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Week 4 in College Football: What to Watch in the Pac-12 and Elsewhere

Trojans play under Friday night lights, leaving plenty of football for Saturday.

BYU v Utah
USC travels to Utah for a Friday night showdown.
Photo by George Frey/Getty Images


USC at Utah (6 p.m, FS1)

(all times listed in Pacific Standard Time)

There’s no relief in sight for the Trojans, as they travel to Utah on a short week. Three games in, and we’re still not sure what kind of team we have - especially with a new starting QB in the huddle. Vegas has the Utes by three.

Regardless of how things turn out on Friday, we can look forward to another day of great games on Saturday. Pac-12 play begins in full, and takes center stage in this week’s list of ‘what to watch.’


No. 11 Wisconsin at No. 8 Michigan State (9am, BTN)

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Notre Dame
Michigan State showed their muscle last week against Notre Dame.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State silenced any doubters last week with a big win against the Irish. Wisconsin has their chance this week to show they are the real deal. Home field gives the Spartans the edge in this one.

Reason to watch for USC: Both teams have emerged as contenders for the Big Ten title. It might be a little early to be talking Rose Bowl, but it won’t be a surprise if one of these two ends up in Pasadena.

Penn State at No. 4 Michigan (12:30pm, ABC)

Temple v Penn State
Can Penn State pull off an upset in Ann Arbor?
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Michigan is getting a lot of love in the polls, but they had some shaky moments last week against Colorado. It will be interesting to see if an ever-improving Penn State team can give them any problems.

Reason to watch for USC: The Nittany Lions are big underdogs going in, but an upset here would be fun to watch - especially with Harbaugh losing his mind on the sideline.

Colorado at Oregon (2:30pm, Pac-12)

Virginia v Oregon
Get ready for a shootout in Eugene.
Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

If you like big plays and scoring, this is worth tuning in. If you like defense...not so much. The over under on this game is 68 1/2, and I’m betting it’s too low.

Reason to watch for USC: The Trojans will have to deal with both of these high-octane offenses this year. Have we mentioned that USC’s schedule is brutal?

No. 7 Stanford at UCLA (5pm, ABC)

NCAA Football: UCLA at Stanford
The Bruins look like McCaffrey’s next victim.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s another showcase game for Stanford, and another test of merit for UCLA. The Bruins get the Cardinal in the Rose Bowl, which helps, but likely won’t be enough to slow down David Shaw’s juggernaut.

Reason to watch for USC: Last week’s visit to the farm showed off Stanford’s dominance, and exposed more of the Trojans’ problems. Expect the Bruins to have a similar challenge trying to contain Christian McCaffrey. An upset, however, would put UCLA in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 South.

No. 9 Washington at Arizona (7:30pm, Pac-12)

NCAA Football: Portland State at Washington
Arizona will have a tough time finding holes in Washington’s defense.
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Browning and the Huskies destroyed Arizona 49-3 last year in a halloween nightmare. The Wildcats offense has looked good so far, but will have a tough time running the ball against the Dawgs’ “Death Row” defense.

Reason to watch for USC: If you’re like me, you love having an excuse to stay up late to watch college football. The Huskies are one of this year’s more intriguing teams, and yet another daunting opponent for the Trojans in November.

Other games worth watching:

No. 12 Georgia at No. 23 Ole Miss (9am, ESPN)

No 17 Arkansas at No. 10 Texas A&M (6pm, ESPN)

Oklahoma St at No. 16 Baylor (4:30pm, Fox)

USC v Stanford Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Did we forget anyone? Let us know who you’ll be watching with your comments.