It was business as usual for the Pac-12 this past week as Oregon, Stanford and UCLA all rolled. Stanford and the Ducks swap spots. Oregon demolished the Vols, while Stanford looked sleepy in an early start against Army. These two teams are really more like 1a and 1b. You could easily coin flip between the two. Washington went on the road and recorded a nice win against an improved Illinois team and Arizona State did a lot of things well against Wisconsin. Being a Badger-land graduate, I can’t bring myself to write “win” right there. USC bounced back and Oregon State won a tough conference road game. Colorado missed a chance to move up since their game against a good Fresno team was postponed. We certainly hope life can return to normal as soon as possible from the terrible flooding affecting the area.
Hopefully this isn’t your first time check out a stock report, but if it is…The above chart is the power rankings of the league. The buying/holding/selling stock in a team is relative to preseason expectations, making a better bowl, or surprising the league and competing for a division title. Just because I’m buying a lot of stock in a team doesn’t mean I think they are better than the first place team. Now that we are all in sync, let’s get after it!
Arizona – Lost in all the late night shenanigans at their arch rival (Arizona State), Arizona put in a nice effort in an obvious trap game. The week before the bye and two weeks before a huge game against Washington, Arizona could have, well, done what Michigan did and just sleep-walk against a soft opponent. Instead, Arizona put in a fine effort against UTSA and won 38-13 (UTA scored a fourth quarter touchdown to make it look somewhat respectable). This is a strong team defensively and the Wildcats are improving each week offensively. They’ll be a tough out for any of their Southern foes and might just steal the division. Week three grade: A
Arizona State – Despite the boost from horrid officiating, Sparky did a lot of good things against the Badgers. Arizona State shut Wisconsin down defenesivley for long stretches and made the necessary adjustments offensively to put up plenty of points. The obvious special teams gaffe aside, this was a complete performance by ASU. I kept it short and sweet, what more can you ask of me. I didn’t even post any videos of the “confusion” aka screw-job. Week three grade: A-
Oregon – Teddy Roosevelt said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” I think this applies to college football as “Speak humbly and be prepared.” I don’t begrudge Oregon feeling good about itself, but chanting ‘SEC’ and ‘We Want Alabama’ is a little classless. Be careful what you ask for and don’t forget you still face Washington, Stanford and Arizona on the road, as well as host UCLA. That is even before the assumed Pac-12 title game. As for the on-field stuff. The score pretty much sums it up: the Vols were rolled. Week three grade: A
Stanford – There is a reason why west coast teams don’t make the trip to the east very often. This game was a 9:00 a.m. start on the West Coast. Even leaving Thursday isn’t enough time to fully get used to the time change. Even with that, Stanford was up by 21 before Army’s very late cosmetic score. Week three grade: B
UCLA – Playing with a heavy heart following the passing of Nick Pasquale, the Bruins traveled to Lincoln for a tough test against Nebraska. For a while, UCLA really struggled, but eventually found itself late in the first half and owned the second half. We already knew this was a good team and they responded with the worst form of adversity possible – the death of a teammate. Hundley continues to impress and the offense dropped over 500 yards on the Huskers. Week three grade: A+
Washington – I said I needed to see more consistency and boy did Washington deliver. On the road against an improved Illinois club the Huskies played a polished game. Washington’s defense caused Illinois’ passing attack to struggle. The only downside of the game were the two lost fumbles. In addition to Keith Price’s big day passing, Bishop Sankey was incredible running the ball. Week three grade: A
Oregon State – The Beavers defense continued to play sloppy, allowing Utah to rack up yards and points. The good thing for the Beavers is the offense was equally equipped to score. Oregon State prevailed in overtime. The rushing game has been dreadful to start they year and the injury to Storm Woods will make things even harder. Despite being taken off in an ambulance, the prognosis seems optimistic for Woods. Still, 400+ passing yards and zero defense doesn’t seem like a recipe for long-term success. Week three grade: B
USC – Believe it or not, there was some offensive life for the Trojans. Bad news is Boston College is a bottom tier ACC foe. Let’s see how USC looks against a pesky Utah State team and on the road trip to Arizona State before we say they are back. One thing that hasn’t left is the Trojans defense. They again looked very strong. Perhaps this will be a grinder club rather than the usual flashy Trojans we expect. Week three grade: A
Utah – The Utes were more balaneced than OSU and outgained the Beavers, yet still couldn’t win. Three turnovers was part of the problem, but the defense’s woes were a bigger issue. Just like OSU, all the points in the world won’t matter if you can’t stop anybody. The rest of the schedule is brutal (in order): at BYU, UCLA, Stanford, at Arizona, at USC, Arizona State, at Oregon, at Washington State, Colorado. Yikes! The only thing preventing the sell tag is quarterback Travis Wilson.
Washington State – The Cougars looked good again; three weeks in a row now. Granted it was an FCS team, but with Idaho, Cal, Utah and an upset (most likely Oregon State), a bowl is still possible. Regardless of a post season berth or not, the direction of the program is vastly improved after last year’s struggles under Leach in his first go around in the Palouse. Week three grade: A
Cal – Jared Goff is a legit superstar. Unfortunately he plays quarterback and has no bearing over the defense. Worse, he isn’t getting much help from the running game, meaning at some point those passing lanes will get thinner and thinner. Week three grade: D
Colorado – Postponed
Buy These Kids Dinner (if the NCAA allowed it)
Sean Mannion (QB, Oregon State) – 27/44, 443 yards, 10.1 avg, 5 TD, 0 INT, 91.9 QBR. OSU as a team had 491 yards. Wow. I make this decision knowing full well that Sankey and UO’s Marcus Mariota also played out of their minds.
Anthony Barr (LB, UCLA) and Josh Shirley (DE, Washington) – A pair of disruptive games by Pac-12 players against two good Big Ten offenses. Barr wrapped up 11 Huskers (7 solo) with 1.5 TFL (20 yards lost) and forced three fumbles. Shirley put seven Illini to the dirt (three solo) and had three sacks for 25 yards, as well as an extra QB hit.
California Punting – On a day when not a whole lot went right, this special teams unit was humming. Cole Leininger averaged 49 yards on his four punts, had one inside the 20 and a long of 60. His coverage team held OSU to just two returns for a total of 20 yards.
Dunce of the Week
Who officiated the Wisconsin-Arizona State game? Pac-12 refs. If I were the league, that crew would be suspended without pay until the 2014 season. Gaffes like that simply are not excusable. Can you imagine how impactful it would be if that crew was that inept in the Oregon-Stanford game? What about the Pac-12 title game? Even without high-profile games, what if that crew botched a game featuring a coach on the hot seat and that lost knocked them out of a bowl? Instead, I’m sure the league will just give them a little slap on the wrist. To review before watching the video.
- Stave clearly took a knee (regardless of what the announcers say, the Ref had clear sight)
- The ASU player lays on the ball (a delay of game penalty)
- The ref starts the clock but the Umpire does not let Wisconsin snap it
What is worse is this is an on-going, cross-sport pandemic for the league. Just last basketball season the coordinator of Pac-12 officiating, Ed Rush, was forced to resign after he “joked” about cash benefits/a vacation for technical fouls against Arizona’s basketball coach Sean Miller. Direct from Andy Katz’s ESPN piece, “The integrity of the game was being messed with,” one official said. “There is stuff you don’t do. There was no joking about it. He was managing by intimidation.” When the integrity of a game is compromised as a result of a referee, then that ref has failed to do his/her job. If a person fails at a job, they need to be held accountable. When will leagues realize this? The time is not now. The time was years ago.