It was yet another wild week of football in the Pac-12 Conference. UCLA handed Oregon its fourth Pac-12 loss, Notre Dame routed USC and Arizona barely outlasted California in overtime.
Let’s take a look at what we learned about the most interesting conference in the country:
USC was the last hope for the Pac-12 to get a team in the College Football Playoff
USC (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12) was out-matched in every facet against Notre Dame (6-1) as the Irish steam-rolled the Trojans 49-14.
Notre Dame ran the ball at will as the Irish racked up 377 rushing yards along with five rushing touchdowns and USC simply had no answers. Sam Darnold didn’t play bad, but he didn’t play good either. He threw for 229 and two touchdowns, but under threw a ball that was intercepted and didn’t make smart decisions on third down as USC converted only four of 13 third downs. Darnold also lost a fumble on a snap, but that wasn’t entirely his fault because as snap was too high.
The Trojans didn’t have any success on the ground as Ronald Jones II only ran for 32 of USC’s 76 rushing yards. Anything and everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong for the Trojans. From a missed 22-yard field goal, to a muffed punt, to an interception, to not converting on third downs, to not being able to defend Josh Adams and Brandon Wimbush, USC was simply out-played and made too many mistakes. The Trojans are still the front-runner in the Pac-12 South, but the chances of a Pac-12 team getting into the College Football Playoff is now slim to none.
The Arizona schools are making their presence known
It all started last week with Arizona State’s (4-3, 3-1 Pac-12) upset win over then-No.5 Washington (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) and Arizona’s (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) 47-30 win over UCLA (4-3, 3-1 Pac-12). After the Sun Devils beat the Utes (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) by 20 points and the Wildcats’ 45-44 double overtime win against the Golden Bears (4-4, 1-4), it’s safe to say that the Arizona schools are relevant in the Pac-12 again. Granted, Cal isn’t one of the best teams in the conference this year, but it’s still worth noting because Arizona State and Arizona are now tied for second place in the Pac-12 South behind USC. These two teams were near and at the bottom of the Pac-12 South last year and now they’re making a run to represent the South in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Washington State is back on track
After they were embarrassed by Cal last week, the Cougars (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) are back in the win column this week after their 28-0 shutout against the Colorado Buffaloes (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12) on Saturday. Luke Falk is also back on his game and after throwing five interceptions and no touchdowns against the Golden Bears, Falk tossed three scores and no interceptions against Colorado. Washington State’s defense also found its stride again as they only allowed 268 total yards against the Buffs. The Cougars are tied for first place with Stanford and these two teams will meet in two weeks in what could decide who will represent the Pac-12 North on Pac-12 Championship Game.
Bryce Love is unstoppable
We are eight games into the college football season and Stanford (5-2, 4-1 Pac-12) running back and Heisman candidate Bryce Love has yet to be held to under 140 rushing yards in one game. Love leads all running backs in the country in rushing yards (1,387) and yards per carry (10.3). If this trend continues we could see Love holding the Heisman trophy in December.
No. 12 Washington - The Huskies had a bye this week and remain at No. 12.
No. 15 Washington State - The Cougars did play this week, however, they too remain at the same spot they were last week despite a 28-0 shutout win over Colorado.
No. 20 Stanford - The Cardinal move up two spots after their 49-7 blowout win over the Ducks on Saturday.
No. 21 USC - The Trojans move down 10 spots after they were embarrassed in South Bend Saturday night.