There was but one Pac-12 game this week, and it went more or less how everybody expected it to go. UCLA pulled out all the stops, played about as well as anybody could have hoped . . . and still trailed by 25 entering the 4th quarter. It wasn't the best showcase for a conference with three teams in the top 6 of the polls, but we'll do better next year. Hopefully.
But for now, it's time to turn our attentions to bowls and basketball, and very much in that exact order, because basketball is still depressing. But the Pac-12 bowl games are most certainly not. Five Pac-12 teams will face opponents ranked in the final BCS poll, and four of those 5 teams are ranked in the top 15. It's a loaded field. In fact, if you enjoy watching two tire fires with interim head coaches then there's a reason to watch every single Pac-12 bowl game! How often can you say that?
After the jump we'll grade the entertainment value of each Pac-12 bowl game, using such scientific factors as 'GO WHICHEVER TEAM IS PLAYING STANFORD' and 'ooo triple option!' And to prove that our ratings are sound we used the greatest entertainer in Cal football history as a point of reference
The whole 'size vs. speed' thing is a clique that'll be annoying weeks prior to the actual Rose Bowl . . . but you have to admit that you're excited to see if Oregon can handle Montee Ball and Wisconsin's collection of 350 pound monsters, right? Or if the Wisconsin defense has a prayer of dealing with LaMichael James and company? When players like Darron Thomas and Russell Wilson aren't even the headliners you know it's a game full of talent.
Plus - both teams have some question marks on defense and zero question marks on offense, so it should be an epic shootout. I can't even measure how much more exciting this game is than the Natty.
This was a hard one to grade. If I knew Stanford would lose I'd give it 10 Marshawns! Think about it - Oklahoma St. showing the country why they should've been in New Orleans, Andrew Luck leaving for the NFL on a down note, Stanford fans worrying that this is the beginning of the end . . . but this game also carries the possibility of Stanford winning big and annoying AP voters trying to split the national championship if Alabama wins. That fear is enough to downgrade this game a few slots. Too much risk of Cal fan pain.
RG3 is worth 5 Marshawns just by himself - I'm pretty sure that dude eats skittles before and after every touchdown throw. And we'll throw in an extra Marshawn because UW's offense will probably drop some points on an iffy Baylor defense. But I have a suspicion that this game won't be very close, and a lack of drama means a lower rating. But there are plenty of reasons to tune into this one.
Three Marshawns for the Georgia Tech triple option, and two bonus Marshawns because the Sun Bowl has a history of crazy, exciting finishes and competitive games. Utah is a good team but they are spectacularly boring without a legit QB. As great the Sun Bowl usually is, I'm worried a game like this is more likely than a game like this. Beware!
Las Vegas Bowl
Poor Boise St., and poor Kellen Moore. They deserve better than playing a rudderless Arizona St. squad. It's actually not unreasonable to suggest that this game could be compelling - Boise St. hasn't put away teams on their schedule with less talent than ASU, and Brock Osweiler could get hot and put some points on the board. But I mostly just see one team that should be disappointed to be in this bowl, and another team that barely deserves a bowl at all.
One Marshawn for the lulz and one Marshawn for 'The Quest for 6-8!' Two teams that were horribly disappointing, two teams that fired their coaches, two teams that may not find replacement coaches by the time this bowl is played. Maybe Cal fans will feel like watching this one after the men's team beats the Bruins at home the same day.
Your Weekly Basketball Blunders Update
Let's play the same game we played last week!
Bad basketball losses incurred last week to add to the collection:
Colorado St. (by 1 over Colorado)
Fresno St. (by 30! over Utah)
Non-humiliating losses incurred last week that are
getting painful because the Pac-12 needs to win some of these games to save face:
San Diego St. (by 1 over Cal)
Texas (by 10 over UCLA)
BYU (by 14 over Oregon)
Minnesota (by 15 over USC)
Actual, honest-to-goodness, decent wins earned this week:
NC State (Stanford by 4)
Great. I mean, I want the Pac-12 to be at least halfway decent, but of all teams why does it have to be Stanford that carries the banner of the conference? I feel like everything that has happened since the end of the Georgia game has been punishment for actually getting excited and being optimistic #calfanbeingacalfan. Granted, the conference had very few decent opponents scheduled this week, but they missed on nearly all of them.
Washington at Marquette (6:00 pm, ESPN)
Arizona at Florida (4:00 pm, ESPN)
San Jose St. at Cal
Nevada at Arizona St.
Fresno St. at Colorado
CSU Fullerton at Utah
Washington St. at Idaho
Wyoming at Colorado
Idaho at Oregon St.
Washington at Duke (9:00 am, CBS)
BYU at Utah
N. Dakota St. at Arizona St.
Clemson at Arizona
Pennsylvania at UCLA
New Mexico at USC
Fresno St. at Oregon
Jackson St. at Cal
Santa Clara at Washington St.
Three nationally televised
road games against highly ranked teams? I CAN'T IMAGINE HOW THAT COULD GO POORLY! Seriously, kudos to Washington for finally scheduling true road games, but Duke and Marquette?!? You can't just go from zero to sixty like that! Turns out all 3 are neutral site games, but the likelihood of Pac-12 misery is still quite high.
The rest of the schedule looks mostly like pre and post finals fodder. BYU will probably crush Utah and New Mexico should take down USC, but beyond that hopefully the damage will be limited. Famous last words? To find out, tune into next week's addition of Pac-12 basketball blunders!