In case you did not catch the highlights for the triple overtime Oregon-Arizona State game, please do. It was genuinely entertaining football, and by genuinely entertaining football, I mean that both defenses were so dirt-poor that I felt the need to shower after watching the game. Thanksgiving apparently came early, because there were heaping piles of roasted cornerback, stuffed linebacker and deep-fried defensive linemen for both teams to feast on. The refs played their roles as the turkeys. They missed what was clearly an out-of-bounds catch that gave Oregon the win. That was not the only egregious missed call that cost a team a loss. Miami won versus Duke on a play that should have been over on two different instances. Referees should have been replaced by robots a long time ago.
Meanwhile, Vernon Adams was so ecstatic about the Ducks' illegitimate win over a mediocre football team that he had to rub it in the faces of ASU fans. Keep doing you, Vernie.
Stanford won again this week, but just barely. The Cougs gave Stanford their best challenge in the Pac-12 yet, but it just was not enough in 30-28 Cardinal win. Stanford now ranks #11 in the polls, down two spots from last week. I personally think they should not have dropped. Wazzu is playing that well. Utah and UCLA once again round out the Pac-12 teams in the top 25, as they both won and stayed put in their spots at #12 and #23, respectively.
#11 Stanford (7-1, 6-0) will start this week's play with a matchup at Colorado (4-5, 1-4.) For the first time in a few weeks, there will be no Thursday game. Good thing for Colorado, because it will give them slightly more time to pray that Stanford does not slaughter them. I'll give Colorado credit where credit's due: they played UCLA surprisingly well, only losing 35-31. Unfortunately, that does not change the fact that Stanford is going to be wearing Buffalo skin jackets on their way out of Boulder. Catch this game on Saturday at 10:00 am PT.
Arizona State (4-4, 2-3) will be looking at another shootout this week as they head to Pullman to take on Washington State (5-3, 3-2.) Both teams can certainly pile on the points, but the real question is who will be able to defend better. My money is on Washington State, whose defensive unit has picked it up just enough to allow Wazzu to let their offense carry them. Expect Luke Falk and co. to employ the same strategy as they always do: throw, throw, maybe run once, then throw some more. Watch the airshow at 12:30 pm PT on FOX Sports 1 or FOX Deportes for those of you Spanish-speaking viewers out there.
It's Dad's weekend here in Corvallis, and #23 UCLA (6-2, 3-2) will be making their way up to Beaver-territory to take on Oregon State (2-6, 0-5.)
Looking on the bright side, the Beavers are starting to look like they are actually learning something from getting smacked around. The last two games against Utah and Colorado have shown inklings of progression, with the offense (relatively) finding its footing and the defense making some plays.
Also notable: Nick Mitchell looks ok! He seems to be a much more balanced quarterback than Seth Collins. It is pretty clear that Collins has tantalizing upside as a runner, but his throwing is simply not up to Division I standards. Mitchell has not been great in the throwing department and actually has a worse completion percentage than Collins (47.1 versus 51.9). However, the eye test will tell you that he plays better than the numbers suggest. It will be interesting to see how the duo will be deployed if Collins is active.
Enough with the sunshine. UCLA will be coming to Reser Stadium for a win, and it appears that OSU is not exactly in the business of winning Pac-12 games this season. However, UCLA has shown some up-and-down tendencies so far this season, so you never know. If the Beavers build off of their last two games they might be lucky enough to make this a watchable game. Kickoff will take place at 1:30 pm PT on the Pac-12 Networks.
Fresh off a 49-3 drubbing of Arizona, Washington (4-4, 2-3) will host #12 Utah (7-1, 4-1) in Seattle. They played some clean, crisp football and annihilated the anemic Wildcats. If they can carry some of that momentum over to their matchup with Utah, we should have a game here. Utah is not quite the invincible football force that they looked like earlier this season. However, the Utes are still sound on both sides of the ball and will try to knock the Huskies off their hot streak. This game will be played at 4:30 pm PT on FOX.
Also coming off an impressive win, USC (5-3, 3-2) will welcome Arizona (5-4, 2-4) to Los Angeles with open arms. The Wildcats were in complete disarray last week, and now face a surging Trojan team on the road. Last year's Pac-12 South champions now face the possibility of not getting bowl-eligibility with a tough schedule remaining. Watch this one on ESPN at 7:30 pm PT, and visit the comment section on azdesertswarm.com if you care to read the Wildcats' cries of despair.
California (5-3, 2-3) will take on Oregon (5-3, 3-2) in Eugene to close out the week. Oregon and Cal both feature terrible defenses and potent offenses, which will likely equate to yet another shootout for both teams. What is the deal with all of these Pac-12 teams having amazing offenses but not showing up on the other side of the ball? I miss the days of virtuous, balanced football, where a good defense was just as important as a good offense; I miss the dedicated coaches who did not need 50 staff members to run a football team; I miss the times when concussions were chalked up to "getting your bells rung" and players were sent stumbling back into the game. Those were the days of real men and real football. Well... maybe not that last part. Watch the Bears and Ducks duke it out on ESPN2 at 7:30 pm PT.
Here's the complete, national schedule, with adjustment for East Coast Bias Time.