Just like that, there are only three weeks of Pac-12 football left in the regular season. The Pac-12 North appears to be coming down to an Apple Cup showdown between Washington and Washington State. The South looks as if anyone could win the division at this point, and will likely be decided on the final day of the regular season. It is shaping up to be an exciting finish to the Pac-12 football season!
Washington State maintained control of the division this past weekend squeaking by Cal 19-13. While it was not a stylish victory for the Cougars, it was vital for their slim playoff chances. Washington State is still ranked #8, and they need a ton of help to make the playoff. In Seattle, Washington was able to outlast Stanford 27-23. This was a fantastic game, even though it did not have the division implications many anticipated at the beginning of the season.
After two disappointing losses, Oregon beat up UCLA 42-21 in a must win game for the Ducks. Both Oregon and Stanford seem out of the North race at this point which is surprising. Both teams are two games back and each team has lost to Washington State which makes winning the division unlikely. The only team with a legitimate chance is Washington. The Huskies are only one game back and play Washington State in the final week of the season. The winner of that game in Pullman will likely determine the Pac-12 North Champion.
The Pac-12 South is one of the worst and most chaotic divisions in football. This past weekend, Utah was upset by ASU 38-20. It was an impressive performance for the Sun Devils who played great in each phase of the game. To add injury to insult, Utah Quarterback Tyler Huntley is out for the remainder of the season with a broken collarbone. It was not a good weekend for the Utah Utes. USC took care of business against Oregon State defeating the Beavers 38-21. While the score is not indicative of how close the game was, USC is now in a position to steal the South back from Utah. The Trojans have a favorable schedule and are their injured players are beginning to return.
In Tucson, the Arizona team we thought we would see at the beginning of the season is finally showing up. Arizona defeated Colorado in a shootout on Friday night 42-34. Khalil Tate threw for 350 yards and 5 touchdowns in his best performance of the season. The South has four teams within a game of first place, and there is no way to pick a favorite. If I had to pick a favorite it would be USC because of their remaining schedule. However, keep an eye on Arizona and ASU as each team is playing their best football of the season.
Best Performance of the Week: Arizona State Sun Devils
Utah looked like the clear front runner in the South, until they went to Tempe. ASU was fantastic in all three phases of the game on Saturday. N’Keal Harry had himself a day hauling in 9 receptions for 161 yards and 3 touchdowns. ASU controls their own destiny in the South because they beat both USC and Utah this season. If the Sun Devils can continue to play like this, they might be the favorites to win the division.
Worst Performance of the Week: UCLA Bruins
UCLA was defeated by Oregon this past weekend 42-21. While the Bruins lost by three touchdowns, what stood out in their poor performance was penalties and turnovers. UCLA had 3 turnovers and 11 penalties which is far too many. The sloppy performance is what earned them the worst performance of the week.
Upcoming Game of the Week: Oregon at Utah
This game is intriguing match up for multiple reasons. First, each team is in need of a win. Oregon is chasing Washington State in the North, and Utah is trying to regain their lead in the South. Second, Utah is without their starting quarterback because of a broken collarbone, so it will be interesting to see how they adjust. Each team needs a win, making this an exciting game to watch!