The best team in the conference, and in my opinion, the best team in the country. Unfortunately for the conference, Oregon now stands alone at the top of the conference, and a crowded middle section of talented teams will not be payed any attention by the rest of the nation.
2.) Oregon State
Oregon State has followed in the footsteps of Stanford: both teams lost close games to Washington at CenturyLink Field but went on to show that it wasn’t a turning point in their seasons. Stanford’s only other loss has been on the road against undefeated Notre Dame and Oregon State took care of Arizona State last weekend.
As someone who has really only been a follower of college football in the 21st Century, this is the impression of Stanford that I have. I don’t think of them as a mediocre program, like so many older fans do, I think of them as a tough, second-tier member of the Pac-12 that is almost always good enough to be ranked, but almost never good enough to think about winning the conference.
Can’t say I saw that blowout of Arizona coming! I figured that it would be fairly close, but that UCLA’s defense would simply be overwhelmed by the Matt Scott attack. I was wrong, and suddenly it looks like UCLA is the best football team in Los Angeles.
Well, this is awkward.
I over-hyped the offense and covered for the defense, and those mistakes were made very clear by the Wildcats’ 66-10 loss at UCLA. So, at 5-4, Arizona isn’t about to ride some magical wave of momentum to the top of the Pac-12, but look for them to finish strong with three final games against Colorado, Utah, and Arizona State.
The brutal schedule has suddenly become much less brutal, and the Huskies were able to take advantage of that fact with a road win against California, even if they managed to turn over the ball four times in the process. The Huskies will have to play significantly better at home against Utah with the Utes looking pretty solid as of late, but that shouldn’t be an issue considering that Washington is a completely different team in Seattle.
8.) Arizona State
In hindsight, it’s pretty easy to figure out the Sun Devils. They feasted on a soft early schedule to reach 5-1 in the first half, but as the schedule toughened, they have lost three straight to Oregon, UCLA, and Oregon State. Think of them as a reverse Washington. Solid, but anytime this season that they’ve looked better or worse than that, strength of schedule has been to blame.
If Washington was headed to Utah on Saturday, I would be a lot more worried for the Huskies, as Utah has put up 49 twice in a row against Cal and WSU and don’t look to be the kind of team that can be dispatched despite major sloppiness. In other words, if you lose three fumbles and throw an interception against the Utes, you probably shouldn’t assume you can still be in a position to win. Lucky for the Huskies, as I said above, this one is in Seattle, where Washington seems to play a much more physical, calculated brand of football.
A three win season looks all but official for the Bears now, with two final games against Oregon and Oregon State unlikely to yield any victories. Jeff Tedford should probably go, if Cal is confident they can land a decent guy to replace him.
11.) Washington State
Thought about switching the Cougars with Colorado just because of Marquess Wilson’s dismissal from the team, but I figured that was probably an overreaction. He is just one wide receiver, while Colorado is monumentally terrible. Still, Washington State just got worse.
70-14 against Oregon followed by 48-0 to Stanford. This season must really be testing the resolve of dedicated Colorado fans.