Southern California rivalry caps final week in Pac-12
The Pac-12 South Division has been a jumbled mess for most of the season, with teams seemingly taking control then falling off.
The division will finally get decided this weekend.
UCLA and Southern California, despite their own slip-ups during the regular season, will meet in the Coliseum with a spot in the Pac-12 championship game on the line. That should add some spice to this already testy rivalry.
A few things to look for in the Pac-12 during the final week of the regular season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: UCLA at No. 22 USC. It has been rare in recent years for these crosstown rivals to play with both having something on the line. They have plenty to play for this year with a spot next to Stanford in next week's Pac-12 title game at stake. USC responded to the firing of coach Steve Sarkisian by winning four of six but lost to Oregon last week. The Bruins have won four of five, the lone setback to Washington State two weeks ago. USC has won 12 of the past 16 meetings, but UCLA has won the last three. These teams don't particularly like each other, so it could get extra testy with so much at stake.
BEST MATCHUP: No. 4 Notre Dame at Stanford. It's rare to have marquee non-conference games so late in the regular season and this is a big one. The Irish are trying to solidify their bid to be a part of the College Football Playoff. The Cardinal are clinging to the outside chance they may get in with a win and lots of help. The Irish are No. 6 in the CFP ranking and Stanford is ninth, so both are looking to move up with a win. Notre Dame will likely be without running back C.J. Promise and cornerback KeiVarae Russell, starters who were injured last week. Stanford's Christian McCaffrey still leads the nation in all-purpose yards per game after racking up a school-record 389 against rival California last week.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Visiting teams are 25-24 in Pac-12 games heading into Friday's matchups. ... McCaffrey will become the fifth player since 1978 to average at least 200 all-purpose yards in a season, joining USC's Marcus Allen in 1981 (232.6), Stanford's Glyn Milburn in 1990 (202), USC's Reggie Bush in 2005 (222.3) and USC's Marqise Lee in 2012 (206.4). ... Washington has won five of its past six meetings against Washington State in the Apple Cup.
IMPACT PLAYER: Utah punter Tom Hackett. Yep, ending the season with some punter love. The Utes senior leads the Pac-12 and is fourth in the FBS with a 47.4-yard average this season. His career average of 44.89 puts him on pace to break the conference record of 44.57 set by UCLA's Kirk Wilson from 1956-58.
Complied by AP College Football Writer John Marshall.