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Pac-12 the good, the bad, and the unknown week eight: Washington State traps Oregon in Pullman

Gameday came to Pullman for one of the most epic Saturdays in Cougar football history.

Oregon v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

The Good

Washington State - The Cougars were given a golden opportunity to scare a huge win over Oregon and officially insert themselves into the chase for the Pac-12 championship and they made the most of it. They’re first half dominance of the Ducks was breathtaking and their eventual win capped off a magical day in Pullman.

Gardner Minshew - Minshew stole the show from Justin Herbert, was near perfect as the Cougars built their lead and then put together a clutch drive to seal the game late in the fourth. Is he the front runner for Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year?

Pullman - The Pac-12 might not be competing on a national level right now, but a moment like what happened in Pullman on Saturday is the kind of magic only college football can provide.

Utah’s roll - The Utes have been the conference’s best team the past few weeks. They took control of the South by wrecking USC in Salt Lake City. They look like the team we thought they could be going into the season - tough and physical with a mobile playmaker at QB and great RB. Anyone with them left on the schedule should be wary.

Tyler Huntley - Huntley suddenly turning into a star is a big reason why Utah is now looking like the Pac-12’s best team. His performance against USC - 22-29 341 yards passing with four TDs and a rushing touchdown was one of the best by any Pac-12 QB all season.

Chase Hansen & the Utah defense - Hansen is looking like the conference’s best defensive player after another lights out game. He finished with 11 tackles, three for-loss, and was an enforcer all night for the Utes.

Stanford & Washington taking care of business - The Cardinal and Huskies are the forgotten Pac-12 teams in great positions right now. They both won fairly challenging games thought not in pretty fashions and keep themselves on pace for a Rose Bowl berth.

Cal bouncing back - I thought the Bears had a good chance to not win a game the rest of the season, but they showed life at Oregon State. Maybe Chase Garbers is the answer at quarterback?

The Bad

Scheduling - The Pac-12’s scheduling pain hit Oregon a week after it benefited them and now the Cougars will probably get their own dose, having to go at Stanford with the Cardinal having a couple extra days off.

Pac-12 Network Scheduling - The game that decides the South (USC/Utah) may have just been played on the Pac-12 Network and now the game that might decide the North (Washington State/Stanford) is going to be played on the Network as well. These games have to be on ABC/FOX/ESPN. No excuses.

Oregon’s first half - Yes, scheduling wasn’t great for the Ducks, but they were coming off a home game and had one of the most-accommodating schedules in the country in the first half of the season, so no excuses for how thoroughly dominated they were by the Cougars in Pullman.

Maybe it’s not a good idea to make a mid-season game your Super Bowl. Take note Washington State.

USC - No shame in losing at Utah with the way the Utes are playing, but the Trojans got wrecked and it’s shocking how unimpressive they are given the talent they have on the team. The Trojans could still win the South, but it’s not going to be easy from here.

Stanford’s offensive line & Bryce Love - What many thought might be one of the best OL/RB combos in the nation going into the season has turned into a disaster. Stanford’s veteran offensive line has struggled to get push all season despite losing only one starter from last season and Love averaged a stunning 1.9 yards per-carry against Arizona State. Both appear to be injured and struggling mid-season.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson injury - It wold be a shame for the Bruins if DTR is out for any extended period of time. They’re right on the verge of being a contender in the South, but they will probably need for him to be healthy to be at their best.

Oregon State - I thought the Beavers might Cal off for the honor of being the second-worst team in the Pac-12, but no. The Beavers got pounded at home by the Bears and are at major risk of not winning a conference game this season.

The Unknown

Who wins the North and tie breakers? The power in the North has been changing almost every week all season. Washington State looks to be the team for now in the division, but I have a feeling it’s going to transfer to Stanford or Washington next week.

Will the North be up for grabs until the final week of the season? Also, are we going to have to resort to some crazy tie breakers?

Can Utah & Washington State officially break through? The Utes and Cougars have been so close to winning their divisions the past few years and this might be the best both have ever looked in October. Could this be the division underdogs finally make it happen?

How good is Justin Herbert? The hype around Herbert reached a peak before the Oregon/Washington game, but it’s quieted the past two weeks as Herbert has looked pedestrian against the Washington schools. I’ve compared Herbert to Josh Allen - a tall and athletic QB who is a bit raw and will struggle against decent defenses and in the pocket. It’s starting to look fairly accurate.

How long does Clay Helton survive? It seems like the time has come for the Trojans to part ways with Helton. Even if the Trojans win out and win the South with some help, is that enough for him to keep his job and for the Trojans to continue to underwhelm.