Another thrilling week of Pac-12 football has concluded, and the division races are heating up. The North is down to both Washington schools meaning the Apple Cup will likely determine the winner of the division. The South is now a three team race between Arizona, ASU, and Utah. With two weeks left, and division races being decided by rivalry games, the Pac-12 football championship race is heating up!
Washington State continues to control the division as they handled Colorado 31-7 this past weekend. It was a strong performance from the Cougars and because of the win of the win Gardner Minshew remains in the Heisman conversation. However, the best part of this game was seeing Gardner Minshew put a fake mustache on Mike Leach for his post-game interview. It was hilarious to say the least. The biggest winner in the North division was the California Golden Bears. Cal beat USC 15-14 behind a gritty performance in the Coliseum. This was the first time they had defeated the Trojans since 2004 and first time winning in the Coliseum since 2000. In Salt Lake City, the Oregon Ducks lost to the Utah Utes 32-25. It has been a fall from grace for Oregon after they defeated Washington at home. They have lost three of four games and have the same conference record as Cal. Not a great finish for a team who was a sleeper pick to win the division. Finally, Stanford beat Oregon State 48-17 in a game that had little meaning.
The South division may produce the worst division in all of college football this season. Division leader Utah defeated the Ducks 32-25 in a must win game. While this was a big win for the Utes, they need to beat Colorado this coming week, and hope ASU loses to either Oregon or Arizona to close out the season to win the division. Speaking of ASU, they sneaked past UCLA 31-28. While it was not a pretty performance for ASU, they still control their own destiny in the South. If they win out, they are the division champions. As mentioned earlier, USC and Colorado both lost to Pac-12 North opponents this past weekend. The result is especially disappointing for USC as they are out of the South race in a down year for the division. At this point, it would be shocking if Clay Helton returned for another season to lead the men of Troy. Arizona did not play this weekend, but it is important to note that if they win out and Utah loses to Colorado on Saturday, they would be the Pac-12 South champions.
Best Performance of the Week: California Golden Bears
Defeating USC for the first time in fourteen years is one way to earn the best performance of the week. The Defense came up huge for the Golden Bears, holding the Trojans to only 14 points. Cal was also able to keep the ball away from the Trojans offense in the final minutes which was a huge part of their victory. With the win, the Bears are now Bowl eligible for the first time in three years!
Worst Performance of the Week: Oregon Ducks
Oregon needed a win against the Utah Utes to keep their division hopes alive and they just could not deliver. Utah was forced to start a backup quarterback and running back because of injury, but that did not help the Oregon defense. Utah still scored 32 points and Oregon was able to only put up 25 in a loss. The Ducks have now lost three of four games and have fallen a long way after beating Washington at home.
Upcoming Game of the Week: ASU at Oregon
ASU controls their own destiny in the South, and Oregon is trying to get back on track in the North. Throw in the fact that it is Oregon’s senior night, and those factors make for a thrilling football game in Eugene. Each team needs a win so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.