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Pac-12 the good, the bad & the unknown week 13: Washington and Colorado deliver

The Huskies and Buffs won huge games to set up an unexpected Pac-12 Championship Game

NCAA Football: Washington at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

Washington - The Huskies proved as much as they possibly could in the Apple Cup. They went into a hostile Pullman against rival that hates them who had only lost one conference game all season and dominated every phase of the game.

Chris Petersen - In a year where about half of the Pac-12’s coaches are in trouble, Petersen has taken Washington to an elite level in just his third year with very few of his predecessor’s players/upperclassmen playing much of a factor. The future looks incredibly bright at Washington as long as Petersen is there because he is going to start stacking the recruiting classes he is putting together now on top of each other.

Washington’s defense - That Husky defense was nasty in Pullman. They held Washington State to just 17 points at home, had two goal line stands, caused four turnovers and have quietly been dominant in the month of November. Remember they also held rolling USC to 24 points with almost no support from their offense.

Washington’s Playoff hopes - Sending Washington State out of the rankings will hurt, but the Huskies seemed to pass a very nice eye test with the media on Friday. It looks like they have a good chance to make the Playoffs if they win the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Colorado doing their thing - The Buffs play tough defense, turn the ball over, get toughness and clutch play from Sefo Liufau along with playmaking by Phillip Lindsay and Shay Fields and co. Their slugged out win against Utah was kind of the perfect game for their overall season which ends with them winning the South.

Not enough happened nationally to probably make them a real Playoff contender if they win the conference, but a Rose Bowl is right in their grasp. Washington has a major challenge in the Buffs.

Beaver breakthrough - It was awesome to see the Beavers win their first Civil War in almost 10 years. The Beavers needed to win this game and as dark as a season as it has been for the Ducks, the Beavers needed this win more.

Ryan Nall - You just don’t see many players like Nall in college football. He’s fun to watch and was the difference of what put the Beavers over the top.

Cal’s defense - Like Oregon’s defense last week. This much-maligned group needs a shoutout for stepping up late in the season and delivering a nice performance and a win.

Adoree’ Jackson - This guy is ridiculous. He put on an absolute show in what is probably his last game in The Coliseum. A kind of player we maybe have never seen in the Pac-12.

Arizona’s fight - The Wildcats came out swinging in The Territorial Cup to at least end one of their darkest seasons ever on a positive note.

Arizona’s run game - The Wildcats shredded Arizona State’s stout run defense like they were Nebraska in the 70s.

Pac-12 Championship Game & Change - With Colorado and Washington meeting in Santa Clara, we guaranteed a non-Oregon or Stanford Pac-12 champion for the first time since 2008 when Pete frickin Carroll was coaching USC and have the chance for the first outright non-Oregon, Stanford or USC champion since 1998. I don’t think ultra parity and change for the sake of change is good or bad for the conference, but it will be nice to see a little change for the first time in a long, long time.

Also, Colorado vs. Washington will be a fun story of early-90s powers turning the corner and getting back to big time football.

The Bad

Apple Cup excitement - Well, it was fun while it lasted. The Huskies ended the most-anticipated Pac-12 game of the year in the first quarter.

Colorado/Utah missed opportunities - The Buffs and Utes looked at times like neither was ready to win a big game. Dropped passes and fumbles ultimately decided the game.

UCLA’s offense - A team with the talent UCLA has on offense should never be as inept as they have been all season and as they were against a Cal defense which had been epically bad.

Arizona State’s collapse - The Wildcats razed the last of the decrepit village of a 2016 season Todd Graham and the Sun Devils had left. It was an awful last two months of the season for the Sun Devils and their program looks to be falling apart after it looked like Graham had turned a corner with them just a couple years ago.

The Unknown

Washington and the Playoffs - The Huskies are in a good spot for the Playoffs, but the Big Ten did them no favors yesterday. Will the Huskies have enough to get into the Playoffs if they win the Pac-12 Championship?

Todd Graham - Graham seems safer than the Dykes, Helfrich, Mora, Rodriguez pack, but he still is in trouble. How hot is his seat?

Rich Rodriguez - RichRod and his team did as much as they could to make his case in The Territorial Cup. Will he survive another year in Tucson.

Mark Helfrich & the Ducks - It sounds like the Ducks might officially be making the move on Helfrich (I’m am writing this Sunday). Where do they go from here?

Jim Mora - Seems like Mora might survive this season, but how much longer can he keep things going at UCLA? The whole thing seems broken.

5-7 bowling? Arizona State and Cal made it to 5-7 and it looks like 5-7 teams are going to be needed to fill bowls this year. Will the Bears and Sun Devils get invites, and will they accept?

Coaching carousel - The very interesting coaching carousel we are going to see this year has started. How many Pac-12 coaches will be changing jobs this off-season and we will have any surprises? Some interesting jobs are going to open up and coaches like Sonny Dykes, Mike MacIntyre and Mike Leach may field some offers. I wouldn’t be shocked if we see a move which comes out of left field from one of these kinds of coaches.