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Key Pac-12 clash headlines weekend NCAA action on TSN

Michael Penix Jr. Washington Michael Penix Jr. - The Canadian Press

Undefeated Pac-12 heavyweights Oregon and Washington meet in Seattle with Bo Nix and Michael Penix Jr. eyeing the Heisman Trophy. Plus, Coach Prime and Colorado host Stanford and Miami looks to bounce back from an embarrassing loss as they visit undefeated North Carolina. Here's a look at the Week 7 NCAA football action available this weekend on TSN.

Stanford vs. Colorado, Friday at 10pm ET/7pm PT on TSN5 - After back-to-back losses to Oregon and Southern California, Colorado (4-2) picked up their first conference victory of the season last week against Arizona State and hope to make it two straight when Stanford visits Boulder on Friday night. The Cardinal (1-4) are coming off of a bye week and are still looking for their first conference win of the season after losses to Oregon, Arizona and USC. The Buffaloes could be buoyed by the return of Travis Hunter. The dual threat wideout/cornerback has been out of action with a lacerated kidney since incurring the injury in his team's 43-35 double overtime win over Colorado State on Sept. 16. Deion Sanders had initially hoped that Hunter would be available for the team's Oct. 28 game with UCLA, but is open for an earlier return provided that he's ready to go.  "He's cleared and he has protection on to secure those areas, but the game is the game," Sanders said. "The game is a violent game, it's a vicious game, it's a very physical game, but Travis is also physical." In the three games prior to his injury, Hunter - who transferred to the Buffs from Jackson State - hauled 16 receptions for 213 yards and also recorded nine tackles and an interception. For his part, Stanford head coach Troy Taylor said he's looking forward to the challenge of Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders. "I think the quarterback is pretty special, he's a tough kid, he continues to compete," Taylor said of Sanders. "His demeanour is the same even when they go up or go down, he just continues to make plays." Sanders has been remarkable late in games this season. In the fourth quarter alone, Sanders has thrown for 669 yards on 44-for-58 passing with seven touchdowns and no interceptions.


Arkansas vs. No. 11 Alabama, Saturday at Noon ET/9am PT on TSN1 - Like Jerry Seinfeld before him, Alabama (5-1) head coach Nick Saban mused upon nothing to open his press conference this week ahead of this week's visit from Sam Pittman's Arkansas (2-4). "You get up every day, you’re entitled to … nothing," Saban said. "Nobody owes you … nothing. You could have talent, but if you don’t have discipline, if you don’t execute, you don’t focus, you get … nothing. If you’re complacent, and not paying attention to detail, what does that get you? Nothing. Nothing is acceptable but your best. We need to be — everything is determined by what you do and you trying to be your best, so that you can build on positive performance. That’s the only thing. There should be nothing else but that, for everybody. That’s what we have to stay focused on. It’s what we need to do. We got rained out today, so we had to go inside. We need to not accept anything but our best in terms of what we're doing for preparation." Building on positive performance is what the Crimson Tide have tried to do since their 34-24 loss to Texas in Week 2, reeling off four straight wins, including last week against Texas A&M. Despite already having a loss on the board and a difficult schedule remaining, the Tide are in fine shape to emerge from the SEC West and set up another conference title challenge (presumably against Georgia). Historically, the Tide-Hogs rivalry has been a very one-sided one. Arkansas's last victory over Bama came all the way back in 2006 during a string of three wins in four seasons. The Tide have won 16 straight contests (with 2007's being vacated due to NCAA sanctions). This Hogs team is already reeling, having dropped four straight, including three in the conference, after opening their season at 2-0. What's frustrating for Arkansas is that all four losses were in close, winnable games. Pittman believes that the Tide defence - led by defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry - will offer up a steep challenge for his team. "I think they're really good," Pittman said. "I think they compare very well [to previous Tide defences]. They have, in my opinion, great defensive ends. They're a problem. It's a problem if somebody has one that can wreck your game plan, let alone three, maybe four." As good as the Tide defence might be, the Hogs need to make sure the offence isn't a problem. Arkansas has failed to keep Bama under 40 points in seven straight meetings.


No. 8 Oregon vs. No. 7 Washington, Saturday at 3:30pm ET/12:30pm PT on TSN+ - Two of the top-three betting favourites for the Heisman square off in Seattle when Bo Nix and Oregon (5-0) meet Washington (5-0) and Michael Penix Jr. in one of the most hotly anticipated matchups of the season. Currently, Penix Jr. is considered the favourite to claim the Heisman over USC quarterback Caleb Williams (FanDuel gives Penix a +220 to +260 edge) with Nix in third (FanDuel has the former Auburn QB at +600). Simply put, both pivots have balled out this season. Penix is in his second season with the Huskies after four at Indiana. Through five games this season, he's thrown for 1,999 yards on 133-for-178 passing with 16 touchdowns to two picks. “They’re one of the most explosive offenses in college football right now,” Ducks head coach Dan Lanning said of the Huskies. “They pass the ball extremely well, get it down the field. They hit a lot of explosive plays. Every time you turn on their film and watch it, you see a guy getting the ball down the field.” Lanning's own QB, Nix, in his second season with the Ducks, is building on the promise he showed last year after coming over from the Tigers. Nix has thrown for 1,459 yards on 131-for-163 passing with 15 TDs and a pick. He's also added 87 yards and another TD on the ground. Lanning says Nix's poise has been an enormous asset this season. “You have 10 coaches on your staff," Lanning told On3's Andy Staples this week. "With Bo, I feel like we have another coach. When he goes out there, he sees the game how we see it. He’s trying to accomplish what we want accomplished offensively. Obviously, he’s a very talented player and has a competitive edge that I’ve never been around before.” The Pac-12, in its final season in this incarnation (and maybe ever?), is looking to return a team to the College Football Playoff for the first time since 2017 when the Huskies fell to Alabama in the Peach Bowl.


No. 25 Miami vs. No. 12 North Carolina, Saturday at 7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT on TSN+ - Mario Cristobal's Miami Hurricanes (4-1) are offered an opportunity to get back on track when they visit Mack Brown and No. 12 North Carolina (5-0) on Saturday night, but the task will be a tall one. The Hurricanes are coming off one of the most bizarre, and possibly foolish, losses in recent memory last weekend against Georgia Tech. With :36 remaining in the fourth quarter, Miami held a 20-17 lead over the Yellow Jackets and had the ball. With the Jackets out of timeouts, Miami simply had to kneel to run out the clock. Instead, they opted to do what Cristobal teams have done several times over the years and play until the clock runs out. Miami chose to run the ball through Don Chaney, who fumbled with Tech recovering. Three plays later, quarterback Haynes King found Christian Leary in the end zone with :02 left on the clock to stun the Hurricanes and hand them their first loss of the season, 23-20. While Miami protested that Chaney was actually down before he lost the ball, the issue was not the fumble but the choice to run a play at all. "We should have taken a knee," Cristobal conceded after the game. Though the loss was an awful one, an ACC championship game could still be in the offing should Miami win out, but the Tar Heels and Drake Maye will offer a stiff test. Maye, widely expected to be the second QB off the board at next spring's NFL Draft behind USC's Caleb Williams, has thrown for 1,629 yards on 129-for-179 passing with eight TDs to four picks. Through five games the Tar Heels have scored no fewer than 31 points. Brown believes that his opponents will have shaken off the loss to Tech completely. “I don’t think it’ll make any difference,” Brown said. “If anything, they’ll come in with a chip on their shoulder because they weren’t happy with the way the game finished.” The Tar Heels have won 13 of 24 meetings with Miami all-time, including the last four in a row.

Click here for the rest of TSN's slate of NCAA action this weekend