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College Hotline - Pac-12 football rewind: If every team were a TV show …

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    It’s deep in the night … or maybe it’s early in the morning … and I’m a tad loopy, so please accept a TV show twist on the standard issue Pac-12 rewind …

    Theme of the week (off the field version): Dark skies

    Never has the conference experienced a worse 24-hour cycle of off-field headlines than it did Thursday morning through Friday morning, when:

    * The NCAA announced Stanford had been hit with the first major violation in the program’s history,

    * Players at Arizona and UCLA were charged with multiple felonies

    * Washington State’s brass met with Pullman police in an attempt to ease tensions between the football team and law enforcement.

    * The NCAA revealed that UCLA associate head coach Adrian Klemm violated ethics rules.

    Listen hard enough, and you can hear the other Power 5 conferences revel in the schadenfreude.

    Theme of the week (on-the-field version): Make room for Daddy.

    The Pac-12 dropped two head-to-head duels with the Big Ten and is now just 1-3 against the B1G, which sure looks like the nation’s best conference (Ohio State over Oklahoma, Wisconsin over LSU, Nebraska over Oregon, Michigan State over Notre Dame).

    But it could be worse for the Pac-12. It could be the Big 12.




    Land of the lost: Clay Helton

    Helton and his USC staff simply look overmatched in every facet. The results speak for themselves: Four consecutive losses to Power 5 opponents dating to the end of last season, with three of them by double digits.

    And that punt from midfield down three scores? It’s called capitulation.

    Party of 5: Christian McCaffrey

    If only the Stanford tailback could play every game against USC, he’d have 4,000-something all-purpose yards.

    Seriously, he’s averaging 323 against the Trojans in three games as a full-time player (13 x 323 = 4,203).

    Growing pains: Utah

    Troy Williams has two TDs and four INTs against teams not named Southern Utah. But if he gets comfortable by mid-October, when the meat of the schedule arrives, the Utes could own the South.

    Life of Riley: You know who

    The former Oregon State coach and all-around good guy finally stopped the Quack Attack (with a little help from the Quack Attack), only he did it on the sideline in Lincoln, not Corvallis.

    Night court: Cal

    Outcome of Cal games have been in doubt at 11:30 p.m. on back-to-back Saturdays. I’d guess that’s a first in conference history.

    Paper chase: Washington

    Huskies have done everything right and outscored three opponents 148-30. But the parade of cupcakes makes it difficult to know for sure whether UW is as good as it looks.

    Get smart: Oregon

    The Ducks kept going for two-point conversions at Nebraska, and kept failing.

    They missed four and lost by three, and you need not be under the cone of silence to calculate that math.

    (Oh, and don’t put it on the players to decide whether to go for two or kick the PAT based on the defensive formation. That’s the default rationale of a failed strategy.)

    Arrested development: USC

    The Trojans had no punch and no creativity against Stanford; they’re under-performing on the offensive line and under-recruiting on the defensive line.

    I hear there are some decent prospects working the local frozen banana stand.

    Curb your enthusiasm Arizona

    Wildcats hammered Hawaii to erase the Grambling aftertaste that was as bitter as Larry David.

    But let’s remember that the Rainbow Warriors are one of the worst teams in FBS: Problems remain on both sides of scrimmage for the Wildcats, whether Anu Solomon is healthy or not.

    Too close for comfort: Arizona State

    Trailed UTSA 28-15 entering the fourth quarter but reeled off 17 in a row to dodge the upset. Good chance to go 4-0 this week with Cal coming to town. (Great chance to play a four-hour game this week, as well.)

    Eight is enough: Colorado

    The Buffs didn’t roll over at Michigan and look ready to end a streak of eight bowl-less seasons. Heck, they might even contend for the division given the way things have unfolded.

    X-Files: UCLA

    Something’s not right; I just can’t explain it.

    Leave it to beaver: Oregon State (of course).

    The Beavers thumped Idaho State to collect their first win, but I’ve seen nothing to make me another will be coming anytime soon.

    M*A*S*H: Oregon

    Tailback Royce Freeman, receiver Devon Allen and left tackle Tyrell Crosby were injured in the loss in Lincoln. Updates could come Monday, possibly with sweeping implications for the Ducks, the division and the conference.

    Weird science: Cal

    Can’t run the ball (106th nationally), can’t stop the run (126th nationally), but toppled No. 11 Texas and improved to 2-1.

    Game of this week I: Friday night lights (USC at Utah)

    If the Trojans get hammered — and that would seem to be a distinct possibility given the way they played, the way Utah plays, and the short-week roadie — then might the Tarmac Watch begin?

    Game of this week II: Mission: Impossible (Stanford at UCLA)

    The Cardinal has won eight in a row in the series, six of them by double digits … and the last three have been by margins of 14, 21 and 21 points. UCLA has given no indication this meeting will be any different.

    *** Follow me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline

    *** Episode 1 of the College Hotline podcast, with ESPN’s Ted Miller as guest (we discussed Washington’s rise, UCLA’s transformation to power football, USC’s issues, Utah’s life in the shadows, the Pac-12’s position in the playoff race and loads more):


    The post Pac-12 football rewind: If every team were a TV show … appeared first on College Hotline.

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    by Jon Wilner
     

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