Stanford Backed the Pac in South Bend
Pac-12 football clearly has not represented itself the way it’d like if only two teams are ranked (No. 5 Washington and No. 19 Utah). In some crucial non-conference games this season, UCLA fell to No. 6 Texas A&M, USC got obliterated by No. 1 Alabama and Colorado was outmatched by No. 3 Michigan. The Utes and Huskies failed to play a ranked team in non-conference and in result, the Pac-12 gets no love.
Stanford helped the Pac-12’s case on Saturday beating (2-5) Notre Dame in South Bend, IN. Though the Fighting Irish record is unimpressive, a win is better than a loss for the Cardinal, especially without junior running back Christian McCaffrey. The Cardinal though, had a replacement. Sophomore Bryce Love erupted down the field with 23 carries for 129 yards. Stanford’s defense enjoyed the return of sophomore cornerback Quenton Meeks who returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown.
Stanford is at home against Colorado this Saturday in a make or break game to better its standing in the Pac-12 North.
USC Trojans Surging in the Pac-12 Standings
The Trojans have played five opponents in the Pac-12 South, and they have already beaten three of them. Arizona State, Colorado, and Arizona are all losing victims of redshirt-freshman Sam Darnold and the fiery USC Trojans. They’re currently chasing the tails of No. 19 Utah and Colorado, and might find themselves ahead of them by week 13.
USC ran over Arizona on Saturday 48-14. While Arizona kept it competitive against Washington in Tucson a few weeks back, taking it to overtime, they were no match against USC. Darnold has done more than just thrive at the quarterback position, he’ owned it. The redshirt-freshman has the No. 1 total QB rating in the nation. Most of his success is due to junior JuJu Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster previously had 99 yards and two touchdowns in his first three games, and since Darnold has been the starter, he’s corralled 466 yards with six touchdowns in those four games.
Next, the Trojans have two home games against teams in the bottom half of the Pac-12 North before traveling to Washington. The Trojans should have what it takes to be 6-3 and possibly ranked by the time they play in Seattle, Wash.
Arizona State: No Longer a Rose Bowl Contender?
The Sun Devils found themselves in a three-way tie for first before Saturday. After a demoralizing 40-16 loss to Colorado, ASU has fallen to third in the Pac-12 South. Arizona State has yet to play a ranked team this season, but play their toughest stretch in their schedule down the road. Washington State at home, Oregon away, Utah at home, and then Washington away will test the Sun Devils potential to possibly slide back on top of the Pac-12 South or settle for a low-end bowl game.
Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Manny Wilkins returned for Colorado, but not true to form. Before the USC and Colorado games, Wilkins averaged 271.25 passing yards and 65.75 rushing yards per game. He suffered a high-ankle sprain and didn’t play against UCLA. Against the Buffaloes, and only about 70 percent healthy, he threw for a meager 149 yards and rushed for -35 yards. The Sun Devils chose Wilkins to play over true freshman Dillon Sterling-Cole and didn’t even have a third option after redshirt freshman Brady White was ruled out for the season. If ASU continues to have depth issues at quarterback, it could be a rough end to the season.
Pac 12 in the Rankings
No. 5 Washington and No. 19 Utah sit as the only schools from the Pac-12 to stand in the AP top 25 rankings.
Colorado just missed the rankings with 110 votes and are 26th in the nation. Washington State earned 29th with 39 votes. Stanford (15), Arizona State (6), and USC (5) also received votes.
Colorado, Washington State, and USC have the best chance to break into the AP Top 25. The Cougars have yet to lose a Pac-12 game, and the Buffaloes demolished Arizona State and can make a statement at Stanford this Saturday. USC has won three games straight and look to make it a fourth at home against California.
Here’s a complete look at the Pac-12 Standings