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Pac-12 the good, the bad and the unknown: Huskies and Cougars pass road tests

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The Huskies and Cougars survive hard-fought road games

NCAA Football: Washington at Utah Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

Washington gets it done on the road - It was far from pretty, but the Huskies got a win on the road, stayed undefeated and kept the Pac-12’s lone Playoff hopes alive. This may have been the Huskies’ first true test of the season against a really good opponent and they passed.

Myles Gaskin and the Husky offensive line - Gaskin’s running abilities and the Husky offensive line’s dominance at times won the game for Washington. Gaskin had 151 with a lot of those yards coming when the Huskies really needed them and a lot of them coming from his vision and wiggle. There were moments in the game when the Husky offensive line seemed to take over the game against a big time Utah front as well.

Joe Williams - This guy showed to be one of the best stories in the Pac-12 again. He had 172 and a touchdown on 35 carries while carrying the entire Utes’ offensive on his back at times and looking simply unstoppable at times.

USC & Sam Darnold - The Trojans looked better again in a thrashing of Cal and the emergence of Sam Darnold was a big part of that. He had five touchdowns and looks to be the man for the Trojans.

Justin Herbert - The Ducks look to be in good hands at quarterback after a lull. The true freshman shredded Arizona State for almost 500 yards and four touchdowns.

Luke Falk - This guy should probably be the Pac-12’s top Heisman candidate and he’s doing it while playing injured. Just another prolific and perfect when he needed to be performance from Falk.

Washington State getting it done - The Cougars left the door open a bunch of times, but hung on and won what is probably their toughest game before the final two weeks of the season when they go at Colorado and host the Apple Cup. The win really helps the Cougars likely have a chance to control their own destiny in the North heading into the Apple Cup.

Oregon State at home - The Beavers just didn’t have the QB play to pull off the upset of the Cougars, but they showed again that they are a very tough out in Corvallis now. In their last three at home, they have beaten Cal and taken Utah and Washington State to the wire.

Christian McCaffrey - The old McCaffrey made an appearance in Tucson. He should be a monster down the stretch for the Cardinal as their schedule softens and he heals up.

Pac-12 refs until this week - Before I criticize the Pac-12 refs, I would like to say this year has been a massive improvement for the officiating crews around the conference.

The Bad

Pac-12 refs in Salt Lake City - Utah fans have a legitimate gripe about not being able to get one of those blocks in the back on Washington’s punt return for the touchdown that made the difference, but that was just part of a long string of really bad officiating in the game including an offensively bad roughing the passer penalty on Washington that kept Utah’s tying TD drive alive.

Cal’s schedule - I am fully on board with Sonny Dyke’s critique of Cal’s schedule. A team should never have to play two games in six days the way the Bears did, especially with the second on the road.

The Arizona schools - The state of Arizona had another rough week. The Sun Devils scored just 35 against Oregon’s defense for their third-straight loss and Arizona lost a game where it looked like they were playing last year’s Stanford squad, the Cardinal controlled the game so well.

The Unknown

How long can Washington sustain their Playoff run? The Huskies got what is probably their biggest win of the year to remain right in the thick of the Playoff chase, but their margin for error is razor thin. Can the Huskies keep in rolling and keep the Pac-12’s Playoff hopes alive?

Luke Falk? Falk looks like a guy walking around in World War I footage every week now. His toughness could not be more important, but can he maintain it for the rest of the season?

Secondary Playoff contenders? It is now almost assuredly Washington or bust for the Pac-12 with the Playoffs, but is there a scenario which could get Colorado, Utah or Washington State in if one of them runs the table from here?

Jake Browning for Heisman? Browning was right in the Heisman hunt going into the weekend, but after a strong, but maybe not Heisman-worthy performance at Utah, are his chances gone?

Is USC the scariest team in the South? Yes, it was against a worn out Cal team, but the Trojans sure looked impressive again. Are the Trojans turning into the team no one wants to play in November?

Oregon rebound? The Ducks have found something in Justin Herbert and got a nice confidence win against Arizona State. The schedule isn’t impossible from here. Could the Ducks turn it around and make a bowl game?

Arizona coaches? Things aren’t going well for Todd Graham and Rich Rodriguez. Can both of them survive the season?