Roundup: Sam Darnold vs. Luke Falk in crucial conference clash

In what you’d have to call the biggest Pac-12 game of 2017 so far, No. 16 Washington State welcomes No. 5 USC to the Palouse for a Friday night showdown on ESPN (7:30 p.m. PT). To get you ready for the matchup, Yogi Roth breaks down the quarterback battle between Luke Falk and Sam Darnold in this Q&A with The Spokesman-Review.

Somewhat good news on the injury front for the Trojans – USC wide receiver Deontay Burnett is probable for the Washington State game, but starting left tackle Toa Lobendahn is out with a staph infection.

The Saturday slate kicks off on The Farm with Stanford-Arizona State (1 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Networks), and Tom FitzGerald has this feature on Stanford punter and kickoff specialist Jake Bailey. Dude has a helluva boot, as he has at least four touchbacks in every game this year and is fourth in the Pac-12 with a 44.6-yard-per-punt average.

Listen to the Arizona State Pick Six Podcast featuring Doug Haller and Jeff Metcalfe to get some thoughts on Arizona State’s game at Stanford.

The No. 6 Huskies will look to make it 5-0 and 2-0 in the Pac-12 North in a matchup with struggling Oregon State (5 p.m. PT Saturday, Pac-12 Networks), and Kyle Bonagura writes that Washington is learning what it’s like to live under the national spotlight, with media pundits picking apart their perceived weaknesses (they can still run the ball, you know).

'Twill be a tall task for the Beavs Saturday night – not only because the Dawgs are the reigning Pac-12 champs and a top-10 team this year, but also because Oregon State is “addressing unexpected frustration” four games into the season, writes Danny Moran. A lot of people thought this team had a chance to play in a bowl game, but the early returns haven’t shown a team that is capable of getting to six wins.

UCLA-Colorado is one of two 7:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. MT kickoffs on Saturday night, and Dan Greenspan of The Associated Press tells us that the UCLA defense is trying to correct its issues ahead of the Colorado game. The Bruins’ defense ranks in the bottom 10 nationally in points per game, yards per game and yards per play (giving up 58 to Stanford and 263 rushing yards to Bryce Love didn’t help those numbers).

Brian Howell has a feature on Colorado cornerback Trey Udoffia, a guy who will be tested aplenty by Josh Rosen’s right arm Saturday night.

Rusty Simmons has this story on Cal head coach and Oregon alum Justin Wilcox returning to Eugene with his Golden Bears to take on the Ducks. This should be an intriguing Saturday night contest (7:30 p.m. PT, FOX Sports 1/FOX Deportes). And for more Wilcox coverage, check out Pac-12 Networks' spotlight on the proud former coaches and teammates of the Cal head coach in his hometown of Junction City, Oregon.

In this episode of The Official Visit podcast, The Oregonian’s Tyson Alger and Andrew Greif discuss how Oregon will respond to its first loss with Cal coming to town.

I guess it’s a podcast kinda roundup – listen to The Salt Lake Tribune “Game of Throws” podcast to hear the thoughts of Lynn Worthy, Christopher Kamrani and Aaron Falk on whether Troy Williams can lead the Utes to another successful season depending on how long Tyler Huntley is out.

The Arizona Board of Regents has approved a $66 million dollar plan to improve athletic facilities on campus. The money will fund the construction of an indoor sports center, while also covering improvements to Arizona Stadium, Hillenbrand Aquatic Center and Hillenbrand Softball Stadium.