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The Territorial Cup and Week 12 in the Pac-12

Another week is upon us in the Pac-12, and hopefully it’s
a week of redemption personally. I went a woeful 3-3 on
conference predictions in this space last week (thanks
ASU), and it’s time to bounce back.

It’s another full slate of games, including two
installments of natural rivalries. So let’s dive in to
Week 12 in the Conference of Champions.

The Rivalries

Arizona (2-8, 1-7) at Arizona State (6-4, 4-3) for The
Territorial Cup – Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium – Tempe,
AZ


A lot of the luster has been taken off this game with
Arizona State’s recent struggles and U of A, well, they’ve
stunk out loud all season long. Arizona State has got to
be feeling like Fred Willard’s character in “A
Mighty Wind”
. After getting torched up in Pullman by
a bad Washington State team, they just looked around and
asked “Wha’ happened?” ASU yielded over 500 yards passing
in their loss that once again squandered control of the
Pac-12 South. More bad news for ASU…Arizona can throw
the football, and Dennis Erickson has made no effort to
hide the fact that the Sun Devils have few healthy
cornerbacks.

The good news is Arizona can’t stop anyone. Colorado, who
had scored a total of 64 points in their last 5 losses,
blew up for
48 against the woeful Wildcats. Expect a lot of points in
this one.


Arizona State 49…Arizona 41

California (6-4, 3-4) at #9 Stanford (9-1, 7-1) in The
Big Game – Saturday at Stanford Stadium – Stanford, CA


Cal is suddenly resurgent, having won 2 straight and
reaching bowl eligibility for the eighth time in the last
9
years after their 23-6 win over Oregon State last week.
But Cal has also lost 3 straight on the road.

Stanford tasted their own blood for the first time all
season last week against Oregon, so you know they’ll be
ready to go. Cal has won 7 out of the last 9 in this
rivalry, but got pasted by 34 points in Berkeley last
season. Expect more of the same this year.

Stanford 44…Cal 17

The Game of the Week

USC (8-2, 5-2) at #4 Oregon (9-1, 7-0) – Saturday at
Autzen Stadium – Eugene, OR


If not for those pesky NCAA sanctions, this would have
been a likely preview of the Pac-12 Championship Game,
because at this point, USC is easily the best team in the
South. And that point in itself is reason enough to
begrudgingly give Lane Kiffin credit for keeping his
team’s focus. The Trojans are humming on offense,
averaging 43.3 points and 473 yards over their last three
games. A lot of the offensive credit goes to Matt Barkley,
who has thrown for 10 touchdowns against two picks in the
last three games, but the running game, led by Curtis
McNeal, has been just as important.

Oregon is downright scary on offense, as if you didn’t
know. They made things look easy against then-3rd-ranked
Stanford last week, beating the Cardinal 53-30. Darron
Thomas and LaMichael James are healthy and their receivers
have decided to start catching the ball more consistently
too. Can we lobby Larry Scott to make this the Pac-12
Championship Game with an asterisk next to it?

Oregon 44…USC 38

The rest of the schedule

Washington (6-4, 4-3) at Oregon State (2-8, 2-5) –
Saturday at Reser Stadium – Corvallis, OR


Washington is basically the northern edition of ASU.
Sitting at 6-2 two weeks ago, and then two straight
losses. The only difference is Washington lost to two
good teams while ASU lost to also-rans.

Keith Price is iffy for this game with a shoulder injury,
but it shouldn’t matter as Chris Polk should run wild
through the OSU defense.

Washington 37…Oregon State 17

Utah (6-4, 3-4) at Washington State (4-6, 2-5) –
Saturday at Martin Stadium – Pullman, WA


Suddenly, the Utes are back in the hunt for the Pac-12
Championship Game after winning three straight against
Oregon State, Arizona and UCLA. And their schedule is
more than manageable the rest of the way with this game
and a home date against Colorado, so yeah, I’m leaning
toward Utah representing the South in two weeks in Eugene.
If they can get past the best passing offense in the
history of college football led by 138-pound Connor
Halliday, that is. Yes, that is dripping with sarcasm.
Hey, I’m a bitter Sun Devil.

Utah 31…Washington State 24

Colorado (2-9, 1-6) at UCLA (5-5, 4-3) – Saturday at
The Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA


It’s the Embree Bowl in Pasadena! Just what we need,
another bowl game in college football. Colorado coach Jon
Embree faces off against his son, UCLA receiver Tyler
Embree in this game, that yes, does somehow have
conference title game implications. And yes, UCLA will
stay in the race for another week by running over CU’s
porous defense.

UCLA 30…Colorado 14