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Pac-12 the good, the bad & the unknown week four: Stanford breaks UCLA’s heart

Stanford and Utah came through in the clutch.

NCAA Football: Stanford at UCLA Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

Stanford in the clutch - The Stanford offense wasn’t pretty all night in Pasadena, but that last drive was a thing of beauty. The Cardinal had their backs against the wall and Ryan Burns and Trenton Irwin especially put together their best drive of the season.

“The Catch” For Stanford - JJ Arcega-Whiteside made a huge catch at the most-important time which could end up being the defining play for Stanford in 2016, if not the entire Pac-12.

UCLA/Stanford defenses - You don’t see many double defensive performances like that one. Each defense only flinched a couple of times in an epic battle.

Cal/Arizona State offenses - And now to the flip side of the coin. This game was what everyone expected it to be, a flat out offensive shootout where the last team with the ball won. Just another after dark game between two blistering Pac-12 offenses.

Utah in the clutch - Like Stanford, the Utes delivered when they need to as well to pull off a last-second win on a touchdown pass. Overall, this was one of the best performances by the Utah offense in recent history.

Colorado! The Buffs are officially back. I honestly thought they were unlucky toast when Sefo Liufau was out, but they showed how far they have come as a whole team by winning at Oregon with a back up quarterback just a week after traveling to Michigan. The Buffs could end up being one of the best stories in the conference this year.

Steven Montez - This guy deserves a huge shout out this week for stepping in and playing like a crafty veteran despite being a true freshman. Montez and the Buffs had numerous opportunities to pack it in the way a team in their situation might a lot of the time, but he stepped up and didn’t let it happen.

Brandon Dawkins - Another back-up quarterback who came up big for his team. Dawkins ran for 176 and two scores on just 13 carries against Washington’s vaunted run defense and made almost every play he could with his arm right when Arizona needed him to.

The Bad

USC - A bad, bad, bad week for the Trojans got even worse when they let a game they NEEDED to win slip away at the last second. This team and program is right back to about as bad as it was at its worse under Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian.

Oregon - The sky is falling in Eugene. The Ducks lost at home to a Colorado team starting a back-up quarterback. It’s still very early in the season and the Ducks have plenty of time to “get right,” but this is the worst of the recent Oregon late-September swoons under Mark Helfrich and the one is seems like they have the lowest chance of fully rebounding from.

UCLA against Stanford - The Bruins finally trade punches with the Cardinal after getting bullied most of the time in recent history only to have their hearts ripped out. I feel for the Bruins here, I really do.

The Unknown

Is Good ol Stanford back? Remember the good old days when Stanford won every game 20-14 in harrowing fashion no matter who they were playing? Are we back to seeing the Stanford team which is limited in the passing game, grinds the ball on the ground, and wins games by holding their opponents to 13-17 points each week?

Can Clay Helton survive? The official Helton era at USC seems to be over before it even really began. Is there any way Helton can rally the troops and keep his job the first year into it?

Can Oregon turn it around? The Ducks have struggled in late-September the past two seasons, but it has never been this bad and they don’t have the personnel (especially at QB) they have the past two years to get back to being an elite team. Is this the official fall of the Ducks everyone has been anticipating for years now?

Oregon’s QB? The Ducks clearly think Dakota Prukop gives them the best chance at winning games and they have lost just one conference game thus far, but will the Ducks have to try and develop a non-one-year starter if they fall out of the Pac-12 title race to try and build for the future?

Washington? The Huskies got the win down in Tucson, but only by the skin of their teeth against an ailing Arizona team. Getting a road win these days in college football/the Pac-12 is never easy, but the Huskies looked a lot more like the 7-6 team they were last year than the Top 10 team they were supposed to be this year. Was this just first-game jitters for the Huskies/a great performance by Arizona, or are the Huskies potentially pretenders?

Arizona? I think everyone left the Wildcats for dead, but then they went and damn near upset the Top 10 Huskies and looked dangerous with Brandon Dawkins at quarterbacks. Are the Wildcats still a contender in the Pac-12 or just a 5-6-win team that can sneak up on you if you don’t take them seriously?