1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

College Hotline - Pac-12 football wrap: L.A. rises, chaos descends and a conference turns...

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Oct 26, 2015.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
    Likes Received:

    (AP Photo)

    We’ll start the Pac-12 football wrap with the big picture, then drill down to the details in a bit …

    Conflicting themes of the week: Clarity and chaos.

    Stanford is one win from a commanding lead in the North while Utah is one loss from creating a full-blown mess in the South.

    Recall the famous example of Chaos Theory in which a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon can affect the weather thousands of miles away? For our purposes, the butterfly is a freshman linebacker who wears No. 35 and calls the Coliseum his home.

    Sympatico theme of the week: L.A. rising.

    That was the most impressive combined effort by the Los Angeles schools since … all the way back in Week 4, when UCLA thumped No. 16 Arizona and USC rolled ASU (both on the road).

    But can the Bruins and Trojans bottle their energy and execution — and stop losing players to season-ending injuries?

    Weather pattern of the month: Autumn Wind.

    It blows hard, changes direction quickly and is impossible to predict …

    Oregon loses to Utah and Washington State, looks DOA, then gets its quarterback healthy, wins in Seattle and now stands as a factor in the North.

    UCLA loses three defensive starters, get steamrollered by ASU and Stanford, then returns home and wipes out Cal.

    Utah beats Cal and Arizona State and is smack in the middle of the playoff discussion, then gets blown out of the Coliseum.

    USC loses to Washington, fires its coach, loses to Notre Dame, then demolishes the No. 3 team in the land.

    Arizona handles Oregon State and Colorado, appears set to be a factor in the South, then gets beat on its home turf by WSU.

    Team of the Week: USC.

    It took one firing, three losses and seven games, but that was the team I expected to see all season.

    Team of the month: Washington State.

    Opened October with a close loss at Cal, then ripped off its first three-game winning streak in league play since 2003, with two of them on the road and all of them with at least 45 points.

    Team of next month: Stanford.

    Pile driving foe after foe, the Cardinal looks ready to rise above the Pac-12 chaos and contend for a spot in the playoffs. It could all hinge on the regular-season finale against Notre Dame.

    Breakthrough win of the week: Colorado.

    We knew it wouldn’t be pretty and it wasn’t. But the Buffs beat Oregon State to snap a 14-game league losing streak.

    Back-breaking loss of the week: Arizona.

    Had the Wildcats managed to beat WSU, they’d be squarely in the South race. Instead, they’re an outsider with no defense and QB issues and a brutal stretch run staring ’em in the face.

    Course-righting win of the week: UCLA.

    Flattened in two previous games, the Bruins rose up, hammered Cal and enter the soft stretch of their schedule. If they take care of business — and find at least 22 healthy bodies — they should be 8-2/5-2 headed into the season-ending double-whammy (Utah and USC).

    Reputation-making performance of the week(?): Luke Falk.

    Is it time to declare Falk one of the league’s top quarterbacks, or is he simply a product of the Air Raid system and the super-soft defenses of Oregon, OSU and Arizona?

    We’ll take door No. 2 (product of the system/opposing defenses) but reserve the right to backpedal if he wins this week.

    Speaking of doors … USC.

    Did the resounding win over Utah open one for interim coach Clay Helton to get the permanent job? (Absolutely, as long as he does it five more times.)

    Seen this before: Cal.

    The loss to UCLA drops Sonny Dykes to 0-9 against teams named Bruins/Trojans/Ducks /Cardinal, with the average margin of defeat a paltry 23.9 points.

    Not that those four teams matter to Cal fans …

    Seen this before II: Utah.

    As noted in this space last week, although now posited as a declarative statement with exclamation: Quarterback Travis Wilson isn’t capable of leading a team to a conference title!

    Seen this before III: Stanford.

    Quarterback Kevin Hogan has won two league titles and looks ready to claim his third.

    His passing efficiency rating is a whopping 200 in conference games. The next closest isn’t all that close. It’s 160.4 (Luke Falk).

    Game of this week (Thursday edition): Oregon at Arizona State.

    Let’s see: Game starts at 7:30 … will feature 10-12 touchdowns … should take four hours … 7:30 plus four then add the three time zones … OK, got it:

    The game will be over before Chip Kelly’s press conference Friday morning in Philadelphia, in case the Ducks lose and someone wants to, you know …

    (Truth be told: The Eagles have a bye, so Kelly might not meet the media until early next week.)

    Game of this week (Saturday edition): Stanford at Washington State.

    The team that lost to Northwestern in Week 1 vs the team that lost to Portland State in Week 1 with North supremacy at stake. Exactly as we predicted, right?

    More on the game later in the week, but know this: Stanford’s power game against division opponents with Raid in their nickname over the past two seasons:

    Stanford 190, Raid teams 64.


    * Follow me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline

    * My e-book, “Andrew Luck: Inside the Making of a No. 1 Pick,” is available for $2.99 on Amazon for Kindles and for other devices (PCs, iPads and iPhones) with the free Kindle app.

    * Download the Bay Area News Group’s new iPad app for more college sports and other news, or check out college sports coverage on MercuryNews.com.

    The post Pac-12 football wrap: L.A. rises, chaos descends and a conference turns its wild eyes to … Pullman?!?!? appeared first on College Hotline.

    Continue reading...

    by Jon Wilner

Share This Page