Another week is in the books as the Pac-12 slowly inches to the finish line. The race to be in the Pac-12 championship is mostly non-existent; Stanford and Utah are pretty much shoe-ins at this point. The last week of Pac-12 play brought forth mostly unsurprising results- the only thing that was a little bit off was Arizona competing with USC in their 38-30 loss. Keeping in mind that USC's consistency swings more than pendulum, it was not that shocking that they let the Wildcats stay in it.
Once again, Stanford, Utah and UCLA are the only ranked teams this week. Stanford moved up to #7 from #11, Utah jumped two spots to #10 and UCLA is up four spots at #19. UCLA went up four spots for shutting out Oregon State? That's akin to promoting a fry cook up to manager because he didn't burn the chicken nuggets. You did what you were supposed to do, here's a raise!
Starting off the week of fun will be USC (6-3, 4-2) at Colorado (4-6, 1-5) on Friday. USC has the look of being a resurgent team, but seriously struggled against a limping Arizona last week. They have loads of talent, but the question is always whether that talent will show up or not. Despite USC's tendencies to play poorly against bad teams, they should take care of business against a Colorado team that is consistently bad. Watch the Trojans stomp all over the Buffaloes tomorrow at 6:00 pm PT on ESPN 2.
Washington (4-5, 2-4) will travel south to take on Arizona State (4-5, 2-4) in their house. It will be a battle of the mediocre, as both teams are 4-5 and looking to even their records at .500. Washington seems to have more propulsion, as they put up a decent effort against Utah last week and is still gelling their young talent together. Both teams are coming off losses, which will give each team more incentive to punch each other a little bit harder. This game will kickoff on Saturday at 12:00 pm PT on the Pac-12 Networks.
In one of the more intriguing matchups of the week, Oregon (6-3, 4-2) will take on #7 Stanford (8-1, 7-0) in Palo Alto, California. Oregon has gotten their "swagga" back as of late, and deserves credit for putting Cal away without giving up 40 points. They will be hard pressed to stop Stanford's golden offense, but they have shown enough life on the offensive side of things that they could make this a game. Stanford has a giant target on their backs as the unquestioned leaders of the Pac-12 and Oregon has nothing to lose. It will be interesting to see how they respond to the pressure. Tune into FOX at 4:30 pm PT to watch the Battle of the Birds. (Ducks and Cardinal... get it? Nice.)
#10 Utah (8-1, 5-1), fresh off of a win against UW, will travel to Arizona (5-5, 2-5) to take on the Wildcats. Arizona has been extremely inconsistent of late. They got stomped by Washington 49-3 two weeks ago, but played tough in close losses to Washington State and USC. They will need to have a huge showing to have a chance at downing Utah. This game will air on Fox Sports 1 at 7:00 pm PT to watch this game go down.
Poor old Oregon State (2-7, 0-5) will take on Cal (5-4, 2-4) down in Berkeley. It might be a rough time for OSU, who is currently winless in the Pac-12 and showed zero signs of life last week against UCLA. The injuries just keep piling up for the Beavers. RB Ryan Nall, one of the few Beaver players who has played well this season, is out, as is QB Seth Collins. Cal is having their own struggles, with four straight losses since their undefeated start to the season. HC Sonny Dykes is even on the hot seat now. With that being said, they should have no problem putting OSU away. As long as Nick Mitchell is at the helm for the Beavers, OSU may not be able to win any games. Here are the Mitchell stats for this season: three starts, three losses, 47.5 completion rate, 1:4 touchdown-interception rate, all perfectly wrapped together with a 5.26 yards per attempt average. Sorry for burning your retinas with those numbers, folks, but that is Oregon State's current starter at quarterback. Watch this game at your own peril on the Pac-12 Networks at 7:30 pm PT.
Wrapping things up will be a matchup of Wazzu (6-3, 4-2) at #19 UCLA (7-2, 4-2). Washington State has been an interesting case study this year. They are firmly in second place behind Stanford in the Pac-12 North despite losing to Portland State to begin their year. HC Mike Leach has certainly rallied the troops this year, and they will look to knock off UCLA in their quest to redemption. That could possibly get them ranked, which would be quite crazy. Don't miss out on this one. Turn your channels to ESPN at 7:45 pm PT to catch kickoff.
Here's the complete, national schedule, adjusted for east coast bias time: