The Bay Schools: Stanford and California, both in deep struggles
Both Northern California football teams stand with two losses in Pac-12 play. Stanford, who at one point was a top-10 team and projected to win the conference by the media has been obliterated the past two games by both Washington Schools. California has two home wins against top-25 opponents, but can’t figure out how to win on the road as they are 0-3 in true road games.
What went wrong for the Golden Bears and Cardinal?
The Cardinal offense has been ineffective the past two games, while the defense, well the defense, is just not present. And for the most part that is true. Until starting cornerbacks junior Alijah Holder and sophomore Quenton Meeks are back from injury, air raid offenses, like Washington State’s, will monopolize the Stanford defense over and over again. Junior running back Christian McCaffrey has seemed to fall out of the Heisman race as he’s combined for 84 yards in the past two games and is without a touchdown in the past three. McCaffrey’s time on the field was monitored in the second half due to an injury.
Oregon State, the voted worst team in the Pac-12 by the media, handed the Golden Bears a 47-44 loss in Corvallis, OR. It was the Beavers first non-FCS opponent win of the year and clearly showed California is unpredictably inconsistent. Senior quarterback Davis Webb, who has the second most yardage of all college football quarterbacks, threw for just 113 yards last game. California combined for 317 rushing yards, but the defense let up 559 total yards to the Beavers. A below par quarterback performance and an overly poor defensive showing will not help the Golden Bears win games this season.
The Washington Schools: Huskies and Cougars, the lone undefeated teams in the Pac-12
The Huskies continue their historic season smashing one opponent after the next as they ended a 12-game losing drought to Oregon beating the Ducks in a dominate fashion, 70-21. Washington State has made a full 180 after losing to FCS opponent Eastern Washington and then Boise State. They have opened Pac-12 play strong with two statement wins.
Sophomore quarterback Jake Browning surprisingly had his first 300-yard game of the season, last night and he beat a school record with eight total touchdowns. Efficiency is everything for Browning. His average QBR of 89.7 is the second best in the nation as he’s totaled for 23 touchdowns and two interceptions. The Huskies are on pace to make College Football Playoff run.
The Cougars, known for their passing game, have began to run the ball effectively. They’ve ran the ball for 381 yards and combined for eight TD’s in the past two games giving some rest to Junior quarterback Luke Falk. Falk has been impressive, but the Cougar defense stepped up against the Cardinal. The defense Manipulated two picks and four sacks while allowing only a touchdown.
Pac-12 South: Who will win the division?
1. (2-1) Arizona State 1. (2-1) No. 24 Utah 1. (2-1) No. 21 Colorado 3. (2-2) USC 3. (2-2) UCLA 6. (0-3) Arizona
Has a single team stood out this season? No. Does a team have to win this jumble of a division? Yes.
Every team other than the Arizona Wildcats are true contenders to play in the Pac 12 championship game. The best looking teams at the moment are Utah, USC and Colorado.
Arizona State has wistfully managed to win close games, while the Bruins have struggled in the red zone whether with junior Josh Rosen or not.
USC looks like the best team right now in the division. Redshirt freshman Sam Darnold has totaled 710 passing yards and seven total touchdowns his past two games. He also carries the fourth-best QBR in the nation with an 89.1 rating.
Colorado is a fierce competitor. Losing on the road 21-17 to USC is not a bad effort and being undefeated at home, they should have an advantage against ASU next week.
The Utes should bump up in the rankings after a home win against Arizona. The offense scored five times unanswered and the defense managed three interceptions and a safety last game. Utah has already beaten USC and should be highly tested in two weeks against No. 5 Washington.