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Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon
Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon cover the Pac-12 for The Salt Lake Tribune.

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Pac-12: Champ coming to Utah in 2013

Utah’s 2013 home football schedule just became more attractive, thanks to the pairings in tonight’s Pac-12 championship game.

Utah is guaranteed to have the Pac-12’s defending champion come to Rice-Eccles Stadium. Stanford, which hosts UCLA, is in the 2013-14 rotation of North division opponents and UCLA is making a regular visit as a South rival.

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So who wins tonight? I definitely favor Stanford, although the game should be closer than Saturday’s 35-17 victory for the Cardinal at the Rose Bowl.

UCLA’s degree of motivation was an issue in that game, with the Bruins knowing they were promised a berth in the title game. Stanford has to win to get there. Yet the statistics were fairly even, so I’m forecasting a good game on the Farm.

Stanford will be the team that advances to the Rose Bowl, completing another admirable season for coach David Shaw. He’s done it without quarterback Andrew Luck. What’s more, Shaw was willing to make a quarterback change in November, going with redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan, who has responded nicely.

Utah obviously won’t build its season-ticket promotions around opposing players, but it will be fun to watch Hogan and UCLA’s Brett Hundley at Rice-Eccles in 2013.

In the Utes’ two seasons of conference membership, USC is really the only glamorous team to have visited Rice-Eccles Stadium. Never mind that the Trojans’ season crumbled after they came to town in early October.

In 2011, the Utes hosted Washington, Arizona State, Oregon State, UCLA and Colorado. Of those teams, only UCLA (5-4) posted a winning record in conference play. This season, in addition to USC, Utah welcomed Cal, Washington State and Arizona. Only the Trojans (5-4) had a winning record in the league.

In 2013, the Utes will meet Stanford, UCLA, ASU, OSU and Colorado at Rice-Eccles, plus Utah State and Weber State. That schedule merits some anticipation of the season, the only problem being that it’s nine months away, with the Utes out of the bowl picture for the first time since 2002.

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PAC-12 Links
Links from around the Pac-12
Arizona (Tucson Citizen)
» UA football: QB Patterson decommits from Arizona
» Hansen's Sunday Notebook: Tucson's streetcar leads to soccer
» UA football: 3-star lineman commits to Cats
» Future Cat Roth sets HS steeplechase record

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» Why is Sendek watching film of VCU, Louisville?
» ASU adds linebacker from Purdue
» Randall expected to compete for All-Pac-12 honors
» Marcus Ball replaces Alden Darby at bandit safety

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Local digest: Former Stanford star Kerri Walsh Jennings wins World Series of Beach Volleyball
» Internazionale Milan scores 3-2 shootout victory over Real Madrid
» Kerri Walsh Jennings reaches final of World Series of Beach Volleyball
» Former Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour hired as Penn State AD

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Changes in college football a cause of excitement and concern
» Pac-12 media days: Colorado eager to turn things around
» Colorado's MacIntyre at Pac-12 media days: "We will be improved"
» Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott: league "well positioned" for playoffs

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon Ducks staffer leaves for NFL; Canzano and finding Gregg Popovich: The Oregonian's sports top 5 at 5
» Oregon Ducks to host Michigan State in cross country on eve of football game
» Fall football camps open in a week: Pac-12 roundup
» Oregon Ducks receiver Devon Allen may be too fast for coach Mark Helfrich

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» Oregon State hires longtime trainer hired Fred Tedeschi
» Beavers hire Mark Massari as deputy athletics director
» Oregon State hands out Bennys to top athletes, coaches and teams
» OSU fishing: MacDonald, Martinez win conference tournament

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Local sports digest: Former Stanford star Kerri Walsh captures World Series of Beach Volleyball
» Local digest: Former Stanford star Kerri Walsh Jennings wins World Series of Beach Volleyball
» Kerri Walsh Jennings reaches final of World Series of Beach Volleyball
» Stanford's Carol Zhao advances in Bank of the West tennis qualifying

UCLA (Los Angeles Daily News)
» UCLA Football Notebook: Running back Malcolm Jones loses appeal for extra season
» College Football: Position coach Adrian Klemm says UCLA offensive line a work in progress
» COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Improving UCLA has questions to answer during preseason football camp
» COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UCLA's prized recruit Eddie Vanderdoes cleared to play by NCAA after leaving Notre Dame

USC (Los Angeles Daily News)
» USC Football Notebook: Marqise Lee's injury not too serious
» USC Football Notebook: QBs Max Wittek, Cody Kessler present dilemma for Trojans coach Lane Kiffin
» USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel thinks Trojans might not miss QB Matt Barkley
» USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Dion Bailey says it's 'now or never'

Washington (Seattle Times)
» Huskies fall camp position preview: Defensive line
» Jermaine Haley commits to Washington
» Monday's Northwest Collegiate Summer League games
» Zach LaVine puts on dunking display at Seattle Pro Am

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Fast forward: Arizona
» Is the M's season slipping away?
» Indians improve to 5-2 against Vancouver
» A couple weeks in, everyone will be really tired



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