Pac-10: Rivalry Preview

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A Civil War win would give Oregon plenty to cheer about.

A Civil War win would give Oregon plenty to cheer about.

Arizona State at Arizona, Thursday, 6:00 p.m. MT

A victory would give the Sun Devils their sixth win of the season, but they still may not be headed to a bowl game. Because Arizona State has played two Football Championship Subdivision opponents, it needs seven wins to qualify for the postseason. The Sun Devils have reportedly filed a waiver with the NCAA to allow it to play in a bowl game if they beat the Wildcats. Arizona State will be led by sophomore quarterback Brock Osweiler, who came off the bench to replace injured starter Steven Threet last Friday and was named Pac-10 Player of the Week after completing 27 of 38 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns. Arizona, meanwhile, is likely headed to the Alamo Bowl no matter what the result. But the Wildcats, losers of three in a row, would like to go into the Dec. 29 game in San Antonio with a little momentum.

Oregon at Oregon State, Saturday, 12:30 p.m. PT

The stakes in this year’s Civil War have never been higher. The implications are simple. If the Ducks win, they will play in the Bowl Championship Series title game on Jan. 10 in Glendale, Ariz. On paper, it looks like Oregon should have no trouble completing an undefeated season and getting to the title game. The Beavers were hammered by Stanford last week and aren’t far removed from their embarrassing home loss to Washington State. But the game is in Corvallis, Ore., and rivalry games have a way of not following the script. The game will also be running back LaMichael James’ final chance to impress Heisman Trophy voters.

Washington at Washington State, Saturday, 4:00 p.m. PT

A couple of weeks ago, it didn’t seem like the Huskies were one of the conference’s top candidates to become bowl-eligible. They needed to win three in a row to close out the season, two of them on the road. Washington is two-thirds of the way there and has taken care of one of the road victories. The Huskies won a thrilling 16-13 contest at Cal on Saturday, scoring a touchdown on the game’s final play to register the victory. At first glance, it would seem beating the Cougars would be the easiest assignment of the final three challenges. But Washington State is coming off its first Pac-10 win in two years, a 31-14 triumph over Oregon State. The Cougars also have had back-to-back bye weeks to prepare for this game.

USC at UCLA, Saturday, 7:30 p.m. PT

It’s been a long time since this rivalry game has had less meaning. The Trojans are banned from a bowl game, so this will end their season. The Bruins were eliminated from bowl contention after their loss at Arizona State last week. Still, this matchup always has important implications for the players. Many of UCLA’s returning players will no doubt remember USC’s decision to throw a deep touchdown pass during the final seconds of last year’s game, despite the Trojans having the game well in hand. It could be a double-whammy of rivalry blues for USC, which fell to its other rival Notre Dame last weekend, 20-16.

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Athlon previews the final week of action in the Pac-10. Can the Beavers pull the upset in The Civil War?