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6 Reasons 49ers Fans Should Watch the Pac-12 Championship Game from Levi's® Stadium


A spot in "The Granddaddy of Them All."

That's what's at stake on Saturday when Stanford and USC square off at Levi's® Stadium in the annual Pac-12 Championship Game.

Stanford enters the game with two blemishes to its 10-win season: a road loss to Northwestern in their first game of the season and a narrow home defeat to Oregon.

USC has had a much more turbulent season, losing four games and undergoing a midseason coaching change. Regardless, the Trojans have marquee wins against Utah and UCLA to help them win the Pac-12 South.

The game kicks off at 4:45 p.m. PT and will be aired nationally on ESPN. Those wishing to attend the contest can purchase tickets here.

To get you ready for the action, here are six reasons why 49ers fans should keep a close eye on a matchup between two of the premier college football programs in the nation.

(Note: Stanford does have a mathematical shot at the College Football Playoff, albeit a slim one.) 1. Skov vs. Martin

The two 49ers teammates will be trash talking all week.

Shayne Skov played for the Cardinal from 2009-2013. The 49ers linebacker racked up 308 total tackles, 35 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks during his college career. Skov was also a two-time Pac-12 Honorable Mention recipient while at Stanford.

Marcus Martin played at USC from 2011-2013, starting all three seasons at various spots along the Trojans offensive line.

Skov and Martin are almost certain to have a friendly wager on the game and will be watching closely from the team hotel in Chicago.

2. Reid, Chryst have family ties to Stanford

Eric Reid's brother, Justin Reid, plays safety for the Cardinal. The true freshman has played in 10 games this season and made 18 tackles with one interception.

Keller Chryst, the son of San Francisco's offensive coordinator Geep Chryst, is a true freshman quarterback at Stanford. In four games of action in 2015, Chryst has completed 5-of-9 pass attempts for 59 yards and one touchdown.

3. One of the Heisman Trophy favorites will be playing

Stanford's do-it-all running back Christian McCaffrey is having a season for the record books. The son of former NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey has 3,035 all-purpose yards in 2015 and is chasing Barry Sanders' all-time record of 3,250 yards.

McCaffrey also has 11 total touchdowns: seven rushing, three receiving, and one kick-return score.

If the sophomore is able to break Sanders' record against USC – he needs 216 yards – he will be Alabama running back Derrick Henry's biggest competition to win college football's top individual honor.

4. Kevin Hogan vs. Cody Kessler

These two senior quarterbacks will be playing for their final shot at the Rose Bowl.

For Hogan, a birth in the Pac-12 Conference's top bowl game would be the third of his collegiate career. The Cardinal signal-caller is 1-1 in those games. Hogan has a career-high 23 touchdown passes so far in 2015.

Kessler has yet to appear in a Rose Bowl Game during his time as a Trojan. USC's quarterback has 3,128 passing yards on the season and 27 touchdowns.

Both quarterbacks will be interesting names to watch as the draft process begins. A strong performance in the Pac-12 title game will go a long way with pro scouts.

5. USC LB Su'a Cravens

Cravens is the consensus choice for the top NFL prospect playing in the game. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report currently ranks him as the third-best linebacker and 18th-best overall player in the 2016 draft class.

USC's talented linebacker has 5.5 sacks, two interceptions and 73 total tackles in 2015.

6. Other 2016 NFL prospects

Miller has Kessler and Hogan ranked as his ninth- and 10th-best quarterbacks, respectively.

Stanford's Austin Hooper is Miller's seventh-ranked tight end.

Stanford's Josh Garnett is the seventh-ranked offensive guard.

USC's Max Tuerk is the analyst's top-ranked center.

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