After last weeks brief hiatus, ‘Around the Pac-12’ is back with a vengeance! Since Matthew already laid out how the Pac-12 teams are doing this week, I can devote this whole post to mascots. Just kidding. Sort of. Now that we’re in Pac-12 play, I’ll use a little bit of a different format that won’t be as organized and won’t be in alphabetical order. Hooray for changes that make things worse! Well, if you still want to read this after me telling you all of this I don’t know what will stop you. Here we go!
This Week: Arizona (Lost to Oregon 49-0) vs. Oregon State (Beat UCLA 27-20)
Before last week, these were two of the surprise teams in the Pac-12. Arizona’s shine has worn off since the shellacking they were served at Auzten. Arizona’s offense couldn’t convert in the red-zone and then the Ducks turned it on in the second half, like they usually do. The Wildcats are now 3-1, which is nothing to sneeze at if you look at their schedule thus far. Unless you’re allergic to the teams that they’ve played. Oregon State went in to Pasadena and continued to surprise. This is the first week in which they haven’t had 2 weeks to prepare for a team, which is really odd but their first game was postponed. The Beavers are unquestionably better but I don’t know if they have the staying power or the strength to stay at the top of the conference. This game will tell more about the Beavers than it will the Wildcats. Winning in Arizona is difficult and Oregon State pulls it off it may be time to take them seriously. Arizona has their quarterback, Matt Scott, a little bit banged up and needs to rebound from their blowout loss. This is probably the most interesting Saturday game in the Pac-12.
This Week: Arizona State (Beat Utah 37-7) at California (Lost to USC 27-9)
This game is a story of two programs going in different directions. The Sun Devils looked impressive for most of the out of conference schedule and then walloped Utah in the conference opener. The level of opponent is fair to question in all of their victories, but they have won emphatically. I’m not sure why more of us didn’t see this coming though. Yes, they lost a lot of seniors last year but they were a decent team who probably should have won the Pac-12 South. They got off to a hot start but then collapsed and gave up as the year went on. Maybe they’ll do that again this year, but the program is in better shape than many people gave it credit for. California is an absolute mystery. They are one of the most talented teams in the conference but look terrible. They have lost to Nevada, Ohio State and USC. Except for Nevada they aren’t bad losses and were expected before the year. They struggled against an FCS school and just don’t seem to be well coached or execute very well. The Golden Bears have the talent to turn it around but I don’t think that they will. If they are going to turn it around, it needs to happen this week with a strong showing against the Sun Devils. Unfortunately, a golden bear probably isn’t able to move or do much of anything aside from looking majestic and expensive as a statue. Assuming a Sun Devil is just a devil in the sun (?) I don’t think they should have an easy edge. Unless it’s raining.
This Week: Colorado (Beat WSU 35-34) vs. UCLA (Lost to Oregon State 20-27)
Last week, Colorado inexplicably earned what will be their lone victory of the year against the team who plays in the ugly part of Washington state. Yes, a win was good for them but they are bad. Watch the highlights of that game and then watch the highlights of any other Pac-12 game last week. You’ll notice quite a difference. It would be a shock if the Buffaloes won another game this season. They’ll probably be double-digit underdogs in every game left on their schedule. UCLA showed people that they still are UCLA. The Bruins have to be inconsistent or something is wrong with the universe. Oregon State could turn out to be a good team and the loss will look fine but people were anointing the Bruins to be USC’s competition in the south. I heard pundits say that they would go undefeated through 8 or 10 games. Haha. They have talent and an impressive victory over Nebraska, otherwise they haven’t done much yet. We’ll see going forward. With that being said, UCLA won’t have a problem this week. This is my favorite mascot match-up of the week. A Bruin fighting a Buffalo would probably be more entertaining than this game will be.
This Week: Oregon (beat Arizona 49-0) at WSU (lost to Colorado 35-34)
Maybe I shouldn’t say this game is at WSU because it’s in Seattle. There will probably be close to as many Duck fans as there are Cougar fans in the stands. The WSU players who spoke to the media this week weren’t exactly happy that this game is in Seattle. One of them said they ‘deserve to play at Martin Stadium’. That quote is laughable and undeniably true, although it’s not true for the reason he meant it to be. The Cougars lost in amazing fashion last week. Oregon won easily last week. This should be a blow-out, although WSU has kept it close against the Ducks in recent years. I worry about Mike Leach throwing his players under the bus after too many losses. I think it will happen at some point this season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the team quit on him.
Utah (Lost to Arizona State 37-7) This Week: Bye
What happened to Utah? They were supposed to be USC’s only competition in the south and now they look like the second to worst team in that division. Their quarterback is bad, their running back is hurt, and their defense is over-rated. This team could turn it around but, right now, they aren’t close to pre-season expectations.
USC (Beat California 27-9) This Week: Bye
The Trojans won but it wasn’t extremely impressive. Their passing game is lacking for some reason and they were carried by their running game this week. I still think they could turn it around and make the Rose Bowl but they aren’t the team that we saw at the end of last year.
As always, we’ll be previewing the Stanford-Washington game in a while. In fact, I’m working on an extra post on the Huskies for later today. Stay tuned!
Thanks for reading!