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Pac-12 the good, the bad & the unknown: week 10: Colorado’s defense saves them on a Thursday night

The best game in the conference took play on Thursday in a very quiet week

NCAA Football: UCLA at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

Colorado’s defense - What is probably the conference’s best defense more than did its job on a Thursday night when their offense was struggling against a back from the dead UCLA defense. The Buff defense kept them in the driver’s seat in the South.

Luke Falk and Washington State - Falk and the Cougars pushed past Arizona in just a few minutes. 32-35 against a Pac-12 defense. I don’t care what system you are running and which team you are playing, that’s astounding.

Christian McCaffrey - We all forgot about McCaffrey since Stanford has become an afterthought and because he had a rough stretch while banged up, but we should have. He carried Stanford on his back for a game that reminded me of what Toby Gerhart, Stepfan Taylor and Tyler Gaffney used to do with 199 yards on 32 carries with a score.

USC - This might be the Pac-12 team no one wants to play right now. Balanced in their passing and rushing attack and overall blend of having an offense, but also having a defense, the Trojans are right there with the Washington schools and Colorado as the most-complete teams in the Pac-12. Sam Darnold and Ronald Jonesn are going to scare the rest of the conference the rest of this season and next season.

John Ross - Ross looks like a guy you created on NCAA Football 03 who you put at 99 speed who the other team simply can’t cover. He’s so fast, there aren’t many quarterbacks in college football with a strong-enough arm to keep up with him.

Washington taking care of business - Washington could have looked past Cal on the back end of back-to-back road games, but they brought it and moved on to 9-0. Their offense was nearly unstoppable against Cal’s disaster of a defense, but credit needs to go to their defense for holding Cal’s prolific offense to just 20 points at home with some really good field position spotted to them a couple times early in the game.

The Bad

UCLA as a whole - The Bruins just seem to be in a funk without Josh Rosen. In a game where the chance to grab an upset on the road that could jump-start their season, they seemed to just keep shooting themselves in the foot.

Arizona - RichRod’s trusty system has officially stalled as the Wildcats got embarrassed by Washington State and are in legitimate danger of going winless in the Pac-12.

Oregon - It looks like the Ducks may have made some progress the past few weeks and Justin Herbert may have quickly become a star, but the Ducks were brought down to earth at USC. They still can’t run the ball, Herbert is still a work-in-progress against decent defenses and their defense still can’t stop anyone.

Stanford’s passing game - There is no way a Pac-12 team in 2016 that can recruit as well as Stanford can should struggle to pass the ball as much as they did against at best, the second-worst team in the Pac-12 (though Oregon State DOES have a good pass defense).

Cal’s defense - Nothing else needs to be said. I think they broke the record for “I’m just going to get a pass interference flag to save a touchdown plays.”

The Unknown

Rich Rodriguez? Rodriguez’ program in in shambles this year after closing 2015 on a really bad note. Will that near $9 million buyout deter Arizona from possibly considering moving on?

Can Colorado & Washington State keep the magic going? I wonder what kind of odds you could have gotten in Vegas going into the season for Colorado and Washington State meeting in the Pac-12 Championship Game? It doesn’t matter now, because a ways into November, it is a serious reality. It seemed earlier in the season that the bad luck which dogged these two programs in recent history might show up again, but another week gone, I don’t think it will. Can these teams win games they should next week and set up a really fun, two-loss showdown in Boulder on the 19th?

Can USC take down Washington? The Trojans are surging at just the right time and head up to Seattle for what has turned into one of the biggest Pac-12 games of the year. Can the Trojans do what they did in 2011 against Oregon and ride an emerging young quarterback to a big upset which spoils national title hopes for a Pac-12 rival?

Will Washington get snubbed in the Playoff rankings again? I don’t think it matters because I think the Huskies mostly control their own Playoff destiny, but I have a feeling Ohio State is going to leap them for the fourth spot. Will the Huskies get into the Top 4, or will they be left out again due to their soft non-conference schedule?