Roundup: Let the Pac-12 games begin
From here on out (with the occasional Notre Dame game thrown in there), it’s nothing but conference football from now ‘til Dec. 7, and things start off with a bang in the Pacific Northwest. In the first intriguing matchup of the day in Seattle, Arizona heads to Husky Stadium to take on Washington (4 p.m. PT, FOX). Having been out since January with a torn ACL, Dan Pettinato’s return could help the Wildcats’ defensive line against Washington. First real test of the year for the ‘Cats.
Meanwhile it'll be the second (or third) real test of the year already for the Dawgs, and they’ve passed each of ‘em with flying colors. A big reason for the early-season success is that the offensive line regained the trust of Keith Price. “Teeth” was a battered and bruised dude last year, but that front five has done a great job of keeping him upright in 2013.
In the second intriguing matchup of the day in Seattle, the Card head to Century Link Field to take on the Cougs in Wazzu’s annual Seattle game (7 p.m. PT, ESPN). These teams are a combined 6-1 on the season, so Mike Leach and David Shaw are preparing for each team’s best. And here’s an awesome piece of work from Michael Weinreb of Sports on Earth about the gospel of Mike Leach. So I guess Mike Leach has been asked to dish out dating advice before…
Yes, the football game is super-duper important this Saturday night for the Farm Boys, but you should also probably know that Tara VanDerveer will receive the John Wooden Award’s “Legends of Coaching” honor in 2014. The women’s basketball head coach (or Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women’s Basketball for short) is six wins shy of 900 for her career. Ok, here’s a football link, too: How to beat Washington State, a David Lombardi production.
Perhaps motivated by the NCAA’s decision to go a lil’ lighter on Penn State, AD Pat Haden has asked the NCAA to reduce the penalties levied against USC. On the football field, the Men of Troy face a big, big test against Arizona State in Tempe (7:30 p.m. PT, ESPN2), and Matthew Moreno of Reign of Troy outlines five keys to a Trojan victory against the Sun Devils.
Sure, the Trojans have had their troubles on offense this year, but Arizona State still needs to be weary of that vaunted receiving corps. In particular, defending Marqise Lee will be a big challenge for the Sun Devils; Lee went for 161 yards against ASU last year in a 38-17 Trojan triumph over the Forks.
The Buffs leave their home state for the first time this season when they head to Corvallis to match wits with the Beavs (noon PT on the Pac-12 Networks). While Mac’s Pack hasn’t played since Sept. 7, Colorado still believes after three weeks off.
The Beavers have had some iffy defensive performances, but there is a lot of talent in that OSU secondary. One of those cornerbacks, Steven Nelson, is taking advantage of his second chance. Very good feature from Lindsay Schnell about the DB who had that pick-6 to give OSU a 34-30 dub over San Diego State last weekend.
And for our other nightcap, we take you to Eugene, where the second-ranked Ducks will entertain the Golden Bears (7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks). It looks all fun and loosey-goosey for the Quacks, but security is fundamental for the Ducks; they put a huge emphasis on not coughing up the pigskin.
One of the guys on the Cal side who’ll be looking to take it away from the Oregon offense is Kam Jackson, a dude with a strong will and strong mind. Excuse the potential jinx factor of this next line, but no quarterback has completed a pass to a receiver manned by Jackson.
It’s a bye week for the Bruins, and UCLA coaches are using the off week to work on recruiting.
It’s a bye week for the Utes, so let’s head over to the hoop court, where the Utah men’s basketball team wants to start runnin’ again. They are called the Runnin’ Utes, after all.