PAC-12 Week 8 in Review and Power Rankings

 

PAC-12 REVIEW AND POWER RANKINGS

PAC-12 NORTH

I don't care how bad your day was. If you're a duck fan, this will only bring a smile to your face. (thanks to benzduck)

1.  Oregon

This week:  Beat Colorado 45-2.  The Ducks never let the Buffs in to the game and did what every dominant team is supposed to do, dominate.  Without their two biggest playmakers, LaMichael James and Darron Thomas, the Ducks still rolled for 29 points in the first quarter.  If not for a Cliff Harris mistake on special teams that resulted in a safety, the Ducks would have recorded their first shutout of the season.  Every running back got in to play and Bryan Bennett recorded his first win as a starter.  The Ducks outgained Colorado by almost 300 yards and Bennett completed over 50% of his passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns.  De’Anthony Thomas tallied his ninth touchdown of the season and averaged over 11 yards a carry along with Kenjon Barner and Bryan Bennett.  8 different receivers caught at least one pass.

Next week:  Hosting Washington State, a team that gave Oregon troubles last year up in Pullman.

2.  Stanford

This week:  Beat Washington 65-21.  Stanford is a lot like Oregon last year in the way that they wear down teams over time.  Instead of spreading and shredding at blur pace, they line up with three tight ends and a fullback to run power I off tackle the whole game.  The Cardinal had 247 yards rushing at the half and finished with 446 on the day, averaging 10.4 yards per carry.   Andrew Luck went 16/22 for 169 yards and two touchdowns.  Both Stepfan Taylor and Tyler Gaffney averaged over 13 yards a carry and broke the 100-yard mark.  Owusu, in his first game back from a concussion had 45 yards rushing and five catches for 40 yards.  It took some time to pull away

Next week:  Traveling to USC to face a Trojan team that got hot this week at Notre Dame.

3.  Washington

This week:  Lost to Stanford 65-21.  It was a testament to how much of a 2-team conference the PAC-12 is this year. Washington is the clear number three team in the conference and got blasted on the ground. Both defenses were not in attendance in the first half, but Stanford’s showed up for the second.  Keith Price finally showed his youth this season throwing two interceptions.  Keith Price did go 23/36 for 247 yards and a touchdown, so in his defense he probably had to throw too much.  Chris Polk needs more than 15 carries a game when he’s moving the ball 9.6 yards every time he gets a hand off.  The Huskies put too much pressure on the quarterback and should have had some more faith in Polk to give the defense longer breaks, which was visibly tired in the second half.

Next week:  At an Arizona team that has found new life now that Stoops is gone.  The Huskies have struggled defending the pass and Arizona excels at passing.  This one will be a good one to watch and takes place after the Stanford v. USC game.

4.  Cal

This week:  Beat Utah 34-10.  It appears the PAC-12 North is much better than the south to the point it is past being laughable.  Cal outgained Utah 384-177.  They didn’t commit any turnovers and rushed for 129 yards, but had to use 42 carries to do so.  Zach Maynard had a completion rate of 65.5% and threw for 255 yards.  Isi Sofele carried the rock a total of 26 times.  It was a dominating performance by Cal against a team that is easily dominated.

Next week:  In Pasadena to play the UCLA Bruins that seem to have lost all faith in the season.  They flat out gave up in the Arizona game and looked completely outmatched.

5.  Oregon State

This week:  Beat Washington State 44-21.  Oregon State didn’t even need to punt until the last two minutes of the fourth quarter.  The Beavers outgained the Cougars 551-315.  Running back Malcom Agnew continues to be the workhorse and engine for the offense, carrying the ball 23 times for 103 yards and a touchdown.  The Beavers were able to rush for 157 yards.  Sean Mannion had a day, throwing 24/32, 366 yards, and four touchdowns.  Marcus Wheaton had the most catches with five that went for 99 yards.  Brandin Crooks had two amazing catches on a scoring drive that ended in him getting a touchdown reception.  The Beavers were able to avoid turnovers and overcame 120 yards in penalties that have tanked them in earlier games to be victorious at CenturyLink Field.

Next week:  At Utah.  The 5th best team in the PAC-12 North squares off against the 4th best team in the South according to my power rankings.  I’m enjoying these inter-division games a lot more than I thought I would.

6.  Washington State

This week:  The Cougars looked really good leading up to this game and I thought the team had turned the corner in to mediocrity and competing for bowl eligibility.  Tuel got pulled part way through the game in favor of Lobbestael.  Marquess Wilson led the Cougars in receptions with five for 75 yards and a touchdown.  The Cougars let themselves down on third down attempts, converting only 36% of their attempts.

Next week:  At Oregon.  Last year the Cougs hung around for a while and scared Oregon for most of the game.  If they pulled off the upset it would be huge for Wulff and be one of the biggest shockers since Stanford upset USC in 2007.

PAC-12 SOUTH

I don't think anyone in the country looked worse this week than UCLA. With 2 seconds left in the first half and down 42-7, some Bruins let their fists fly.

1.  Arizona State

This week:  Bye week.

Next week:  Hosting Colorado in the desert.  This should be easy pickings and a great opportunity for the backups to get a lot of reps.

2.  USC

This week:  Beat Notre Dame 31-17 in South Bend, Indiana.  This was the best game so far this season and for the first time since Lane Kiffin has taken over the Trojans look to be getting better.  They fixed their running woes, at least temporarily, and averaged five yards per carry for a total of 219 yards.  Matt Barkley went 24/35 for 224 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Robert Woods had another stellar day, 12 catches, 119 yards, and two touchdowns.  The game really changed when USC returned a Notre Dame fumble in the red zone 80 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.  USC was the beneficiary of three touchdowns on the day and outgained the Fighting Irish 443-267.

Next week:  USC may have righted the ship, or they could be a one-hit wonder in true L.A. fashion.  They need to be on their best when they host Stanford next week on ABC at 5.

3.  Arizona

This week:  Beat Arizona 48-12.  I would have never though the firing of a coach would improve a team, but it did.  Obviously all the players hated Stoops’ sideline antics, as they were apparently happy to see him go.  Under the interim head coach the Wildcats surpassed all expectations.  Whether it’s the new cats or a one-week anomaly has yet to be seen, but I would have never guessed that they would outgain the Bruins by 240 yards, 573-323.  The rush defense was unreal holding UCLA to 37 rushing yards and 1.5 yards per rush.  One of the bottom 10 teams in the country in rushing, Arizona broke out averaging 7.3 yards a carry with almost every rusher averaging over 4 yards a carry and Keola Antolin having a 9.6 yards per carry.  That’s the most telling stat from this game, everything was clicking for Arizona, nothing was going right for UCLA.

Next week:  At Washington.  I’m interested to see how the new Wildcats do in their second game and on the road.  A traditionally good home team takes on a team that is incredibly dangerous.

4.  Utah

This week:  Lost to Cal 34-10.  Utah had their total yardage doubled by Cal.  They didn’t do themselves any favors by turning the ball over four times, three of the turnovers were interceptions.  When it comes to conference play, the only thing they are doing wrong is turning the ball over.  Sure depth is an issue, but without the turnovers all these games become winnable.  Their rushing attack was awful, getting only 12 yards on 26 rushes for .5 yards per carry.   Utah wasn’t able to protect the quarterback and lost yards most of the time they ran the football.  If not for a 14-yard touchdown run the Utes could’ve finished with negative rushing yards, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

Next week:  Hosting Oregon State.  The Utes need to win this game to get some respect in the conference.  If they lose this game they may want to consider leaving the conference.  Just kidding.  They’ll get their asses kicked every year for all the money they’re getting.  No.  Questions.  Asked.

5.  UCLA

This week:  Lost 48-12 at Arizona.  The first half finished with the Bruins down 42-7 in the worst half that I have ever seen UCLA play.  The half finished with a fight that got two players ejected and the conference suspended 10 players who were involved.  One would think that Rick Neuheisel would get fired for the awful performance but the Athletic Director said that there is no way that Rick is let go.  UCLA also officially announces they don’t give an F about their football program.  They can barely get 40,000 to the stadium, they kill it in the recruiting rankings but suck on the field, and Rick Neuheisel is their coach.  On the bright side, the Bruins can barely get any worse.  They’ve hit rock bottom losing to a team with a first game head coach and being limited to 37 yards rushing after ranking second in the conference in rushing.

Next week:  Hosting Cal this upcoming Saturday.  This one is going to be ugly and the only reason to tune in is for economic reasons or to see if the team gives up on its coach like Arizona did.

6.  Colorado

This week:  Lost to Oregon 45-2.  The Buffs were never close in this one, falling 29-0 after the first quarter.  They never really had a shot since they were down all their key players and had wide receivers switching to defensive backs.  On the bright side, they tackled Cliff Harris in the end zone for a safety.  It was an offense in overdrive against a defense that was struggling to get in gear.  The rebuilding project in Boulder is going to be a lengthy one.

Next week:  At Arizona State.  Unfortunately the Buffs don’t have a bye week and they play two Friday night games on short weeks.

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Rusty Ryan

About Rusty Ryan

Rusty once robbed three casinos at the same time with a team formed by Danny Ocean. He's also stolen the Corronation egg and crashed the GRECO security system, effectively ruining a casino. Laying low for the time being he now follows sports, betting, and pop culture a little too closely.