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Around the PAC-12

A “Voice of the Fan” Article by Jeff Newcomb

Watching the first six minutes of this game was akin to having a root canal for fun. After that, Ducks cruised. Questions about The Helf and Scott have been resolved, kicking is improved, Mariota marched, and all is right in the world.

Around the rest of the Pac-12, there were some interesting games that have quite the impact on the future of the Oregon Ducks.

Over haulin’: Brandin Cooks hauled in 9 passes for 210 yards in the Beavers 51-48 win over Utah, including the clinching touchdown in overtime. (Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)

The Fuskies took on the Fighting Illini and survived, unusual for them on the road as of late, cementing their ranking in the top 20.

That other team from Southern California didn’t even show up in the first quarter against Nebraska and still layed a whoopin on them. Hundley came to life after being down 21-3 and won it gong away. Ranked 16th, with a freshman defense improving by the game and an offense finding its own, UCLA is on a roll.

Stanford survived Army. There really is no way to describe how the Tree is winning at this point, they just do, in spite of themselves. In a week when no teams in the top 5 lose, it is enough to hang onto the 5th spot in the polls.

As I write this, it’s halftime of ASU against #20 Wisconsin. The mood here in the stadium is apprehensive, as everyone knows the Sun Devils have what it takes to defeat the Badgers, they’re just not sure it’s going to get done. It’s 14-13 Wisconsin, and the Devils have looked sloppy. Should they break out in the second half, and have a bit of luck with the rest of their schedule in the Pac-12 South, that should make them ranked when they enter the Pac-12 championship game.

Playing ranked teams are important in the run-up to a national championship game under the BCS system. Clemson has some marquee wins against highly ranked foes. Alabama won the only game on their schedule that should be a challenge. Ohio State beat an upstart Cal. Strength of schedule is going to be important down the stretch, and if the opponents Oregon will face keep winning, and Oregon beats them, it will help avoid the nail biting when the final rankings are released prior to bowl season.

And ASU just let the Badgers score on an outside sweep, so there goes all that. lol

(Special thanks to Jeff Newcomb, who first posted this report in the comments section.)