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Originally published Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 8:03 PM

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Big games are in Pac-12, as SEC takes a break

Stanford at Oregon, USC at UCLA highlight an important football weekend in the Pac-12. In the SEC, it's Puff Pastry Saturday.

Seattle Times colleges reporter

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The intrigue in college football is mostly in the Pac-12 on Saturday, with Stanford at Oregon and the annual intracity Tinseltown tiff between USC and UCLA.

We digress for a moment to point out, without malice, that here on the third weekend of November, when the game is really getting down to cases, the SEC is pretty much taking the weekend off.

ESPN wears us ragged with Retribution Thursday, Deliverance Friday and All-the-Marbles Monday. Now, in the nation's most vaunted conference, we have Puff Pastry Saturday. The league is so good (there, I said it) they take a mid-November day to exhale, and their overheated fans assess things like what the roster will look like for spring football.

Western Carolina is at Alabama, and it might not be a good time to be poking a stick at the Crimson Tide. Jacksonville State is at Florida, Wofford at South Carolina. Georgia Southern visits Georgia and Sam Houston State is at Texas A&M. Alabama A&M is at Auburn and Samford is at Kentucky (and if I were Auburn or Kentucky, I'd be very afraid).

Nice of the SEC to allow the spotlight to be trained toward the West Coast.

Best of Saturday's schedule, chronologically:

Washington at Colorado, 10:30 a.m., FX: It's intriguing that the Huskies (6-4) have bobbed up to No. 25 in the BCS standings, yet they have a single point — just one vote for No. 25 by one panelist — in the AP poll.

USC (21 in AP) at UCLA (17), 12:05 p.m., Ch. 13: First time since 2001 that UCLA (8-2) has entered the game with a higher ranking, and first time since 2000 the Bruins have had more wins (USC is 7-3). It's the fifth straight year both teams are allowed to wear their home jerseys, which was a tradition in the series until the NCAA legislated in 1982 that visitors wear whites on the road.

Jim Mora's Bruins are 8-2, and of first-year Bruins coaches, only Terry Donahue, in 1976, had more victories (nine) in his first season. Of course, they're playing more games now than they used to.

Ohio State (6) at Wisconsin, 12:30 p.m., Ch. 4: Amazing how a team is completely forgotten in a year when it's on probation, even when it's undefeated. Wisconsin (7-3) is already in the Big Ten title game, probably against Nebraska. The game in MadTown matches the Big Ten's top two rushing defenses.

Oklahoma (13) at West Virginia, 4 p.m., Ch. 13: At the beginning of October, there were people conceding the Heisman Trophy to Geno Smith, and there was speculation we might see West Virginia in the BCS title game. Now, not so much. It isn't that Smith has suddenly become terrible — he's got a 31-3 touchdown-interception ratio — but the West Virginia (5-4) defense has given up 49 points or more four times and the 'Eers pass defense is worst in the country, allowing 345 yards a game.

Landry Jones, the Oklahoma quarterback, should like that. Meanwhile, the Sooners (7-2) are still viable for a BCS bowl.

Kansas State (2) at Baylor, 5 p.m., ESPN: Like a German-engineered automobile, K-State (10-0) just keeps humming along. Baylor's offense could keep this interesting, but the Bears (4-5) also allow 39.4 points a game, so it could be another Heisman showcase for Collin Klein.

If you're keeping track of transfers from Oregon, the Wildcats' Chris Harper is tied for the team lead in catches with 36 (he was once a touted quarterback recruit for the Ducks), and Lache Seastrunk, the back who left the team a year ago as the Willie Lyles brouhaha heated up, is Baylor's third-leading rusher with 284 yards and a 6.2 average.

Stanford (14) at Oregon (1), 5 p.m. Ch. 4: This one should be a hoot, a classic power-versus-speed confrontation visited by ESPN's College GameDay. Reports are that because of some depth issues, you might even see a little of De'Anthony Thomas in the Oregon secondary.

Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or bwithers@seattletimes.com


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