Last week brought forth a variety of ordinary outcomes. Utah won again. Colorado and Oregon State lost again. Despite being in the midst of an extremely disappointing campaign, Oregon stayed true to themselves and beat the Huskies for the 12th time in a row. Every expected winner in the Pac-12 won, and the teams that played as the underdogs lost. If last week were to be described as a type of ice cream, it would undoubtedly be praline flavored. It's kind of bland, a little bit dissapointing, but hey, it's still ice cream!
Sticking with the ice cream parallels, I would describe this catch as the cherry on top:
That play was Kevin Hogan in a nutshell. He throws an inaccurate pass, but he's got an incredible athlete downfield to bail him out. Speaking of freak athletes, Christian McCaffrey seems to be a legitimate Heisman candidate after he ran circles around UCLA to the tune of 243 yards and four touchdowns. Is it good luck to lose to Northwestern early in the season?
In other news, Utah preserved their undefeated record against Arizona State in a 34-18 win. Devontae Bookerput up 132 total yards and two touchdowns, but will continue to be shunned for the Heisman because he doesn't play for a flashy team. Utah's too gritty for your Hesiman trophy, anyways.
Utah moved up one spot to #3, leapfrogging TCU. Cal moved up three spots to #20, and since UCLA dropped out of the rankings, they round out the Pac-12 teams in the top 25.
Coincidentally, those two teams will be squaring off to start the Pac-12 week this Thursday. #20 Cal (5-1, 2-1) is coming off their bye and should be well-rested in their journey to Los Angeles to take on UCLA (4-2, 1-2). Cal's defense needs all the rest they can get, because every game that the Golden Bears have played against a formidable opponent has been a close one. Their offense has been just good enough to pick up the slack. The Bruins have shown the potential to pile on the points, but their defense has taken a huge hit since they lost ILB Myles Jack. Stanford opened a can of whoop-ass on them last week, but that's what they do to everybody these days. I, for one, think UCLA still has some gas left in the tank. This game has some major shootout potential. Watch this matchup on ESPN at 6:00 pm PT Thursday night.
Washington State (4-2, 2-1) and Arizona (5-2, 2-2) will get the party started on Saturday. Wazzu has been quietly resilient, since their loss to Portland State. In fact, they now find themselves near the top of the conference standings. They have finally put their offense together the last few weeks, and I have now witnessed it firsthand after they stomped all over the Beavers. I must now eat a heaping pile of crow. I won't lie; I went out of my way to lambast and humiliate Wazzu earlier this season. Perhaps it was me displacing anger from my own incompetent team. Maybe their terrible logo (which, honestly, looks more like an evil snail than a Cougar) subconsciously causes me to feel the need to put them down. Either way, my harsh words about Coug football are no longer valid. Wazzu is actually pretty good now, and I think they will be able to handily defeat the Wildcats. Is this my backhanded way of jinxing them? No, of course not! (Yes.) Check this game out on the Pac-12 Networks at 1:00 pm PT Saturday afternoon.
After a tough 41-31 loss to Notre Dame, USC (3-3, 1-3) will host #3 Utah (6-0, 3-0) at home. The Trojans fared pretty well against the Irish, especially considering it was their first game after firing their head coach Steve Sarkisian. While the wheels have certainly fallen off the wagon, USC still has some weapons. The Cody Kessler-JuJu Smith-Schuester connection remains a potent force and they still have enough talent to put up a fight against anyone. Utah will be the huge favorites here, but they shouldn't take this matchup for granted. Tune into FOX at 4:30 pm PT to catch this one.
The second ESPN Pac-12 game of this week will be between #10 Stanford (5-1, 3-0) and Washington (3-3, 1-2). In all likelihood, Stanford will put a beat down on Washington. The Huskies have shown resilience, putting up a good battle with Oregon and upsetting USC the week before that. (Editor's note: USC's head coach may have been hammered out of his mind during that game. Do not make base any judgment on that win.) However, Stanford has been taking just about everyone to pound-town this season, and HC Chris Peterson will have to put together a game plan that is nothing short of brilliant to keep Stanford on their toes. Catch this one on ESPN at 7:30 pm PT.
The real marquee matchup will be between Colorado (3-4, 0-3) and Oregon State (2-4, 0-3) in beautiful Corvallis, Oregon. Yes, both Colorado and Oregon State are at the bottom of the Pac-12 North and Pac-12 South. However, these guys will likely play extra hard because it may be their only last opportunity this year. The Pac-12 is tough this year, and I can't say I like either teams' chances of winning again. A game this epic needs a befitting name, so I have deemed it the "Buffalo-Beaver Battle for Bologna."
Don't miss this must-see football, which will air at 7:30 pm PT on Pac-12 Networks. The fight for the hypothetical Not Last Place trophy is on.
Here's the complete, national schedule, with the usual adjustment for East Coast Bias Times.