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The most-important games for each Pac-12 team in 2017: Stanford provides serious test for USC and Washington’s Playoff hopes

What is the most-important game on each Pac-12 team’s schedule in 2017?

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

Arizona - at Arizona State - November 25

The Wildcats have a long ways to go to get back to a bowl and if they really want to do that, they will probably have to win The Territorial Cup to close the season. Rich Rodriguez is probably going to have to win a handful of games in 2017 to keep his job safe and this would be a big one for him to win.

Arizona State - Colorado - November 4

For the Sun Devils, 2017 is all about climbing out of the bottom of the South and getting back into that upper pack of the LA and mountain schools who are expected to compete for the South title. Their best chance at beating one of those teams and making a statement is when Colorado comes to Tempe in early-November.

Cal - Oregon State - November 4

Wins are going to be difficult to come by in 2017 for the Bears and this is the most-winnable in-conference game on their schedule. The Bears might not win a conference game if they can’t pull this one off.

Colorado - USC - November 11

People are already writing off the Buffs, but their goal is to win the South again. They will likely have to get through the Trojans to do that and the good news is they get them in Boulder, in mid-November.

Oregon - Washington State - October 7

The Ducks are looking to bounce back and at least climb into the top half of the North. It’s unlikely the Huskies are Cardinal are going to give up their spot, so the Ducks’ best shot at taking someone out up in that territory, it’s the Cougars, when they come to Eugene.

Oregon State - at Oregon - November 24

The Beavers are making progress under Gary Andersen and the next step is getting back to a bowl game. Winning The Civil War is always the most-important game of the year, but it should be even more important in 2017 as they likely will be scrapping with the Ducks for bowl eligibility and a higher spot in the North food chain.

Stanford - Washington - November 10

The beating the Huskies put on the Cardinal last year in Husky Stadium to grab hold of the North is still going to hurt when the Huskies come to Palo Alto in November. Stanford will want to show the Huskies they are still the true power in the North and give themselves a leg up in the race for the Pac-12 Championship Game in this Friday night showdown.

UCLA - at USC - November 18

The Bruins may have had a horrible season last year, but that doesn’t mean their goal in 2017 isn’t to win the South in what should be their last season with Josh Rosen. They are likely going to have to win in The Coliseum if they are going to do that.

USC - Stanford - September 9

Pretty much every game should be huge for the Trojans since they are chasing a national championship, but this is probably their trickiest game. The Cardinal should still be very strong and arguably the toughest team on the Trojans’ schedule and they get them in the second week of the season.

Utah - Colorado - November 25

The Utes worked this game into a huge showdown last year and ended up losing to the Buffs, but this year, the goal is to have the South championship within their grasp and to beat the Buffs in Salt Lake City.

Washington - at Stanford - November 10

The Huskies made quick work of Stanford last year to officially grab the reigns of the North, but the Cardinal assuredly have this game circled and will be laying in wait for the Huskies in Palo Alto, in November. This will likely be a must-win game for the Huskies if they want to repeat as North champions and have a shot at the Playoff.

Washington State - at Washington - November 25

Mike Leach hasn’t won the Apple Cup since his first year and the Cougars haven’t won an Apple Cup in Seattle since 2007. They are due to win one and they will probably have to win this year if they want to have a shot at winning the North.