The Pac-12’s most dynamic, prolific, yard-generating offense does not play this week.
Oregon doesn’t play either.
You will have to get through the weekend without the drama (trauma?) of Arizona Wildcats football. We’re here to help.
This Week in the Pac-12 (TWit-Pac) has you covered with the TV schedule, a colorful look at the conference’s bowl situation and rapid-fire previews of the games. We begin with who, when and where to watch (all times Arizona/Pacific):
|Thu Oct 11||ASU||Colorado||6 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat Oct 13||Utah||UCLA||12 p.m.||FOX|
|Stanford||Notre Dame||12:30 p.m.||NBC|
Up until now the glut of games each week has been at night but this week your remote trigger thumb will get the biggest workout in the early afternoon.
With the season half over it’s time to get serious about the Pac-12 bowl race. The last couple weeks we looked at which teams have the most favorable schedules. Armed with that knowledge and enough fingers to count to six, I’m proud to present the return of the bowl bubble:
Oregon is the only club sitting at 6-0 and no one has played enough to lose seven times so everyone is technically still alive. Realistically, no more than eight Pac-12 teams will finish with six wins this year. That’s a significant number because the league only has seven bowl tie-ins. Fans of teams on the bubble would be wise to root for the Ducks to run the table to enhance the conference’s chances of getting a second team into the BCS and dragging everyone else up a rung.
Yes, it’s true that due to all the winning programs under sanctions across the country every 6-6 team is almost assured of getting a bowl bid somewhere. But if you’re not high enough in the pecking order to land one of the Pac-12’s contracted slots you could end up like UCLA three years ago and get shipped to the East Coast to freeze and play Temple.
So as the final seven weeks of the season get underway it’s winning time for bowl-hungry teams. Here’s this weekend’s menu:
ASU (4-1 / 2-0) at Colorado (1-4 / 1-1)
(Psst… Are any Arizona State players or coaches looking? No? OK good.) Here’s the case for this being a trap game for the Sun Devils: A) It’s on the road. B) ASU has been looking ahead to next week’s Oregon game since last week. C) ESPN Thursday night upset magic (see Washington 17, Stanford 13 and Dixon, Dennis).
Utah (2-3 / 0-2) at UCLA (4-2 / 1-2)
The Bruins were looking like an eight- or nine-win team before getting steamrolled by Cal last week. Are the wheels starting to wobble a bit or will UCLA be able to pay the flattening forward against the struggling Utes?
Stanford (4-1 / 2-1) at Notre Dame (5-0)
Wildcat Universe may shed some tears if Josh Nunes looks completely overwhelmed again a week after looking like Andrew Luck II against the UA.
OSU (4-0 / 3-0) at BYU (4-2)
Oregon State took a big hit with quarterback Sean Mannion’s knee injury but the Beavers still have their defense and BYU has been held to six points twice in the last three weeks.
USC (4-1 / 2-1) at Washington (3-2 / 1-1)
Arizona’s next two opponents do battle in Seattle. How about a nice seven-overtime slugfest?
Cal (2-4 / 1-2) at WSU (2-4 / 0-3)
The Bears are looking for their first road win while Mike Leach (like Rich Rodriguez) is looking for his first Pac-12 win.
ARIZONA (3-3 / 0-3) – bye
Great news! There will be no last-minute heartbreaker this week!
Oregon (6-0 / 3-0) – bye
The Ducks are immune this week from the upset bug that struck Florida State but Oregon has to play four of its final six games on the road.
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Part of me is itching to see the Cats get back on the field but part of me wants to bury my head in the sand and forget football for a week.
If you do plan on observing gridiron contests, here’s a list of games that may pique your interest:
Thursday, October 11
6 p.m. – ASU at Colorado – ESPN
Root for Whoever’s Playing ASU!
Saturday, October 13
9 a.m. – Oklahoma vs. Texas – ABC
See if Mike Stoops’ visor catches fire as his defense faces a Longhorn team averaging 47 points a game.
12:30 p.m. – Stanford at Notre Dame – NBC
Tune in for conference pride. Look away if they show any highlights from Stanford’s previous game.
4 p.m. – USC at Washington – FOX
Two reasons to root for USC: Wipe out Washington’s remaining momentum from the Stanford win, and get the Trojans looking ahead to the Oregon game which is one week after they come to Tucson.
6 p.m. – Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech – ESPNU
Sonny Dykes takes his ranked Bulldog team and his 53 points per game into Shreveport, Louisiana, to face a ranked SEC foe. A win and La Tech becomes a serious threat to run the table and get into a BCS bowl.
10 p.m. – Watch the news! Check out a movie! Get some extra sleep! This week there will be no late-night grumbling and remote-throwing for you, my friend.
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