UCLA (10) at Colorado (20)
Should it be concerning that Colorado played so poorly at home against a UCLA team struggling as much as anyone in the conference? Or is it a sign of how good their team is that they found a way to win when they played a bad game? Here’s just how ugly this game was. Colorado and UCLA combined for 25 penalties and 224 yards; they went full Oakland Raiders against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Colorado averaged a measly 2.8 yards per rushing attempt, while UCLA averaged 0.8 yards per attempt. No, that’s not a typo, they really are that bad on the ground (though I’m sure the Bears will put that to the test in the season finale). The Buffs and Bruins combined to go 11 for 33 on third down. Neither team managed to pass for more than 160 yards and UCLA barely reached 200 total yards of offense. Both of Colorado’s quarterbacks threw an interception in this contest. It was bad football all around and the result went as expected with Colorado finding a way to win, while UCLA did the opposite. Colorado’s level of play on the offensive side of the ball has to improve if they are going to stay in front of Utah and the suddenly surging USC. As for UCLA, their season has spiraled out of control to where their bowl hopes are bleak. A far fall from grace for a team that was expected to be a contender for the conference championship before the season started.
Washington (66) at California (27)
The Bears showed some fight early on when they battle back to within one point after falling behind 21-6, but the wheels fell off in dramatic fashion as the game went along. John Ross and Dante Pettis each caught three touchdown passes and consistently burned a depleted Cal secondary. Cal’s secondary consistently missed tackles and just could not hang with Washington’s duo of star receivers. Jake Browning had no difficulty picking apart the Bears as he tossed six touchdowns to severely outplay his counterpart Davis Webb. Webb’s shaky mechanics can potentially be overcome against inferior competition, but it becomes significantly more difficult to complete back-foot passes when your receivers are basically being covered by a blanket. Webb completed less than half of his passes (23 of 47) for just one touchdown — as many as Pettis had for Washington — and three interceptions. I didn’t expect Cal to win this game, but it was disappointing to see just how much better Washington has gotten than the Bears since last season. Cal can still salvage a bowl game out of this season by winning at least two of their final three games (at Washington State, vs Stanford and UCLA), and it looks like the two home games against our in-state rivals will be our best shot at earning bowl eligibility.
Arizona (7) at Washington State (69)
This one went about as expected. Arizona, one of the worst teams I’ve seen in the history of the conference, got obliterated by a much better team. Washington State’s quarterbacks were essentially playing catch against the Wildcats defense. Luke Falk completed 32 of 35 passes for 311 yards and four touchdowns, while Tyler Hilinksi, his backup, completed 15 of 17 passes for two more touchdowns. James Williams and Gerard Hicks combined for three rushing touchdowns to the Cougars’ Saturday stroll through the park.
Oregon State (15) at Stanford (26)
Oregon State couldn’t stop Stanford’s ground game in this contest and that proved to be the difference. The Cardinal failed to get anything going through the air, as usual, with Keller Chryst completing 10 of 17 passes for 60 yards. Ouch. Chryst ran for 83 yards, 44 of which came on one run, while Christian McCaffrey ran for 199 yards and one touchdown on 32 carries. Bryce Love chipped in with 89 yards and one touchdown on 9 rushing attempts to complete Stanford’s domination on the ground. The Cardinal ran the ball on their final 29 plays from scrimmage, which contributed to them almost having 40 minutes of possession. Despite being on the field for around 20 minutes of gametime, the Stanford defense still allowed 15 points to an injury depleted Oregon State offense. The Cardinal haven’t been very good this season, but you don’t have to be when you play Arizona and Oregon State in back-to-back weeks.
Oregon (20) at USC (45)
The Trojans kept the ball rolling against a hapless Oregon team on the strength of Ronald Jones II and his 171 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 20 attempts. USC controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball as they ran for 270 yards on 40 rushes as a team, while limiting Oregon to just 85 rushing yards on 30 carries. Justin Herbert struggled after back-to-back solid performances, as he completed 18 of 33 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown. The Trojans have won five consecutive games and find themselves just one-half game behind Colorado for first place in the south division. The Ducks will have to win their remaining games to be eligible for a bowl game this season, a tall task for a team playing as poorly as the Ducks are.
Utah (7-2, 4-2) at Arizona State (5-4, 2-4), Thursday at 6:30 on Fox Sports 1
Stanford (6-3, 4-3) at Oregon (3-6, 1-5), Saturday at 1:00 on Pac-12 Network
USC (6-3, 5-2) at Washington (9-0, 6-0), Saturday at 4:30 on FOX
Oregon State (2-7, 1-5) at UCLA (3-6, 1-5), Saturday at 6:00 on Pac-12 Network
Colorado (7-2, 5-1) at Arizona (2-7, 0-6), Saturday at 7:00 on Fox Sports 1
California (4-5, 2-4) at Washington State (7-2, 6-0), Saturday at 7:30 on ESPN