Two to the good and four to the bad with the picks for week thirteen puts the season record at 54-30 as we reach the last weekend of the regular season. USC is done for the year and must hope for a Colorado upset of Utah to win the south and Stanford steps out of conference to take on Notre Dame. Everybody else heads into the rivalry week with the Apple Cup getting the party started on Friday. Before we get to there, a quick review of last week’s results.
Saturday, November 23
Colorado 20 – Washington 14 (pick: Washington 27-17)
The Buffs opened a 13-3 halftime lead then held on to send the Washington Huskies 2019 football season into a deeper death spiral. Colorado quarterback Steven Montez connected on 17of 28 passes for a touchdown and running back Alex Fotenot gained 104 yards on 24 carries and added a TD. The Buffalo defense held the Washington running game to 32 net yards on 32 carries as quarterback Jacob Eason was sacked five times.
Utah 35 – Arizona 7 (pick: Utah 38-23)
Arizona dropped its sixth straight and the calls for head coach Kevin Sumlin’s firing grow louder. Held to less than 200 yards of total offense and a meaningless fourth quarter touchdown times are bleak in Tucson. Running back Zach Moss ran for 203 yards on 26 touches while quarterback Tyler Huntley completed 19 of 23 attempts to leave the Utes as the last Pac-12 team standing in the CFP pageant.
Washington State 54 – Oregon State 53 (pick: Washington State 47-31)
Max Borghi scored from two yards out on the games’ final play to thwart the Benny’s bid for the upset. A highly entertaining episode of the Pac-12 after dark turned the Cougars way when Oregon State head coach decided not to punt on 4th down and sixr to go from the WSU 43-yard line and came up short with 1:10 left in the game.
California 24 – Stanford 20 (pick: Stanford 28-25)
For the first time in 10 years the Cardinal likely will be home for the post season and for the first time in nine years they lost to their cross-bay rivals. California quarterback Chase Garber returned to the lineup after missing most of the year with injuries to complete 20 of 30 passes for a touchdown, then ran for the winning score on a 16-yard scramble with 1:16 remaining.
USC 52 – UCLA 35 (pick: UCLA 36-33)
USC quarterback Kedon Slovis tossed four touchdown passes, completing 37 of 47 for 515 yards to stay alive in the race for the southern division title. The loss eliminates the Chipsters from the 2019 post season.
Arizona State 31 – Oregon 28 (pick: Oregon 44-28)
That one hurts. Too many shoulda, woulda, coulda’s to rehash for the Ducks but the loss should serve as a warning shot across the bow for the rest of the Pac-12 – head coach Herm Edwards has assembled a bunch of young – very young – talent in Tempe and the Sun Devils will have to be reckoned with in the seasons to come.
Friday, November 29
Washington State @ Washington
WSU head coach Mike Leach has never beaten the Huskies with Chris Petersen at the helm, winning in his first match-up against then coach Steve Sarkisian but since coming up short in six straight outings. For the first time since 2016 Washington won’t be ranked and with each team sitting at 3-5 in conference play, the only bragging rights to be found will be in finishing one slot higher in the final standings. The Cougs snap the string with a 24-28 win in Seattle.
Saturday, November 30
Notre Dame @ Stanford
An upset would do a lot so take the bitter taste of a disappointing 2019 campaign for Stanford. Injuries and a suspect defense have left the Cardinal at the bottom of the standings in the northern division and it is unlikely those issues will be resolved in time to take Notre Dame down a peg. After knocking off USC 30-27 earlier in the season, the Irish complete the Pac-12 sweep with a 35-21 win on The Farm.
Colorado @ Utah
A mismatch of epic proportions on paper, Colorado at least established a bit of momentum with its upset of Washington last week. Unfortunately that won’t be enough to forestall a lopsided thrashing at the hands of the Utes – the Pac-12’s most complete team. Utah 38-17
Arizona @ Arizona State
After knocking the Ducks out of the CFP charade, ASU will be playing with confidence and house money against the hapless Wildcats. Someone needs to file a missing persons complaint for Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate – the one time Pac-12 offensive player of the year has found his career derailed when head coach Kevin Sumlin arrived in Tucson two seasons ago…a sad end to a college career that started out with unlimited potential. Sun Devils 45-23
California @ UCLA
A win over the Bears would salvage a season that started out on the rocks in Westwood with losses to Cincinnati, San Diego State and getting blasted by Oklahoma. In the aftermath head coach Chip Kelly found a way to get the Bruins four wins with a roster full of freshmen and sophomores and if he can come up with a way to outfox Justin Wilcox the Bruins will have plenty to build on come next season. UCLA 34-28
Oregon State @ Oregon
Two teams entering their rivalry match up haunted by losses in week 13. Convert a 4th and six with a minute-ten to go – or punt – and the Beavs fly home bowl eligible. Take care of business against ASU and the Ducks are still in the hunt for a CFP invite. But that was then and this is now. The Oregon State offense grown under head coach Jonathan Smith into one of the more potent attacks in the conference and after allowing the Sun Devils 535 yards of total offense last week, Oregon defensive coordinator Andy Avalos is unlikely to be getting much sleep this week. The combination of quarterback Jake Luton, receiver Isaiah Hodges and the running back tandem of Jamar Jefferson and Atermis Pearce present challenges for the Ducks across the board. The best game plan for Oregon would be the one they weren’t able to implement in Tempe – sustained drives that result in touchdowns that keep the opposition offense on the sidelines. It is a formula that has been successful in the past for the Ducks and one that should be successful against the Beavers. Oregon 43-28.
~ Rick Morgan