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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.


PAC-12 Links
Links from around the Pac-12
Arizona (Tucson Citizen)
» Transcript: Fan chat during the Arizona vs. California football game
» UA football: WR Jones honored by Pac-12
» UA football: Your stories from the 'Hill Mary'
» Hansen's Sunday Notebook: Caldwell's pin count goes into record books

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» ASU football has a new enemy: Drake
» ASU-USC to be late-afternoon or night game
» ASU's rivalry with UCLA takes center stage
» ASU football practice report from Sunday

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Grading Cal's 49-45 loss to Arizona
» Cal's game at Washington State on Oct. 4 to kick off at 7:30 p.m.
» Jeff Kent provides women's scholarship endowment to Cal athletics
» Cal athletics store celebrates football victory prematurely

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Speedy freshman Donovan Lee gives CU Buffs another playmaker
» Colorado coached to avoid coin-toss glitches, MacIntyre says
» Colorado's MacIntyre gratified Buffs practiced hard Monday
» CU Buffs tackle Jeromy Irwin might play vs. Hawaii after concussion

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon Ducks open up Autzen Stadium doors for Fan Fest: Photo gallery
» Devon Allen and Keanon Lowe appear to have a bottle thrown at them during Oregon Ducks' win over Washington State
» Is Oregon's Marcus Mariota the nation's best player? His coaches are biased, but say so
» Oregon Ducks shut out in Pac-12 Player of the Week awards and nominations

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» Oregon State roundup (Sept. 19)
» OSU men's basketball: Tinkle says positive steps being made
» Spencer to become new AD at Evansville
» BeaversSalute program gives tickets to military personnel and veterans

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Grading Stanford's week: Cardinal has a bye
» Local sports digest: Stanford, Cal in water polo showdown
» Stanford coach David Shaw goes digging
» Cal, Stanford Pac-12 men's basketball schedules announced

UCLA (Los Angeles Daily News)
» UCLA Football Notebook: Running back Malcolm Jones loses appeal for extra season
» 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
» Pac-12 Media Day: Eyes on Anthony Barr for UCLA's 2013 hopes

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)
» UW's Chris Petersen on Stanford's defense, John Ross' injury, Cyler Miles' passing and more
» Chris Petersen confirms top quarterback recruit Jake Browning has signed with the Huskies
» UW senior running back Jesse Callier out for the season
» Video: UW's Danny Shelton previews Huskies' Pac-12 opener vs. No. 16 Stanford

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Cal game set for 7:30
» Grading the Oregon game
» Wilson's ability can stand on its own
» Utah week

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