Stanford hosts No. 24 UCLA with fans back inside stadium
Here are some things to watch this week in the Pac-12 Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK: Stanford (2-1, 1-0 Pac-12) will be playing in front of fans at Stanford Stadium for the first time in more than 660 days when it hosts No. 24 UCLA (2-1) on Saturday. The Cardinal started with three games away from friendly confines for only the second time in school history. They face a Bruins team coming off a 40-37 loss to Fresno State, a win that vaulted the Bulldogs to No. 22 in the AP poll. This will be the 93rd all-time meeting between Stanford and UCLA. The Bruins hold the series edge, 46-43-3, but Stanford has won 12 of the last 13. That includes last season when the Cardinal overcame a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to win 48-47 in a double OT thriller.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: Arizona (0-3) at No. 3 Oregon (3-0) in the Pac-12 opener for both. An important next step to keep the Ducks headed toward a spot in the College Football Playoff. On paper, this doesn’t figure to be much of a matchup with the Ducks a 28 1/2-point favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. But motivation also is a powerful incentive and the Wildcats are looking to end a 15-game slide Saturday. The last time Arizona knocked off a top-five team was Oct. 2, 2014, when the Wildcats beat No. 2 Oregon at Autzen Stadium. Jedd Fisch is seeking his his first win as Arizona’s head coach.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Southern California interim coach Donte Williams will make his Coliseum coaching debut Saturday against Oregon State. Williams grew up several miles from the venue. The Trojans (2-1, 1-1) have won 24 straight over the Beavers in Los Angeles. Oregon State hasn’t won in L.A. since 1960. ... Washington State (1-2, 0-1) has seven takeaways (four interceptions, three fumble recoveries) heading into its game at Utah (1-2). ... The Utes stormed back from a 21-point deficit against Washington State last season. .... Stanford faces six teams this season who were in the AP preseason Top 25. That’s tied with UCLA and Colorado for most in the nation. ... Washington (1-2) hosts California (1-2) in the 100th meeting between the schools. The Huskies lead the series 54-41-4. ... The game-time temperature when Colorado (1-2) travels to Arizona State (2-1) is expected to be in the low 90s. That would rank in the top-20 warmest kickoffs in Colorado history. It was 92 degrees when the Buffaloes played Texas A&M in Denver on Sept. 11. ... Oregon running back CJ Verdell needs 179 yards rushing to become only the fifth Ducks player to reach the 3,000 mark in his career.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Trojans QB Jaxson Dart, who came off the bench to throw for 391 yards and four touchdowns at Washington State but also suffered a knee injury. The freshman didn’t practice earlier this week, with three-year starter Kedon Slovis taking the first-team snaps. Slovis left the game in the opening series due to a neck injury. The starter could be a game-time decision.
UPSET WATCH: Washington State at Utah. The Utes are a 14 1/2-point favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, but quarterback Charlie Brewer has left the team after losing his starting job to Cameron Rising. Brewer transferred to Utah from Baylor and won the starting job in the preseason camp. The Utes went 1-2 in his three starts and he was benched in the third quarter of Utah’s 33-31 triple OT loss to San Diego State last weekend. Rising entered with 5:25 left in the third quarter and threw for 153 yards and three touchdowns. Washington State coach Nick Rolovich and the Cougars hit the road for the first time this season.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25