Week 8 of the college football season is here. Arizona and USC are on byes, but check out the Pac-12 viewer’s guide so you know what to look for this weekend from the rest of the conference.
Cal vs. Oregon, 7:30 p.m. PT, ESPN/WatchESPN
This could turn out to be an incredibly high-scoring game. Oregon, which leads the Pac-12 in rushing (258 yards per game), will look to take advantage of the Bears’ porous run defense. Cal has given up a Pac-12-worst 284 rushing yards per game and 22 rushing touchdowns. Earlier this week, Oregon running backs coach Gary Campbell said he expects Royce Freeman to be back, which is not good news for Cal. But there’s a similarly favorable matchup on the other side of the ball. The Bears have thrown for 378 yards per game (No. 4 in FBS), and they’ll face Oregon’s pass defense (284 passing yards per game), which is the second-worst unit in the Pac-12. The latter matchup holds water -- as long as Davis Webb and Chad Hansen both play Friday, of which Sonny Dykes is hopeful.
Stanford vs. Colorado, 12:00 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Networks
Stanford’s sputtering offense, which averages just 5.2 yards per play (second worst in the Pac-12), will look to get things going against a defense that has seen a major turnaround under Jim Leavitt. The Buffs’ defense leads the Pac-12 in yards given up (314.1) and defensive third-down conversion rate (30.3 percent), and Colorado will be looking for win six/bowl eligibility. The Cardinal have a good chance to resurrect their offense with a healthy Christian McCaffrey, but if he’s unavailable, Stanford will turn to Bryce Love.
UCLA vs. No. 19 Utah, 1:00 p.m. PT, FOX
The Bruins will look to snap their two-game losing streak at home against the Utes. But in order to do so, UCLA will need to take care of the ball. Utah has caused 17 turnovers this season (tied with Washington for the lead in the Pac-12), and the Utes have turned those turnovers into 58 points. The Bruins are one of just four teams in the Pac-12 without a positive turnover margin. UCLA also faces a challenge with the return of Utah running back Joe Williams. The recently unretired Ute rushed for 179 yards on 34 carries (5.3 yards per carry) against Oregon State last weekend.
No. 5 Washington vs. Oregon State, 3:30 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Networks
The Huskies will attempt to avoid any kind of letdown as they prepare to face a lower-tier Pac-12 opponent, which is coming off its best two-week stretch of the Gary Andersen era. Jake Browning, fresh off his bye week and 500-pushup punishment, will look to overtake Sam Darnold as the Pac-12 QB with the best Total QBR. Oregon State, which has been riddled by injuries, is down to third-string QB Marcus McMaryion, who has attempted only nine passes this season. The Beavers lost Darell Garretson (season ending) and Conor Blount (out this week) against Utah. Worse yet for the Beavs, talented running back Ryan Nall is doubtful for this weekend against the Huskies.
Arizona State vs. Washington State, 7:00 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Networks
Luke Falk had thrown at least one touchdown in his previous 22 games going into last weekend’s matchup with the Bruins, but that streak was snapped as the Cougars beat the Bruins with three rushing touchdowns. This Saturday, look for Falk to make up for that as he attempts to put on a clinic against the conference’s worst pass defense (384 passing yards per game, 19 passing touchdowns). The Sun Devils' defense will have its hands full with the Air Raid -- ASU has given up 36 pass completions of 20-plus yards. Expect Todd Graham to lean heavily on Kalen Ballage as the Sun Devils face the conference’s No. 1 run defense (104.5 rushing yards per game).