USC was in the rare position of playing spoiler on Saturday when they took on top ranked Notre Dame, and while they kept it close throughout, two failed red zone trips that stalled inside the five ended up costing the Trojans the upset. While Max Wittek played just fine, it’s hard to imagine that USC would have put up merely 13 points had Barkley been under center. Speaking of Barkley, I feel absolutely terrible for him. I’ll elaborate more on that later this week, but Barkley deserved so much more then this.
#8 Stanford secured the Pac-12 North Title by knocking off #17 UCLA in a matchup that was just part one of a two part series. Stanford won the game 35-17, and the game was all but secured after three quarters. In actuality, it benefited UCLA greatly to lose this game, as now they have a rematch for a birth in the Rose Bowl. Had they won the game, they would have had to travel to Oregon to take on the Ducks, and we know how that went last year.
Speaking of #5 Oregon, the Ducks sealed up back-to-back one loss regular seasons by defeating in state rivals #15 Oregon State. The Beavers held a 7-6 first quarter lead, but the Ducks put a pair of touchdowns on the board in each of the final three quarters, winning the game 48-24. Despite going 11-1, the season has to be seen as a disappointment for Duck fans. The best Oregon can hope for is an at-large BCS birth in the Fiesta Bowl, which wasn’t what Oregon fans had on their minds last month.
In the other two in-state rivalry games, Washington State shocked many by knocking off Washington 31-28. This was just the third win for the Cougars, who were looking for a positive note to build on going into the offseason. Meanwhile, the Huskies finished a roller coaster of a 7-5 season that included upsets over Stanford, and Oregon State, but also included head scratching losses to Washington State and Arizona, and blowout losses against Oregon and LSU. Also, Arizona State knocked off Arizona 41-34, fueled by 24 fourth quarter points to seal up a thrilling victory. And to wrap up the Pac-12, Colorado ended their miserable season with a 42-35 loss to Utah.
Well that wraps up our Pac-12 weeks in review! I hope you have enjoyed reading my thoughts on the conference as the season has gone along. I’ll be back later this week to preview the Pac-12 Championship: Stanford vs UCLA.
What did you think of the last week of Pac-12 football? Who do you think will win the Pac-12 title? What bowl game will Oregon end up in? Let us know in the comments!