Here are five things to keep an eye on this week in the Pac-12.
Chasing perfection: There are only five undefeated FBS teams left -- Clemson, Alabama, Michigan, Western Michigan and Washington. That's actually six fewer undefeated teams entering November than last season. The Huskies are off to their best start since 1992. While they played the weakest nonconference schedule in FBS (according to ESPN Football Power Index metrics), the Huskies have the toughest remaining schedule among the unbeaten teams.
That starts Saturday with a trip to California, where the Golden Bears have continued their streak of winning a game, followed by a loss, followed by a win, followed by a loss and so on. FPI predicts an 82 percent chance for the Huskies to win. Last season, the Cal defense forced five turnovers in Seattle. But this season, the uber-efficient Washington offense leads the Pac-12 with a plus-13 turnover margin, having only lost the ball six times.
Washington head coach Chris Petersen said he's not worried about his guys looking down at the rest of the schedule -- particularly a home showdown next week with USC.
"If Cal beats us, it's not going to because we were overlooking them," he said.
Alone in first: With Utah’s loss to Washington on Saturday, Colorado sits alone atop the Pac-12 South with a 4-1 mark. It'll look to stay ahead on Thursday night, when the No. 21 Buffaloes host UCLA. (Utah and Arizona State are off this week.) The Bruins have won the past five meetings, but Colorado's signs of improvement were evident the two most recent matchups. UCLA won 35-31 last season and 40-37 in overtime the year before. Those were some examples of close games in the recent past that Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre referenced as signs of his team's improvement. Reports are swirling that UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is done for the season. Head coach Jim Mora hasn't confirmed those reports but hasn’t necessarily refuted them, either, saying on Tuesday’s Pac-12 teleconference: "I would put nothing past Josh with regards to what his future this year looks like." Interpret as you will.
Up and comers: Saturday's showdown between Oregon and USC -- typically a marquee game between the league's two highest-profile programs -- lacks the national sizzle it has carried in the past. The Trojans got off to a slow start this season but are still in the hunt for the top spot in the South, thanks largely to quarterback Sam Darnold, who has thrown 16 touchdowns with just two interceptions since being named the starter. Oregon also went with a QB swap, trading out FCS transfer Dakota Prukop for true freshman Justin Herbert, who has 12 touchdowns and just two picks in his first three games as a starter.
Bowling on The Farm? Three Pac-12 teams are sitting on five overall wins. Stanford and USC have the opportunity this week to pick up win No. 6 and become bowl eligible. (Arizona State, the other five-win squad, is on a bye.) With a win, it will mean the Cardinal are headed to the postseason for the eighth straight time. Standing in Stanford's way is an Oregon State team that has dropped three straight but nearly upended No. 16 Utah and No. 25 Washington State within the past month. Running back Ryan Nall, when healthy, continues to be the Beavers' most potent weapon. Also worth noting is that wide receiver Victor Bolden Jr. has at least one reception in 32 straight games. Stanford's offense got back on track in a victory over Arizona on Saturday, with running backs Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love combining for 247 rushing yards.
Who will start? Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said both of his quarterbacks -- Brandon Dawkins and Anu Solomon -- will play when the Wildcats play at Washington State on Saturday. Who takes the first snap remains in question. "I'll make a decision maybe five minutes before kickoff. Or maybe two days before kickoff," Rodriguez said. Both QBs played in the Wildcats' loss to the Cardinal. There are no QB questions at Washington State, where Luke Falk continues his assault on the school's passing records. After posting his 10th 400-yard game on Saturday, he now has thrown for 9,351 yards and 75 touchdowns in his career, moving to third on the school's all-time list. Along with Washington, the Cougars are the only other Pac-12 team that is unbeaten in league play.