Folks, hell has officially frozen over. Pigs have flown, the needle in the haystack has been found, and the very foundation of college football in Oregon has collapsed. Washington State beat Oregon. In case you forgot, the Cougars lost to PORTLAND FREAKIN' STATE in a football game this year. Now, I'm not a math-y kind of person, but if I apply the transitive property to this particular scenario, the results are telling me that due to the fact that Portland State defeated Wazzu in Pullman, and Wazzu defeated Oregon in Eugene, PSU is superior to Oregon. While Oregon and Oregon State both dropped embarrassing losses on Saturday, PSU beat North Texas 66-7. In fact, the drubbing was so bad that North Texas fired their coach immediately following the game.
I hate to be the one to say this, but Beaver and Duck fans must now face the realities of living under the new tyranny of the Vikings. Do we have to actually take Portland State seriously? Is the "Viking Bandwagon" a thing now? Is it now our civic duty to watch Big Sky games and pretend we're not all dead inside? My hands quiver as I write these words. I fear for the well being of my brothers and sisters here in this state. I fear we must flee.
Outside of the tire fire located in Oregon, Washington sprung an unlikely upset of USC with a 17-12 win and Utah stayed undefeated, taking Cal down 30-24. Steve Sarkisian is out of his job at USC. Reportedly, he has checked into rehab. Sarkisian showed earlier in the year that his drinking had taken a turn for the worse, and hopefully he gets the help he needs.
With their undefeated record intact, Utah has moved up one spot to #4 and if the season ended today they would be in the college football playoffs. Stanford and UCLA both had byes but both moved up in the rankings. Stanford continued their ascent up the ranks and is now at #15; UCLA is up two spots at #18. Despite getting their first loss, Cal stayed steady at #23 to round out the Pac-12 teams in the AP top 25.
Just like last week, the first Pac-12 game will fall on a Thursday. It will feature a marquee matchup between #18 UCLA (4-1, 1-1) and #15 Stanford (4-1, 2-0) in Palo Alto, California. The Cardinal will look to continue their romp through the Pac-12, where they have looked dominant as ever. Before their bye, they took Arizona pound town in their 55-17 win. They have been buoyed by solid defensive play and an unfettering commitment to the run game, also known as the "Keep The Damn Ball Out Of Kevin Hogan's Hands At All Costs" strategy.
UCLA seems to be trending the opposite direction. The loss of ILB Myles Jack has had a profound impact on the defense. Before their bye last week, they dropped their first game of the year against Arizona State. UCLA's success largely hinges on the shoulders of true freshman QB Josh Rosen, who has shown great promise. However, he's still experiencing his fair share of rookie mistakes, and the veteran Stanford D isn't going to be doing him any favors. Watch this one kick off on Thursday at 7:30 pm PT on ESPN.
Also similar to last week, Oregon State (2-3, 0-2) will be kicking off a Saturday of Pac-12 competition against Washington State (3-2, 1-1) at Pullman for another 1:00 pm tilt. The Beavers are going through some serious growing pains. The game against Arizona last week was borderline unwatchable. What went wrong, you ask? All of the above is what went wrong. I expect the Beavers will have a better showing against the Cougs, considering last week was essentially a no-show.
The bye week has seemingly worked miracles for Wazzu. The team playing in the first three weeks had the makings of a train wreck. However, in the last few weeks the Cougars have made quite the turn around. They were competitive with Cal, and like I predicted, threw 70+ times against Oregon- and it worked! Somehow, someway it actually worked! I believe the results of that Cougars' win speaks more to how shameful the Ducks are this year, rather than Mike Leach's genius game plan. There's only one section in the Cougs' playbook: PASS. I wouldn't expect anything to change too drastically against the Beavers.
Will OSU be able to save face for the state of Oregon by taking down the Cougars? Find out at 1:00 pm PT on the Pac-12 Network.
USC (3-2, 1-2) will travel out of conference to Indiana to take on #14 Notre Dame (5-1) in their classic rivalry game. USC won last year in a 49-14 rout, but things won't be as easy this time around. With Sarkisian out the door, USC doesn't have a head coach. Offensive Coordinator Clay Helton is serving as the interim head coach, a position he served for one game the last time USC had an opening. He won his only game, with the win coming against the lowly Nevada Wolf Pack, though that was a bowl game. That is the extent of his head coaching experience. Still, it can only help USC to have a head coach who isn't possibly intoxicated. Catch this one on NBC at 4:30 pm PT.
After losing 48-23 to Arizona State last week, Colorado (3-3, 0-2) will get a shot at the other team in the state, Arizona (4-2, 1-1) in Boulder. The Buffs looked well in their first Pac-12 game, keeping things close with Oregon. However, things really fell apart last week and they'll need to regroup in a hurry to keep this season from falling down the drain. Let the competition to get not-last between OSU and CU begin. Tune in at 6:00 pm PT on Fox Sports 1 to check it out.
#4 Utah (5-0, 2-0) will look to keep themselves angled towards the college football playoffs in their matchup against Arizona State (4-2, 1-1) this week. The Utes have been an inspiring story this year in college football. They have a strong core, a stacked defense and a surprisingly balanced offense. The passing game has been doing much better in large part to the stellar play by QB Travis Wilson, who has thus far defied his, umm, "ill-favored" looks and led his team to success. ASU has been up and down this season, with bad losses to USC and Texas A&M, but has looked good the last two weeks in wins against Colorado and UCLA. They should give Utah a good challenge and come out hard, as any team ranked as highly as #4 is going to have a huge target on their back. Watch this one on ESPN at 7:00 pm PT.
In the final game of the day, Oregon (3-3, 1-2) will travel up to Seattle for a little bit of rivalry action against Washington (3-2, 1-1) at 7:30 pm PT on ESPN 2. The question is, is it really a rivalry? Oregon has won 11 years running, and none of those 11 games were even close. This may finally be the year that Washington exacts revenge and rekindles the competitive spirits, however. Washington got a nice momentum boost last week with an unexpected victory over USC, and Oregon's defense has been on a bubonic-plague level of disaster this year. Nobody has any idea what is going on with QB Vernon Adams, either. This team is unquestionably being carried on Royce Freeman's extremely muscular back. Will he let the team fall under .500 for the first time since the stone ages? It always feels wrong to bet against Oregon, but losing to the Cougars means that all bets are off the tables. A loss to the Huskies might just be the mental breaking point for Oregon supporters. If UO ends up dropping the game, be on the lookout for any homicidal maniacs wearing green and yellow.
Here's the complete national schedule, adjusted for East Coast Bias (and bed) Time: