Do you love the PAC 12? The PAC 12 Blog loves the PAC 12! Three games came down to the wire, the other two were informative, and the only dog was WSU and Nevada. It was a fun week and there’s another great one coming up with five interesting contests on the radar.
1. Washington Huskies (N/A)-
We’ve been hard on Colorado this season, but they are in no way a bad team. Washington made them look bad, though, and in so doing has solidified themselves as the pride of the conference. There’s no team in the PAC as complete, efficient, and talented as the Huskies this season. They visit Oregon State on Saturday.
2. USC Trojans (N/A)-
USC got a very real scare in Cal, coming away with the win largely thanks to a sudden plague of turnovers from Cal’s QB. The Trojans haven’t looked good since they shellacked Stanford; it remains to be seen if the last two games were the outlier, or the big win over the Cardinal. A titanic matchup awaits the Trojans in Pullman for conference supremacy.
3. Washington State Cougars (+2)-
WSU almost pushed their way up into that number 2 spot by dismantling Nevada, but the near-death-experience against Boise State still looms. They have a brilliant opportunity on Friday to announce that they are the real deal; a convincing win would leave little doubt that they were the most legitimate challenger to the rival Huskies.
4. Utah Utes (-1)- Oregon Ducks (+1)-
The Utes drop for a few reasons- they were unforgivably sloppy in their win over Arizona, continuing to be about the worst in the nation in penalties per game and penalty yardage. They also suffered a rash of serious injuries and their backup quarterback, Troy Williams, did not look as dynamic as the man he replaced. They get a much-needed bye to nurse those injuries this week.
5. Stanford Cardinal (+1)-
Stanford crushed UCLA, embarrassing a run defense that is already reeling. So far, Stanford has played very well in games which play to their strengths but has struggled to compensate when they’ve run into teams that require them to maximize their weak points. They take on Arizona State on Saturday afternoon in an intriguing North-South contest.
6. Cal Bears (+1)-
Cal is for real. They can play defense, they can play offense, and they can hang with a talented team like USC. A bowl game seems comfortably in reach for the Bears at this point and their fans should start setting their sites a bit higher than El Paso. They visit Oregon Saturday night, hoping to catch a reeling Ducks team unawares and earn win number 4.
7. Arizona State Sun Devils (+4)-
ASU made an entrance this weekend, shutting down the Ducks when they needed to and scoring a pile of points on their way to an upset win over a ranked opponent. The game raised as many concerns about the Ducks as it did reasons for optimism about the Sun Devils, but it was a good win. If they can beat Stanford next week, things are looking good indeed for ASU.
8. Oregon Ducks (-4)-
As far as the Sun Devils rise, the Ducks fall. The problems on Oregon’s defense persist, consistent enough at this point that it doesn’t look like something the Ducks will be able to fix this season. Meanwhile, Herbert looked fallible and uncertain in the final drives, ultimately costing the Ducks the game despite a number of opportunities. They host California on Saturday in what’s suddenly a desperate game for this reeling team.
9. Colorado Buffaloes (-1)-
The Buffs got beat badly, but beat badly by one of the best teams in the FBS. There are worse things in the world, and Colorado will probably win plenty of games. For now, however, they join the bottom end of the conference. Their first chance to earn their way back up is next Saturday at UCLA.
10. Arizona Wildcats (-1)-
Arizona managed a respectable final score against the Utes, but the truth is they trailed by double digits most of the second half and spent most drives looking lost against a talented Utah defense. Things could have been a lot worse if not for a host of injuries to a Utes team that looked to be running away with the game early. They take a bye week and hope to get it right.
11. UCLA Bruins (-1)-
Last week, we said the Bruins had “a chance to prove something”. Well, they did. They proved they don’t have the scheme or the players to stop any competent rushing attack. They proved that for all of Josh Rosen’s talents, he can’t actually win football games by himself. Well they prove to be better than Colorado at home this Saturday night?
12. Oregon State Beavers (N/A)-
Oregon State took their bye week, and didn’t move up the charts. Now they take a visit from the Huskies, a sure-fire loss that they will hope to at least keep respectable. Don’t bet on it.
There’s some intra-divisional pecking order matches, but the main event this weekend, no doubt, is USC at Washington State. It should be an exciting, close game that either team could come away from with a W. Get your popcorn ready.