To win the Pac-10 championship, you have to go through Southern California.
However, before California and Oregon get a shot at the top-ranked Trojans, the Bears and Ducks have business to take care of Saturday in Eugene.
By coming up with the league's most impressive nonconference performances, Cal and Oregon have established themselves as the early contenders to dethrone USC, which has won or shared the last five Pac-10 championships.
The Bears ran Tennessee off the field in the opening week of the season, beating the Volunteers 45-31. The Ducks were even more impressive a week later at Michigan, sprinting past the Wolverines 39-7.
USC is still way down the line for the Bears, who host the Trojans on Nov. 10. The Ducks get a visit from USC on Oct. 27.
On display Saturday at Autzen Stadium will be two of the highest-scoring teams in the nation. The Ducks, behind dual-threat quarterback Dennis Dixon, are averaging 48.5 points. The Bears, with explosive receiver and punt returner DeSean Jackson, are averaging 41.5 per game.
The picks:
Friday
No. 5 West Virginia (minus 7) at No. 18 South Florida
USF held Steve Slaton to 43 yards in last season's upset at Morgantown ... WEST VIRGINIA 28-27.
Saturday
No. 1 Southern California (minus 20 1/2) at Washington
Trojans have won five straight against Huskies ... USC 36-14.
No. 2 LSU (minus 39 1/2) at Tulane
Tigers are 15-0 against Green Wave since 1982 ... LSU 48-7.
No. 3 Oklahoma (minus 22) at Colorado
Sooners have scored at least 50 in every game ... OKLAHOMA 42-14.
Auburn (plus 18) at No. 4 Florida
Home team has won four straight in series ... FLORIDA 34-18.
No. 6 California (plus 5 1/2) at No. 11 Oregon
Ducks' Dennis Dixon is fourth-rated passer in nation ... OREGON 42-36.
Kansas State (plus 14 1/2) at No. 7 Texas
Wildcats upset Longhorns 45-42 in Manhattan last season ... TEXAS 26-20.
No. 8 Ohio State (minus 23 1/2) at Minnesota
Buckeyes have won 10 straight in Metrodome ... OHIO STATE 47-21.
Michigan State (plus 7 1/2) at No. 9 Wisconsin
Badgers have won 12 of last 13 Big Ten home games ... MICHIGAN STATE 24-20.
Maryland (plus 16 1/2) at No. 10 Rutgers
First meeting since 1942 ... RUTGERS 38-20.
Massachusetts (no line) at No. 12 Boston College
BC looking for first 5-0 start since 1954 ... BOSTON COLLEGE 45-14.
No. 13 Clemson (minus 3) at Georgia Tech
Before last season's blowout by Tigers, nine of previous 10 meetings decided by five or less ... GEORGIA TECH 24-21.
Florida Atlantic (plus 23) at No. 14 Kentucky
Wildcats are 6-1 vs. Sun Belt Conference opponents ... KENTUCKY 44-14.
Mississippi (plus 15) at No. 15 Georgia
Bulldogs have won seven straight against Rebels ... GEORGIA 28-10.
Mississippi State (plus 13 1/2) at No. 16 South Carolina
Gamecocks have beaten Bulldogs four straight games ... SOUTH CAROLINA 23-14.
North Carolina (plus 17 1/2) at No. 17 Virginia Tech
Hokies have won three straight against Tar Heels ... VIRGINIA TECH 37-14.
No. 19 Hawaii (minus 25 1/2) at Idaho
Warriors have averaged 48 points in last three meetings ... HAWAII 42-24.
No. 21 Penn State (minus 3) at Illinois
Nittany Lions are 12-2 vs. Illini. ... ILLINOIS 22-21.
No. 22 Alabama (plus 2) vs. Florida State at Jacksonville, Fla.
Tide is 2-0-1 against 'Noles, last meeting was 1974 ... ALABAMA 27-24.
No. 23 Arizona State (minus 14 1/2) at Stanford
Cardinal have won four straight homes games against Sun Devils ... ARIZONA STATE 45-28.
No. 24 Cincinnati (minus 14) at San Diego State
Bearcats are 2-2 against Mountain West teams ... CINCINNATI 28-17.
Iowa State (plus 21) at No. 25 Nebraska
Cyclones have lost 12 straight at Lincoln ... NEBRASKA 48-21.
---
Last week's record: 19-3 (straight); 11-8 (vs. points).
Season: 82-7 (straight); 39-33-1 (vs. points).

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