The Pac-12 again did it’s best to join the rest of the college football in creating havoc for the rest of the country to watch.
With another massive shakeup to finish off the season, we have to break down the insanity and lay out the Notebook for one final time...
What to Watch For...
The Pac-12 Championship
We’ll keep this “What to Watch For” short and sweet with one bullet point: Pac-12 Championship. U-Dub pulled off an upset in an ugly game against Wazzu, and punched their ticket to a date with Utah in Santa Clara. The Huskies have been maligned by an inefficient offense, while Utah has had to stave off the injury bug over the past few weeks to hold onto the South. This game is for all the marbles, and the chance for the winning team to book a flight to Pasadena for a spot in the Grandaddy of Them All, the Rose Bowl
Pac-12 Power Rankings
1. #11 Washington Huskies (9-3 Overall, 7-2 Conference)
In possibly the biggest game yet in the season, the Huskies braved the terrible weather and pulled out the win in a slugfest against the Cougars. Myles Gaskin was a star for U-Dub and carried the Huskies to victory with his three touchdowns. Argubaly the most impressive part of the game for the Huskies, however, was holding the electric Washington State offense to under 250 total yards, and forcing three turnovers. Washington had their best game of the season in the most critical game of the season, and will head to Santa Clara to take on Utah for a shot at the Rose Bowl.
Up Next: Versus Utah
2. #13 Washington State Cougars (10-2 Overall, 7-2 Conference)
It was a tough night for the Cougs. Gardner Minshew was nowhere near his usual self, the offense altogether fell flat, and the defense was helpless against a Husky team that was out for blood. The weather certainly didn’t help Wazzu, as the snow hindered the passing game’s efficiency, but the Cougs flat out could not move the ball against Washington. The Cougs will now have to wait for Sunday to see if they get to go to a New Year’s 6 bowl.
Up Next: TBD
3. #17 Utah Utes (9-3 Overall, 6-3 Conference)
The Utes pulled off a stunning rally to topple BYU in the Holy War after being down 20-0 after halftime before ultimately winning 35-27. The Utes came out flat in all phases and were down early. Yet, this tenacious Utes team never gave up and rallied from behind. The wild part is that there is no major offensive contributor, as the offense as a whole didn’t even top 300 total yards. The Utes were just more opportunistic and found a way to win and that’s the sign of a good team. The Utes now will prep for the Huskies for a chance to play in the Rose Bowl
Up Next: Versus Washington
4. Oregon Ducks (8-4 Overall, 5-4 Conference)
The Ducks steamrolled the Beavs. The game was never really in doubt, as Oregon dominated almost the majority of the game. Justin Herbert went down with an injury before halftime, but it really didn’t matter, as the Ducks had two running backs who rushed for over 185 yards each. You really don’t need to throw much when you’re running the ball that well. Still, it was a good win for Oregon and the Ducks will most likely have Herbert back in time for their bowl game.
Up Next: TBD
5. Stanford Cardinal (7-4 Overall, 5-3 Conference)
Stanford found themselves in a dogfight against an improving Bruins team. The Cardinal swapped blows against UCLA all game, but it ultimately was the arm of KJ Costello that propelled Stanford to the win. Costello chucked the rock for 344 yards and five TDs. The defense was not good, but it’s alright when the offense can make up for it. Now, Stanford faces Cal in a makeup game following the postponement.
Up Next: @ Cal
6. Arizona State Sun Devils (7-5 Overall, 5-4 Conference)
The Sun Devils pulled together a tremendous win in the Territorial Cup against Arizona. The two schools were very evenly matched, but ASU managed to pull away late, and keep their rival from bowl contention. ASU has had an up-and-down season, to say the least. Yet, there is no denying that seven wins and a guaranteed bowl appearance is a great start for the Herm Edwards era.
Up Next: TBD
7. California Golden Bears (7-4 Overall, 4-4 Conference)
The story for Cal’s success all season had been the strength of their defense, and this game was no different. Cal forced 5 turnovers against Colorado, including two pick 6’s in the first quarter. The offense for Cal wasn’t very good, but the defense was lights out and shut down Colorado from start to finish. Cal has had a very succesful season by their standards, and will now have a chance to end their year with a win in the Big Game against rival Stanford before heading bowling.
Up Next: Versus Stanford
8. UCLA Bruins (3-9 Overall, 3-6 Conference)
UCLA narrowly lost to Stanford in a heartbreaker of a game. UCLA wasn’t very good in Chip Kelly’s first season. But, the team managed to get better every game as the season went on, it was clear the players were buying into Kelly’s system and it was getting results. This marks a good building block for UCLA to go off of. Don’t be surprised if UCLA is bowling next season.
9. Arizona Wildcats (5-7 Overall, 4-5 Conference)
Arizona fell just short of toppling rival ASU to go bowling. Khalil TateI was solid, and JJ Taylor was fantastic, but they ultimately weren’t enough. As the Wildcats missed the final field goal in regulation to lose the game. It was a mixed bag for Kevin Sumlin’s first year at Arizona. This season was ultimately a bit of a letdown considering the hype on the Wildcats offense. Now, U of A will be searching for a new leader, as star QB Khalil Tate is reportedly transferring from Arizona
10. USC Trojans (5-7 Overall, 4-5 Conference)
The Trojans were so close to the upset of the season. Toppling Notre Dame would have sent ripples through the CFB landscape in addition to cooling the heat on Clay Helton’s seat. After a very disappointing season by USC standards, the Trojans will be keeping Clay Helton around. Yet, basically every other coach has already been fired as the Trojans will try to right the ship next season. After a season this rough, one can’t help but wonder how much longer is Clay Helton’s job safe for.
11. Colorado Buffaloes (5-7 Overall, 2-7 Conference)
Welp, it happened. The Buffaloes blew a perfect 5-0 start, and lost 7 straight games to miss out on bowl eligibility. It has been a brutal stretch for Colorado, as the Buffs have found every possible way to lose a game. This fantastically horrible stretch ultimately cost Mike McIntyre his job. Now, the Buffs are basically going back to the drawing board next season to build from the ground up, again.
12. Oregon State Beavers (2-10 Overall, 1-8 Conference)
Oregon State had no shot against Oregon. From the start the Beavs were straight-up outmatched, as much as it hurts to say. The season went about as well as we expected it to. While there was an opportunity for a few more wins, the fans have to be encouraged with Jonathan Smith’s first year. He has given life to a dead offense, and is recruiting some seriously good talent to OSU. Things suck right now, but there is hope on the horizon for the coming years, Beaver Nation.
This marks the final week of the notebook. If you’ve been following along, thank you for your eyes and your views.
Yet, the season is not done yet. Sound off your thoughts below on anything with Pac-12 Football!