UCLA at Stanford, Oct. 19
The dynamic duo of Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin will be no more come the 2013 football season. Stanford’s own dynamic duo of Kevin Hogan and Stepfan Taylor will also split, as Taylor has his aspirations set on the National Football League. So that just leaves the youthful yet intuitive quarterbacks—Hogan and Hundley. In a showdown sure to impress with a well grounded Stanford team and a high-flying UCLA squad, we should see both athleticism and passion. But in what could be a preview of the Pac-12 Championship Game, this competition may not be exciting from a play-calling standpoint as both teams will want some tricks up their sleeves for the potential rematch in December.
UCLA at Oregon, Oct. 26
Oregon, along with Stanford and UCLA, is yet another example of a Pac-12 team with a young quarterback who has just lost his veteran running back. Marcus Mariota is in the spotlight as of late, whereas his former teammate Kenjon Barner is competing with Johnathan Franklin and Stepfan Taylor for selection in the upcoming NFL Draft. At the NFL Combine, of the backs who participated in the Shuttle Run workout, three of the top 15 came out of the Pac-12. Barner and Franklin tied for first, and Taylor finished in 14th place. That being said, none of that talent will be competing in these games this year, but they have all been molded by their respective programs. The stars are sure to shine when UCLA visits Eugene in late October.
UCLA at Nebraska, Sept. 14
It’s tough enough that UCLA has to play Stanford, Oregon and Nebraska this season. But only to make matters worse, they are all away games. The Bruins play the Cornhuskers in Lincoln, and their main worry will be containing QB Taylor Martinez—the only NU player who really had success against UCLA last season. The incoming class of linemen and defensive backs should be able to contain Martinez. But if Anthony Barr, Priest Willis, Tevin McDonald and Kylie Fitts can’t, then I think it’s fair to say that Martinez has done a lot of offseason work. I doubt Bruins fans will travel very well for this game, and the entire state of Nebraska is sure to be in the stands, but that won’t stop the Bruins from fighting for another taste of that inspiration that came from beating the Huskers last year in Pasadena.