Everybody is in action this week, and all the games are conference contests. That's something that will only happen 3 times all season.
Arizona (3-1, 0-1) visits USC (3-2, 0-2) to start things off Thursday night at 7:30 PM, and Fox Sport 1 will be on hand. Both teams had last week off, ostensibly to prepare for the Thursday night contest, but in this case, also to adjust after stunning losses the week before. In the Trojans' case, more ways than one!
The 'Cats got 132 yards and a touchdown from Ka'Deem Carey in their 31-13 loss at Washington, but didn't give Carey much support on either side of the ball, as the Huskies physically dominated them.
In a wind-drive downpour the Wildcats had no way to prepare for, Bishop Sankey carried 40 times for 161 of the 244 yards Washington rolled up on the ground, which is bound to encourage other teams, especially including USC, who has run the ball well, to attempt the same thing.
Fortunately for Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker, he's unlikely to ever encounter conditions similar to those in Seattle that resulted in him completing only 14 of 35 throws.
The Trojans actually rolled up 542 yards of total offense in Tempe, as Cody Kessler had a good 20 of 29 day, for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns, and both Tre Madden and Justin Davis ran for more than 120 yards (which should be of particular concern to the Arizona defense).
But Kessler also threw 2 interceptions, and the previously relatively solid USC defense surrendered as many points in the 62-41 loss at Arizona St. as any team has ever scored on the Trojans. That got former USC head coach Lane Kiffen fired in the airport parking lot as the team was heading home in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday morning.
Former assistant Ed Orgeron has taken over for Kiffen, and this will be the first glimpse at how the Trojans react to it all.
Odds are it will be interesting; in addition to the latest drama, the last 6 meetings between the 'Cats and Trojans have been decided by a touchdown or less.
#2 Oregon (5-0, 2-0) visits #16 Washington (4-1, 1-1) at 1 PM to start the Saturday slate in the game of the week nationally, never mind the Pac-12, and both ESPN Gameday and Fox Sports 1 will be there to see if the Ducks can continue their recent run of domination of the Huskies, which has seen Oregon take the last 9 meetings from their Northwest rivals, all by at least 17 points.
The Ducks became the first team since Princeton in 1885 to score at least 50 points in 5 consecutive games in their 57-16 win at Colorado, and Marcus Mariota made another pitch for Heisman Trophy votes.
Playing without RB/KR/WR De'Anthony Thomas, who missed the game recovering from a sprained ankle suffered the week before against California, and TE Colt Lyerla, Mariota accounted for 7 touchdowns in the romp in Boulder, throwing for 5 touchdowns, and running for 2 more.
Thomas should be back this week, but Lyerla, who left the team and the school this week for personal reasons, won't be.
The Huskies out-gained Stanford by 210 yards, largely because Keith Price completed 33 of 48 throws for 350 yards and 2 touchdowns, but lost 31-28 as a result of questionable officiating and unquestionably bad kickoff coverage.
Washington can't afford 10 penalties and over 200 yards in kickoff returns if they expect to avoid a decade-long losing streak against Oregon, but if they can clean up those areas, the Huskies have the offensive pace in place and the talent on defense to make this the first competitive contest in the run.
The Cardinal got a 99 yard return of the game's opening kickoff from Ty Montgomery for a touchdown, as well as 2 other returns that led to touchdowns, including one for 68 yards that allowed Stanford to score the ultimately game winning touchdown after 3 consecutive Tyler Gaffney runs. Montgomery, who was named the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week, also caught a 39 yard pass from Kevin Hogan just seconds before halftime for another touchdown.
Penalties, injury controversy, and a couple officiating fiascos aside, it was an unchecked Montgomery that won the game for Stanford.
And though Hogan only threw for 100 yards, he also directed his 10th win in 10 starts, 6 of them over ranked opponents.
The Utes only lost to UCLA by a single score, 34-27, and after quarterback Travis Wilson threw his 6th interception of the game on the next to last play.
If Utah and Wilson can cleanup their turnovers, which were not all WIlson's fault; there were multiple drops and deflections, they could get the signature win against the Cardinal that has eluded them the last 2 home games.
Colorado (2-2, 0-2) travels to Tempe to take on Arizona St. (3-2, 1-1) at 7 PM PST (7 PM PDT) in the second half or the Pac-12 Channel double header.
The Buffs hung in against Oregon for a while, actually leading 10-8 10 minutes into the game, and was still within 13 points well past the middle of the second quarter. But the Ducks put the game away with 4 unanswered touchdowns in less than a quarter of the game wrapped around the halftime break.
Paul Richardson continues to be Colorado's best weapon, and had 5 catches for 134 yards, and the Buffs continue to establish something of a rushing game, as Christian Powell covered 78 yards on 20 carries.
Having been run ragged by the Oregon teams the last 2 weekends, the Buffs could use a bounce back in the desert that could start another winning streak, with FCS Charlston Southern coming to Boulder next week to fill the hole in the schedule that the flood-out of the Fresno St. game caused. The NCAA has even granted a waiver that allows Colorado to count both their games against FCS opponents (normally you can only count 1 win against such lower division opponents) towards bowl eligibility
The Sun Devils will be looking to rebound themselves though, after Taylor Kelly threw 2 interceptions in the last 2 minutes, 1 for a Notre Dame pick-6, when an Arizona St. score would have won the game. Instead, the Irish escaped Cowboys Stadium with a 37-34 win.
Another reason for Arizona St.'s latest failure in a high profile game was the Sun Devil defense, whose' weakness was thought to be in their secondary, and a minimalized factor against the Notre Dame offense, which allowed 145 yards on the ground, but more importantly, allowed the Irish to keep the ball away from Kelly and crew for a more than 11 minute edge in time of possession.
Oregon St. (4-1, 2-0) visits Washington St. (4-2, 2-1) for a sold out Dad's
Day Night showdown shootout in Pullman at 7:30 PM, and ESPNU will be there too, to see which team moves within 1 win of a bowl berth before mid-October.
The Beavers had the week off after out-distancing Colorado 44-17, as Sean Mannion threw for 414 yards, and a school record 6 touchdowns, despite typhoon-like conditions. Brandin Cooks collected 9 of Mannion's passes, for 168 yards, and 2 of the scores.
Oregon St. used the time to get healthy, and will have both TB Storm Woods and FB Tyler Anderson back this week from injuries, as well as guard Grant Enger, which should give Mannion, who leads the nation in passing yards, some infantry support.
The Cougars pulled away from California for a 44-22 win in Berkeley, as Connor Halliday fought through a collection of injuries and bruises to throw for 521 yards, the most by any Pac-10/12 quarterback since fellow Coug Alex Brink in 2005. It elevated Halliday to #3 in the nation in passing yards, just 25 behind Mannion.
In all, a dozen Cougs caught balls from Halliday, and 10 of them had multiple catches.
But Mike "we win with defense and special teams" Leach was doubtless as pleased with 2 stops inside their own 5 yard line, when the Cougar defense forced California fumbles, and the 3 "take the points" 4th quarter field goals by Andrew Furney that helped snap an 8 game Washington St. losing streak against California.
Still, this one figures to be a shootout between Mannion and Halliday; last year's 19-6 score might be the 1st quarter score Saturday night.
The Bears threw for 521 yards on the Cougs, but were only able to run for 64, and 3 fumbles, 2 inside the Washington St. 5 yard line as noted, and interceptions by both Jared Goff and Zach Kline, who replaced him, plus 11 penalties, spelled doom for California.
It also wasted a 216 yard, 4 catch day by Chris Harper.
The Bruins had a long week to prepare, after edging Utah on last Thursday night, allowing Brett Hundley to rest up. Hundley threw 27 times, for 211 yards and a touchdown, and also ran the ball 20 times for an additional 85 yards, including a 36 yarder with 3 1/2 minutes left for what proved to be the winning points in the 34-27 win.
Last year, a bad Bears team embarrassed a good Bruins team, with a 43-17 blowout for 1 of only 3 California wins all season. So nothing is automatic in this series. Other than UCLA coach Jim Mora and the Pac-12 South leading Bruins wanting no part of a repeat of last year.
Here's the nation-wide schedule, with times appropriately adjusted for Eastern Time Zone bias.
|GAME||NETWORK||LINE (O/U)||TIME (ET)|
|#12 Oklahoma vs. Texas (Dallas)||UT +13.5 (56.5)||12:00 PM|
|#25 Missouri at #7 Georgia||
||UGA -8 (63.5)||12:00 PM|
|Iowa State at #20 Texas Tech||TTU -14.5 (56.5)||12:00 PM|
|Eastern Michigan at Army||USMA -7.5 (54.5)||12:00 PM|
|Memphis vs Houston (BBVA Compass Stadium)||UH -9.5 (52.5)||12:00 PM|
|Indiana at Michigan State||MSU -10 (52.5)||12:00 PM|
|Nebraska at Purdue||PUR +14 (57)||12:00 PM|
|Kansas at TCU||TCU -24.5 (45)||12:00 PM|
|#14 South Carolina at Arkansas||ARK +6 (51)||12:21 PM|
|#15 Baylor at Kansas State||KSU +17.5 (72)||3:30 PM|
|#17 Florida at #10 LSU||LSU -7.5 (48)||3:30 PM|
|#19 Northwestern at Wisconsin||
|WIS -10.5 (57)||3:30 PM|
|Boston College at #3 Clemson||
|CLE -24.5 (61)||3:30 PM|
|San Jose State at Colorado State||CSU -3.5 (59.5)||3:30 PM|
|Virginia at Maryland||UMD --7 (44.5)||3:30 PM|
|#2 Oregon at #16 Washington||UW +14 (75)||4:00 PM|
|#18 Michigan at Penn State||PSU +2 (51)||5:00 PM|
|Marshall at Florida Atlantic||FAU +13 (54)||5:00 PM|
|#5 Stanford at Utah||UTAH +8.5 (54.5)||6:00 PM|
|#1 Alabama at Kentucky||UK +27.5 (52.5)||7:00 PM|
|Georgia Tech at BYU||BYU -7 (53)||7:00 PM|
|Louisiana-Monroe at Texas State||TSU -7 (45)||7:00 PM|
|Bowling Green at Mississippi State||MSU -10.5 (52)||7:30 PM|
|Boise State at Utah State||USU +7 (51)||8:00 PM|
|#9 Texas A&M at Ole Miss||MISS +6 (75)||8:30 PM|
|Colorado at Arizona State||ASU -25 (66.5)||10:00 PM|
|California at #11 UCLA||UCLA -24.5 (73)||10:30 PM|
|Oregon State at Washington State||WSU -1 (62.5)||10:30 PM|