clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The good, the bad & the unknown week 11: Pac-12 Playoff hopes disappear

Stanford and Utah go down and the Pac-12's Playoff hopes go with them.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

Oregon - The Ducks probably won't win the conference, but they look like the best team in the Pac-12 after squashing Stanford's Playoff hopes in Palo Alto. They are the last team anyone in the conference wants to play right now.

Washington State - It took a while and there were a lot of bumps along the way, but Mike Leach has pretty much turned Washington State into Texas Tech. All those people who were saying that his scheme was dated and wouldn't work in the Pac-12 have to admit that they were wrong. The Cougars are a made field goal against Stanford away from leading the North and don't have to leave the state of Washington the rest of the season with very winnable games against Colorado and Washington.

Luke Falk & Gabe Marks - These two are running away from Cody Kessler and Juju Smith-Schuster as the best QB/WR duo in the conference. Falk filled up the stat sheet with precision again, Marks had multiple touchdowns against and the two connected for a clutch TD in the final seconds to upset UCLA.

The state of Arizona - Once again, teams with their backs against the wall responded in big ways. Arizona took down Utah to end their Playoff hopes and really hurt their South title hopes and get the Wildcats bowl eligible. Arizona State bounced back from a horrible  first half against Washington to score 27 unanswered and get themselves closer to bowl eligibility.

Anu Solomon - I'm glad to see Solomon bouncing back. He was huge against Utah, outplaying Travis Wilson and looks like he still could end up being the all-conference-type quarterback he has the potential to be.

Arizona State's second half - The Sun Devils looked like they were going to mail it in the rest of the season against Washington before they exploded for 27 unanswered with relentless pressure, smooth play from Mike Bercovici and tough running. For a half, the Sun Devils looked like the team they were supposed to be going into the season.

Jared Goff - Sure it was against the hapless Beavers, but Goff had the kind of bounce back game he needed to get some confidence to close out the season as he tossed six touchdowns.

The Bad

Pac-12 nationally - It was a nightmare Saturday for the Pac-12 nationally as the conference's two hopes for the Playoffs went down and the conference likely won't even have a team in the Top 15 come Tuesday. The conference has some really nice depth and good teams but painfully lacks an elite team this season.

Oregon vs. Stanford underdogs - Come one guys, can the team that needs the win to maintain a shot at a national championship start winning this game please?

Stanford turnovers and penalties - Stanford should have beaten Oregon, but got in their own way with unforced turnovers a lot of penalties and a lack of explosion in the red zone. That's how you lose a game where you out gain your opponent, nearly double them in first downs and utterly dominate time of possession.

Utah's offensive explosion - The reason many thought the Utes couldn't win the South reared its ugly head in their loss at Arizona. They simply are not explosive enough on offense to win shootouts and their limitations at quarterback and receiver make it hard for them to win when they need to score a lot of points.

Washington's second half - It looked like the Huskies may have officially put it all together in the first half against Arizona State as Jake Browning bombed all over the field, Myles Gaskin had nearly 100 yards rushing and their defense snuffed out Arizona State. Then all hell broke loose in the second half and the Huskies fell apart in a big way. They need to win their final two now to get to a bowl game.

Colorado in crunch time - The Buffs just continue to be a team that can take good teams down to the wire, but can't make the plays in the clutch to pull off the upset.

Oregon State - The Beavers are really bad. They probably have their final shot at getting a Pac-12 win this season when Washington comes to town Saturday.

The Unknown

How good is the Pac-12? A lot was made going into the season about the Pac-12 possibly eclipsing the SEC as the nation's best conference, but I think that talk is over. The conference has very nice depth, but its best teams seem extremely flawed. How good is the Pac-12 really?

Is Oregon the best team in the Pac-12? The Ducks still don't look anything like they used to, but in a diluted Pac-12 this year, could they now be the conference's best team?

Can Oregon and USC fulfill expectations? Imagine this, the conference's preseason division favorites who both looked on the edge of disaster just a month ago could seriously meet in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC? The Trojans are now in the driver's seat in the South, but they just haven't looked that good the past two weeks and they close with very tough games at Oregon and at home against UCLA. Can they finally put it together and win the South or are they going to fizzle down the stretch?

Who is the South favorite? The Trojans control the South, but they have to win in Eugene against a red-hot Oregon team or the winner of UCLA/Utah takes over.

Can Cal create chaos? The Bears haven't beaten a good team in longer than a month, but they have the golden opportunity to possibly derail Stanford's Rose Bowl and Pac-12 Championship hopes. Can Goff and company keep it together and sneak past a vulnerable Stanford team, blowing the North wide open for the Ducks?

Can Stanford and Utah recover? Man, the Cardinal and Utes have to hurt after losing heartbreaking games to kill their Playoff hopes and put their division title hopes in jeopardy. I could see either of these teams slipping down the stretch after these losses. Can they recover?

Who is the Player of the Year? I can't remember a more open race for the Pac-12 Player of the Year. Is Vernon Adams a serious candidate? No player has maybe been more valuable.