Photo Credit: 710 ESPN Seattle
The Pac-12’s college football playoffs hopes took a severe blow during week seven of the college football season when (then ranked) No. 8 Washington State lost at Cal and (then ranked) No. 5 Washington lost at Arizona State.
Washington’s loss is particularly perplexing because the Husky offense was shut down by an atrocious Sun Devil’s defense that had allowed 30+ points in every game this season. This was an offense that’s was averaging 43 points per game in the preceding six games, but the Huskies were only able to score seven against ASU. It was a pathetic performance that started up front with UW’s offensive line, and ended with Jake Browning constantly being on the run. Because of their weak non-conference schedule, Washington’s playoff hopes are in a dire situation.
The good news for the Pac-12 is that USC managed to squeak by Utah and the Trojans are now up to No. 11 in the AP poll, which leaves them as the highest ranked team in the conference. It’s going to be interesting to see how everything shakes out going forward.
1) USC Trojans (+2 spots): USC had to come back against Kyle Whittingham’s squad, then the Trojans had to hold on at the end to preserve the victory. The game came down to a missed two-point conversion at the end, but a win is a win.
2) Stanford Cardinal (+2): Bryce Love was unstoppable on Saturday as he racked up 147 yards on 17 carries (he only averaged 8.6 yards per carry) in the Cardinal’s 49-7 home win over the Oregon Ducks.
3) Washington Huskies (-1): The offensive ineptitude in the desert was stunning, especially against Arizona State’s defense, but it wasn’t as surprising as how much trouble Washington had adapting to Manny Wilkins mobility. ASU’s quarterback was able to consistently shift out of trouble and extend plays in a way that the Huskies hadn’t seen so far in 2017…and that could prove to be a problem for their defensive front during their remaining schedule.
4) Washington State Cougars (-3): The loss to Cal was bad enough, but the biggest loss for the Cougs was athletic director Bill Moos departing for Nebraska.
5) Utah Utes (–): The decision to go for two against the Trojans, instead of tying the game by kicking the extra point, was ballsy; but it was also the right decision on the road against a top-15 USC. Unfortunately for Utah, it didn’t work out because Troy Williams didn’t see a wide open receiver in the back of the end zone.
6) Arizona Wildcats (+2): Khalil Tate torched the Bruins for 15.3 yards per carry and two touchdowns, he also added another 148 yards and touchdown through the air. Rich Rodriguez held out for too long on Tate, but we’re glad that the head coach finally gave him the starting job.
7) UCLA Bruins (-1): The Bruins were unable to stop the Wildcats on the ground — UA piled up 459 yards — and their offense could not keep up. This season is a giant tire fire for Jim Mora’s program, and it’s likely he’ll be fired at the end of the season.
8) Colorado Buffaloes (+2): Colorado squeaked by Oregon State, which is a form of disappointment in itself. But a win on the road is a good thing…and now the Buffs are 4-3, needing only two wins for bowl eligibility.
9) Arizona State Sun Devils (+2): ASU picked up an impressive win over a top-five opponent on Saturday night. The Sun Devils’ defensive performance was really impressive against a Husky offense that had ground everyone else to dust.
10) California Golden Bears (+1): Cal’s defensive line got more push than it has all season, while Ross Bowers looked like a competent quarterback in the Golden Bears 37-3 win over Washington State on Friday. It’ll be interesting to see if the Golden Bears can replicate anything close to that performance going forward.
11) Oregon Ducks (-4): Willie Taggart’s offense failed to move the ball for the second straight game, while the defense couldn’t stop Love. As a result, the game was Oregon’s second straight blow out loss.
12) Oregon State Beavers (-): The Beavers played their best game of the season in Cory Hall’s first game as the interim head coach; but it wasn’t enough for OSU to pick up its first conference win of the season.