What a week it was for the Pac-12! There are now five teams in the AP Top 25, and it was due in large part to the conference dominating the big non conference games, including three huge upsets. Let’s take a closer look.
The win of the week for me goes to Arizona. The Wildcats played host to the #18 Oklahoma State Cowboys just one week after they drop 84 points on Savannah State. However, after trailing 14-10 at the end of the first quarter, Arizona cruised, outscoring OK State 49-24 in the last three quarters. The offense is clearly the most impressive part of this game, as they scored nearly 60 points. They may not be able to match that total against some of the better Pac-12 defense, but it’s certainly a great start.
The second team to look at is Oregon State, who knocked off #13 Wisconsin 10-7 in a surprising defensive battle. We hadn’t seen the Beavers before this as their opener was suspended due to Hurricane Issac, so it was hard to predict what we would see. What we saw was in incredible defensive effort, as they held Monte Ball and the Badger offense to one late game touchdown. This may turn out to be a case of Wisconsin being overrated, but it’s still a huge victory for this conference. The same can be said for UCLA, who improved to 2-0 following a 36-30 home victory over Nebraska. Again, I feel the opponent was overrated, but you have to give credit where credit is due for the Bruins.
USC and Oregon both had closer games then many expected when you look at the final score, though they both still won comfortable. For USC, the 42-29 scoreline doesn’t reflect the fact that the offense looked unstoppable, as Matt Barkley tied his own USC record of 6 TD’s in one game. The Ducks were up 35-6 at halftime, then put on the breaks, allowing Fresno State to make the game look respectable.
Arizona State quietly put up a great game against Big-10 opponent Illinois, winning the game 45-14. The Sun Devils shot out to a 28-7 victory, and they never looked back, continuing the Pac-12’s dominance of the Big-10. Cal bounced back from an embarassing season opening loss, scoring 50 points against Southern Utah. However, it’s concerning that they allowed 31 points to an offense that is light years behind the likes of USC Oregon, and even the Arizona schools. And Stanford had an expected dominanting victory over Duke in what served as their tune up for the big matchup with USC this week.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all smiles for the Pac-12. Washington State barely squeaked out a 24-20 victory over Eastern Washington, but hey, a win is a win right? It’s better then Utah, who lost to in-state rival Utah State in overtime. Many people, myself included, had USC’s game in Utah on Thursday night in October circled as a potential trap game. Maybe not so much anymore.
Now, it’s time for the really ugly: Washington and Colorado. These two teams were ugly for very different reasons. On one side, you had Washington, who had upset on their minds when they traveled to #3 LSU last week. They have a solid offense, but they looked like a high school team against the Tigers, as they were embarrassed 41-3 on national TV. I wasn’t expecting Washington to pull off the upset, or even stay close in the 4th, but I was expecting more then a 38 point blowout. And then there’s Colorado, who started off the season by losing to lowly rival Colorado State. Well, they outdid themselves last week, losing to Sacramento State of all teams. Yeah…it’s going to be a long season in Colorado.
There are two big in-conference games, and three big out of conference games this week. We’ll start with Cal, who will travel to Ohio State this week. I’m not too high on the Buckeyes this year, but they shouldn’t have any issues handling the Golden Bears this week. Arizona State will look to continue their good play so far this year when they travel to Missouri, who are coming off a disappointing result against Georgia. I like the Sun Devils to stay hot, and get this victory. Lastly, Utah welcomes #25 BYU to their home stadium. There’s a chance that Utah overlooked Utah State because of this game, but I don’t think that matters much. BYU shouldn’t have any issues knocking this team off.
Now, let’s look in conference. Oregon State will travel down to #22 UCLA to take on the Bruins, and I like the Beavers in this one. I was more impressed by OSU’s win then I was by UCLA’s, and I think they come back down to earth in this one. Lastly, we have #2 USC going up north to take on #25 Stanford. I don’t think that Stanford should be ranked, but I might be giving them too little credit. I just think that they were a product of an incredible quarterback lifting the whole team. This may still be a close game in the 4th quarter, but I’d be surprised if USC won this by less then 10, or even worse, lost.
Those are my thoughts on the Pac-12 this week. What did you think? Should they have five teams in the Top 25? Let us know in the comments!