Paring down Pac-12: UCLA, USC visit Grand Canyon State
The place to be is the Pac-12 this weekend in college football, specifically Arizona, where the South Division will go through an early sorting process.
Both Los Angeles schools play in the Grand Canyon State on Saturday, with the headliner coming in Tucson. No. 9 UCLA faces No. 16 Arizona. It could have been a monumental day in Arizona sports, but Arizona State and Southern California did not hold up their parts of the deal.
The 19th-ranked Trojans visit the Sun Devils coming off a home loss to Stanford. Arizona State lost its opener to Texas A&M and fell out of the rankings, though it has won two straight since against lesser competition. A second loss for either team just about puts an end to any playoff hopes, and for the Trojans it could be even more damaging. An 0-2 start in the Pac-12, with Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, Cal and Utah all left on the schedule would have Trojans fans flipping out more than they already have been.
The Wildcats won the tough Pac-12 South last year, but were swept by the LA teams, including a 17-7 loss that was the lowest scoring game of the season for coach Rich Rodriguez's high-scoring team.
''We played awful -- it was them and us. They did a good job against us and our lack of execution was awful,'' said Rodriguez, who is 0-3 against UCLA and coach Jim Mora.
The Bruins are coming off a tough home win against BYU. Add a good road victory to that and they become the early front-runner to snag a playoff bid out of the Pac-12, though injuries are mounting and running through the South unbeaten might be too tough for any team.
The only other ranked vs. ranked game this week is a Pac-12 crossover with No. 18 Utah visiting No. 13 Oregon, which hopes to have quarterback Vernon Adams back after he sat out last week with a broken finger.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
No. 21 Stanford (minus 15 1/2) at Oregon State
The Cardinal face a second straight road game, this one on short rest and with a banged up quarterback ... STANFORD 28-14.
No. 9 UCLA (minus 3 1/2) at No. 16 Arizona
The Bruins lost LB Myles Jack (knee) and CB Fabian Moreau (foot) to injuries this week; Wildcats hoping to get LB Scooby Wright (knee) back ... UCLA 27-21.
No. 18 Utah (off) at No. 13 Oregon
QB injury questions for both teams with Utes' Travis Wilson (shoulder) missing last week's game ... OREGON 37-24.
No. 19 Southern California (minus 5) at Arizona State
The Sun Devils have won two straight and three of four against the Trojans, but have never won three in a row in the series ... USC 28-21.
No. 3 TCU (minus 7) at Texas Tech
The Horned Frogs slapped 82 points on the Red Raiders last season. As we found out last weekend, Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury will hold a grudge ... UPSET SPECIAL, TEXAS TECH 54-48.
Vanderbilt (plus 24) at No. 3 Mississippi
Coming home to find the Commodores waiting is ideal for a Rebels team refocusing after a huge victory ... OLE MISS 35-3.
No. 14 Texas A&M (minus 7) vs. Arkansas at Arlington, Texas
The Razorbacks have yet to allow a sack; the Aggies lead the nation with 15 sacks ... TEXAS A&M 35-21.
No. 20 Georgia Tech (minus 8 1/2) at Duke
The Blue Devils snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Yellow Jackets last year ... BEST BET, GEORGIA TECH 28-17.
No. 24 Oklahoma State (minus 3) at Texas
Can QB Jerrod Heard save the Longhorns' season? ... TEXAS 28-24.
No. 25 Missouri (plus 3) at Kentucky
Picking the Wildcats to win three weeks in a row would be crazy ... KENTUCKY 20-17.
Western Michigan (plus 31) at No. 1 Ohio State
A Buckeyes quarterback will play well. No idea which one ... OHIO STATE 48-13.
Central Michigan (plus 26 1/2) at No. 2 Michigan State
The Spartans are 31-1 against unranked opponents under coach Mark Dantonio ... MICHIGAN STATE 44-14.
No. 22 BYU (plus 5 1/2) at Michigan
Only other meeting was in the 1984 Holiday Bowl, when the Cougars capped a national championship season with a victory ... MICHIGAN 24-20.
PLUCKY UNDERDOG OR MISMATCH?
UMass (plus 29) at No. 6 Notre Dame ... NOTRE DAME 48-14.
No. 8 LSU (minus 24 1/2) at Syracuse ... LSU 35-7.
Ball State (plus 18 1/2) at No. 17 Northwestern ... NORTHWESTERN 28-13.
Hawaii (plus 24) at No. 22 Wisconsin ... WISCONSIN 38-10.
Boise State (minus 2 1/2) at Virginia
Brett Rypien steps in at quarterback for the Broncos. He is former Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien's nephew ... BOISE STATE 24-17
Mississippi State (plus 2) at Auburn
How bad will this season get for the Tigers? ... MISSISSIPPI STATE 27-24.
Tennessee (plus 1 1/2) at Florida
See how things have turned on Arkansas coach Brett Bielema after a couple of losses? Expect many Vols fans to do the same with Butch Jones if Tennessee can't snap the Gators 10-game winning streak in the series ... TENNESSEE 28-20.
California (minus 4 1/2) at Washington
Bears looking for first 4-0 start since 2007 ... CAL 38-35.
Kansas (plus 12) at Rutgers
How could things get much worse at Rutgers? Lose to Kansas ... RUTGERS 30-17.
Last week's record: 10-8 straight; vs. 10-6-1 spread
Overall: 41-14; 31-23-1.
Upset specials: 2-1.
Best bets: 0-2.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP
AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org