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Pac-12 the good, the bad & the unknown week 6: Utah shocks Stanford in Palo Alto

The division races are a little more interesting after another week of football.

Utah v Stanford Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Good

Utah’s survival instincts - The Utes had their backs against the wall in Palo Alto and they came out swinging, taking down the Brye Loveless Cardinal in convincing fashion. The Utes avoided starting 0-3 in Pac-12 play and kept themselves alive in the conference race. They might have to run the table from here, but it’s certainly not impossible they do that.

Utah’s offense - Many will attribute Utah’s win at Stanford to the absence of Love, but the Utes actually won the game with their own offense, putting up 40 points on the Cardinal at home. Tyler Huntley had an excellent bounce back game and Zack Moss put together an 160-yard two touchdown game that showed he’s still one of the best backs in the conference.

Lavishka Shenault - Shenault is arguably the conference’s best player at any position this season and without a doubt maybe the most valuable player to any team. He accounted for every one of Colorado’s touchdowns in their win huge win over Arizona State - two rushing and two receiving.

Colorado still rolling - The Buffs passed their first true test of the season Saturday, beating Arizona State in Boulder. This wasn’t a huge statement by CU, but keeps them undefeated and gives them some more respect heading into the heart of Pac-12 play.

Arizona coming to life - It hasn’t been pretty, but the Wildcats have put together two Pac-12 wins and appear to at least have a shot at making a bowl game this year. Getting a win at home against a solid Cal team was huge for Kevin Sumlin and his squad.

Washington State takes care of business - Nothing spectacular in blowing out Oregon State this year, even in Corvallis, but it was just another win in the bucket for the Cougars, who appear to be ready to maybe be a major factor in the North race again as they get a week off before a home game against Oregon.

UCLA shows life - the Huskies looked to be trying to save themselves for Oregon next week, but either way, Chip Kelly’s Bruins looked like a team that could be turning the corner against the Huskies. They have a great shot at winning a few games this year.

The Bad

Stanford without Love - The Cardinal are literally a fringe bowl team without their star running back. They get credit for recruiting and developing their outrageously-good RBs, but the reality is they’re a team that probably wins 5-7 games every year without Christian McCaffrey and Love turning the players they became, despite recruiting well over the years at every other position.

Stanford’s defense - There’s a defense problem in Palo Alto and Harrison Phillips is no longer around to even kind of cover it up. The Cardinal gave up 40 points to a Utah offense had struggled to do much of anything all season.

Cal’s QB situation - The Bears have given up 28 points in QB turnovers for scores the past two weeks. Brandon McIlwain’s two pick sixes against Arizona actually ended up being the difference in winning the game. The Bears need to get better play at QB or they could risk missing out on a chance at having a breakout year.

The Unknown

Can Stanford bounce back? Getting housed at home by Utah was a hard shot to Stanford. They’ve had shocking losses under David Shaw, but this one feels especially painful the week after getting blown out by Notre Dame. Can the Cardinal piece it back together and fight it out with Oregon and Washington to win the North?

When is Bryce Love back? Love being out almost caused Stanford to lose at Oregon State last year and had a lot to do with them losing at home to Utah. The Cardinal gets a well-timed bye week. Will Love be back in the line up when they’re back?

Can Utah still put that run together? The Utes may have saved their season in Palo Alto, but they’re still behind the eight ball in the South with two losses already. They might not be able to lose another conference game all season to win the South. Can they pull it off?

Is anyone for real? The Huskies aren’t standing tall with how poorly Auburn has played in the SEC and they just struggled to beat a winless UCLA team. Stanford’s lost their past two games by a combined 40 points and Oregon’s loss to Stanford and win over Cal look a lot less impressive than they did before. Is there even a legitimate Top 15 team in the Pac-12 this year?

Can Colorado or Washington steal the conference - The conference is wide open with Oregon, Stanford, USC and Washington wavering and ripe for the Cougars or Buffs to steal it. Do they have what it takes, or are they benefiting from comfortable scheduling?