Picking Oregon State to upset Washington was a flyer and it was not a surprise to see that pick go south. What was a surprise was to see the other three picks go south too for an oh-for-four week, dropping the season tally to 47-26. If nothing else that result serves to illustrate once again how the Pac-12 – unlike any other conference – cannibalizes itself every year. Before previewing this weeks’ slate a quick review what went wrong a week ago.
Friday, November 8
Washington 19 – Oregon State 7 (pick: Oregon State 31-27)
If the Beavs would have found some offense – any offense – the upset was there for the taking. But Washington held OSU to 119 total yards of offense and limited the Benny’s to a pick-six defensive touchdown. A complete waste of the best defensive performance Oregon State has put together in several years and not the way to gain bowl eligibility.
Saturday, November 9
California 33 – Washington State 20 (pick: Washington State 33-10)
California quarterback Devon Modster returned from injury and recorded a career best three touchdowns passing and one on the ground to help the Bears snap a four-game losing streak. Modster completed 16 of 24 passes for 230 yards and running back Christopher Brown Jr. added 95 yards and a score, dropping the Cougars to 1-5 in Pac-12 play and 4-5 overall.
Colorado 16 – Stanford 13 (pick: Stanford 37-25)
With no time left on the clock Colorado placekicker Evan Price drilled a 37-yard field goal to lift the Buffaloes past Stanford to end five game losing string. Both teams remain two wins short of bowl eligibility.
USC 31 – Arizona State 26 (pick: Arizona State 44-31)
The Trojans blew out of the gate with a 28-point first quarter then held on for dear life as the Sun Devils held USC to a field goal the rest of the way. With starting quarterback Jayden Daniels out with an injury, back up QB Joey Yellen gave ASU a solid effort in his first collegiate start, completing 28 of 44 passes, good for 292 yards a four touchdowns, but a pair of interceptions came back to haunt. USC rolled up 547 yards of total offense on the Sun Devil defense.
Saturday, November 16
UCLA @ Utah
Win out and the Bruins are the southern division champions. A win over USC isn’t as big a stretch as coming away with the victory in Rice-Eccles and while that would be one game short of the title, it is a significant step forward from where the Bruins appeared to be one month into the season. Unfortunately for the Chipsters, at home and with their own opportunity to lay claim to the southern division, this day belongs to the Utes, 38-21.
Stanford @ Washington State
A tale of two teams whose seasons have both gone south… each was a preseason pick to contend in the northern division but each has found the sledding tough once the conference season got underway. Nor does either team appear to be on the cusp of putting the pieces together for a successful stretch run. Washington State is favored by 10 and given the lack of offensive firepower on The Farm this season, that may not be enough, but it will serve as a good starting point. WSU 35-24
Arizona State @ Oregon State
After an anemic showing against Washington, the Oregon State offense is probably due for a rebound performance. If Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels is able to return to the lineup the Sun Devils’ chance to escape Corvallis with the win is much improved but as of this writing his status is undetermined. Assuming that even if he does play there will be two week’s worth of rust to shake off, the call has to be with the Beavers 33-23.
USC @ California
Perhaps no team in the Pac-12 has suffered offensively more than California. When starting quarterback Chase Garbers was knocked out of the lineup as conference season got underway, the Bears turned to back-up Devon Modster, only to have the UCLA transfer go down with an injury in week ten. With a spirited effort in his return against Washington State, suddenly the Bears appear to be dangerous once again. Dangerous enough to extend their winning streak over the Trojans to two games? Nope. USC 36-27
Arizona @ Oregon
The worst defense in the conference meets an Oregon offense that has been steadily improving as the season progressed and will be coming off a bye week. To be fair, the Wildcats had the week off as well, but given the dysfunction witnessed on both sides of the ball by Arizona, one week won’t be sufficient to cure all that ails in Tucson. Oregon 55-17.
~ Rick Morgan