It's the last week of the regular season, and its rivalry week, at least for everyone but California, who will have easily their best week in months, watching actual games on tv.
There are a pair of games Friday, the Northwest hate festivals, followed by 4 on Saturday. And while intermediate level bowl positioning will be affected by 5 of the games, there's only 1 that has any affect on the Pac-12 Championship (it's location), or the BCS (assuming location matters next week when the Rose Bowl berth is determined), with Stanford and Arizona St. having locked up the divisional championships this past Saturday.
The Cougars became bowl eligible and established a 2 game winning streak with a 49-37 win over Utah. Connor Halliday threw for 488 yards and 4 touchdowns, and with no interceptions, including 5 to Dom Williams that totaled 172 yards, and the first and last touchdowns of the game. The game sealer covered 71 yards, and came with less than 5 minutes left.
Stunningly, Washington St. also mustered a rushing game, with Marcus Mason picking up 86 yards on 10 carries, 50 of them on one run mid third quarter that set up the touchdown that extended what was still just a 6 point lead. Mason also had 8 catches for 88 yards and one of Halliday's touchdown tosses.
The Huskies ran off 48 straight points in the first 3 quarters, on their way to a 69-27 win at Oregon St. Cyler Miles made his first collegiate start at quarterback with Keith Price's durability in question, after suffering a shoulder injury against UCLA, so Washington literally ran off with the win.
Price improved to probable for the Apple Cup, and its hard to imagine the Senior won't get another shot at the Cougs.
Last year, Washington St. shocked Washington with 21 unanswered points, after the Huskies had run of 21 consecutive points of their own in the 3rd quarter, for a 31-28 win in overtime. Washington leads the series 67-32, with 6 ties, and is a 14 1/2 point favorite to extend that.
The 117th Civil War wraps up Black Friday, when Oregon St. (6-5, 4-4) visits #12 Oregon (9-2, 6-2) at 4 PM, and Fox 1 has the coverage. It's the first time Oregon St. has kicked off a game in the daylight since September, against Colorado.
The Beavers got blown out despite Sean Mannion and Cocy Vaz combining to throw for over 300 yards, and Brandin Cooks had a notable night, with 10 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown, making him Oregon St.'s all-time leader in single season yards, and second most in conference history.
But Mannion was picked off 3 times, one for an 80 yard pick-6 by Shaq Thompson. Mannion has now thrown 10 picks in 3 games, after throwing just 3 in 8 games.
And the defense was defenseless. The 3 Huskies that all ran for over 140 yards was the first time an opponent has had 3 players all with over 100 yards ever against Oregon St. It was also the most rushing yards ever against the Beavers, and as a result, the most points ever scored against them.
The Ducks suffered their worst loss since the last year of the Mike Bellotti era, falling 42-16 to Arizona in Tucson. A pair of interceptions by Marcus Mariota, who hadn't thrown one in over a year, had a lot to do with it, and so did losing Byron Marshall to an ankle injury early in the game. Marshall might not be a factor this week either.
Oregon was also pinned inside their own 5 yard line 2 other times by outstanding Arizona punts, and suffered a lost fumble as well. Those five failed drives made the 11 minute time of possession deficit that normally isn't a concern for Oregon a factor, as the Ducks didn't have enough opportunities to overcome what was always at least a 2 score deficit after just past the middle of the first quarter.
The good news for Oregon is a possible concussion suffered by Mariota at the end of the game wasn't, and the Ducks' quarterback should be good to go against the Beavers.
Oregon leads the series 60-46, with 10 ties, and the Ducks, who are 3 touchdown plus favorites, have won the last 5 renewals.
Saturday starts off with the only game involving teams who are not and will not be bowl eligible, and in the least heated of all the rivalry games, when Colorado (4-7, 1-7) visits Utah (4-7, 1-7) at Noon MST (11 AM PST), and as a result, its relegated to the Pac-12 Channel. This was a serious rivalry in the first half of the last century, in the days of the Rocky Mountain and Mountain States Conferences. As a result, this is the 60th meeting, with Colorado leading 31-25 with 3 ties.
But the programs went in different directions, and more importantly into different leagues, and is now the product of the leftovers of the Pac-12 schedule, though an upset loss to Colorado cost Utah the Pac-12 South title 2 years ago, providing a seed to regrow the requisite animosity for a Pac rivalry.
The Buffs fought back with 3 4th quarter touchdowns, after falling behind USC by 30 points, but still lost 47-29, assuring Colorado their 8th consecutive losing season. But another win in Salt Lake City would yield more wins than the last 2 seasons put together, which would be a big step in the right direction for first year coach Mike MacIntyre. So would finishing outside the Pac-12 South, and the the best of the non-bowl eligible teams in the Conference.
Paul Richardson again led Colorado, and had a game high 88 yards, and a touchdown, on his game high 8 catches.
The Utes' Adam Schultz recovered from the pair of point producing picks to throw for 347 yards, and 3 touchdowns, Both Jake Murphy and Dres Anderson topped 100 yards receiving, on 5 catches each, with Murphy covering 102 yards, and for 2 second half scores, and Anderson going for 129 yards, plus another score.
Utah also got another good night rushing from Kelvin York, who had 94 yards and a pair of touchdowns, on 25 carries.
The Utes being 16 1/2 point favorites seems like an obvious ploy to get money on the Buffs though, and not a realistic assessment of the difference in these teams, given the injuries Utah has absorbed to their offense.
Keeping Colorado behind them in the standings might make a difference in the future employment of Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham, after a second consecutive losing season, punctured again by the loss of his starting quarterback.
#25 Notre Dame (8-3) visits #8 Stanford (9-2, 7-2) at 4 PM, and being that its the Irish, FOX is on hand for the national audience. Given their insistence on disrupting the Conference schedule with their annual end of November recruiting trip to the west coast, and the usual hijinks associated with playing in South Bend, and the inability of late of California to field a competitive team, this has become more of a rivalry for Stanford than "The Usually Irrelevant Game."
The Irish will be looking for their own claim to the Pac-12, looking for a sweep of the conference, having already beaten Pac-12 South Champion Arizona St. 37-34 in Arlington, TX, and USC 14-10 in South Bend.
Rees only completed 15 passes, for just 235 yards, but Daniels caught 6 of them, for 107 yards.
The Cardinal destroyed the Bears 63-13 in "The Big Blowout". It was the most points ever scored by the winning team, and the 50 point margin of victory the biggest ever in the 116 year history of the Bay Area rivalry.
It was also the 14th game in a row that the California defense has given up at least 30 points. For the second year in a row, Cal's season officially ended a week early, though it was actually over weeks before. The first year of the Sonny Dykes era ended with a 1-11 mark, with only a narrow come from behind escape against a middle of the pack Portland St. FCS team standing between the far from golden Bears and an "ofer" season.
Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan broke out of his recent slump, completing 17 of 26 passes, for 329 yards and 5 touchdowns, before handing the ball over to Evan Crower, who torched the Cal defense for 88 more yards.
Ty Montgomery led a dozen Stanford receivers with productive catches, with 160 yards and 4 touchdowns on just 5 catches, starting with a 50 yard scoring bomb from Hogan on the next play after California had tied the game at 7-7, and Michael Rector was also over 100 yards, with 104 yards and a td on his 4 catches.
Tyler Gaffney had a game high 95 yards and a touchdown, on 16 carries, and Montgomery added a 31 yard touchdown run just a minute into the game to get things started.
Notre Dame leads the series 18-9, but Stanford has won 3 of the last 4, and is a 2 touchdown plus favorite, which is a large margin for a Cardinal team whose' style doesn't lend itself to blowouts against physical opponents.
The 83rd Cross Town Showdown was supposed to be for the Pac-12 South Championship when ABC made this their Saturday Night national game, but the awaking "Sleeping Giant" in Tempe had other plans. The Battle for the City, easily the biggest (and one of very few) major rivalry contained within one city, is still a big deal when #22 UCLA (8-3, 5-3) visits #23 USC (9-3, 6-2) at 5 PM though, and like many years, this year will have something to do with the future employment of at least one head coach.
The Bruins rallied after falling behind Arizona St. 35-13 at halftime, but couldn't score after Shaquelle Evans' 27 yard touchdown reception with 11:25 left to pull within 38-33.
The Sun Devils defense prevented Hundley's 2 point conversion pass, then stopped a 9 play drive at their own 20, and Ka'imi Fairbairn missed a field goal with over 4 1/2 minutes left. The Bruins never crossed mid-field again, though, and as a result, fell by that 38-33 score, and failed in their quest to reach the Pac-12 Championship game for the 3rd year in a row.
Hundley completed 18 of 26 throws, for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns, but was bottled up by the Arizona St. defense, netting only 5 yards on 17 rushes and sacks.
LB Myles Jack continues to be the Bruins' best RB, with 86 yards and a touchdown against the Sun Devils.
The Trojans' Javorius Allen had another great game, rushing for 145 yards and 3 touchdowns on his 21 carries, as USC overcame playing in snowy conditions for the first time since 1957.
Cody Kessler also completed 19 of 28 passes, for only 184 yards, but 2 touchdowns, as the Trojans continue to make a case for keeping "interim" head coach Ed Orgeron.
A win over UCLA, which would also avenge last year's 38-28 loss to the Bruins, might just cement the deal. Or at the very least, earn him another head coaching gig somewhere else.
USC is a 3 1/2 point favorite at home against a beat up UCLA squad. USC leads the series 46-29 with 7 ties, and the Trojans had won 12 of 13 before last year's UCLA win.
The Pac-12 regular season winds up with the 87th Territorial Cup, when Arizona (7-4, 4-4) visits #13 Arizona St. (9-2, 7-1) at 7:30 PM MST (6:30 PM PST). Ironically, when the 'Cats were expected to limp into the game on a 3 game losing streak, and the Sun Devils were supposed to be out of the Pac-12 South race, and ABC jumped on the LA Market, this game was relegated to the Pac-12 Channel.
Then Arizona pulled off the biggest upset of the season, knocking Oregon out of the BCS picture (Utah's win over Stanford was of equal magnitude, but that was a close game, not decided until the final moment, but the 'Cats blew the Ducks out 42-16), and Arizona St. clinched the Pac-12 South, holding on for a 38-33 road win over UCLA.
Now this game is the one that matters, as Arizona St. will get to host the Pac-12 Championship Game, which would be the first time it would not be played in a Pac-12 North stadium, with a win. Lose to their hated rivals from the south and Stanford will host the title game for the second year in a row, thanks to their 42-28 win home win back on Sept. 21.
The Cats' Ka'Deem Carey had 48 carries, for 206 yards, and 4 touchdowns, in the rout of Oregon, and was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
B.J. Denker could have been awarded the honor as well, after completing 19 of 22 passes, over 86%, for 178 yards and 2 touchdowns, as well as running for 102 more yards, on 14 carries.
The Sun Devils' Taylor Kelly completed 20 of 27 passes, for 225 yards and a touchdown, and added 99 more yards and another score on 22 carries, to lead the win at UCLA.
And Marion Grice supplemented Kelly with 95 yards on 18 carries, plus 7 catches for 72 yards.
Last year, the Sun Devils ran off 24 consecutive 4th quarter points before allowing a late score to win 41-34 in Tucson, but Arizona still leads the series 47-38, with just 1 tie. The visitor has won 8 of the last 13 meetings, and 7 of the last 9 were decided by a touchdown or less. The combined margin of victory over the last 4 games is 15 points. Arizona St. being a 12 point favorite seems high, especially given that Grice suffered an ankle injury late in the win over the Bruins, and is considered highly questionable for the Territorial Cup.
Here's the east-coast timed complete national tv schedule for reference:
|TIME||ROAD TEAM||HOME TEAM||NETWORK|
|4 PM ET||Stillman, 6-4||Alabama State, 7-4|
|7:30 PM ET||Texas Tech, 7-4||Texas, 7-3|
|7:30 PM ET||Ole Miss, 7-4||Mississippi State, 5-6|
|TIME||ROAD TEAM||HOME TEAM||NETWORK|
|Noon ET||Toledo, 7-4||Akron, 4-7|
|Noon ET||SMU, 5-5||Houston, 7-4|
|Noon ET||East Carolina, 9-2||Marshall, 8-3|
|Noon ET||Iowa, 7-4||Nebraska, 8-3|
|1 p.m. ET||Miami (Ohio), 0-11||Ball State, 9-2|
|1:30 p.m. ET||Bowling Green, 8-3||Buffalo, 8-3|
|2 p.m. ET||Eastern Michigan, 2-9||Central Michigan, 5-6|
|2 p.m. ET||UMass, 1-10||Ohio, 6-5|
|2 p.m. ET||Texas State, 6-5||Troy, 5-6|
|2:30 p.m. ET||Arkansas, 3-8||No. 17 LSU, 8-3|
|3 p.m. ET||FIU, 1-10||FAU, 5-6|
|3:30 p.m. ET||Miami, 8-3||Pittsburgh, 6-5|
|3:30 p.m. ET||No. 16 Fresno State, 10-0||San Jose State, 5-6|
|3:30 p.m. ET||Washington State, 6-5||Washington, 7-4|
|7 p.m. ET||Oregon State, 6-5||No. 13 Oregon, 9-2|
|8 p.m. ET||USF 2-8||No. 19 UCF, 9-1|
|TIME||ROAD TEAM||HOME TEAM||NETWORK|
|Noon ET||No. 2 Florida State, 11-0||Florida, 4-7|
|Noon ET||No. 3 Ohio State, 11-0||Michigan, 7-4|
|Noon ET||No. 24 Duke, 9-2||North Carolina, 6-5|
|Noon ET||Rutgers, 5-5||UConn, 1-9|
|Noon ET||Kansas State, 6-5||Kansas, 3-8|
|Noon ET||Minnesota, 8-3||No. 11 Michigan State, 10-1|
|Noon ET||Temple, 1-10||Memphis, 3-7|
|Noon ET||Lafayette, 5-6||New Hampshire, 7-4|
|12:21 p.m. ET||Wake Forest, 4-7||Vanderbilt, 7-4|
|12:30 p.m. ET||Maryland, 6-5||NC State, 3-8|
|1 p.m. ET||Southern Miss, 0-11||UAB, 2-9||UABSports.com|
|1 p.m. ET||Bethune-Cookman, 10-2||Coastal Carolina, 10-2|
|1 p.m. ET||Furman, 7-5||South Carolina State, 9-3|
|1 p.m. ET||Tennessee State, 9-3||Butler, 9-3|
|2 p.m. ET||Air Force, 2-9||Colorado State, 6-6|
|2 p.m. ET||Colorado, 4-7||Utah, 4-7|
|2 p.m. ET||South Alabama, 4-6||Georgia State, 0-11|
|2 p.m. ET||Wyoming, 5-6||Utah State, 7-4|
|2:30 p.m. ET||North Texas 7-4||Tulsa 3-8|
|2:30 p.m. ET||Southern, 7-4||Grambling State, 1-10|
|3 p.m. ET||Tulane, 7-4||Rice, 8-3|
|3 p.m. ET||Southern Utah, 8-4||Sam Houston State, 8-4|
|3:05 p.m. ET||BYU, 7-4||Nevada, 4-7|
|3:30 p.m. ET||No. 1 Alabama, 11-0||No. 4 Auburn, 10-1|
|3:30 p.m. ET||No. 9 Baylor, 9-1||TCU, 4-7|
|3:30 p.m. ET||Penn State, 6-5||No. 15 Wisconsin, 9-2|
|3:30 p.m. ET||Boston College, 7-4||Syracuse, 5-6|
|3:30 p.m. ET||Georgia, 7-4||Georgia Tech, 7-4|
|3:30 p.m. ET||Idaho, 1-10||New Mexico State, 1-10|
|3:30 p.m. ET||Louisiana Tech, 4-7||UTSA, 6-5|
|3:30 p.m. ET||Northwestern, 4-7||Illinois, 4-7|
|3:30 p.m. ET||Purdue, 1-10||Indiana, 4-7|
|3:30 p.m. ET||Virginia Tech, 7-4||Virginia, 2-9|
|3:45 p.m. ET||UTEP, 2-9||Middle Tennessee, 7-4||MyTV30|
|4 p.m. ET||Iowa State, 2-9||West Virginia, 4-7|
|4 p.m. ET||Arkansas State, 7-4||Western Kentucky, 7-4|
|7 p.m. ET||No. 6 Clemson, 10-1||No. 10 South Carolina, 9-2|
|7 p.m. ET||No. 25 Notre Dame 8-3||No. 8 Stanford, 9-2|
|7 p.m. ET||Tennessee, 4-7||Kentucky, 2-9|
|7 p.m. ET||ULM, 5-6||UL Lafayette, 8-2|
|7:45 p.m. ET||No. 21 Texas A&M, 8-3||No. 5 Missouri, 10-1|
|8 p.m. ET||No. 22 UCLA, 8-3||No. 23 USC, 9-3|
|8 p.m. ET||South Dakota State, 8-4||Northern Arizona, 9-2|
|8 p.m. ET||Samford, 8-4||Jacksonville State, 9-3|
|9:30 p.m. ET||Arizona, 7-4||No. 12 Arizona State, 9-2|
|10:15 p.m. ET||New Mexico, 3-8||Boise State, 7-4|
|10:30 p.m. ET||San Diego State, 7-4||UNLV, 6-5|
|11 p.m. ET||Army, 3-7||Hawaii, 0-11|