The Pac-12 championship kicks off Week 14's slate to finalize the playoff. Depending on the outcome Friday night, the conference could get a slot in the final four, or open things up elsewhere in the landscape.

Playing are Colorado and Washington, two teams that enter the game from different starting points. The Huskies lived up to all the offseason hype while the Buffaloes came out of nowhere to become one of college football's best surprises.

It's a top-10 matchup worthy of your attention before things get busy on Saturday when a game like this might get lost in the shuffle.

Viewing information

Date: Friday, Dec. 2
Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
Location: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
TV: Fox

Storylines

Colorado: The dream turnaround season can finish on a high note with a Pac-12 championship. If nothing else, it's a good opportunity for fans to get to know a team that probably doesn't get the same level of national attention as Washington and/or a red-hot USC -- even if the game is on a Friday night. This isn't just a nice story; Colorado has a legitimate team with a defense that rivals just about any in college football. The Buffs are tied for first nationally with Michigan and Ohio State in passing yards per attempt allowed. Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt is a Broyles Award nominee for top assistant coach and he has a case to win it.

Washington: This is what Chris Petersen was hired to do. Washington had potential with all the talent former coach Steve Sarkisian recruited, but the results never matched. Petersen has built off of that, and with many of his own players, constructed one of the more complete teams in college football. This is a ferocious defensive group capable of getting pressure with just the front four and a punishing secondary. The offense is built for big plays because of the deep ball placement of quarterback Jake Browning to the likes of John Ross and Dante Pettis. This is a fun team with playoff hopes if it wins.

Players to watch

Sefo Liufau, QB, Colorado: This might seem too easy, but Liufau has rebounded nicely since being hampered by an ankle injury earlier in the year. His November was particularly strong with three consecutive games of at least 250 total yards and nine touchdowns (four passing, five rushing). Colorado struggled in the red zone in Week 13 against Utah, but Liufau tossed some beautiful dimes when he needed to. This is a guy who appears to be playing his best football at the right time.

Myles Gaskin, RB, Washington: It's easy to get caught up in the Browning-Pettis-Ross trio, but Gaskin is the reliable, complementary piece in the ground game. An 1,100-yard rusher with 10 touchdowns, Gaskin has the production to match his explosiveness. With Colorado matching up so well statistically against Washington's passing attack, Gaskin could play an important role early in establishing the run to open up plays through the air.

Matchup to watch

Washington's front four vs. Colorado's offensive line: What makes the Pac-12's best defense so good is its ability to stuff plays at the line of scrimmage and get pressure with its defensive line. However, the Huskies are also missing two top linebackers -- Azeem Victor and Joe Mathis -- who were the top tacklers and pass rushers, respectively. Regarding the pass rush, can anyone up front pick up the slack from Mathis' departure? The Huskies have eight sacks in their last two games, but the consistency hasn't been there since Mathis' injury.