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Pac-12 the good, the bad & the unknown week 12: Trojans end futility against Cardinal

USC's upset of Stanford was the highlight of the weekend, but not the only one.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

USC's defense - The Trojans may have given up more than 200 yards on the ground, but they stood stout in the red zone stymied the Cardinal on every deep pass play, allowing their offense to only have to put up 20 points to upset the Cardinal. The USC defense held court with the vaunted Cardinal defense and made the difference in the game by picking off two Kevin Hogan passes in crucial moments. This might be the best defense in the entire conference right now.

Cody Kessler - Kessler has taken a lot of heat this season, but he did something that Matt Barkley was never able to do as a Trojan - beat Stanford, and Kessler was a big reason why the Trojans were finally able to break through. Kessler wasn't perfect, but very efficient and avoided making a big mistake in a very tight game against a scary defense that was coming at him with everything they had.

Washington State on the road - Cougar fans have to be a little disappointed that they are missing out on all of the team's Pac-12 wins as they won their third Pac-12 road game this season and have yet to win one at home. I don't think they will really be complaining though, as the Cougars got their biggest late-season win in maybe a decade and got themselves within one game of bowl eligibility with a great road win against a tough opponent in Arizona.

Arizona State/UCLA heading into their showdown - Both teams are coming off of very good wins against quality opponent from the North heading into their showdown and both look scary in their defensive front sevens. It's very hard to make a pick on who is going to win their game Saturday in the Rose Bowl.


Stanford in the red zone - For the second-straight week, the Cardinal really struggled to punch the ball into the end zone in the red zone and got a field goal blocked. The Cardinal really look like they are missing a quality target at tight end and it probably cost them a loss to USC and from beating Oregon by 30 plus the week prior.

Kevin Hogan - There's no getting around the fact that Hogan probably cost the Cardinal the game against USC and likely a trip to the Pac-12 Championship Game. Hogan had to deal with a ton of drops from his receivers, but he only threw for 127 yards and his two interceptions were back breaking as one killed a drive deep in the red zone and one gave USC the ball on their game-winning drive.

Washington/Oregon State heading into their showdown - Both these teams have been ranked at one point this season and looked like they were going to challenge for the top of the North, but both have really fallen on hard times as their schedules have strengthened and now face off with identical 6-4 records. The good news for them I guess is that someone is going to have to walk away with a much-needed win.

Everything Cal - Oh man, I don't think anyone could have imagined that Sonny Dykes' first season in Berkeley would be this tough. Between the worst graduation rate in college football, zero FBS wins and regular blowouts, the Bears have also had embarrassing locker room brawls. I'm sure everyone involved with Cal football is glad that they end their season a week earlier than everyone else in the conference.

The Unknown

Ed Orgeron - I keep putting Orgeron here because god damn, I just don't know what is going to happen with the guy and USC. He pulled off the first of the very big wins he needed to pull off to be a serious contender for the USC job but the second, very, very big one is still looming in two weeks.  Let's see how it plays out.