We are now officially half way through the college football season which is hard to believe. This past weekend, any chance of a Pac-12 football team reaching the playoff seems to have disappeared. With Stanford out and Washington on the outside looking in, it would take a miracle for one of them to make it. However, the division races are both tightly contested, and the second half of the season should be just as exciting as the first!
Oh how the mighty have fallen in just two short weeks. After being demolished by Notre Dame, Stanford hoped to bounce back at home against Utah. That did not happen as Stanford was defeated easily by the Utah Utes 40-21. While this loss at Notre Dame was bad, this loss appears worse than that. Stanford loses control of the North, giving the control to Washington, and are out of College Football Playoff contention. Washington scraped by UCLA 31-24, keeping them unbeaten in conference play. Washington state took care of business against Oregon State bringing their record to 2-1 in conference play. Oregon did not play this week, but that could help them with Washington coming to Eugene this weekend.
Colorado passed their first real test of the season by defeating ASU 28-21. The Buffaloes are having a successful and surprising season, and are the only team in the South still undefeated. However, the story of the Pac-12 South this week was Utah beating Stanford. That is a very impressive victory for Kyle Whittingham and his Utes. Utah now has the toughest part of their schedule behind them, and look like a potential candidate to win the South. In Tucson, Arizona rode their defense to a 24-17 win on a night where the offense was quiet. The Wildcats forced four turnovers, and took two of them back for a touchdown, leading them to a crucial conference win. UCLA had a close contest with Washington, but they came up short meaning Chip Kelly is still looking for his first win at UCLA. Right now, the favorites for the South division appear to be Utah and Colorado, but that will certainly change in the next six weeks of Pac-12 football.
Best Performance of the Week: Utah Utes
Utah blowing out Stanford was a performance that nobody could have predicted. The Utes were desperate for a win, and it showed on Saturday. On offense, running back Zack Moss ran for 160 yards with two touchdowns, along with quarterback Tyler Huntley throwing for almost 200 yards and a touchdown. On defense the Utes forced four turnovers and returned an interception for a touchdown. It was a dominate display by Utah in a game that could turn around their season.
Worst Performance of the Week: Stanford Cardinal
Coming off of a disappointing loss to Notre Dame, everyone expected Stanford to get back on track at home against Utah. Instead, the Stanford defense gave up over 200 yards rushing, and were run out of their own stadium. The offense was not much better coughing up the ball four times. This has been two rough weeks for Stanford, and any chance for a playoff berth is gone. Their match-up with Washington in Seattle also becomes a must win game if Stanford wants to have a chance at winning the North division.
Upcoming Game of the Week: #7 Washington at #17 Oregon
For the game of the week, Washington travels to Eugene to take on the Oregon Ducks. This game is a rivalry game and both teams hate one another. There will be energy and passion, and there will be plenty of North division race implications. Washington has a chance to take a lead in the division, while Oregon has the chance to get right back into the thick of the race with a win. This will be an important and exciting game in another action packed week of Pac-12 football!