On the national front, the Pacific-12 Conference gained a little ground in Week 7, thanks to dominating wins by the league’s best two teams: Oregon and Utah. The two schools are ranked No. 12 and No. 13, respectively, and if one of them can win out through December, who knows how the cookies will crumble.
No. 17 Arizona State and No. 25 Washington also are ranked, and the Sun Devils also have just one loss, even if their overall slate isn’t promising long term. Either way, these teams have established themselves as the best of the bunch out on the Best Coast.
Last week’s predictions netted us a perfect 5-0 record, so for the season now, our guesses are moving along at a 36-17 clip. Hopefully, we can keep the momentum rolling in the right direction on Thursday.
In the meantime, here’s what went down last weekend.
What Pac-12 team’s fans will be happy?
The Oregon Ducks are on a roll. They’re averaging 36 points a game and surrendering less than nine points every time out. They are the only team in the Pac-12 with a perfect conference record after shellacking Colorado on Friday night. Despite playing the 33rd-best schedule in the country so far, the Ducks are ranked below Georgia and its 67th-best schedule as well Notre Dame and its 43rd-best schedule. Hopefully, that will change the more the Ducks win.
What Pac-12 team’s fans will be mad?
The Washington State Cougars are now 0-3 in league play, thanks to another blown lead late at Arizona State. This is a team that went 11-2 last year yet will find itself hard pressed to make a bowl game this year, with five games left against Pac-12 North rivals—four of which are better teams than the Cougars. For some reason, Pullman loves Head Coach Mike Leach, although this is clearly a case of “when you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for” at WSU.
Big Performers of the Week
Oregon running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio scored three touchdowns against the Buffaloes in a blowout victory at Autzen Stadium. He only had 13 carries for 47 yards total, but the damage at the goal line was more than enough to pace the Ducks in their 45-3 win.
Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd delivered a huge play in the second quarter of the Utes’ 52-7 trouncing of the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis. With the home team threatening to score and put a dent in its 21-0 deficit, Lloyd returned an interception 64 yards to the house for the nail in the coffin, so to speak. He also added four tackles on the day, too, as the Utes flexed some serious defensive muscle on the road against an up-and-coming Oregon State offense.
Unlucky Team of the Week
The USC Trojans fell behind on the road against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 20-3, in the second quarter before a spirited comeback fell short in a 30-27 loss. This was probably the best game USC has played all season, with no turnovers and just one penalty. Alas, the then-No. 9 team in the country was just the wrong opponent in the wrong place for the Trojans to get a win for their great collective effort.
Big picture heading into Week 8
There are two huge showdowns this Saturday, one in each division featuring the top two teams—all ranked. The Ducks go to Seattle to face the Huskies, and the Sun Devils go to Salt Lake City to take on the Utes. Oregon can put a stranglehold on the North Division with a victory, while the winner in the South Division matchup has the inside track to the Pacific-12 Championship Game on December 6 in Santa Clara, CA.
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