UCLA at California
Saturday, 12:30 p.m. PT
The last time the Bears faced the pistol offense, it didn’t exactly go very well. Cal was torched by Nevada earlier this season, allowing 497 yards in a 52–31 loss. The Bears will face the pistol once again against the Bruins, and they hope they can take the lessons they learned in the Nevada disaster and not let it happen again. UCLA, meanwhile, has won three in a row but still is a difficult team to figure out. The Bruins went on the road and beat mighty Texas but came back the following week at home and had a hard time putting away dreadful Washington State. Quarterback Kevin Prince sat out the game against the Cougars with a sore knee but is expected back against the Bears.
Oregon at Washington State
Saturday, 2:00 p.m. PT
What do you get when you take one of the best teams in the country and match it up with one of the worst? Saturday could provide some answers. The only question about this game is how long it will take for Oregon coach Chip Kelly to start resting his starters. The Cougars actually are probably feeling pretty good about themselves after putting together one of their more competitive efforts in awhile. They led UCLA in the third quarter and were still tied early in the fourth before the Bruins pulled away last Saturday. Still, Washington State doesn’t have the talent, skill or speed to keep up with the Ducks on either side of the ball. The game actually could slow down running back LaMichael James’ Heisman Trophy campaign because he could on the bench resting fairly early on.
Oregon State at Arizona
Saturday, 4:00 p.m. PT
The Beavers feel invigorated after sneaking past Arizona State, 31–28 last week. It was hard to tell just how good or bad Oregon State was after losses to TCU and Boise State, because both came on the road against top-10 opponents. But an uninspired close win over Louisville was cause for concern. Arizona State is turning out to be much more competitive than anticipated, so the win over the Sun Devils can be a building block. The Beavers, who played Arizona State without playmaking wide receiver James Rodgers, will get him back against the Wildcats. They will need as much help as they can get against Arizona’s stingy defense. The Wildcats moved into the top 10 this week without even playing. They should be well-rested and have a boisterous crowd behind them against Oregon State.
USC at Stanford
Saturday, 5:00 p.m. PT
The Trojans should be angry, not only because they are coming off their first loss of the season to Washington, but because Stanford humiliated them on their home field last season. Stanford is also coming off its first loss, although the Cardinal gave Oregon a scare in the first half before the Ducks pulled away in the second. USC’s defense is nowhere near the level it’s been in recent years, and the Trojans could have a hard time slowing down Stanford’s potent offense, as they did last year. USC may seem slow to Stanford after playing Oregon, a notion that would have been laughable a few years ago.
Arizona State at Washington
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. PT
Picked to finish ninth in the Pac-10 in the preseason, Arizona State has been competitive with formidable opponents such as Wisconsin, Oregon and Oregon State. But mistakes and missed opportunities still have the Sun Devils off to an 0–2 start in Pac-10 play. The Huskies, meanwhile, had a good bounce-back win over USC. Washington was coming off a horrific 56–21 home loss to Nebraska but went on the road and beat the Trojans on a last-second field goal for the second year in a row. The best news for Washington last week was that quarterback Jake Locker rebounded from a terrible showing against Nebraska to pass for 310 yards and rush for 111 more.