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Top 2018 Pac-12 conference games: Stanford vs. Washington becoming a rivalry

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Ranking the Pac-12’s top conference games going into 2018

NCAA Football: Washington at Stanford John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Stanford at Washington - November 3 - It seems like the Pac-12 would like to turn this into the new Stanford vs. Oregon. An early-November showdown that decides the North and potentially knocks one of their Playoff candidates out of the running. In all seriousness, this should be another great game between two teams in a power struggle for the top of the conference who are starting to not like each other and a fun Chris Petersen vs. David Shaw coaching showdown. Oh, and throw in senior running backs Bryce Love vs. Myles Gaskin in this one too.
  2. USC at Stanford - September 8 - This one continues to be huge in the Pac-12. Last year it served as a preview of the Pac-12 Championship Game and frequently sets up the winner as the team to beat in the conference. The Cardinal will get the host the Trojans and their new quarterback in Palo Alto in a major tone setter for 2018 as they try to bounce back from losing twice to the Trojans in 2017.
  3. USC at Utah - October 20 - I think this one decides the South. The Utes have a great chance to sneak one past the defending champion Trojans, and their young QB, in Salt Lake City and take control of the South, and potentially the entire conference.
  4. Washington at Oregon - October 13 - This rivalry flipped in a heartbeat and Washington has outscored the Ducks something like 120-20 the past two years after more than a decade of Duck domination. Things could get really competitive real quick again this year with a healthy Justin Herbert and the Ducks back in Autzen. Watch out for this one as the Huskies are coming off a road game and the Ducks a bye week. It was the same recipe going into last year’s Washington at Arizona State upset.
  5. Washington at Utah - September 15 - The Huskies have played classics the past two weeks with the Huskies pulling out close wins. This is a huge game for both teams as the Huskies try to avoid a landmine on their way to being a potential Playoff contender and the Utes try to put themselves on the map as a major conference title contender. This could be extra tricky for the Huskies as it is just two weeks after their game against Auburn in Atlanta.
  6. Stanford at Oregon - September 22 - This rivalry might not be over yet as the Ducks and Cardinal should both be ranked in the preseason and get a huge early-season showdown in Autzen. Whoever wins quickly emerges as Washington’s top competitor in the North and the loser quickly has to try and play catch up.
  7. Utah at Stanford - October 6 - The conference’s two physical powers and teams that are expected to be second in their division going into the season face off in Palo Alto in a game that almost assuredly will factor into the race for each team’s respective division crown.
  8. Oregon at Utah - November 10 - A great late-season North vs. South match-up in Salt Lake City. The Ducks have surprised the Utes twice in a row since that 62-20 beatdown the Utes put on the Ducks in 2015 and the Utes will assuredly be out for revenge.
  9. UCLA at Oregon - November 3 - Chip Kelly heads back to Eugene in his first year back in the Pac-12. The Bruins should be good enough to test the Ducks in Autzen and a lot of eyes will certainly be on this one to see the king return to his green castle.
  10. USC at UCLA - November 17 - Chip Kelly’s first run against USC will also draw attention. Not sure how much will be at stake here, but Kelly’s first chance to take down USC will be a fun draw.
  11. Washington at Washington State - November 23 - The Apple Cup has built up going in with a ton of buzz and a lot at stake the past few years, but the Huskies have made quick work of the Cougars each year. I feel like the Cougars are due to give the Huskies a tough game this year and the game being in Pullman will probably help.
  12. Washington State at USC - September 21 - The Cougars pulled off a huge upset in Pullman on a Friday last year and get the Trojans on a Friday again in 2018, but in LA, and with a new quarterback. Still a very interesting early-season game between two teams breaking in new QBs.