Almost every time a Pac-12 challenger has emerged recently to contend with Stanford and Oregon — the winners of the last four conference championships — the Cardinal and Ducks show just how much of a gap there is between them and everybody else.
The latest contender: Washington.
The Huskies have another opportunity to unseat both the next two weeks and vault themselves into the national championship picture for the first time in at least a decade. No. 15 Washington (4-0, 1-0) plays at fifth-ranked Stanford (4-0, 2-0) on Saturday night before hosting No. 2 Oregon next week.
The outcomes might not only determine which way Washington's season goes, they also could decide whether there will be any shuffling in the Pac-12's North Division before the Cardinal and Ducks meet at Stanford Stadium on Nov. 7.