Arizona State’s defensive performance - No idea in Sun Devil hell where the Arizona State pulled the defensive performance they put up against Washington from, but they held the Husky offense which, while flawed, had been putting up around 40 points on Pac-12 opponents thus far. The Sun Devils pressured, stuffed the run, locked down receivers and were at their best in the red zone. They got a win over a top five team and really helped Todd Graham’s case to stay in Tempe.
Cal’s defensive performance - The Bears have been more than scrappy on defense thus far this season, but Friday’s lockdown job on Luke Falk and WSU was something else. I wouldn’t think that Alabama could have held the Cougars just three points right now, but the Bears did in a big way and made Falk look like a disaster at QB.
The state of Arizona rises up - We all buried the Arizona schools going into the season and early in the season, but they have risen from the grave. Both schools scored massive wins this weekend which will really help their coaches keep their footing. Apparently cornered Wildcats and Sun Devils can fight. The Arizona schools are tied for second in the South in mid-October.
USC in the clutch - It wasn’t pretty, but the Trojans got another huge, close win, rallying late against Utah and then holding strong when the Utes had a chance for a two-point conversion to win the games. The Trojans remained in the Playoff hunt and gained a huge advantage in the South race early on by making plays when it counted most.
Stanford’s momentum - Don’t look now, but the Cardinal are the hottest team in the Pac-12 North, if not the whole conference. Their offensive line appears to be coming together, Chryst and Costello look steady-enough at QB, Bryce Love is the nation’s most-unstoppable player and their defense is good enough to lock down most offenses. They are quietly close to pushing ahead of the Washington schools.
Bryce Love - The Ducks held Love to 8.6 yards per-carry and that was a huge accomplishment. Enough said.
Khalil Tate - I don’t care who it was against, Tate’s stat lines the past two weeks make it seem like he is playing against high school players. He is Arizona’s version of Bryce Love as a runner no one can stop right now.
RichRod & Arizona finding a way - I’m impressed with the way Rich Rodriguez has found an answer in Tucson. The Wildcats aren’t super talented, but he has found a horse on offense and is riding it and their defense has come along just enough.
Washington’s offense & Jake Browning - The flaws Washington showed in their first six games were set on fire in Tempe. Their highly-touted offensive line couldn’t open holes, their running backs couldn’t make people miss or break tackles, their receivers weren’t open and Jake Browning couldn’t put the offense on his back. The Huskies looked like they were playing 2016 Alabama again and not 2-3 Arizona State.
Washington’s kicking game - For all of Washington’s offensive struggles and Arizona State’s defensive performance, the Huskies likely would have won in Tempe had they made two field goals that were virtual extra points and not gotten a punt blocked. The two missed field goals were maybe the worst short fields goals I have ever seen attempted in major college football.
Washington against Arizona State - It seems there is a curse for the Huskies against ASU. The Huskies have beaten the Sun Devils once in the last 16 years and almost always seem to play in bizarre games against them. The Sun Devil defense has held power five opponents under 20 points just four times in the past four years, three of those times have been against the Huskies and Chris Petersen.
Luke Falk & the Cougars - Maybe the smoke in the air got into the brain of the Cougars and Luke Falk, because they got devastated by a Cal team fresh off getting demolished by Washington on the road. I suspected the Cougars were quite a bit overrated, but this outcome still doesn’t make sense.
The State of Washington - The Washington school came into the weekend flying high and leading the conference. They left with 10 points scored on the road against teams who came in with a combined one Pac-12 win.
Pac-12 scheduling - I’m not just making excuses for the Washington schools, because I feel like the conference has stung USC already in the same way, but the conference needs to stop setting up their own teams for failure/trap games. Washington State had their second-straight road game on a short week against Cal. Washington was playing their third road game in four weeks against a team coming off a bye week. This was similar to USC getting a second of back-to-back road games at Washington State earlier. The conference needs to figure out how not to put their own teams, especially Playoff contenders in tough spots.
Playoff contender injuries - The Pac-12 has two potential Playoff teams left (USC & Washington) and they both have zero margin for error to even be considered for one of the last spots. They’re both also walking injury factories. The Huskies lost two mid-season All-Pac-12 players against Arizona State.
Jim Mora’s job security - The loss to Arizona seems to wrap things up for Mora in Westwood for me. The Bruins just seem like they are on their last legs with him at the helm.
Colorado regressing - The Buffs pulled it out at Oregon State and got their first conference win, but winning against the Beavers should not have been that hard. It looks like the Buffs might be fizzling right back to the bottom of the South after making it to the top.
Oregon without Justin Herbert - The Ducks are 10 times worse without Herbert at quarterback. They risk not winning another game until The Civil War unless they can get their starting quarterback back.
Has USC wrapped the South? The Trojans put themselves in a very nice place in the South by beating Utah. Barring a collapse, it looks like the Arizona schools are the only teams who can really give them a realistic challenge in the standings. Is the South sewn up in mid-October?
Is Stanford the favorite in the North? The Cardinal have quietly righted a lot of their issues and recovered from two early tough losses in Southern California. Coupled with the Washington schools lighting themselves on fire this weekend, the Cardinal may now be the favorite to win the North.
Washington schools exposed? Road losses in the Pac-12 happen for even the best teams, but the way the Washington schools lost is cause for major concern. Have teams been given a blueprint for how to stymy the Washington offenses?
USC Pac-12’s last Playoff hope? The state of Washington’s Playoff hopes are probably dashed (I know the Huskies technically still have a shot, but it’s going to be very, very tough given their SOS and injuries). The Trojans are still in a fine spot, but it’s going to very difficult as well. Are they the conference’s last hope?
Jim Mora done? It seems like only a matter of time now before Mora is out at UCLA....when will it happen?
Arizona coaches saved? It was a big weekend for the assumed-dead Arizona coaches. Can they stay on the right track and survive 2017?
Is Colorado regressing? I laid the question out there. I think most expected a minor rebuilding year in Boulder, but having them sift right back to the bottom of the conference is a surprise. Are they just struggling with a tough early-conference schedule, or have they peaked?