|USC RB Curtis McNeal made a quite a few trips to the end zone against Arizona State. McNeal had three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) in the win. (US Presswire)|
Here's the latest on the Pac-12's top players who are projected to star on Sundays:
Why he has the top spot: McNeal had his biggest game of the season Saturday thanks to coach Lane Kiffin's decision to sit RB Silas Redd (unspecified reasons). McNeal was USC's only option at running back and the only option the Trojans needed. He carried the ball 31 times for 163 yards and two touchdowns. McNeal also caught a 22-yard touchdown pass in USC's 38-17 win over Arizona State.
Season stats (nine games): 83 carries, 497 yards, 2 touchdowns; 5 receptions, 86 yards, 1 touchdown.
Player ranking: McNeal is ranked 415th overall and is the 32nd-highest rated RB in CBSSports.com's latest player rankings.
Up next: So will it be McNeal or Redd on Saturday? Kiffin is the only one who knows who will get most of the playing time against UCLA, but whomever it is, he won't have an easy time getting yards. The Bruins have the fourth-best run defense in the Pac-12, surrendering 144.6 yards per game.
Why he has the second spot: Stanford had a new starting quarterback Saturday, but that didn't stop Ertz from tallying his highest reception total of the season. With Kevin Hogan under center instead of Josh Nunes, Ertz caught nine passes for 75 yards and a touchdown in the Cardinal's 27-23 win over Oregon State.
Season stats (10 games): 47 receptions, 641 yards, 5 touchdowns.
Player ranking: Ertz is ranked 53rd overall and is the second-highest rated TE in CBSSports.com's latest player rankings.
Up next: Stanford may need more than nine catches and 75 yards from Ertz on Saturday when the Cardinal travel to Oregon. The Ducks have a banged-up defense, which bodes well for Ertz, who could be a major matchup problem for Oregon.
Why he has the third spot: After rushing for more than 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, big things were expected from White in 2012. But he got off to a slow start this year, not hitting the 100-yard mark once in the Utes' first six FBS games after hitting it eight times in 13 games last season. White's hitting his stride now though, having reached the century mark in each of Utah's last three games, including a season-high 142 yards against Washington on Saturday.
Season stats (10 games): 171 carries, 761 yards, 7 touchdowns; 12 receptions, 85 yards, 1 touchdown.
Player ranking: White is ranked 447th overall and is the 35th-highest rated RB in CBSSports.com's latest player rankings.
Up next: White might put up some eye-popping numbers in the Utes' final two games of the regular season. Over the next two weeks, Utah will face the Pac-12's 11th- and 12th-ranked run defenses in Arizona and Colorado. This is the same Colorado run defense that surrendered a conference-record 366 yards to Wildcats RB Ka'Deem Carey on Saturday.
Why you should watch him: Buckner's been overshadowed this season by teammate and Biletnikoff Award semifinalist Austin Hill, but no make mistake, Buckner can play, too. The senior wide receiver is eighth in the Pac-12 -- ahead of USC's Robert Woods -- with 71.6 yards per game. In the Wildcats 56-31 win over Colorado, Buckner caught only three passes, but two of them went for touchdowns.
Season stats (10 games): 57 receptions, 716 yards, 5 touchdowns.
Player ranking: Buckner is ranked 226th overall and is the 28th-highest rated WR in CBSSports.com's latest player rankings.
Up next: The Wildcats travel to Salt Lake City this week for a game against Utah. Buckner's numbers could go up considerably if starting QB Matt Scott plays. Scott missed the Colorado game and is questionable for the Utah game after suffering a concussion in Week 9.