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The good, the bad and the unknown week six: Stanford stays in championship hunt

Stanford and Washington State scored big road wins.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Utah

The Good

Bryce Love against an elite defense - There was no questioning Love’s ability and Heisman potential going into Saturday, but the question remained if he could do it against a good defense. The answer is he can. He didn’t average double digits per-carry, but he went for 150 plus and busted a long touchdown that ended up being the difference in the game.

Stanford’s North health - Saturday was a near must-win for the Cardinal if they wanted to stay in the thick of the race for the North, and ultimately the Pac-12. Getting a road win against Utah showed the Cardinal aren’t going away yet.

The Cougs - Mike Leach’s squad is 6-0 with the best win of the young Pac-12 season (beating USC) in their back pocket and a relatively friendly schedule until mid-November. This team and program is rolling.

Khalil Tate & signs of life for Arizona - Tate had one of the most-ridiculous games in Pac-12 history and it gave the Wildcats and Rich Rodriguez hope with a big road upset win. Tate can give the Wildcats a fighting chance against almost anyone in the Pac-12 if he can explode like that.

Washington’s steady - The Huskies aren’t moving the needle much, but they are suffocating lesser opponents. Their defense pitched a shutout (Cal’s lone TD was a scoop and score) and have gave up just one non garbage time TD in three Pac-12 games.

The Bad

Utah without Tyler Huntley - It had to be painful for Utah fans to watch their offense against Stanford and wonder what they could have done with a healthy Huntley. The Utes might be a playmaker at quarterback short from being a darkhorse Playoff candidate, but are just a good team with a very good defense without him.

Oregon without Justin Herbert - I saw this one coming, but the Ducks are not a good team without Herbert and will probably have a tough time beating anyone in the conference other than maybe Oregon State without him.

Disrespecting Washington State - I get that Saturday was a classic trap game for the Cougars, but having the Ducks favored with a true freshman making his first start and with the book of work assembled by both programs thus far this season was a joke. The Cougars showed yet again they are a powerful program not to be overlooked and the Ducks are a work in progress with some nice pieces and an improved, but flawed defense by smashing the Ducks in Autzen.

Colorado’s defense - The Buffs followed up a nice defensive performance at UCLA with an absolute disaster at home against Arizona. Even just a bad performance compared to an outright meltdown would have been enough to get the Buffs a win they absolutely needed. Instead, they are 0-3 in Pac-12 play.

Cal’s offense - The Bears made it across the 50-yard line once, maybe twice against the Huskies before garbage time and are struggling through some tough injuries. A lot of credit to Washington’s excellent D, but the Bears need to find some more of that offense they had under Sonny Dykes to match the defense they have picked up with Justin Wilcox.


Any room for error in Playoff chase - It’s still very, very early, but does the Pac-12 have any room for error with getting a team into the Playoffs. USC definitely has to win out from here for a shot, but do both of the Washington schools have to win out to have a shot?

What do we know about Washington? The Huskies are looking strong again, but they just haven’t played anyone at all. Their 2017 opponents have zere Pac-12 wins and barely any wins over power five conference teams in general. They are impressing just about as much as they possible can, but does it matter?

The South after USC? Can anyone in the South challenge the Trojans? The only team that looks like a decent challenger, Utah, already has a conference loss and has to play at USC this weekend. Will the Trojans be able to coast to a South title?

Can Oregon weather the storm? The Ducks lost Herbert at a very tough time as they enter the meat of their schedule with tough games on the road and against tough opponents. Things lighten up later in the schedule, but can the Ducks hang on until, maybe grab an upset, and get to a bowl game?

Has Colorado relapsed? Losing to Washington and at UCLA by three is fine, but losing at home to Arizona may have killed Colorado’s season? Are they right back to fighting just to stay out of the South cellar?

Is Washington State heading into a trap? I know I just told everyone to quit underestimating the Cougs, but they are walking into a potential trap in Berkeley just based on scheduling. They will be playing their second-straight road game on a short week against a scrappy Cal team. Can they stay up and get the comfortable win they should?