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2016 Pac-12 ultimate road trip: Apple Cup, USC-Notre Dame highlight Week 13

We're taking a look at the best week-by-week trips to make in the Pac-12. My editors call it the Ultimate Road Trip. I call it dangling meat for you guys until we can start writing about actual games. Chow down, gang.

Welcome to Week 13.

Friday, Nov. 25

  • Washington at Washington State

  • Arizona State at Arizona

Saturday, Nov. 26

  • UCLA at California

  • Utah at Colorado

  • Oregon at Oregon State

  • Rice at Stanford

  • Notre Dame at USC

My choice(s): Washington at Washington State and Notre Dame at USC

Why: The final week of the regular season is upon us. And what a season it’s been. What are the chances the divisions have been locked up already? If Stanford wants to repeat in the North, the Cardinal would have had to do it already since their finale is a nonconference game. Chances are the eyes of a college football nation will not be glued to Palo Alto when Rice visits. It might, however, provide Christian McCaffrey a chance to boost his Heisman numbers.

The same could be said for the Trojans -- who would need to have things settled by Week 12 if they want to be repeat champs of the South. Like last week, rivalry games trump all. So if you're into Rocky-Mountain-one-possession-games or the Civil War, the Pac-12 blog won't hold it against you.

But could the North still be on the line? Could it come down to ... wait for it ... the Apple Cup? The Huskies certainly hold bragging rights from last year's shellacking. But WSU fans will counter (and it’s not unreasonable) that the lack of Luke Falk last year altered the outcome. Here's hoping that everyone is healthy this time around so we really can see this rivalry blossom when both teams are peaking and have something significant on the line. If anything, bowl pecking order will certainly be at play.

Chances are you'll have one of the nation’s top-ranked passing attacks going against one of the nation's top defenses. It'll be strength-on-strength and it should provide plenty of entertainment.

I know Pullman isn't the easiest place to get in and out of. But if you're able to, catch a flight down to The Coliseum the next day for another game that could have implications on the national stage.

This will bring to an end a brutal schedule for the Trojans, who started with Alabama and wrap with the Fighting Irish. Whoever the quarterback is, surely he will be more than battle-tested by this point. But will the Trojans have enough in the tank by the time Thanksgiving has come and gone?

More importantly, will USC have negotiated the nation's toughest road to the point where they (or Notre Dame) are actually in the mix for a playoff berth? An undefeated or one-loss USC team entering this game seems like a stretch in August. And from what we've seen so far, anything more than one loss seems like an automatic bump from the four-team tournament.

Hope you've enjoyed the season. Catch your breath and get ready for the Pac-12 championship game. Just a reminder, 3/5ths of the blog picked Stanford to win it all. See you in bowl season.