UCLA Bruins head to midwest in top Week 3 Pac-12 game

Let's get ready to rumble! It's finally here, a loaded slate of quality non-conference games that runs all day. With four games pitting the Pac-12 against the Big Ten, it could prove to be a deciding factor in the jockeying for BCS title bids. Add in a high-octane shootout between the Beavers and Utes, it's safe to say you won't be leaving your house Saturday.

11. Southern Utah at Washington State, Saturday, 6:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: Washington State somehow won at USC without scoring an offensive touchdown, something Cougars head coach Mike Leach couldn't recall having happened in his career. The door is now at least open for a bowl bid, but quarterback Connor Halliday has thrown five interceptions with only one touchdown and could conceivably be benched for redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca without significant improvement.

10. UTSA at Arizona, Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: The Roadrunners just gave up 56 points and 605 yards to Oklahoma State at home and are unlikely to fair much better against the Wildcats. Arizona safety Tra'Mayne Bondurant has three interceptions, two returned for touchdowns, in two games and will have plenty of chances to add to those totals once UTSA is in catch-up mode.

9. Stanford at Army, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network

Rating: 1 star

The skinny: Considering the Black Knights' defense doesn't have a starter that weighs more than 247 pounds, the dominant Stanford offensive line should simply steamroll Army. Quarterback Kevin Hogan gets to refine his rapport with his receivers and tight ends ahead of next week's conference opener.

8. Boston College at USC, Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network

Rating: 1.5 stars

The skinny: The Trojans have been nearly flawless on defense through two games, but an inept offense both in terms of playcalling and execution will demand that kind of perfection every week for USC to salvage its season. Clancy Pendergast's new 5-2 alignment leads the Pac-12 in rushing defense, sacks and takeaways and will focus on shutting down BC running back Andre Williams (318 rushing yards, two touchdowns, 5.5 yards per carry this season).

7. Oregon State at Utah, Saturday, 10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

Rating: 3 stars

The skinny: The Beavers bounced back from their opening-week embarrassment, with the beleaguered defense holding Hawaii to 239 yards and one offensive touchdown Saturday. Neither team has been able to get its rushing offense on track, meaning the Pac-12 opener should feature plenty of passing from OSU signal-caller Sean Mannion and Utah sophomore Travis Wilson, who have combined for 1,360 passing yards and 12 touchdowns against one interception.

6. Fresno State at Colorado, Saturday, 5 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network

Rating: 3 stars

The skinny: If you didn't know who Paul Richardson was entering the 2013 season, that definitely should have changed by now. The Colorado redshirt junior leads the country in receiving yards after posting consecutive 200-yard games. Davante Adams of Fresno State isn't too shabby either, with 14 receptions for 148 yards and two touchdowns in the Bulldogs' opening-night win over Rutgers. NFL teams in need of help in the passing game will be watching this one intently.

5. Washington vs. Illinois (at Chicago), Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

Rating: 3.5 stars

The skinny: The Huskies have had a week to calm down and reclaim their focus after the adulation of their complete domination of Boise State, but now face a surprisingly frisky Illinois bunch at Soldier Field. Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has been resurrected under coordinator Bill Cubit, but Keith Price (324 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception vs. the Broncos) is more than ready to keep pace.

4. Ohio State at California, Saturday, 7 p.m. EDT, Fox

Rating: 4 stars

The skinny: Referring to the Golden Bears' defense as a sieve might be a compliment at this point, decimated by injuries before the Buckeyes arrive in Berkeley. Cal is allowing 37 points and 530 yards per game and now face Heisman candidate Braxton Miller and running back Jordan Hall. The best chance at an upset will be a bombs-away offense allowing wide receivers Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper to put up enough points to pull out a high-scoring free-for-all.

3. Wisconsin at Arizona State, Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Rating: 4 stars

The skinny: In three tune-up games this season, neither the Badgers nor Sun Devils have allowed a single point. That is going to change Saturday night in the desert, as the ASU run defense anchored by disruptive tackle Will Sutton gets its first major test from Wisconsin's three-headed hydra of Melvin Gordon, James White and true freshman Corey Clement. Quarterback Taylor Kelly will have to be efficient and avoid the mistakes that sunk ASU in its big games against Oregon, Oregon State and USC last season.

2. Tennessee at Oregon, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Rating: 4 stars

The skinny: Quarterback Marcus Mariota has been exceptional even without Chip Kelly's guidance, rushing for 235 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries (26.1 yards per rush). But the redshirt sophomore's accuracy hasn't been stellar, completing 26 of 49 throws, though he has avoided throwing a pick. If Mariota doesn't get into a rhythm early, Tennessee is more than capable of capitalizing, coming off a five-interception performance against Western Kentucky. On the other side of the ball, Oregon sophomore defensive end Arik Armstead can show his wares against the outstanding bookends for the Volunteers in Antonio "Tiny" Richardson and Ja'Wuan James.

1. UCLA at Nebraska, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, ABC

Rating: 4 stars

The skinny: Focus will determine if UCLA can follow up last season's early win that defined head coach Jim Mora's first year with another marquee victory over the Cornhuskers, specifically the ability to channel the emotions of a trying week after walk-on wide receiver Nick Pasquale was killed Sunday after being struck by a car. On the field, the Bruins' defense must be disciplined to contain mobile quarterback Taylor Martinez after allowing 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns to Cody Fajardo of Nevada in the opener.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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