It was a strange week in the Pacific-12 Conference football world, as a few upsets—and not just as picked by us—went down quite oddly. Yet at the same time, the status quo was maintained for once, keeping the Conference of Champions potentially in the chase for a College Football Playoff slot come December.
Now, we all know the CFP is sort of silly, but it’s all we have right now in the college football world. And for the Pac-12, it’s come down to just two teams now ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll: No. 10 Washington State and No. 16 Utah, the current division leaders in the league.
Washington and Oregon suffered shocking upsets to drop out of the Top 25 from last week, and Stanford lost to WSU at home to fall from the rankings as well. Now, only the Cougars and the Utes have less than three losses overall as we approach Halloween on the Best Coast.
That is kind of scary.
On to the recap, where we took it on the chin with those predictions for Week 9, picking just two of six correct winners. See? We told you there were upsets. Still, our overall record is 48-16 right now. We will take it.
What Pac-12 team’s fans will be happy?
It has to be those in the Palouse. The WSU road game at Stanford was a classic trap game, as we explained last week. But the Cougars, after falling behind 28-14 late in the second quarter, held steady in the face of adversity. WSU notched a last-second field goal to end the first half and then scored a touchdown coming out of halftime to get back in the game. When Stanford managed to tie it up at 38-38 with just 1:25 left in the game, the Cougars calmly went down the field to kick a game-winning FG with 19 seconds left. Remember the WSU loss to USC earlier this season, when a similar FG attempt was blocked late? Not this time. The Cougars are in control of the Pac-12 now.
What Pac-12 team’s fans will be mad?
On the other side of the Evergreen State, the Washington Huskies somehow lost to the California Golden Bears, 12-10. That score is not a misprint. The Huskies lost quarterback Jake Browning to an injury and then they lost the game as well. That was Washington’s lowest scoring output since a seven-point effort in the Tempe desert in October 2017. The Huskies, who had dreams of an unbeaten season, now have three relatively inexplicable losses on 2018 while watching their cross-state rivals thrive and stay alive for the CFP spot that they wanted for themselves. Ouch.
Big performers from Week 9
Cougars senior QB Gardner Minshew II once again thrived in a key game, completing 40 of 50 passes against the Cardinal for 438 yards, three TDs, and no interceptions. He has now completed a stunning 71 percent of his attempts this season, throwing for 26 TDs and just six INTs overall in the 7-1 start for WSU.
Meanwhile, Cal junior linebacker Evan Weaver was the big hero in Berkeley, thanks to his 37-yard interception return for a TD that handed the Golden Bears their big victory over Washington. After posting 55 tackles in 12 games last season, Weaver now has 74 tackles in just eight games this year. That’s a big improvement.
Unlucky Team of the Week
Are you unlucky or just bad when you blow a 28-point lead at home to loss? It takes a lot of bad fortune for stuff like that to happen, and that is the story of the Colorado Buffaloes this week. After taking a 31-3 in the beginning of the third quarter against the hapless Oregon State Beavers, everything went wrong for Colorado. The Buffs didn’t commit any stupid turnovers to lose; they just stopped playing defense, really, as the Beavers scored the next 25 points and then tied the game in regulation with 29 seconds left—before winning it in overtime, 41-34. Very strange.
Big picture heading into Week 10
Another full slate of six games are on the schedule this week, starting with Friday night’s game in Tucson between Arizona and Colorado. Both teams trail Utah in the South Division. Meanwhile, the Cougars host the Golden Bears on ESPN late Saturday night, in yet another high-profile game in Pullman. What is happening this season?!
We will have our predictions for Week 10 on Thursday morning.
Check back here frequently for new Pac-12 content!