Welcome to the first edition of Back with the PAC where we look at the good, the bad, and the ugly happening around the Conference of Champions during football season! Each week will feature a breakdown of the previous week’s games, best and worst performances, and a preview of the best games in the conference.
It’s hard to believe we are three weeks into the college football season. With conference play starting this week, I want to look back at the Non-Conference slate and see where the PAC-12 currently stands.
The seemingly superior division in the Conference of Champions held up fairly well throughout Non-Conference play. Washington, Stanford, and Oregon are the class of the division and are the only teams currently ranked in the AP poll from the PAC-12. Stanford currently has a leg up on everyone in the division after winning a conference game over USC in week 2. However, Stanford has to play both Washington and Oregon on the road making it difficult to pick them to come out of the North. In the coming weeks, we will know more about who the king of the division will be. Outside of the three ranked schools, Oregon State, Washington State, and Cal all have their work cut out for them to compete in a difficult North Division.
I have no idea what to make of the PAC-12 South because this looks like one of the weakest divisions in football. Kevin Sumlin has stumbled out of the starting blocks, and Chip Kelly still thinks he’s coaching the Eagles. USC just lost to the “Texas is Back” Longhorns by 23 points who lost to the Maryland Terrapins in Week 1. After an impressive win at home over Michigan State, ASU went to San Diego State and didn’t impress losing 28-21. Utah and Colorado have been the bright spots so far beating teams they were supposed to beat. I have no idea who will come out on top in this division, but it appears that it will be a rebuilding year for multiple schools in the PAC-12 South.
Best Performance: Week 3 – Washington Huskies
The Huskies went into Utah, a very difficult place to play, and came out with a 21-7 victory. Washington leaned heavily on workhorse Myles Gaskin to the tune of 30 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown. Washington’s defense also forced three turnovers and was instrumental in coming out Salt Lake City with a win. Getting a conference road win is never an easy thing to accomplish which is why Washington ends up with the best performance of the week.
Worst Performance: Week 3 – UCLA & USC
Neither LA school had an impressive performance this past weekend. USC traveled to Texas and laid an egg by getting beat 37-14. USC had a 14-3 lead at one point, but that quickly evaporated with some big plays for the Longhorns. The biggest play of the night that put the nail in the coffin for USC was a blocked punt that Texas returned 50 yards for a touchdown.
UCLA, on the other hand, played Fresno State at home and got waxed 38-14. UCLA struggled in all facets of the game and they do not look like a cohesive team yet under Chip Kelly. The dysfunction has gotten so bad that the father of UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson had this to say on twitter.
He is speaking on and about the factual… It is all about the coaching, lousy coaching and play calling… Coaching that is so bad that it demands closed practices… Million dollar coach who bares no responsibility… Just random observations from a frustrated dad!— Michael Robinson (@DoriansDAD) September 17, 2018
If UCLA doesn’t figure out their issues soon, we could be seeing a lot more dissatisfaction coming out of Westwood.
Upcoming Game of the Week: #20 Oregon vs #7 Stanford
This week, the #7 Stanford Cardinal travel to Eugene to take on the #20 Oregon Ducks. This is a big game for both teams that should have implications on how the PAC-12 North finishes the season. Some players to watch in this game will be Oregon QB Justin Herbert, and Stanford RB Bryce Love. This will also be the site for ESPN’s College Gameday on Saturday meaning Autzen stadium will be rocking for the big time match up. It should be another great week of college football in the PAC-12!