzen. The Huskies now look to end their streak in Husky Stadium against what should be a better and angry Oregon team who is trying to get back into the North race. This game could be the return to this rivalry being close, exciting and hateful.

4. Washington State at Washington - November 25

The Apple Cup ended up being a huge letdown last year, but it should build up to be pretty good against this year with both teams coming back strong and Jake Browning and Luke Falk throwing passes. The North may be up for grabs again in the final game of the season and this rivalry is still as bitter as it always has been.

3. UCLA at USC - November 18

The Victory Bell could be big again with USC looking like a Playoff contender and UCLA looking like a South contender with a healthy Josh Rosen. There should be a lot at stake here nationally and regionally in the Pac-12 and it will probably be the only meeting between Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen.

2. Stanford at USC - September 9

I at first had this as the best game, but the weird, second week scheduling of this and the fact that I think USC might be able to win this game at home fairly comfortably in my opinion, dropped it to number two. No matter what happens, this should be a very exciting game going in and there will be a ton at stake just a week into the season as two Pac-12 teams who should be in the Top 15 going in clash in what has been a rivalry in recent seasons.

  1. Washington at Stanford - November 10

There isn’t a crown jewel in-conference game this season in my opinion with Washington and USC not playing, but there is a lot to like about this Friday night showdown in Palo Alto. The Huskies destroyed Stanford last year in Seattle on a Friday night and set the table for taking over the North. Now, Stanford has a chance to punch back and get the North back.