Perhaps it is time to start with the obvious: There is no way the College Football Playoff committee is going to pick a Pacific-12 team this year. The Conference of Champions has just one team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, and the conference standings are somewhat in shambles due to a lot of in-house losses.
You know it is laughable when a two-loss SEC team goes down at home, 29-0, and still stays above one-loss Washington State in the polls. The fix is in at that point, so as we move past that, it’s key to remember what is at stake for the conference as a whole: a lot!
The Pac-12 South literally has all six teams still in the hunt for the division title and berth in the conference championship game, and the North Division has four teams with a chance to make it to the title tilt, too. That is parity across the board in this league, and it will pay off with bowl wins at the end of the season.
There’s always that Bowl Challenge Cup, too. The Pac-12 has not won it since 2008, but perhaps this is the year to break that streak. And on the topic of winning, our predictions were solid last week, with four out of six—bringing the season mark to 52-18 overall.
What Pac-12 team’s fans will be happy?
Once again, those in the Palouse should be thrilled the WSU Cougars escaped on Saturday night when the team certainly did not play its best. Scoring late to break a 13-13 tie and win 19-13, the home team kept its hopes alive for the North Division title and a distant shot at the CFP. That 8-1 record marks Washington State’s best start since the early 2000s, and with two winnable games up next, the Cougars do get to host the Washington Huskies in the Apple Cup on November 23.
What Pac-12 team’s fans will be mad?
This has to be Colorado’s “honor” this week. The Buffaloes are on a downward spiral, having lost four in a row after reaching the Top 20 earlier this season. Sure, three of the four losses have been on the road, but Colorado just hasn’t played well. Now, the next test is hosting the Cougars this Saturday—the hottest team in the conference against the coldest team. Can it get any worse for the Buffs fans? Only time will tell.
Big performers from Week 10
Junior wide receiver N’Keal Harry led Arizona State to a big upset win over then-No. 16 Utah, the second time this season the Sun Devils have beaten a ranked opponent at home. He hauled in nine passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-20 victory for ASU. It’s tough to top that kind of effort.
It’s a double dip this week for the Sun Devils, too, as freshman linebacker Merlin Robertson takes the defensive honors. He gave ASU perhaps its biggest boost of the night when he picked off a pass that stopped all Utah’s offensive momentum. The Utes had just ripped off 17 straight points in the second quarter, and after Robertson’s pick to start the second half, Utah scored just three more points the rest of the way. The freshman also added nine tackles to his stat line.
Unlucky Team of the Week
The Stanford Cardinal began the season 4-0, and after four losses now in the last five games, the season is all but lost. In the first half on the road against the Huskies, the Cardinal fell behind 21-0 and never recovered. Preseason Heisman Trophy favorite Bryce Love gained just 71 yards on 18 carries, and the senior running back is having the worst season of his college career. After averaging 7.8 yards per carry in his first three seasons at Stanford, Love is posting just 4.4 yards per attempt in 2018. That’s just unlucky.
Big picture heading into Week 11
All eyes will be on the Cougars in Boulder to see if they can maintain the momentum and continue to carry the national torch for the conference.The Oregon-Utah game also has some interesting ramifications in terms of postseason bowling. Washington and Arizona have byes, so those schools can watch the others in their respective divisions fight it out and set the stage for an exciting finish to the season.
We will have our predictions for Week 11 on Friday morning.
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