Going into Week 12, there’s much at stake for the Pac-12’s best teams.
Will the class of the Pac-12 conference hang on or will there be an upset that’s talked about for the next decade?
Which teams will keep their playoff hopes alive and which will shrivel under the spotlight?
There’s plenty of potential for outstanding games in one of the last original Pac-12 weekends as the college football world has come to know it for the last couple of decades.
Whatever the outcome, this week will have fans on the edge of their seats.
Some of these historic matchups may not be renewed for years, so let’s enjoy a wild finish to one of the best Pac-12 seasons we’ve had the privilege of watching.
No. 5 Washington @ No. 12 Oregon St
Easily the most important matchup out west and possibly in the entire country will be played in Corvallis, on Nov. 18 at 7:30 EST. The undefeated Huskies will try to maintain their unbeaten streak against a red-hot Beavers team, coming off a 62-17 win against Stanford.
It’s all been coming together for the Beavers. In their dominant showing against Stanford running back Damien Martinez rushed for four touchdowns just in the first half and ran for nearly ten yards per carry. Combine that with an efficient yet dangerous D.J. Uiagalelei and the Huskies should have their work cut out for them.
As for the Huskies’ offense, they should continue to be college football’s greatest show on turf. If Michael Penix Jr. and Rome Odunze continue to show why they’re the best quarterback-wide receiver duo in the nation, the Beavers will have their paws full.
No. 6 Oregon @ Arizona State
Ducks fans have seen this script before. Back in 2019, Justin Herbert was on the verge of leading Oregon to a potential college football playoff appearance before they had to travel to Tempe. What awaited them was a devastating three-point loss that knocked them out of the playoff race.
An eerily similar situation presents itself this week, as a Ducks’ loss would surely eliminate any playoff hopes.
This time, Bo Nix will have to keep the offense rolling versus a Sun Devils’ defense that ranks 45th in the nation. While ASU’s offense hasn’t been anything special, Oregon underestimating this squad could lead to a painful result.
We’ll see if Arizona State head coach Kenny Dillingham’s time as Nix’s offensive coordinator in 2022 will pay any dividends. If not, Oregon could solidify their spot in the Pac-12 championship game with some outside help.
No. 16 Utah @ No. 19 Arizona
Not many people would’ve expected this game to be a top-20 matchup a few months ago, but here we are and no one is complaining.
Program leader Jedd Fisch has done an unbelievable job of turning the Wildcats around after being one of the most dysfunctional programs in the country. They’ve fought their way to be 4th in the conference with impressive wins over a top-10 Oregon State team, a blowout over Washington State, and a thrilling comeback this past week against Colorado.
On the other side, Utah has been just as impressive with all the injuries they’ve faced. Backup Bryson Barnes has been amazing for the most part, in Cam Risings’ absence. They’ve found their identity in an electric run game led by safety-turned-running back, Sione Vaki.
All this should lead up to one of the more interesting games of the week, including who will finish 3rd in the conference.