Listen, nothing interesting happened in the Pac-12 this week. Cal, Colorado and Washington State lost. USC won. It's like every other week. It's almost too boring to review, except you'll read it because you love my silly comments! Right?! Please?!
No, our focus needs to be on the events that will happen in front of thousands of Oregon fans in Palo Alto next week*. That's right, the fate of the Pac-12 North, if not Western Civilization itself will be decided when the Cardinal take on the Ducks.
Last year, I was confident. Oregon was the better team! They were playing at home! There's no way the Ducks would fall to a Stanford team that lost to Washington! But I was wrong, and as a result we had to nurse queasy stomachs as obnoxious Stanford students sniffed roses at home. We must be ever vigilant so that it never happens again. Focus all of your positive energy on our most favoritest team of all time (after Cal), the Oregon Ducks!
*Can we still make fun of Stanford fans for poor attendance? I'm not sure we can, but it's so much fun that I don't want to give it up. Can we get a ruling?
USC 31, Oregon State 14
And on the day after Halloween, Cody Kessler clearly outplayed Sean Mannion in Corvallis. Spoooooooooky! I blame those hideous uniforms. And you know they were bad if I'M saying that, because I actually like orange as a color.
USC was just a plain bad team to start the year, and then a bunch of players got injured, so of course they're playing their best football of the year with Cal up next week. Not that I'm bitter and paranoid.
Conquest Chronicles praises Cody Kessler. Is he, like, good now?
It may not have been the best display of passing the Trojans have come to expect over the years, and yet its exactly what they needed in hostile territory. Orgeron had been raving the past two weeks about the swagger and confidence Kessler brings to this team, and watching him control the line of scrimmage with authority certainly fit the bill for success.
Building the Dam asks for something that they will never, ever receive:
The game made me angry of course, but nothing set me off like USC playing their fight song over the Oregon State alma mater. I have taken to listening to it in order to give me a bit of catharsis, it sort of soothes the seething rage I have for these Beaver losses, but tonight the USC band just played over it. I'm sure it is a tradition to play the song right after the game, and that's well and good, but I would have appreciated some respect for the traditions of another school from the Trojans.
Arizona State 55, Washington State 21
I'm pretty sure that Connor Halliday (6.4 yards/attempt, 20 TDs, 18 interceptions) is the worst case developmental scenario for Jared Goff. Or at least, I hope. Aaaaanyway, Halliday wasn't totally awful against Arizona State, but he needed to be brilliant to keep up with an ASU offense that really destroys below average defenses.
House of Sparky is thrilled that ASU didn't waste any time putting the game away:
If there was a theme, it's that it was a night of worsts. The offensive line offensive line had perhaps its worst game of the season, as Halliday was under assault all night. The special teams was ineffective in the return game, Mike Bowlin was still terrible, and the punt defense gave up not one, but two fake punts.
UCLA 45, Colorado 23
This game was probably a little closer than the score indicates, but ultimately UCLA was much better. I'm surprised Colorado was able to move the ball as well as they did against a usually excellent Bruin defense, but it wasn't nearly enough to keep up with a much better passing performance from Brett Hundley. I suppose missing a Kendricks really hurts, and that's something I can completely identify with.
Bruins Nation is trotting out the heavy artillery:
Colorado continued to push through our vanilla defense, but choked in the red zone again, settling for another FG. Despite getting the ball back with 1:16 and good field position, Mora and Mazzone went conservative, ending up settling for a 45 yard FG attempt, which came up wide left, with the Bruins up 21-13 at half in one of the most Dorrellian halves of football UCLA has seen since the Thinker left Westwood.
OH CRAP EVERYBODY WE'VE GOT DORRELL REFERENCES NOBODY PANIC.
Ralphie Report sounds like us:
At times Saturday night in Los Angeles it really felt like the Buffaloes were close to breaking through but a rough third quarter didn't allow Colorado to stay in the game. Still we saw a Buffs team playing with competence and swagger on the road, something we haven't seen since arguably the win over Washington State last season.
Oregon at Stanford, 6:00 pm, ESPN
USC at California, Noon, Fox
Arizona State at Utah, 1:00 pm, Pac-12 Networks
Colorado at Washington, 5:00 pm, Pac-12 Networks
UCLA at Arizona, 7:00 pm, ESPN
Is it good for the Pac-12 to put their biggest game of the year on a week night? It probably is, since it means 100% of the college football world is focused on the west. But it also feels like we're just ceding Saturday to the SEC.
Meanwhile, Utah tries to revive their flagging bowl hopes against an ASU team that does tend to struggle on the road, and UCLA and Arizona play the first of a series of pivotal games between the four teams with hypothetical hopes to win the South division title. If B.J. Denker's 2nd half of the season surge isn't a mirage, I think the Bruins should be on upset alert.