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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)
» Photos: UA sports Throwback Thursday Chase Budinger
» UA fall sports carry big expectations into 2014
» UA announces 2014 sports Hall of Fame class
» UA football: Notes and quotes from Wednesday's practice

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» ASU has fewer penalties under Graham
» ASU coach Graham sticks close to Texas roots
» Ex-ASU star Carson signs with Australian team
» ASU selects captains, awards 5 scholarships

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Cal football: Safety Lowe shapes up, holds job
» Cal's goal in Dykes' second season is to establish running game
» Stanford 11th in AP's top 25 preseason football poll; Florida State No. 1
» AP Top 25 Preseason Poll

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Yuri Wright pushing his way up CU Buffs depth chart in return
» Colorado feels fortunate to have avoided a rash of preseason injuries
» Colorado senior receiver D.D. Goodson: not overlooked by coaches
» Colorado redshirt freshman Phillip Lindsay: two touchdown runs in scrimmage gave me confidence

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Former Oregon Ducks running back Jonathan Stewart scores twice for Carolina Panthers against Kansas City
» Oregon's Devon Allen -- who wants to set a collegiate hurdles record -- tackles football with high expectations, too
» Mark Helfrich on the last scrimmage of fall camp: 'I liked our energy a lot better today' (video)
» Marcus Mariota says winning a championship is the 'No. 1. goal'

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)
» Stanford football: Defensive coordinator learns from 49ers counterpart
» Stanford 11th in AP's top 25 preseason football poll; Florida State No. 1
» AP Top 25 Preseason Poll
» Stanford football: Tailbacks Kelsey Young, Remound Wright miss scrimmage

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)
» Freshmen will play key roles for Huskies
» Freshmen Brayden Lenius, Dante Pettis expected to contribute for UW's receiving corps
» Video: UW offensive lineman James Atoe
» Huskies morning links: UW offering a new cheap ticket option (with beer!)

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Sanders honored by AFL
» Gabe Marks could redshirt
» Ewu sports chat Aug. 21 (noon)
» Football season has officially begun



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