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Three Games to Watch Today

NCAA Football: Southern California at Colorado Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Today No. 24 Utah (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) hosts Arizona (2-3, 0-2 Pac-12) at Rice-Eccles Stadium tonight at 8:00 p.m. MDT. A win over the Wildcats would be Utah’s first since 2011, prior to current head coach Rich Rodriguez taking over. A win over Arizona would keep Utah in the Pac-12 South race. In this Three Games to Watch post, we will focus on two key Pac-12 South match ups and one huge national matchup.

No. 9 Tennessee at No. 8 Texas A&M 1:30 p.m. MDT, CBS

This was the game highlighted this morning by ESPN’s College Gameday. It is a top 10 matchup between undefeated teams. Tennessee has played in multiple wild games and has to make comebacks. The defeated Georgia on a Hail Mary and came back from 21 points down against Florida. This was the third time College Gameday has featured the Vols this season. Texas A&M was not expected to be this talented this season, starting the season unranked. The handed UCLA their first loss of the season. This game has huge SEC and College Football Playoff implications.

Who Should Utah Fans Cheer for and Who Will Win?

Texas A&M. They beat UCLA to start the season, so the better the Aggies look, the better the loss that is. Tennessee has been playing with fire this season, needing overtime to beat Appalachian State, falling behind 14-0 against Virginia Tech, falling behind 21-0 against Florida, and needing a Hail Mary to beat Georgia. I think this is the game where Tennessee’s luck runs out. Kyle Field is one of the toughest places to play, and I expect players like defensive end Myles Garrett to step up for A&M and limit the Tennessee offense.

No. 21 Colorado (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) at USC (2-3, 1-2 Pac-12) 2:00 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 Network

Raise your hand if you thought this was a key Pac-12 South matchup before the season. USC looks like a contender in the Pac-12 South with Sam Darnold starting at quarterback. Clay Helton has not lost a game at the Coliseum as head coach at USC. Colorado has already won more conference games this season than in all of 2014 and 2015 combined. A Colorado win would announce the Buffaloes as the likely Pac-12 South frontrunner. A USC win would keep the Trojans firmly in the Pac-12 South race. A third loss in conference for the Trojans, with two coming against Pac-12 South teams, would essentially eliminate the Trojans from Pac-12 South contention (but could still play spoiler).

Who Should Utah Fans Cheer for and Who Will Win?

This is a tough one. A Colorado win would eliminate USC from Pac-12 South contention because to win the Pac-12 South, the Trojans would have to go 5-0 down the stretch with games against Oregon, Washington and UCLA. They would also need both Colorado and Utah to each lose at least four conference games. USC did win the Pac-12 South last season with a 6-3 conference record, but all three of USC’s conference losses in 2015 were against Pac-12 North teams. A USC win keeps them in contention for the Pac-12 South, but it also would mean that every team in the Pac-12 South would have at least one loss. USC has more talent than any other team in the Pac-12 South, and they are playing really well with Darnold at quarterback. Having the Trojans eliminated and a more compelling Rocky Mountain Showdown, are two reasons to cheer for the Buffaloes. However, I think the Trojans take this one at home.

UCLA (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12) at Arizona State (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12), 8:30 p.m. MDT, ESPN2

From 2011-2013, the winner of the Arizona State-UCLA game won the Pac-12 South. Both of these teams are Pac-12 South contenders. The winner will be a frontrunner while the loser will likely not be eliminated but will have to play catch up. Having two losses with one to a Pac-12 South contender does not bode well for whoever loses this game in terms of winning the South.

Who Should Utah Fans Cheer for and Who Will Win?

UCLA was the preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 South. A second conference loss would hurt the Bruins mightily in the Pac-12 South race, and the Bruins scare me more than the Sun Devils this season, so cheer for Arizona State. The road team has won four games in a row in this, and Arizona State is starting Brady White at quarterback. His first start comes against a great defense. He is more of a pocket passer, which means a big part of the Sun Devils offense is not available with him at quarterback. I expect the Bruins to win this and keep pace in the South.