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Three Games to Watch Today

NCAA Football: Clemson at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Every week we take a look at three games Utah fans should watch and who they should root for in those games. The best game of the week in the Pac-12 happened last night with No. 10 Washington crushing defending Pac-12 Champion No. 7 Stanford 44-6. There are still some games today that Utah fans need to be aware of. We take a look at three of them, and we give you two extra games to watch as a bonus.

Oregon State at Colorado 12:30 p.m. MDT Pac-12 Network

Did Colorado finally turn the corner last week with their 41-38 against Oregon at Autzen Stadium? They face an Oregon State team that went winless in the Pac-12 last season. Colorado looks like the real deal this season after coming oh so close so many times the past few seasons. They have a chance to make a statement in this game. Who would have thought we might be talking about the Buffaloes as a Pac-12 South contender in October. They have a chance to start 2-0 in the Pac-12 for the first time.

Who should Utah fans root for and who will win?

Cheer for former Utah player and coach Gary Anderson and his Oregon State team. Unfortunately though, I do not think the Beavers will get their first Pac-12 win of the Anderson era today in Boulder, Colo.

Arizona State at USC 6:30 p.m. MDT Fox

This feels like an elimination game game for USC. If they start 1-4 and 0-3 in the Pac-12, they are likely eliminated from the Pac-12 South race on the first day of October. We will learn where the Trojans are at mentally in this game. Arizona State, despite being 4-0, is unranked and have shown off an explosive offense this season. The Sun Devils got Pac-12 play off on the right foot after scoring 31 points in the fourth quarter to defeat Cal 51-41. A win for ASU would give them a 2-0 start in Pac-12 play, putting them firmly in the Pac-12 South conversation.

Who should Utah fans root for and who will win?

This is a game where Utah fans will likely be torn. Having USC, the 2015 Pac-12 South Champion, essentially eliminated from Pac-12 South contention on the first day of October would add a little clarity to the murky water that is the convoluted Pac-12 South. It would however give the Sun Devils, the 2013 Pac-12 South Champion, their first 2-0 start in Pac-12 play since 2012. A USC win would knock the Sun Devils from the ranks of the unbeaten. It would keep the Trojans in contention for the division, but they would still be on the outside, sitting at 1-2. Despite USC being a double-digit favorite, I am picking the Sun Devils in this game. I think USC gave their best effort against Utah and lost, and I think they will not be able to recover from all of the early losses.

Arizona at UCLA 8:30 p.m. MDT ESPN

UCLA is a two touchdown favorite in this game. The Wildcats have not defeated the Bruins since 2011 and have not won in the Rose Bowl since 2010, the year before the Pac-12 started. UCLA was picked to win the South. UCLA’s two losses on the season have both come against top 10 teams. Arizona looked unimpressive in their nonconference schedule, then they took a top 10 Washington team to overtime at home before losing 35-28. Quarterback Brandon Dawkins has sparked the Arizona offense. UCLA also features a talented quarterback in Josh Rosen.

Who should Utah fans root for and who will win?

UCLA, despite starting 0-1 in Pac-12 play with the loss to Stanford last week, is likely still the favorite to win the Pac-12 South. UCLA can easily overcome one conference loss to a Pac-12 North team, but an 0-2 start with a loss to a Pac-12 South is much harder to recover from. An Arizona win would throw the already turbulent Pac-12 South into utter chaos. UCLA is the obvious choice in this game, but I am going with a huge upset by the Wildcats. UCLA has trouble with dual-threat quarterbacks, and Dawkins looks like the real deal. I think he shreds the UCLA defense en route to an Arizona win.

We would be remiss if we did not mention the two top 10 match ups that are taking place today as well. Both games feature a surprise top 10 team, and one team everyone figured would be undefeated and ranked in the top five to this point in the season. Neither has any impact on the Utes, but they should be two great games, so make sure to watch them with no need to worry about who wins.

No. 3 Louisville at No. 5 Clemson 6 p.m. MDT ABC

ESPN’s College Gameday is in town for this matchup between the preseason Heisman favorite, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, and current Heisman favorite, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. These two players have a great opportunity to make a huge Heisman statement, and the winner of this game will have the lead in the talented ACC Atlantic division and will be an early frontrunner to make the College Football Playoff.

I see Louisville winning this game. Clemson has not faced a player like Jackson this season, and I think he shows up in a big way. The last time Clemson lost at home was against No. 5 Florida State in 2013. It was a top five matchup, and Clemson was an underdog, which parallels this game. The Clemson defense has put up great numbers this year, but they have not been tested, and the offense has not lived up to the preseason hype.

No. 8 Wisconsin at No. 4 Michigan 1:30 p.m. MDT ABC

This game figures to be much more of a smash mouth, physical game than the Louisville-Clemson game. Michigan has not been challenged yet this season, while Wisconsin has two wins over then top 10 teams (No. 5 LSU and No. 8 Michigan State). Both of these teams run the football and stop the run. This game has the potential to be a classic Big Ten slugfest.

I am not sold on Wisconsin yet this season. Yes they beat two top 10 teams, but LSU is now unranked and fired head coach Les Miles, and MSU’s best win on the season is over 1-3 Notre Dame. Michigan has more talent at the skill positions, and I think they have the defense to stymie the Badgers offense. I am going with the Wolverines in this game, and I would not be surprised to see them win by double digits.