Last week, the Pac-12 race was wide open. Oregon was the favorite, but there were still three teams in the BCS top 10. Well that has all changed, as both USC and Oregon State lost in shocking fashion. I thought #13 Oregon State would struggle against Washington, but find a way to hold on. However, the Beavers trailed 10-0 at halftime, and even though they tied it up to start the 4th, they fell 20-17. Lots of people saw this coming, as Oregon State hadn’t really played anyone so far this season. Sure Wisconsin and UCLA were both ranked when they played them, but now we know that neither of those teams is close to a top 25 ball club.
The other big upset was much more shocking, and one that no one really saw coming. Arizona was down 28-13 to #18 USC in the 3rd quarter, and it looked like USC would pull away and turn the game into a blowout. However, they notched 26 straight points, and held on despite a last second hail mary that fell off the finger tips of Marqise Lee. The loss overshadowed what was quite simply an epic performance by Lee: 16 catches for 345 yards and 2 touchdowns. However, it was amazingly not enough, as 5 turnovers and 13 penalties doomed the Trojans. Stayed tuned later this week where I will write a piece about why I think this upset was bad enough to get Lane Kiffin fired.
Another game was the opposite of shocking, and that was #4 Oregon beating down on Colorado 70-14. The Ducks lead 56-0 at halftime, and easily could have put up 100 points if they wanted to. That’s what happens when one of the best teams in the nation goes up against one of the worst.
UCLA won a thrilling game against Arizona State, upping their record to 6-2 on the season, making them bowl eligible. The Bruins were up 42-33 with 7 minutes to go before coughing up the lead, only to gain it back with a field goal on the final play of the game.
Wrapping up last week’s matchups, Utah trounced Cal 49-27 in what was their best offensive output of the season. Lastly, #17 Stanford barely held on against Washington State, who is at the bottom of the Pac-12 standings. It was an ugly win, but as USC and Oregon State fans know all too well right now, a win is a win is a win.
Now let’s take a look at the matchups coming up this week.
#2 Oregon (8-0) at #18 USC(6-2)- I was all prepared to write a completely separate post just previewing this game, but after last week’s poor effort by USC, it doesn’t seem necessary. It’s no secret that USC was looking past Arizona in anticipation of this game, so I actually expect them to go out and have a good game. Having said that, I don’t see anyway that they can slow down this juggernaut of an offense. They were able to last year, but that was a different defense. More importantly, it was a deeper defense. The Ducks will wear out the defensive line with their speed and high paced game, much like Stanford did with their ground and pound strategy. If USC has one thing going for them, it’s that this will be by far the toughest game Oregon has played, and it’s in the Coliseum. Still, the Trojans will need to play their best game, have Oregon have an off game, AND get a few bounces to go their way if they want to win. I just can’t see that happening, as much as I would love to see it happen.
Oregon outruns USC 42-31
Outside of this game, there are no real marquee matchups. Stanford (6-2) should be the next team to beat up Colorado (1-7), while I also expect Arizona (5-3) to continue to roll against UCLA (6-2). Oregon State (6-1) should bounce back with a win over Arizona State(5-3), and Washington (4-4) should handle Cal (3-6), even though its in Berkley. Lastly, I expect Utah (3-5) to beat Washington State (2-6) in a battle of bottom feeders.
We wrap up our week in review with the play of the day, and for this, we have to honor Marqise Lee. Lee did everything he humanly could to will USC to a victory, but it just wasn’t enough. However, his historic day shouldn’t be forgotten, so let’s take a look at one of the best plays of the day, Lee’s 44 yard touchdown.
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His speed is just amazing. Five Wildcats could have grabbed him, but none of them were able to. He’s a future top 10 pick, and I think a future NFL star.
What did you think of the USC loss? Do they have any hope of knocking off Oregon? Let us know what you think in the comments!