Well, pretty much no one saw that coming, and it’s hard to fathom how the Oregon Ducks could have let themselves lose to the Arizona State Sun Devils (and Herm Edwards, no less!) with so much on the line. But it did happen.
Now, the Pacific-12 Conference has a sole hope for inclusion in the College Football Playoff, and it’s the Utah Utes. It would have been nice to see the league title game as a CFP play-in situation, but now the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions is facing steeper odds for national relevance once again.
What did we say earlier this season? The teams in this conference just beat each other up, and that means with no “super team” to dominate, the league as a whole takes a hit because of its excellent competitive balance—just another reason why NCAA basketball runs up the score on NCAA football when it comes to legitimacy and watchability.
Anyway … our picks suffered the wrath of upsets over the weekend, too, as we nailed just half our predictions. Ouch! A 56-27 mark this season pales in comparison to our wisdom last year, but you can’t be awesome all the time … or can you?! Ask the Ducks.
What Pac-12 team’s fans will be happy?
The California Golden Bears won the Big Game for the first time since 2009, ending a nine-game losing streak to the Stanford Cardinal with a 24-20 victory on the road Saturday. Nothing is better than beating your main rival on their home field while also making it to six wins and bowl eligibility at the same time. Good for Cal and its fans!
What Pac-12 team’s fans will be mad?
Take your picks this week, but we’re going with the entire state of Oregon, which saw its momentum stunted in two different ways: The Ducks blew their shot at the CFP with a 31-28 loss to Arizona State on the road, while the Oregon State Beavers lost on the last play of the game against Washington State. Now, these two angry teams will face each other in the Civil War later this week, with a lot on the line for both schools.
Big Performers of the Week
For the second week in a row, we’re handing this honor to USC quarterback Kedon Slovis, who led the Trojans to a big win over UCLA. He completed 37 of his 47 passes for 515 yards and four touchdowns, as USC finished the regular season with an 8-4 record, including a 7-2 mark in conference. The Trojans still have an outside chance at winning the South Division, too.
Cal linebacker Evan Weaver made a whopping 13 tackles against Stanford as the Golden Bears held the Cardinal offense to just 61 yards rushing whole forcing two turnovers as well. Weaver also had one tackle for a loss, as Cal won back the Axe after almost a decade of frustration and futility against Stanford.
Unlucky Team of the Week
On paper, the Washington Huskies are one of the best teams in the conference. In the standings, they’re now tied for last place in the North Division. Go figure. Washington lost another game by single digits, dropping a 20-14 decision on the road to Colorado. This season, the Huskies have lost five games by a combined 26 points. Some years, you win all those close ones, and some years you do not.
[This applies to our predictions, too, this week, since our three losses came by a combined 10 total points!]
Big picture heading into Week 14
Three big rivalry games are on tap for this week: the Apple Cup, the Civil War, and the Territorial Cup. Plus, No. 6 Utah will look to close out its South Division lead when it hosts Colorado. And with last place in the North Division already clinched, the Stanford Cardinal host the No. 15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, too. This is the final week of the regular season coming up, and it should be a lot of fun!
Check back here frequently for new Pac-12 content!