Even though there were only four games on the docket over the weekend, it turns out Week 7 was a painful one for the Pacific-12 Conference football season. As a result, it is going to be a one-shot opportunity for the league now to reach the College Football Playoff again.
On the other hand, the Conference of Champions does have two teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 15 right now, even if only one of them has a real chance to win out and reach the CFP. That would be the Oregon Ducks, as we will explain below.
It was also our first losing week of predictions, as we nailed just one of the four games played last weekend. Our record for the season is now 41-13 overall, which is still pretty darn good. But it goes to show you can’t predict everything all the time.
What Pac-12 team’s fans will be happy?
It has to be the Ducks. After Oregon pulled off the improbable upset at home over the Washington Huskies, 30-27, leaving the best team in the conference with two losses by mid-October, the Ducks are in the driver’s seat for Pac-12 North Division, the conference title, and the possible CFP slot. All Oregon has to do is win out now, which won’t be easy. Yet it’s better to be here in this seat than any other. The Ducks got a huge break when the Huskies missed a short field-goal attempt at the end of regulation that would have won the game. Oregon then took charge in overtime to avenge that earlier OT loss to Stanford.
What Pac-12 team’s fans will be mad?
The Colorado Buffaloes have never beaten the USC Trojans as a member of the Pac-12, and that stayed the story after the Buffs went on the road and lost, 31-20, in Los Angeles to suffer their first defeat of the season. Colorado no longer controls its own destiny in the Pac-12 South Division, either, so the loss was doubly painful. The Buffs surrendered 28 straight points in this game, which has to just piss off the Colorado faithful.
Big performers from Week 7
Freshman running back CJ Verdell was the star for the Ducks at home, scoring the winning touchdown in overtime. Overall, he carried the ball 29 times for 111 yards and two TDs. While that doesn’t jump off the stat sheet, clearly Verdell shouldered the load at the right times for Oregon’s offense.
Junior linebacker Keisean Lucier-South helped the UCLA Bruins to their first victory of the season as he led a dominant effort over California’s offense. He was all over the field, registering a sack which forced a fumble, picking off a pass for his first career interception, and recovering a fumble which he returned 38 yards for a touchdown. What a day!
Unlucky Team of the Week
It has to be the Huskies. Not only did Auburn, which handed Washington an early loss this season, lose its third game to make that defeat look worse, but the Huskies blew a chance to win the game and stay in the driver’s seat for the conference title and potential CFP berth by missing a 37-yard field-goal attempt on the last play of regulation. Washington is now relegated to the passenger seat in a season where the team had a lot of opportunities to go undefeated and reach the CFP for the second time in three years.
Big picture heading into Week 8
A full slate of games is ahead, starting on Thursday night in the desert as Stanford travels to Arizona State. The bigger news is the No. 12 Ducks heading to the No. 25 Washington State Cougars for Saturday’s big matchup, where ESPN’s College GameDay will be setting up shop in Pullman for the first time ever. That means the Cougar flag doesn’t have to travel far for GameDay this weekend.
By the way, WSU also now controls its own destiny for the Pac-12 North and the CFP berth possibility—if it runs the table, too. So this game is huge.
We will have our predictions for Week 8 on Thursday morning.
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