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The good, the bad & the unknown week 13: Stanford delivers in the clutch and USC breaks the streak

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The final week of regular season action delivers a lot of excitement.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

Stanford delivers in the clutch - The Cardinal have struggled sometimes in the final moments in recent seasons and it has cost them, but that was not the case Saturday as Kevin Hogan and the gang delivered at the most-important moments and refused to let the Pac-12's Playoff hopes die. Shout out to David Shaw and his team for keeping the faith and executing under a lot of pressure.

Kevin Hogan - Hogan had his best  (or most-important) performance of his career as he capped off a wonderful full-circle senior season with a memorable, near perfect bow. He threw only four incompletions, threw four huge touchdowns and made plays with his feet when he needed to. Hogan's development in his final season has been one of the nicest Pac-12 stories of the year.

Conrad Ukropina - What a way to deliver in the clutch. 45-yarders with that much pressure are never easy.

Stanford still alive - The Cardinal held onto their outside Playoff chances on Ukropina's kick.

USC - The Trojans picked themselves up off the Autzen turf and played the way they did against Arizona State and Utah when they really needed. They played a complete game and ended a dark streak against UCLA and now have the chance to completely redeem what was once assuredly going to be a dark season by going to the Rose Bowl.

USC's defense - The Trojans' defense was  the difference Saturday as they put an unpleasant end to Josh Rosen's first regular season by harassing the freshman and forcing three turnovers. They salted away the game by holding the Bruins scoreless for the last quarter-and-a-half.

Washington's defense - The Husky defense has quietly been the best in the conference all season, but they weren't quiet in the Apple Cup as they forced seven turnovers and scored 21 points, outscoring Washington State's high-flying offense 21-10. This group needs more national and conference love.

Saturday night - The end of Thanksgiving weekend couldn't have been better as Stanford's classic against Notre Dame bled right into Arizona State and Cal's instant classic.

Mike Bercovici & Jared Goff - One of the most fun things about Arizona State and Cal's barn burner was the lights out play of both quarterbacks. They combined for almost 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns with no interceptions. A great way to send off both guys in what was likely both players' last in-conference  games.

Devin Lucien - Lucien has been a quiet grad transfer success story and he finished things off with a bang with a massive 200-yard three-touchdown game that nearly pushed Arizona State past Cal.

Bralon Addison - One of the most underrated players in the conference, Addison was everything for the Ducks in a Civil War they easily could have lost as he scored four touchdowns and had more than 100 yards receiving.

Oregon State's fight - I know moral victories against the Ducks are no longer rewarding for the Beavers as they continued their ugly losing streak to their bitter rivals, but they showed a lot of fight by roaring back from a 24-point halftime deficit to cut things to just three in the fourth quarter. I thought the Beavers had packed it in for the season and things were going to get ugly, but they came back against the Pac-12's hottest team and nearly pulled off the upset on the road.

10 Pac-12 bowl teams - All but two Pac-12 teams are go bowling, that is simply really cool.

The Bad

Stanford's defensive drop - All-in-all the Cardinal still  have one of the best defenses in the Pac-12, but it has been stunning to see how far the unit has fallen from the past five years or so as they got carved up by a Notre Dame offense that hasn't looked good in recent weeks and struggled to get stops when they really needed them.

UCLA in the trenches - The main reason the Bruins had been able to dominate their crosstown rivals in recent seasons was by beating them up in the trenches, but that was not the case Saturday as the Trojans battered them and controlled the game getting into the backfield on defense and playing ball control, holding onto the thing for 40 minutes.

Washington State without Luke Falk - The Husky defense feasted on first-time starter Peyton Bender and the Cougar air raid looked off kilter from the get go without their usual starter.

Arizona State/Cal defenses - Both of these offenses had nice performances, but these defenses also looked putrid as they seemed to never be able to get stops.

Oregon's defense in the second half - The Oregon defense that hurt them early in the season reappeared in the second half against Oregon State and it nearly cost the Ducks the game. They gave up four long touchdown drives in the second half and a punt return TD against a beyond putrid offense.

The Unknown

Can Stanford make the Playoff? We will know more when the rankings come out, but does Stanford still have a legit shot at the Playoff? They almost assuredly need at least a team or two ahead of them to get upset in championship games and win one themselves, but even then, can they still get in?

What to expect in the Championship Game? Man, Stanford at USC felt like it happened two years ago at this point, but it actually wasn't that long ago. Strictly looking at match-ups, I would expect to see a similar game, but championship games are always unpredictable and I usually give some extra points to the team that lost the first game in rematches.

Bowl destinations? We have a little more clarity, but the bowl destinations still seem pretty cloudy to me. Could two teams make New Year's bowls? After Stanford, I would rank teams 2-6 pretty closely and with three at-large bids likely, the Arizona schools and Washington could have some strange match-ups.

Clay Helton? So Helton is officially the permanent coach at USC. It's a nice story and Helton did a lot to show that he should be the guy (primarily thrashing UCLA), but I can't help but feel like this is the third-straight confusing hire by the Trojans. They looked to probably be the most-appealing open position in college football in the coaching carousel and they hired an interim who did less than Ed Orgeron did in the almost exact situation a couple of years ago. I think there is a great chance this ends up being a good hire, but it simply seems very weird to me.

Pac-12 coach movement? It looked for a long time like we might see a lot of movement with Pac-12 coaches at the end of the season, but that no longer looks like the case. Will we see  any coaches leave this off-season?

First-team quarterback? Which Pac-12 quarterback will be the first-team selection (and I don't like putting two QBs on first team)? I think you could make a case for almost half of the conference's starters.

Early entrants? Now is when early entrants to the 2016 draft are going to start pouring in. Which Pac-12 stars are going, which are staying?