Who deserves to be on the Pac-12 All-Decade Team 2010-19? George and Ralph draft their best offense, defense, special teams, and coach to play a game. Starts at 43:00
Officiating calls continue to cause debate and controversy in college football and NFL games. We have a solution for the targeting call and catch/no-catch rules.
Did we leave anyone off the Pac-12 All-Decade Team 2010-19 or were we perfect? Leave a comment or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us who built the best team.
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If the 2020 season is able to commence, there are many Pac-12 coaches that have a lot to prove. The conference simply is not taken as seriously as the other Power 5 conferences nationally. However, young quarterbacks and coaches with something to prove may be the perfect recipe for the Pac-12 to get a representative in the College Football Playoff for the first time since 2016.
Clay Helton Tops Pac-12 Coaches On Fans’ Hot Seat
Saying Clay Helton’s name to USC fans may invoke a variety of emotions. USC sees their program as the premier program in the Pac-12 Conference. Many of their fans believe that Helton is not upholding that standard. J.T. Daniels just transferred to Georgia, which makes Kedon Slovis the presumed starter entering the 2020 season.
showed signs of being the quarterback that could restore faith in the USC
program. He set the NCAA freshman record with a 71.8 percent completion
percentage in 2019. A touchdown-interception ratio of 30:9 should be enough for
fans to be optimistic about their team, but fans are so distraught about who
the current coach is.
On Unafraid Show’s Pac-12 Apostles podcast, hosted by George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden, they talked about how it seems the USC athletic department wants to keep Clay Helton around. The fans want Clay Helton out, and 2020 may be the last season for the embattled head coach at USC. Fans want to have a proven head coach who they believe can restore the glory days when Pete Carroll was the head coach (without the controversy, of course). Look for USC to make a push to hire Urban Meyer if things do not pan out with Clay Helton this season.
Chip Kelly Must Prove Himself at UCLA
Kelly was looked at as a mastermind during his time as Oregon head coach from
2009-2012. People refer to him as one of the coaches who helped revolutionize
the college game. However, he flamed out in the NFL with the Eagles and 49ers,
and has struggled to set his footing thus far at UCLA.
Even though the Bruins were 4-8 this past season, they did have their moments. They came back from a 32-point deficit against Washington State in Pullman to win 67-63. They also had an 18-point road win at Stanford. If Kelly is able to get more consistency out of his football team, UCLA could be on the upswing. Still, Kelly has to show progress this season though.
Herm Edwards Must Win Big At Arizona State With Jayden Daniels at QB
Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels is looked at as a possible Heisman Trophy contender in 2020. Herm Edwards is struggling to recruit within the state of Arizona, so he has to show possible talent within the state that the school is the place to go within the state.
With how the rest of the Pac-12 Conference is shaping up this season, it may be the Sun Devils’ division to lose. Their November 21 game against Utah in Tempe may play a huge role in deciding the Pac-12 South. Arizona State will have chances to place themselves in the ranks of the elite Pac-12 schools if they are able to pull off possible upsets at USC in September and at Oregon in November.
David Shaw Must Avoid Second Straight Losing Season
David Shaw is regarded as one of the top coaches in the Pac-12. Still, the Cardinal ended the season on a four-game losing streak to finish 4-8. Stanford needs to start the season off well, as they have three Pac-12 games in September after a Week 1 tune-up against William & Mary. Stanford does not have that program-defining player on the roster currently. Andrew Luck, Christian McCaffrey, and Bryce Love elevated their teams at points. It will be interesting to see if someone can take on this responsibility on offense for the Cardinal. If not, it may be more of the same as 2019 for Stanford.
Pac-12 Coaches Will Lead To Conference Improving
The Pac-12 conference as a whole will improve if these coaches are able to take steps in the right direction next season. The conference needs to take steps to be in the national conversation more as far as a College Football Playoff berth is concerned. There are young talents that could have Heisman consideration this season in Kedon Slovis and Jayden Daniels. The conference should be able to get into the national conversation because of talented players and coaches improving.
The 2020 Pac-12 Tournament bracket has taken shape after another crazy week of Pac-12 Basketball. Oregon showed why they are the favorites to win this week’s tournament in Las Vegas, while last-place Washington shocked both Arizona and Arizona State. Officiating took some of the spotlight as teams jockeyed for position in the conference tournament.
Oregon Cements Front-Runner Status Ahead of Pac-12 Tournament
Oregon defended their home
court against California and Stanford, and they are looking like the
frontrunners in Las Vegas this week. Payton Pritchard has had a great senior
season, and is the favorite to win Pac-12 Conference Men’s Basketball Player of
the Year. Pritchard should also be included in conversations for the Naismith Men’s
College Player of the Year award. He has averaged 20.5 points per game this
season and shot 46.8 percent from the field. Pritchard has been one of the most
efficient players and will have a chance to lead his team to a second straight
Pac-12 Tournament Championship this week.
USC Beats UCLA, Teams Could
Meet Again In Pac-12 Tournament Semis
USC and UCLA played in a classic defensive duel on Saturday. With one second remaining Jonah Mathews made a 3-point shot in his last game at the Galen Center. USC got a much-needed win that helps their cause on Selection Sunday. UCLA is squarely on the bubble, but this loss does not diminish the turnaround they have had this season. The Bruins will be the two seed in Las Vegas, and USC will be the three seed. These teams could meet again in the Pac-12 semis. Both USC and UCLA can cement their tournament bids by winning games in the Pac-12 Tournament. However, both the Bruins and Trojans will face nerve wracking Selection Sundays if they are unable to get at least one win in Las Vegas.
Washington Shocks Both Arizona State and Arizona On Road
Washington poses a threat in the Pac-12 Tournament next week. They played excellent against both Arizona State and Arizona. They won both these games by playing the types of games their opponents are used to playing. The Huskies may also be getting back point guard Quade Green, who was declared academically ineligible in January. It is unclear if Green will play in the Pac-12 Tournament. If he does, he will add another dimension to a suddenly dangerous Husky team. Washington is considered a dark horse to win the Pac-12 Tournament but will have to do so as the last place team in the conference. Also, they have to play Arizona again on Wednesday in Las Vegas.
Arizona State Backs Their Way into Pac-12 Tournament First Round Bye
Arizona State took a huge
step back against Washington, but they were able to beat Washington State on Saturday.
A point of concern in ASU’s victory against the Cougars is that they
relinquished a 17-point lead in the second half. They were able to make enough
plays to get a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament, but the Sun Devils are
also not a lock to make the Tournament field.
Arizona Tournament Bound,
But Struggles Showing
Arizona has done enough to make the tournament, but they have struggled during the back end of the season. The Wildcats are 1-4 in their last five games, with their only win coming last Thursday against Washington State at home. Their offensive woes have shown, as they only had five made field goals in the first half of their 69-63 loss against Washington. Arizona is like a lot of teams in the conference, as they do not have one player that can elevate them to victory on a consistent basis. Nico Mannion and Zeke Nnaji, who are both freshmen, have shown why they were top recruits at Arizona. However, they have not been able to lift the Wildcats to victory lately.
Colorado Is Simply Searching For Answers
The Buffaloes lost a controversial overtime game at Utah 74-72. Up 72-71, McKinley Wright was called for a foul on Utah guard Both Gach’s three-point shot. It was unclear if Wright even made contact with Gach on the play. However, Wright missed a pivotal free throw on the previous sequence. If Wright makes the first free throw, the Buffaloes get a chance to possibly go up by three points.
The Buffaloes were having a dream season, but a four-game losing streak has left them searching for answers. In reality, they ended the 2020 Pac-12 conference season with the same record (10-8) they had last year. This team is tournament-bound due to their performance in non-conference play, namely their win against a possible 1-seed in Dayton. However, they need to recapture the swagger they played with in January and the early part of February to have any shot at making noise in the postseason.
However, it is frustrating that the result of this game was basically determined on an official’s call at the end of overtime. Teams such as Colorado had everything to play for this past weekend, and the officials took center stage. Critical junctures in seasons call for players to perform at their best, and the Pac-12 needs to make sure their officials are performing at their best this week in the Pac-12 Tournament. Let the conference champion be determined by good basketball, not bad officiating.
Non-Conference Wins Difference for Presumptive Tournament Locks In Pac-12
Teams such as Stanford and
UCLA are in precarious positions because they do not have a non-conference win that
stands out. UCLA’s best win arguably was their road win against Colorado in
Boulder, and Stanford’s best win is against Oregon at home. However, multiple
teams, including Washington State and Oregon State, beat Oregon at home this
season. There has been so much parity in Pac-12 conference play, that the teams
that are considered safe bets to make the tournament are in that position
because of how they performed in non-conference play. Oregon has huge wins
against Seton Hall and Michigan. Colorado has a huge win against Dayton.
Arizona has a quality non-conference win against Illinois.
The Pac-12 will get at
least five teams into the tournament, but there are four teams (Arizona State,
USC, UCLA, and Stanford) that face an uncertain Selection Sunday at this point.
All four of these teams have arguments to get in the field, but some of their
bubbles may burst on Selection Sunday. However, every team in the conference
has a chance to make the tournament by winning the Pac-12 Tournament this week.
With all the parity that has presided over the conference this season, it
should be a fun tournament this week.
week in 2020 Pac-12 Basketball belonged to the home team. Across the league,
the home team went 9-1 in the 10 games played between Wednesday (2/25) and
Sunday (3/1). Teams such as UCLA, USC, and Stanford were given huge boosts to
their tournament hopes. However, teams that established themselves as
tournament contenders, such as Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona State, had
weekends to forget.
UCLA’s 7-Game Winning Streak Propels Them to First Place in 2020 Pac-12 Basketball
weekend got off to a great start against Arizona State on Thursday. Freshman
guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. hit a game-winning three with 0.6 seconds left to lift
the Bruins to a 75-72 victory. Then on Saturday, they pulled away late against
Arizona and won 69-64. The same UCLA team that has the worst loss in
non-conference play, to Cal State Fullerton, is now in first place in the
Pac-12. Mick Cronin has arguably become a shoe-in for Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
The Bruin’s turnaround is great for the conference, as they are one of the most
nationally-recognized names in the Pac-12.
It is interesting to think about how the conference is viewed as a whole, because they are the first place team that lost to Cal State Fullerton. Still, the Pac-12 has some good non-conference wins as a conference. Washington, who has the worst record in the conference, has arguably the best non-conference win against Baylor.
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Tournament Chances: Trending Up – UCLA has made their case for March, but they have a massive game on Saturday against USC at the Galen Center. Winning this game will give UCLA a share of the 2020 Pac-12 Basketball Regular Season title. If they are able to show up in the conference tournament, they may need to get to the conference championship to cement their spot in the tournament.
Oregon Beats In-State Rival, Frontrunners for 2020 Pac-12 Basketball Regular Season Title
will get overshadowed by the weeks UCLA and USC had, but the Ducks took care of
business against Oregon State 69-54. The Ducks broke their three-game losing
streak against the Beavers, as they will attempt to get at least a share of the
conference title. Oregon has home games against California and Stanford this week.
They are undefeated at home, boasting a 15-0 record at Matthew Knight Arena
Tournament Chances: In the field – Oregon has quality wins in non-conference play. They are near the top of the standings in the Pac-12. The main question for the Ducks is where they will be positioned in the bracket.
Arizona State Takes a Step Back In LA Road Trip
The Sun Devils went toe-to-toe with UCLA Thursday night but were beat at the buzzer. They trailed for most of the game Saturday against USC. Arizona State is an exciting team to watch, and Bobby Hurley has done a great job to get this team on the right side of the bubble. However, losing two straight is a bit of a letdown after their seven-game winning streak.
Tournament Chances: Decent – The Sun Devils will need to take care of business this week against Washington and Washington State, but they should be in the tournament. They are 6-1 at home in-conference, including a resume-boosting win against Oregon. Expect to see the Sun Devils in an 8-vs-9 or 7-vs-10 game.
Colorado Buffaloes Have Worst Week of 2020 Pac-12 Basketball Season in Bay Area
The Buffaloes had a stinker Thursday night in Berkeley, as they lost 76-62 to a California team that they simply should have beat. Colorado had more life Sunday against Stanford, but they were still looking for answers after a 72-64 defeat. This season for the Buffaloes is at a crossroads, as they are no longer in contention for the Pac-12 regular season title. They have accomplished so much this season, and this iteration of the Colorado Buffaloes is probably the best team Tad Boyle has had in his tenure as head coach. However, reputations are made in March, and the Buffaloes will have to start their turnaround from their current three-game losing streak Saturday at Utah.
Tournament Chances: In the field – The Buffaloes have a huge non-conference win against Dayton, who has not lost since Colorado defeated them. They beat Oregon when they were ranked fourth in the country. However, the loss to Cal was probably their worst loss of the season. The Buffaloes need to win at Utah and show up in the conference tournament to ensure that they will still get a top-6 seed on Selection Sunday.
USC Trojans on Right Side of Bubble
USC also beat both Arizona and Arizona State this weekend. They led for the majority of both games. The Trojans got contributions from Jonah Mathews and Daniel Utomi in both games. Their defense also showed up in both games, as they held Arizona and Arizona State to 48 and 61 points, respectively. Both of their games were complete games. If their defense can travel, they will be a tough out in both the conference tournament and the NCAA tournament.
Tournament Chances: Decent – The Trojans have a better NET rating and a head-to-head victory over UCLA, giving them the upper hand over their Los Angeles rivals. However, Saturday’s game at the Galen Center is huge, as it could help USC get a higher seed in the conference tournament. USC has had a more consistent season than UCLA, but the winner of Saturday’s game will regard their season as the better one.
Arizona Struggles, Sean Miller Get Ejected Saturday
had a tough go on Thursday against USC, as they had one more field goal (16) than
turnovers (15) in the 57-48 loss. On Saturday against UCLA, they played better
and were leading for most of the first half. However, Sean Miller got ejected
with 12:28 remaining in the second half as the Wildcats were leading, 47-44. Arizona
was able to hold their own, but UCLA ended the game on an 11-2 run to win
Tournament Chances: In – Arizona still has the best NET rating in the Pac-12 conference at number 11. They were able to dominate their non-conference schedule (minus the loss to St. John’s) despite their inconsistencies in-conference. However, every team has had their struggles in-conference, especially on the road. The Wildcats will have a chance to right the ship this week, with home games against Washington State on Thursday and Washington on Saturday.
Stanford Gets Resume-Boosting Win Against Colorado
was able to beat Utah 70-62 on Wednesday, but they were able to beat a ranked
Colorado team 72-64 on Sunday. The Cardinal led the Buffaloes for the majority
of the game, and had four starters score in double figures. Stanford was
thought of as one of the teams on the outside looking in, but they may be on
their way to playing in the First Four in Dayton.
Tournament Chances: 50/50 – Stanford is squarely on the bubble, but they have a huge opportunity at Oregon on Saturday. No team has gone into Eugene and won this season, and beating Oregon along with a win against Oregon State may be enough to get Stanford into the tournament. They may have another opportunity for a resume-boosting win in the Pac-12 tournament. However, Saturday feels like a must-have for the Cardinal, or else they may be NIT-bound.
Can Pac-12 Basketball Get Seven Teams Into the Tournament in 2020?
Pac-12 getting six teams into the tournament looked like a pipeline dream a
month ago. Now, they could get seven teams into the tournament. Teams that were
afterthoughts not too long ago, like Arizona State and UCLA, have turned a
corner and have become different teams in the second half of the conference
season. It will be interesting how the selection committee ultimately views the
parity in the conference, but this season it looks like it has helped the
conference. A season after having only three teams in the tournament, the Pac-12
could have more than half their teams dancing in the NCAA Tournament.
Pac-12 basketball has put itself in position to get five teams into the 2020 NCAA Tournament. Each team can improve their potential seed in the NCAA Tournament if they perform well. However, with the volatility of play in the 2020 Pac-12 Basketball season, multiple scenarios are in play as teams approach the home stretch of the regular season.
Colorado Buffaloes Leading the 2020 Pac-12 Basketball Standings
Record: 19-5 (8-3 Pac-12)
Key wins: VS Dayton (in Chicago), VS Oregon
Bad losses: VS Oregon State, at UCLA
The Buffaloes are in line for a six seed in the 2020 NCAA Tournament as of right now. They have been able to pull off huge resume-building wins against Oregon and Dayton, who both got places in the Selection Committee’s Top 16 seeds as of right now. Even though they are first in the Pac-12 standings, the Buffaloes have not been respected nationally as much as a conference leader should be.
Colorado has a huge opportunity to make an impression on the committee when they head to Eugene to play Oregon on Thursday. The Buffaloes also have the opportunity to avenge both of their bad losses at Oregon State (Feb. 15) and at home against UCLA (Feb. 22). If the Buffaloes can win out after the Oregon game and beat opponents not named Arizona and Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament, they will probably stay on the six-line as far as the NCAA Tournament is concerned. However, if the Buffaloes can pull off the upset in Eugene, win out, and be impressive in the Pac-12 Tournament, a top-four seed could be in the cards for them.
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Oregon Ducks Still Regarded as Best Team in 2020 Pac-12 Basketball, but Bad Losses Mounting
Record: 18-6 (7-4 Pac-12)
Key wins: VS Arizona, VS Seton Hall (Battle 4
Bad losses: VS North Carolina (Battle 4 Atlantis), at Washington State, at Oregon State
The Ducks were the preseason pick to win the Pac-12. They were also the only team in the Pac-12 who was in the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee’s Top 16 seeds as of right now. Oregon was listed as a 4-seed.
However, the Ducks received that seeding before
losing to Oregon State in Corvallis on Saturday night. This loss is the second
bad conference road loss the Ducks have had. They have to show consistency on
the road and defend home court to stay in position to obtain a top-four seed.
Their first test defending home court will be Thursday against the
conference-leading Colorado Buffaloes.
Arizona Wildcats: Inconsistency Caught Up to Them on Home Floor
Record: 16-7 (6-4 Pac-12)
Key wins: VS Colorado, VS Illinois
Bad losses: VS St. John’s (Al Attles Classic), at
Oregon State, VS UCLA
Arizona had only lost to Gonzaga on their home
court before UCLA beat them by 13 points Saturday night. This loss is brutal
for Arizona’s prospects of landing a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament. Arizona
needs to prove they can beat teams that they should beat, and their first test
will be this Thursday when they are on the road to face California.
The Wildcats will have another opportunity to
beat Oregon at home on February 22 after losing to them by one point in an
overtime thriller in Eugene. If Arizona can win this game and perform well in
the conference tournament, there could be an argument for them to be a top-four
seed. Right now it looks like they are in line for a spot on the five or six
Stanford Cardinal Have to Possibly Navigate Next Few Games Without Oscar da Silva
Record: 16-7 (5-5 Pac-12)
Key wins: VS Oregon
Bad losses: at California, VS Oregon State, at
The Cardinal are 1-4 in their last five games.
They have losses to California, Oregon State, Utah, and Colorado. However, they
have a huge win against Oregon sandwiched in between two two-game losing
Stanford may be without big man Oscar da Silva
for the foreseeable future after he suffered a head laceration. Oscar da Silva collided
with Colorado forward Evan Battey in Saturday’s game, and had to get stitches
because he was bleeding. The injury could have been worse, but luckily da Silva
is “going to be okay,” according to Stanford spokesperson Zack Reynolds.
Stanford plays Arizona, Oregon, and Colorado
each one more time before the conference tournament. They will probably have to
win at least one of these three games to be ensured of a tournament selection,
and they cannot have any more bad losses.
USC Trojans Need to Right Ship After Three-Game Losing Streak
Record: 17-7 (6-5 Pac-12)
Key Wins: VS LSU (Basketball Hall of Fame
Classic), VS Stanford
Bad Losses: at Washington
USC is currently on a three-game losing streak.
However, they are still being projected as a nine or ten seed in most brackets.
The Trojans could add to their resume, as they still have a trip to Boulder to
play Colorado and a home date with Arizona on their schedule. They are in the
same boat as Stanford. If the Trojans can win one of these two games and have
an admirable showing in the Pac-12 Tournament, they will probably make the tournament.
USC beat an LSU team that was undefeated in SEC
play before losing two straight this past week. However, they have a stinker on
their resume, as they lost by 32 points to the last-place team in the
conference in Washington. It will be interesting to see how the committee
judges this loss by the Trojans, because Washington was still with point guard
Quade Green in this game. Green was ruled academically ineligible for the rest
of the regular season after this game.
Team That Still Has Opportunities in 2020: Arizona State
15-8 (6-4 Pac-12)
Key Wins: VS Arizona, VS USC
Bad Losses: @ Washington State
Arizona State will probably be living life on
the bubble until Selection Sunday on March 15. They are 5-1 in their last six
games, with wins against Arizona and USC. If the Sun Devils can beat Stanford
and USC and have a decent showing in the conference tournament, they can make
an argument for being included in the field in March.
However, Arizona is the best win of the season
for the Sun Devils. Washington State is their only truly bad loss, but beating
Oregon will be more important for Arizona State than it will be for any other
team playing them the rest of the way. Coupling an Oregon win with a run in the
Pac-12 Tournament will make a decision on whether the Sun Devils should be in
the tournament a tough one for the committee.
Rest of Teams in Pac-12 Need to Win 2020 Conference Tournament to Make the Field
Washington, Washington State, Oregon State,
California, UCLA, and Utah all have to hope they can have a magical weekend in
Las Vegas from March 11-14. All of these teams have beat at least one of the
teams that are projected to be in the tournament. However, winning the
conference tournament ensures an automatic berth into the tournament. With how
the Pac-12 has been playing out, anything is possible in the tournament.
As of right now Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, Stanford, and USC look like the five teams that will be representing Pac-12 Basketball in the 2020 NCAA Tournament. With how college basketball has been this season, there will probably be madness that occurs before March. It will be interesting to see if there is a team that can achieve consistency in a Pac-12 conference where consistency seems impossible. If the beginning of February college basketball has been any indication, the rest of the month will be crazy.
The 2020 College Basketball season has already brought the madness that is usually seen in March. There is no clear-cut favorite, and the AP Top 25 constantly changes from week-to-week. Pac-12 Basketball has brought the craziness in the 2019-20 season, as unpredictability has been the theme of the conference so far.
Pac-12 only had three teams in the NCAA Tournament in 2019 (Washington, Arizona
State, and Oregon) and one team in the National Invitation Tournament
(Colorado). This season, the conference is looking to have far more teams in
Joe Lunardi, the most prominent “Bracketologist”, had five teams in his NCAA Tournament field for 2020 as of January 21. These five teams include Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, Stanford, and USC.
The Pac-12 Basketball Favorites: Oregon, Colorado, Arizona
The Pac-12 conference could end up making an argument to have six or seven teams make the tournament come Selection Sunday, which is March 15.
Oregon is widely regarded to as the best team in Pac-12 basketball. Currently, the Ducks are 15-4, with a 4-2 mark in Pac-12 play. Led by senior Payton Pritchard, the Ducks have impressive non-conference wins against Memphis and Seton Hall at neutral sites. They also won an overtime thriller against Michigan. However, Oregon lost to Washington State this past Thursday. The Ducks have not always been consistent but should be at least a top-4 seed come tournament time.
Colorado is one of the most experienced teams in the Pac-12, led by junior McKinley Wright IV. The Buffaloes have an effective supporting cast with Tyler Bey, D’Shawn Schwartz, and Evan Battey to name a few, but sometimes the offense looks stagnant, especially in losses against Kansas and this past Saturday against Arizona. The Buffaloes have wins against Oregon and Dayton which should help their cause. If they can build upon their 14-4 (3-2 Pac-12) record, they should be strongly considered to be a top-4 seed come March.
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The Arizona Wildcats are having a bounce-back season in wake of the bribery scandal involving DeAndre Ayton a few years ago. The Wildcats are 13-5 (3-2 Pac-12) this season, but also have been inconsistent thus far in conference play. They have defended home court in conference play, defeating opponents by an average of 21.7 points per game. However, they lost to both Oregon and Oregon State.
Pac-12 Basketball NCAA Tournament Hopefuls: Stanford and USC
and Stanford are currently the top two teams in the conference standings, with
each having a 4-1 conference record, respectively. USC won against Stanford in
Los Angeles this past Saturday 82-78. The Trojans and Cardinal have both not
been shown any respect nationally. Neither team is ranked, but they are both
15-3 this season.
is USC’s most notable win, however. The Trojans lost by 32 to Washington in
conference play, and Oregon will be the first ranked team they play this
season. The only ranked team Stanford has played was Kansas, and they lost
Non-Conference Schedule Hurting Pac-12 Basketball
The Pac-12 as a conference needs to work on their non-conference schedule in basketball, especially given how the conference was perceived at tournament time last year. Larry Scott’s goal should be to have at least half the league in the NCAA Tournament each season.
conference needs to have a partnership with one of the other major conferences.
The Big Ten/ACC Challenge and Big 12/SEC Challenge are both great for college
basketball and bolster both conference’s resumes. The Pac-12 should look to
possibly partner with the Big East or even one of the other conferences to help
with the non-conference schedule.
Best Non-Conference Win For Pac-12 Basketball: Washington Over Baylor
beat Baylor 67-64 in the Armed Forces Classic on November 8 in Anchorage,
Alaska. Baylor was just awarded the number-one spot in the AP Poll on Monday.
Washington has struggled in conference play with a 2-4 record. The Huskies will
be the most prominent Pac-12 teams that will be living life on the bubble until
March because they beat Baylor.
the end, there should be at least four teams in the NCAA Tournament for the
Pac-12. USC should end up getting in if they end with a winning record in
conference play. Beyond that, Washington is the conference’s best hope to get
half the teams from the “conference of champions” into the tournament. The
Pac-12 needs to live up to its slogan and accomplish this feat. The season has
been crazy, but hopefully the committee will take notice of the product the
Pac-12 is putting out there this season.
The PAC-12 offenses are actually roughly average across the NCAA as well, although that’s primarily because most of the teams in the NCAA are roughly league average.
Funny how that works.
However, there are some exceptions. Washington State is once again proving to be absolutely elite at moving the ball through the air, while Cal and Stanford are struggling to move the ball, well, at all.
Here is a quick look at some of the best – and worst – offenses in the PAC-12 and how they stack up around the rest of the college football landscape.
Pac-12 Top Tier Offense: Washington State Cougars
Under coach Mike Leach, Washington State has once again constructed an absolutely elite passing attack.
WSU is averaging 440.7 passing yards per game, an absolutely staggering number. It leads the NCAA by a wide, wide margin and is actually a higher average than seven PAC-12 schools are averaging in TOTAL OFFENSE.
Think about that.
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Anthony Gordon is off to a ridiculous start to the season, completing 70.2 percent of his passes for a whopping 2,981 yards and a 29/7 touchdown to interception ratio.
WSU’s record will likely keep him out of the Heisman conversation, but even though this isn’t the magical Gardner Minshew-team, this is still a high-octane offense and one of the very best in the entire college football landscape.
Bottom Tier: Cal Golden Bears
The Golden Bears got off to a hot start this season, going 4-0 and even sneaking into the top-25 conversation. Although the offense never exploded in any of those games, they scored 27, 20, 23 and 28 through those four victories, displaying enough to beat teams like UW and Ole Miss.
However, things have really fallen off the rails since then. Cal is 0-3 in the last few weeks, including an embarrassing loss to Oregon State last week. The offense has faltered slightly, only scoring 17 against Arizona State and Oregon State and mustering just seven against Oregon.
All told, Cal has the fewest points per game average in the PAC-12, at just 19.9 points per game. They are the worst passing team in the conference by a considerable margin, averaging just 193.7 passing yards per game. Even Stanford, known for stubbornly running the ball, is averaging 216 yards through the air.
All told, there are only 14 teams in the entire NCAA, and only two in the Power-5, who are averaging less than Cal’s 324 total yards of offense per game.
After that hot 4-0 start, Cal is proving, more or less, that they are who we thought they were.
Top Tier: Oregon Ducks
No surprise here. The Oregon Ducks have had an elite NCAA offense for nearly a decade now, ever since Chip Kelly and his high-octane offense graced the field in Eugene.
The Ducks average 457.1 yards of offense per game, second in the PAC-12 behind Washington State, and are scoring 35.9 points per game, also second in the PAC-12 behind WSU and just ahead of UW, who is at 35.8.
Oregon has a decently balanced offensive attack, although it’s not a huge surprise that they do most of their damage through the air. The team is averaging 283.6 yards per game in the air, thanks to Heisman trophy candidate Justin Herbert and his sparkly 21/1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
They are doing their fare share of work on the ground as well, with a tidy 173.6 rushing yard per game on average.
Oregon’s balanced attack and ability to avoid turnovers has made them one of the best teams in the Nation, and their chances at a CFB playoff spot remain intact at this point in the season.
Bottom Tier: Stanford Cardinal
Stanford is averaging a measly 20 points per game, barely above Cal’s 19.9 mark.
The team’s trademark run-heavy offensive attack has not been effective this year, as they are only generating 114.1 yards on the ground per game, which is among the worst marks in the entire NCAA and only tops Washington State in the conference.
The passing attack, frankly, hasn’t been much better – as QB’s David Mills and K.J. Costello have only been able to average 216 yards per game, and combined have a combined 7/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
It’s been a rough year for the Cardinal, and one that has them squarely among the worst offensive teams in the PAC-12 – and the nation.
Facing a Ducks team ranked #16 in the nation and led by Heisman candidate Justin Herbert, the Cardinal would attempt to right the ship. Receiving the opening kickoff, the Cardinal drove 61 yards in 12 plays in 6:21 seconds, primarily off the legs of running back Cameron Scarlett. Unable to punch the ball into the endzone Stanford would settle for a field goal, taking a 3-0 lead.
The Cardinal defense was the one of a few bright spots on the day, keeping Herbert under 300 yards passing (19/24 259yards 3TDs). The Stanford defense also held Oregon’s rushing attack to 61 total yards. They harassed Herbert all game long, totaling four sacks and piled up seven tackles for loss.
On the Ducks third possession, however, Oregon found something exploitable in the Cardinal defense. Herbert hit wide receiver Jaylon Redd on a crossing route and he outraces the coverage for 36 yards and a lead changing score. Oregon went 55 yards on 2 plays, using only :35 off the clock to take a 7-3 lead. With his second completion, Herbert broke 8,000 yards passing. He also extended his streak of games with a passing TD to 32.
Still, the Cardinal were not out. Unfortunately their offense couldn’t get going, or even out of its own way. Osiris St. Brown was called for a chop block, costing Stanford 15 yards and seriously impairing the momentum. Two runs and an incompletion later and the Cardinal had to punt on 4th and 12 from their 33.
Stanford’s defense, meanwhile, continued to smother the gun and pistol stretch runs which the Ducks are known for. However, getting off the field on third downs remained a major problem. On two consecutive third-and-longs the Cardinal allowed the Ducks to convert. This led to an eventual score.
On the next possession the Cardinal found momentum as halftime approached. But on the eighth play of the drive at the Oregon 39 yard line, quarterback K.J. Costello was sacked. And after the original play was ruled a fumble returned for a TD, upon official review it was ruled Costello’s knee and elbow were down. The sack counted but the scoop and score did not.
With the offense stifled by Oregon’s defense, the Ducks had another shot. Herbert threw for gains of 24 yards, 16 yards, and 16 yards. The final was a TD pass to tight end Jacob Breeland on a back shoulder throw and catch to open up the lead. 14-3 Ducks.
Heading into the second half the Cardinal had hope. Their first drive showed they could play against Oregon’s stout defense and a 14-3 score was not insurmountable.
But after stopping the Ducks’ offense on their first drive of the second half, Stanford started the third quarter moving backwards.One false start, one delay of game penalty, a completion for 0 yards, a sack of 8 yards, and a 6 yard run. All preceded an opening drive punt for the Cardinal.
The Ducks, believing in either their defense or Stanford’s offensive futility — or a combination of the two — were content to continue running the clock. Stanford had 181 yards of total offense with no touchdowns heading into the 4th quarter. Scarlett, the lone offensive bright spot, had 91 yards on 17 carries. Only Austin Jones and St. Brown had more than 20 yards of receptions for the Cardinal.
This offensive futility was highlighted by a Costello interception that led to Oregon’s third TD of the game. After Oregon safety Jevon Holland intercepted Costello, Herbert marched the Ducks down the field. He connected with Breeland once again for a 24-yard TD, the second of Breeland’s day and 172nd of Herbert’s career.
Now down 21-3, Stanford needed something to get any momentum back.
Moving the offense down the field, Costello had his biggest play of the game on a 25 yard pass to M. Wilson. After Scarlett added 6 yards on a run, Costello once again hit Wilson for 14 yards on another slant, bringing the Cardinals into the redone for just the second time of the afternoon. An incompletion into the end zone was followed by a loss of three on a screen. Costello was then sacked on 3rd and 13 by Lamar Winston Jr., forcing a field goal attempt. Fortunately for Stanford, kicker Jeff Toner connected. With time bleeding away, Stanford was down 21-6.
Needing to score quickly and get the ball back, Stanford attempted an onside kick. They did not convert, and saw Oregon drive 41 yards on 7 plays. This put the Ducks in field goal range. Fortunately for the Cardinal, Oregon missed. With 5:35 seconds left in the game the Cardinal took possession at their 20 yard line down 21-6.
But after starting out with a nice pass on first down for a first down, the Cardinal offense failed to convert a fourth down, giving the Ducks the ball and the opportunity to run more off the clock. And while they did punt to Stanford, Costello and Stanford had no time. He was sacked for the last play of the game, an appropriate ending for the way the game played throughout.
Oregon vs. Stanford 2019 Final Thoughts
Costello finished the game 16/30 for 120 yards 0TDS and 1 INT. Scarlett carried the ball 19 times for 97 yards and 0 TDs. Stanford’s leading receiver was Michael Wilson with 61 yards on 5 catches. The Cardinal are in desperate need of offense and help doesn’t appear to be on the way.
The PAC-12 North had an up-and-down second week of the season, finishing with a 3-3 record.
No. 15 Oregon, No. 20 Washington State and Cal (surprisingly) took care of business this week. Stanford, Oregon State and No. 23 Washington all faltered.
Here is a quick look at the highs and lows from each team in their Week 2 games.
Last Week: (W) 77-6 Nevada
Oregon absolutely demolished the Wolfpack of Nevada in week 2, avenging their heartbreaking loss to Auburn with a 77-6 destruction. 11 different players scored a touchdown for the Ducks in what was a nearly perfect game of football.
Just about everything. Oregon got a chance to play their first, second and even third stringers in this contest, and virtually everyone found success.
Justin Herbert completed 19 passes for 310 yards and five touchdowns, while backup quarterback Tyler Shough went 8/9 with 92 yards and two touchdowns of his own.
The team ran the ball well, with six different players totaling 39 carries for 210 yards and three touchdowns.
The receivers did even better, with 14(!) different players hauling in at least one reception, for a grand total of 410 yards in the air and seven receiving touchdowns. Wow.
The defense was excellent as well. Brady Breeze recovered a fumble for a touchdown, and the team had two interceptions, five sacks and 13 tackles for loss.
Heck, even the kick and punt return games did well, and the kickers didn’t miss a single extra point. Hard to find anything wrong in this one.
Uh, I guess the fact that Nevada wasn’t a great opponent was a low? The starters didn’t play long enough to get experience playing a full 60-minute game? Haki Woods fumbled the football?
Really, I think my editor gave me this article assignment to see if I could find anything bad about the Oregon game, which I could not. It was an all-around demolition.
Washington State (2-0)
Last Week (W) 59-17 Northern Colorado
WSU’s 42 point margin of victory would normally be the talk of the town in the PAC-12 North, but Oregon takes that cake. Still, the Cougars really took care of business against Northern Colorado.
The air-raid offense marches on even without Gardner Minshew. New QB Anthony Gordon looked great, completing 31-of-39 passes for 464 yards and four touchdowns. His lone blemish was an interception, but it was an otherwise excellent performance.
The team had 481 total yards through the air, with both Brandon Arconado and Easop Winston, Jr. hauling in over 100 yards receiving.
Defensively the team recovered four fumbles, and on the special teams kicker, Blake Mazza made his one field goal and went a perfect 8/8 on extra points.
WSU is now 2-0 and could move into the top-15 this week.
WSU’s run defense was pretty suspect. They allowed Northern Colorado to rush for 216 yards and two touchdowns, and that would have been higher had they not brought down second-string quarterback Connor Regan twice for a total of negative 18 yards.
WSU will need to shore up the run defense if they want to make a push for a championship season.
The pass defense was a little better, although the lack of pressure is also a concern. They only had one sack on the evening, and only hurried quarterback Jacob Knipp twice. Another area the team will need to grow this season.
Last Week (W) 20-19 Washington
Cal earned an absolutely huge victory over the No. 23 ranked Huskies of Washington last week, in their first conference matchup of the year. They now sit atop the Pac-12 North. So they got that going for them, which is nice.
It was an incredibly sloppy game. A 2.5 hour thunder and lightning delay really made it so neither team played well, but Cal was still able to find some advantages – namely in the running game.
Cal rushed for 192 yards and two touchdowns, often finding ways to extend drives by driving through UW’s maligned defensive front.
Defensively, Cal generated four sacks and seven tackles for loss, often making QB Jacob Eason uncomfortable for the Huskies. Evan Weaver had a monster game for the Golden Bears, recording 18(!) combined tackles.
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If you’d told me Cal would beat UW with their quarterback, Chase Garbers, posting a 29.8 QBR, I’d have told you you were crazy. But Garbers didn’t look great, completing 11 of 18 passes for just 111 yards and no touchdowns.
Again, the crazy weather and the lengthy delay made passing the ball a challenge for both sides, but for this team to have any level of success their QB play will need to improve.
It’s hard to find too many faults when you upset a ranked team, but Cal didn’t do a great job of stopping UW’s running attack, as they allowed the Huskies to rush for 186 yards on the ground. Now granted that was on 46 carries (4.0 ypc) and they did get stops when they needed to, so it’s not a great criticism, but the defense does need to tighten up.
Last Week (L) 45-20 USC
It was a tale of two halves for the Cardinal against USC last week. They went into the second half only down 24-20, but got outscored 21-0 in the final two quarters, leading to the lopsided final score. It was a tough loss for Stanford and the Pac-12 North.
Stanford had a respectable 237 yards through the air, although the efficiency wasn’t there for QB Davis Mills, as he only completed 22 of 36 passes.
Still, the short-yardage passing game had its benefits, and kept Stanford in the game for the first half.
Defensively Stanford was able to force a fumble, and on the special teams they did have a 60 yard kick return from Connor Weddington.
Stanford’s efficiency on offense was nearly non-existent, and they were unable to get anything going on the ground – which allowed USC to play the passing game well.
Stanford only rushed for 98 total yards, for an average of just 3.3 yards per carry.
Defensively, the team allowed USC QB Kedon Slovis to throw wherever he wanted, as he completed 28 of 33 passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns. For them to have any success this year, the pass defense will need to tighten up – quite a bit.
Oregon State ran the ball really well. Star RB Jermar Jefferson had 31 carries for a whopping 183 yards on the ground, including a touchdown. They totaled 263 yards and three touchdowns in the running game, an excellent, well-rounded attack.
The passing game was less successful, but Isaiah Hodgins still had seven receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown – another solid outing.
The Beavers also had two takeaways, a fumble recovery and an interception.
Oh boy. We all knew Hawaii was going to throw the ball a lot, but Oregon State’s defense still seemed unprepared. Hawaii QB Cole McDonald completed 30 of 52 passes for 421 yards and four touchdowns in what was a blitz through the air all game long.
Oregon State did stop the run effectively, but they did not generate nearly enough pressure to prevent Hawaii from making a quick comeback through the air – an issue that will no doubt plague them all season long.
Last Week (L) 20-19 Cal
The weather delay that took the stadium from a full 66,000 rapid fans to somewhere around 15,000 really sucked the air out of Husky Stadium, and the UW football team as a whole. That led to an embarrassing 20-19 loss at the hands of Cal, and likely cost them a shot at a playoff bid this season.
Salvon Ahmed had an excellent day running the football, rushing for 119 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, good for a 5.7 yards per carry average.
The rushing game overall was successful, with a total of 186 yards on the ground. In an environment that made passing the ball nearly impossible, it was good that UW was still able to attack on the ground despite Cal stacking the box.
More or less everything else. Eason was awful, only completing 18 of 30 passes for 162 yards and no touchdowns, along with an interception. He never got comfortable, and took a big step backward from his promising start.
Defensively, UW struggled to contain Cal’s running game, and the defense was not able to force Cal into many mistakes – allowing them to dictate the tempo and keep UW’s offense off the field.
The defense also only had four tackles for loss. In a sloppy game, that number needs to be higher.
College football week one was a mixed-bag of results for the Pac-12 Conference. Not counting Arizona’s tough humiliating loss to Hawaii, the Pac-12 went 8-3 in week one. Not bad. The conference did, however, see the Oregon Ducks fall to Auburn, potentially hurting the chances of having a Pac-12 College Football Playoff representative.
That said, here are the teams will the best chances of being a Pac-12 College Football Playoff representative entering week 2.
1. Utah Utes
Utah’s defense looked scary good against BYU. Limiting the Cougars to 300 yards total (208 yards passing, 92 yards on the ground), the Utes were stifling, exciting and showed why they’ll be what carries Utah through the season.
A defensive battle for much of the game, Utah scored twice off interceptions returned for touchdowns. The first came with 10:17 left in the first half, and the other with 12:25 left in the fourth. While both were crucial, the second came moments after the Utes executed a 3-play, 22 yard touchdown drive after recovering a fumble. The back-to-back scored put Utah up 30-6 and the game away for good.
If Utah’s defense is as tenacious as they looked against BYU, their lofty expectations to win the Pac-12 may be justified. And if Zack Moss can carry the offensive load, they may very well be the conference’s best shot at a Pac-12 College Football Playoff team.
2. Washington Huskies
Give credit where credit is due. There were plenty of questions surrounding Washington quarterback Jacob Eason heading into week one. A Georgia transfer who beat out Jake Haener, some questioned Chris Petersen’s decision to roll with Eason at QB. He has the arm talent, but are the other skills there? A 349 yard, four touchdown performance was his answer.
Now, this was against Eastern Washington. They’re a decent program but shouldn’t compete with the best of the Pac-12. Still, Eason’s outstanding debut can’ be ignored. The quarterback was impressive.
More impressive, however, was Washington’s defense. They held the Eagles to just 63 yards on the ground and despite no turnovers they commanded much of the game. The Huskies and Eason now face the tough task of navigating California’s not-so-secret secondary in week two. If they’re able to take care of the Golden Bears, the confidence surrounding this team will improve.
3. Oregon Ducks
Oregon should have won their game against Auburn. For much of the contest they were the better team. Unfortunately for the Ducks and the rest of the Pac-12, almost doesn’t cut it and the Tigers emerged victorious. Despite the loss, however, Oregon showed the nation it can compete with the big boys once again. Their defense was impressive, offensive line powerful, and with a little less conservative play calls the Ducks could have run away with the game.
Yet Oregon will now need nearly flawless performances the rest of the year. Unless Auburn finds itself in the SEC Championship Game, Oregon’s shot at being a Pac-12 College Football Playoff representative rests in their ability to run the table.
After how they played against the Tigers, that’s not impossible. The talent is there and what mistakes were made were more mental than physical.
4. Stanford Cardinal
If Stanford is going to represent the Pac-12 in the College Football Playoff, they’re going to need a big win over USC on Saturday night. Dispatching the Northwestern Wildcats in a classic Stanford way, the Cardinal looked impressive on defense but shaky on offense. Quarterback K.J. Costello was precise but unremarkable, and running back Cameron Scarlett was simply serviceable.
Fortunately Stanford flashed an impressive defense, forcing three fumbles (recovering two) and coming away with two INTs. With Costello still questionable for their game against USC, it’s clear Stanford’s defense must lead the way. For the Cardinal to have any shot at the College Football Playoff they’ll need to grind it out and hope a star emerges on offense.
5. Washington State Cougars
The Pac-12 North may eat itself alive this year, and not because there is a lack of talented teams. The problem in the North may be that there are too many quality teams for any to emerge with a record impressive enough to qualify a Pac-12 College Football Playoff team.
That’s exactly what could happen to the Washington State Cougars, who once again showed why Mike Leach’s offense is a godsend for quarterbacks looking to pad their stats. Quarterback Anthony Gordon completed 29-of-35 passes for 420 yards and five touchdowns. While this came against New Mexico State, those are still numbers you can’t ignore.
More impressively, Washington State’s defense forced three turnovers and held the Aggies to just seven points. Regardless of opponent that’s an impressive effort. The Cougars now face another low-level opponent before an interesting matchup against Houston that should be a great barometer for just how good Washington State could be. They’re still in consideration for being a Pac-12 College Football Playoff team, but they need to show a little more first.
6. USC Trojans
Most Pac-12 insiders understood the dangers of Fresno State vs. USC. The Bulldogs were a good team in 2018, Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford knows the Pac-12 and there were still plenty of uncertainties surrounding USC. Would they finally be able to live up to the talent on their roster?
For some that begins with a resounding yes. Running back Vavae Malepeai burst onto the scene with a 23 carry, 134 yard performance and was complimented by an explosive effort from Stephen Carr (6 carries for 56 yards, 6 receptions for 43 yards). Wide receiver Tyler Vaughns also impressed, catching 11 balls for 150 yards.
But the bad news for USC is that they lost starting quarterback J.T. Daniels for the season, paving way for true freshman Kedon Slovis to command the offense. A three-star prospect, Slovis will be immediately tested against Stanford’s defense. If USC is to make a College Football Playoff statement early on, this Stanford game is it.