With most of the big guns in the Pac-12 occupied with lesser opponents, the game of the week was between #13 Stanford and #16 Oregon State. It was a game of streaks, as the Cardinal jumped out to a 14-0 1st quarter lead. However, the Beavers shot back, dominating the next two quarters and taking a 23-21 lead into the 4th quarter. It was a defensive struggle in the final 15, but Kevin Hogan hooked up with Zach Ertz for a 13 yard score with five minutes to go to put Stanford on top. The win puts Stanford at 8-2, and keeps them in control of their own destiny in the Pac-12 North.
In what was perhaps the most bizarre game of the week, #17 UCLA came out on top 44-36 over Washington State in another wacky game. UCLA stormed out to a 37-7 halftime lead thanks to 30 second quarter points, but the Cougars wouldn’t go away. They registered 29 second half points, but their comeback attempt fell just short. This win also keeps UCLA in control of their own destiny in the Pac-12 South, with this weeks cross town rivalry game deciding the winner of the division.
#18 USC continued to leave their fans confused and frustrated. The Trojans were tied up with Arizona State 14-14 at halftime in the Coliseum, only thanks to a late second quarter touchdown. The defense bared down in the 2nd half, helping USC make the final score, 38-17, look better then the actual game. Matt Barkley continued to struggle, throwing three interceptions, and it could have been more. If USC doesn’t figure out the kinks in their offense soon, they could be due to lose two or three more games this season.
Cal made a game of it for two and a half quarters against #2 Oregon, but they weren’t able to make it last. Cal had the ball, down 24-17, but the Oregon defense came up with a huge interception, and the Ducks never looked back, ultimately winning 59-17. The Ducks have looked fantastic, but they close the season with games against Oregon State and Stanford. Not the easiest way to close out the schedule.
Wrapping up last week’s games, #25 Washington jumped back into the Top 25 with a 34-15 win over Utah, while Arizona put up over half a century against Colorado, winning 56-31. Now let’s take a look at this week’s games, which are headlined by two huge matchups.
#14 Stanford (8-2) at #2 Oregon (10-0)– This game should be an interesting one, as Stanford has the best defense that Oregon has faced all year. Cal gave Stanford about 40 minutes of footage on how to slow down these guys, and two minute of how not to. The key to besting this offense is to control the inside of the hashmarks. If Stanford can dominate the battle up front, it will neutralize the run/pass option that makes Oregon’s offense so lethal. If this game were in Stanford, I’d give the Cardinal a real good shot of pulling off the upset. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if they can pull it off in Autzen stadium. I think this will be the lowest scoring output of the season for Oregon, but it will still be good enough to get it done.
Oregon wins 35-24.
#18 USC at #17 UCLA– For the second straight season, the battle of LA will determine the real champions of the Pac-12 South (we all know who won this division last year). UCLA’s offense has looked deadly lately, registered three straight 40+ point games, including a ridiculous 66-10 beatdown of Arizona the week after they knocked off their opponents in this game, USC. On the flip side, the Trojan defense finally showed signs of life last week, getting pressure on the quarterback, and for seemingly the first time all season, forced some turnovers. The offenses are the strengths of both these teams, so look for a shootout in the Rose Bowl. My guess is this game stays close until late third early fourth, and Marqise Lee, the best player in the nation, makes a couple huge plays to help USC edge out their rivals.
USC wins 38-27.
The rest of the games should go accordingly to plan. I like Oregon State (7-2) to put an end to Cal’s (3-8) nightmare season, Washington (6-4) to roll over Colorado (1-9), Arizona (6-4) to prevail over Washington State (2-8), and Arizona State (5-5) to snap their four game losing streak by defeating Utah (4-6).
What did you think of the games last week? Who do you think will be playing in the Pac-12 Championship game? Let us know in the comments!