Pac-12 the good, the bad & the unknown week 10: Arizona State and USC rising in the South.

Steve Dykes

The Sun Devils and Trojans impressed in a week slate of Pac-12 action, but it was likely just the calm before the storm that is November.

The Good

Arizona State against the Washington schools -The Sun Devils thoroughly dominated the Washington schools in their past two games by a combined score of 108-45. Most impressively, in their breathtaking dismissals of the Huskies and Cougars, they held the two teams to a COMBINED total of -3 yards rushing. The Sun Devils' clownstomping of the two Northwest schools really makes it look like they might be the new team to beat in the South.

USC's defense - The Trojan defense had been very impressive going into last week, but everyone knew that their trip to Corvallis against Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks would be their first big defensive test under Ed Orgeron and they ended up passing with flying colors. The Trojans held the prolific Beaver defense to just 14 points in their home stadium and held Mannion to less than 300 yards passing and Cooks less than 100 yards receiving while intercepting Mannion three times. The Trojans defensive unit is looking like it might be the best in the entire conference.

Arizona quarterbacks (Taylor Kelly, B.J. Denker, Brett Hundley) - Okay, I threw Hundley in here because he is originally from Arizona and his bounce-back against Colorado needed to be mentioned. Overall, it was a great weekend for quarterbacks from the state of Arizona as Kelly accounted for seven touchdowns against Washington State, Denker scored four against Cal and Hundley had a much-needed big game against Colorado after back-to-back poor performances where he was 19-24 through the air, led the Bruins in rushing and scored four touchdowns.

The Bad

Pac-12 schedule - It was probably the worst Saturday schedule for the Pac-12 in the history of the conference and the Thursday and Friday games that looked interesting coming in ended up being snoozers. Thank god that it's over.

Sean Mannion - It's beginning to be a bit like déjà vu for Mannion and the Beavers as, like he did in 2012, he is coming back down to Earth after a blazing start now that he is facing tough defenses. Mannion had his worst game of the year against the Trojans as he threw three interceptions to just one touchdown, barely completed half of his passes and struggled with pressure. His long shot Heisman campaign is probably done.

Washington State run game - Everyone knows that the Cougars don't rely much on the run game, but when they did try to change it up and get some much needed rushing yards to temper the Sun Devils blitz, their efforts were abysmal as they ran for just two yards on 11 carries.

The Unknown

Ed Orgeron - Boy, suddenly, the Trojans are beginning to look like a serious player in the conference as they have started to live up to their potential a bit under Ed Orgeron. The Trojans have a lot of chances to make noise in their remaining schedule and could actually end up in the Rose Bowl if everything went right. If the Trojans keep winning, the idea that Ed Orgeron could miraculously become a serious candidate for the head coaching position could become a reality.

Will the BCS bite Oregon - After a bye week and a very impressive win for Florida State over Miami, the Ducks are back behind the Seminoles in the third spot of the BCS rankings. The Ducks will almost assuredly jump right back past the Seminoles next week if they can beat Stanford Thursday, but if Alabama and both Florida State and Oregon win out, nothing is guaranteed for the Ducks. The Ducks have a much stronger schedule to finish the season, but in the previously-mentioned scenario, they will be very much dependant on the strong finishes of teams like Stanford, UCLA, Arizona State and Oregon State and the weak finishes of teams like Miami, Clemson and Florida.

The conference after next weekend - After a dull week, the conference will be back in full force this weekend and a lot of Pac-12 stock will go up and down. Obviously there is the Oregon/Stanford epic showdown that will decide the North and likely be the Ducks' biggest challenge but the South's two toughest teams (Arizona State and UCLA) have sneaky games on the road at Utah and Arizona where I bet one gets upset and creates further chaos in the South.

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