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Friday Pac-12 links: Gameday for Utes, but all eyes are on Baton Rouge

Published September 7, 2012 12:59 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It's gameday. At least for the Utes. Elsewhere it's drug-testing discussing day, lamenting-fans-leaving-early day, players transferring day. It's also travel day. And with most of the Pac-12 getting to stay home this week, all eyes should be on LSU, where quarterback Keith Price will lead the Huskies into the biggest game of the week. Or at least what should be the biggest game of the week if Washington can make any progress against No. 3 LSU's touted defense.

Washington faces a 24-point spread, which ties for the largest spread against the Huskies dating back to 1985. And there were some pretty bad Dawg teams in between then and now. Washington receiver Kasen Williams is a former LSU recruit. Who knows, maybe he liked Death Valley for the tailgating scene, which at least one member of Seattle media is excited about.

But when it comes to picking upsets in the conference, it doesn't seem too many are giving the Huskies much of a chance. Ted Miller thinks the best upset pick in the conference might be Oregon State over Wisconsin. It's nearly unthinkable if you remember the Beavers 35-0 loss in Madison a year ago, but, as Miller points out, that was a stripped down Beavers team with a freshman quarterback. Sean Mannion (good story on the sophomore here) is expected to be significantly better, while freshman running back Storm Woods is already touted as the next great Oregon State running back in a line that includes NFL players Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers. However, there are a couple of guys in the Wisconsin defense the Beavs should be worried about.

Elsewhere...

— The Salt Lake Tribune's Tony Jones has a good piece documenting the longtime relationship between Utah coach Kyle Whittingham and Utah State's Gary Andersen.

— Oregon implemented a random drug-testing policy this week (remember that ESPN story from earlier this year about marijuana in Eugene?). It's not entirely popular, but Oregon State seems to like it because it's following suit.

— The Big XII gets a TV deal with ESPN and Fox Sports worth $2.6 billion over 13 years. Not quite Pac-12 money, but close.

— A writer in Tucson lamented Wildcats' fans penchant for leaving early, which inspired an Oregon columnist to address the same issue within Autzen Stadium.

— Colorado coach Jon Embree says Buffs' focus after loss is mark of maturity.

— Washington State hasn't deigned to play FCS Eastern Washington for 104 years, but Eagles quarterback Kyle Padron has beaten the Cougars before.

— When Cal hosts Southern Utah on Saturday, it will be without its best offensive lineman.

— Cal essentially is starting over against SUU after its loss to Nevada.

— If you believe in an East Coast media bias in college football, you should be pulling for Matt Barkley and USC to have a field day against Syracuse at MetLife Stadium.

— Former Gatorade National Player of the Year Malcolm Jones appears set to transfer from UCLA.

— Bill Oram