Welcome back to the road trip. We're taking a week-by-week look at the entire Pac-12 schedule and picking out the game we feel is the marquee game of the week. If you have the time and means this is the game you want to see.
Friday Sept. 14
Washington State at UNLV
Saturday Sept. 15
Arizona State at Missouri
Cal at Ohio State
Tennessee Tech at Oregon
Portland State at Washington
USC at Stanford
Colorado at Fresno State
BYU at Utah
Houston at UCLA
South Carolina State at Arizona
My choice: USC at Stanford
Why: Tough decisions have to be made this week. I know we're all still in a state of giddy shock after last week's 17-13 Washington upset win at LSU. Bishop Sankey to Keith Price for a 23-yard touchdown out of the Wildcat in the final minute -- gutsy, gutsy call, Sark.
Cal fans will argue the Ohio State game is the game of the week. And that's valid. It has some conference implications and could be a statement game for the Bears. Utah fans will argue the Holy War is the game of the week. And that's valid -- at least to Utah fans. But the "conference" game of the week falls to the first conference game of the season -- and it involves two teams high up in our power rankings, one team likely in the top 15 and another likely in the top 3.
Stanford has been the proverbial thorn in USC's side for the past three years and the previous two games have been absolute thrillers; a last-second field goal in 2010 and then last year's beyond-entertaining triple-overtime game.
For USC, this kicks off a challenging four-game swing that includes Cal at the Coliseum and then back-to-back road games at Utah and Washington in the coming weeks. For Stanford, it's the first legitimate test (sorry San Jose State and Duke fans) without Andrew Luck running the offense. The Cardinal want to ground and pound. USC will be happy to air it out.
USC receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee had pretty good games against Stanford last season. Lee caught seven balls for 94 yards and a score. Woods had nine catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. No reason not to think those two won't get a lot of work against the Cardinal. Stanford's front seven is phenomenal, but a revamped secondary has question marks.
Will be interesting to see if it's the nail biter we've had the past two years with the Cardinal squeaking out a win -- or whether Matt Barkley and Co. unleash three years of frustration on The Farm.
You can check out the rest of the road trip here.