UCLA's arrival and Brett Hundley - The Bruins' first three games may have been frustrating, but those are now just an afterthought since UCLA dismantled Arizona State in Tempe on Thursday night. They still have some imperfections, but I think we all finally saw the Top 10-level Bruin team everyone was expecting coming into the season. This was also one of the best overall games I have ever seen Brett Hundley play, especially coming off an injury and if he can keep it up he can get back into the Heisman race.
The Great Sophomore Quarterback Battle - More than 900 yards and seven touchdowns a piece for Jared Goff and Sefo Liufau with just two interceptions between them... these two guys are going to be the Pac-12's future stars when Brett Hundley and Marcus Mariota head off to the NFL. The Bears and Buffs met for a true quarterback duel that thrilled all the way till the end of the second overtime.
Washington State's comeback - I will admit that I was one who thought that the Cougars were toast when they fell behind red hot Utah 21-0 on the road in some serious rain. The Cougars proved me and I am sure countless others wrong and fought back, avoiding a hangover after their loss to Oregon and proving that their offense is very difficult to hold down for four quarters. The Cougars scored their biggest win since they won in Tucson last November.
Stanford's defense - The Cardinal defense somehow continues to look even better than last year as they went into Husky Stadium and held Washington to less than 180 yards total offense and just six offensive points. The Cardinal defense never fails to miss tackles and never be fooled in a way that is rarely seen in college football.
USC's defense - The Trojan defense looked a lot more like the one that held Stanford to 10 points than the one that got steamrolled by Boston College. The Trojans held the Beavers to just three offensive points, picked off Sean Mannion twice and held them to just 181 overall yards. The Trojans have a shot at winning the conference if their defense can maintain this level of play.
Nelson Spruce - Spruce just continues to look like the best receiver in the Pac-12. 19 receptions for 179 yards and three touchdowns - those are some All-Pac-12 running back stats.
Arizona State's defense - The Sun Devils did not have Taylor Kelly, that makes things tough, but he also doesn't play defense and the Sun Devils' young, inexperienced defense looked helpless against UCLA. The Sun Devils actually did outgain the Bruins, but when it mattered they couldn't do anything to stop Hundley or UCLA's previously struggling run game.
Washington's offense - As we discussed above, Stanford's defense is really f******, but that still doesn't excuse Washington's offense for struggling to even get a few yards or complete a short pass for most of their loss against the Cardinal. No one is going to panic over struggling on offense against Stanford, but the Huskies are going to have to soon show the ability to move the ball against Pac-12 teams or they could struggle in a conference where putting up 500 + yards and 50 points is becoming the norm.
Sean Mannion & Oregon State - Mannion had his worst game in a long time, going 15/32 for 123 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns. Mannion doesn't look nearly as prolific without Markus Wheaton and/or Brandin Cooks and the Beavers got smacked by USC. USC is good, but I have a hard time seeing the Beavers do much this season if they can't move the ball through the air and if Mannion struggles there really isn't much at all to be excited about with this team.
Arizona State? The Sun Devils got blasted by UCLA and now continue further into a touch gauntlet of games against USC, Stanford and Washington with two of the three being on the road and with Taylor Kelly's time table for return uncertain? Can the Sun Devils pull out a game or two in this stretch? When will they get Taylor Kelly back? And will they have the mental toughness to bounce back in the second half of the season if they open up Pac-12 play at 1-4?
Kevin Hogan - I just keep waiting for Hogan to step up and become the quarterback that he could be, but it never seems to happen. His ability to evade sacks ends up being huge against Washington, but also committed two really bad turnovers that kept the Huskies in the game and his inability to throw down the field allowed Washington to sell out against their running attack. At this point, I just don't know if Hogan can ever become the quarterback that makes Stanford a true national title contender as opposed to just a very good team with an amazing defense.
The Big Four? Five weeks into the season a predictable hierarchy is starting to emerge. Oregon and Stanford once again look like the class of the North and UCLA and USC will turn the South into the Battle of Los Angeles. Obviously we have a long ways to go, but is this going to be the way the top of the divisions play out?