There have been a couple of Pac-12 games that have been sprinkled in the past few weeks, but this weekend sees the conference matchups really ramping up, including the weekend's lone Top 25 matchup with Arizona State hosting UCLA on Thursday night.
Here are Scout's predictions for the Week 5 games:
The last two winners of the Pac-12 South, both teams can look to their games against each other as the trigger for making it to the conference title game (where alas, both lost to Stanford). Two years ago, UCLA beat Arizona State on a last second field goal by Kai'mi Fairbairn in Tempe. Last year in Pasadena, the Sun Devils jumped out to a huge halftime lead, then held on for a victory that clinched the division.
This year, both could be playing with their backup quarterbacks, which Taylor Kelly already ruled out for the Sun Devils and Mike Bercovici slated to start. UCLA will likely have Brett Hundley back, but Jerry Neuheisel, who rallied the Bruins to a win over Texas in Arlington two weeks ago, is at the ready.
Both teams lost key personnel on defense, including the best two defensive players in the conference, Will Sutton (ASU) and Anthony Barr (UCLA). Offensively, UCLA should have the advantage with Hundley expected to play. If Kelly were healthy, we'd tip this one to the Sun Devils, but with Hundley the only of the two starters expected to play, that should be enough for the Bruins.
Prediction: UCLA 27, Arizona State 21
The Bears were this close to notching their first Pac-12 win since 2012 before Austin Hill snatched Anu Solomon's pass out of the still of the night for a stunning Arizona win.
But Cal showed throughout the game that their offense is still going to put up points and their defense, the last quarter notwithstanding, is making strides from last year.
Colorado is 2-2 and hung with Arizona State two weeks ago, but they have to do a better job of protecting Sefo Liufau.
The Bears are the pick here thanks to the game being in Berkeley, a vastly improving team and the motivation of last week's loss.
Prediction: Cal 38, Colorado 24
The Cardinal last visit to Seattle was a win over Washington State. Their last visit to Washington was a loss to the Huskies. Both games were in CenturyLink Field. The last time the Cardinal visited Husky Stadium? A 41-0 shutout/blowout of Washington. But that was four seasons ago, and only the redshirt seniors were there on that rainy day.
Since then, both schools have different head coaches, Chris Petersen now at Washington and David Shaw at Stanford. Shaw was hired a couple months after that game, after Petersen was courted by the Cardinal.
So when they two meet on Saturday, it's a completely different setting from all of those previous three games.
The Cardinal looked much better against Army after they offensive sputtered against USC. Defensively, though, they've been excellent this year. Washington has really only put together one complete game, two weeks ago against Illinois. But Stanford isn't Illinois.
Washington will make it close, but Stanford's better defense will be the difference and makes the Cardinal the pick.
Prediction: Stanford 24, Washington 17
The Cougs gave Oregon all they could handle a week ago, no surprise, since they've tested the Ducks more than just about anyone save Stanford the last couple years out of the North. But it still wasn't enough.
Meanwhile, Utah went out to the Big House and dominated Michigan from the get go and now they come back to Salt Lake City, where they usually always play well and take on the Cougs.
Washington State showed last week more of the team we expected from Mike Leach while the Utes showed that this is the Kyle Whittingham outfit we thought we'd see.
The underrated Utes defense should be able to get to Halliday and limit their passing game and we think it keeps them unbeaten and sets them up for a possible key undefeated Pac-12 showdown next week at the Rose Bowl.
Prediction: Utah 28, Washington State 20
The Trojans had an extra week to marinate the loss at Boston College. Oregon State had no problems with San Diego State.
But the Beavers for the first time are playing a team that's more talented than them and has better athletes and they have to go on the road.
Meanwhile, the Trojans are just happy to be back at the Coliseum for the first time since the season opener and with that loss to the Eagles in their rearview mirror, we think they cruise against the Beavers.
Prediction: USC 31, Oregon State 17