LAS VEGAS -- It’s easy to be impressed with Arizona State, which has posted five double-digit wins and is led by one of the nation’s most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in Jayden Daniels.
Oregon and USC attracted more Pac-12 preseason hype, and the Ducks backed up the talk with an upset of Ohio State in early September, but the Sun Devils appear to be the conference’s top team in October. The stage is set for a pivotal Pac-12 South showdown between Arizona State (5-1, 3-0) and Utah (3-2, 2-0) on Saturday night in Salt Lake City.
In an odd twist, the best thing to happen to the Utes might have been the benching of quarterback Charlie Brewer, a Baylor grad transfer who was expected to elevate the offense to the next level. Brewer was a bust and quit the team after getting demoted during a Sept. 18 loss at San Diego State. Utah coach Kyle Whittingham called an audible and went to Texas transfer Cameron Rising, who is 2-0 as the starter.
Rising ripped the USC defense last week by passing for 306 yards and three touchdowns in Utah’s 42-26 road win. The Utes led 35-10 after three quarters in by far their best overall performance of the season.