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Pac-12 the good, the bad & the unknown week three: Washington & Utah’s defenses good, but offenses bad

It was a BAD week for the Pac-12.

Washington v Utah Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

The Good

Washington’s defense - The Husky defense is a thing of beauty and good enough to carry them to an undefeated Pac-12 season if their offense is at least functional. They snuffed out Utah in Salt Lake City on the ground and in the air.

Utah’s defense - The Utes lost a tough one to Washington to open Pac-12 play, but it was at no fault of their defense. They slowed Washington’s run attack and drove Jake Browning literally crazy, causing a turnover that should have put them back in the game.

Greg Gaines - The Husky defensive tackle is one of the country’s most-underrated players and an amazing talent that’s right there with former Husky Vita Vea as a college standout. His performances in the first three games of the season are All-American-level.

No FCS upsets - The Pac-12 successfully avoided any FCS upsets this season.

The conference season is here - Saturday was the end of a thud non-conference season for the Pac-12. The good news is the conference season is here and (outside of some Notre Dame & BYU games) it will only be Pac-12 vs. Pac-12 from here on out.

The Bad

The Pac-12 closes soft - Everything was bad for the Pac-12 on a national level Saturday. USC got embarrassed at Texas, UCLA was embarrassed by a Mountain West team at home, Arizona State lost at San Diego State, Oregon State lost at a Mountain West team, Utah and Washington looked sloppy, Auburn lost and Nebraska lost. Hey, at least BYU’s win at Wisconsin makes Cal’s win at BYU look better and potential Washington and Utah’s later wins against BYU look better.

USC - I will say that USC got embarrassed at Notre Dame last year and still won the Pac-12, so I’m not writing them off in-conference yet, but Saturday sure did feel like the Clay Helton swan song at USC. There’s simply no excuse for the Trojans looking as bad as they did against an above-average-at-best Texas team.

UCLA & Chip Kelly - The Bruins and the former college football wizard are a joke. They punctuated their horrific non-conference run by losing to Fresno State by 24 at home. The Bruins are off to one of the worst starts of any program in the country and it looks like Chip Kelly 2.0 might never get off the ground.

Pac-12 vs. Mountain West - Ugh. The conference dropped three games to the Mountain West this weekend.

Arizona State’s scheduling - ASU still needs to pull out a road game at San Diego State, but sandwiching Michigan State and at Washington with at San Diego State put Herm Edwards’ gang in a tough situation.

Jake Browning - I can officially say Browning simply isn’t a good quarterback. Teams are just jail break blitzing him into oblivion and his answer is to float balls up so 300-pound defensive linemen can intercept them. He’s slipped below being recognized as a game manager and is an outright disaster.

Utah’s offense - The Utes cannot be carried by defense alone. They’ve scored just two offensive touchdowns the past two weeks and are struggling to move the ball on the ground or through the air. They probably can’t win the South with their offense playing at the level it is.

Oregon State playing at Nevada - The Beavers really needed a win in Reno, but came up short. Playing at Reno is a bad call, especially for a team trying to get morale wins in a new coach’s first season.

The Unknown

Oregon? The Ducks roll into their primetime showdown with Stanford with little known about them after rolling three cupcakes. Are the Ducks a Top 25 that can take down the early-season Pac-12 leader?

Bryce Love? Stanford’s star sat out against UCDavis. Was it just a precaution, or might he have a concussion or injury that could keep him out against Oregon, or at least slow him?

Can Washington’s offense step up? There’s no question that Washington’s defense should be able to keep them in every game this season, but will their offense be able to get them over the hump when they really need to score?

Is USC/Clay Helton dead? The Trojans are 1-2 and 0-1 in Pac-12 play, but their schedule is much easier from this point on and the South is wide open. Can the Trojans turn it around in late-September-November again?

Is Chip Kelly already dead? UCLA is off to one of the worst starts I can ever remember for a program of their stature. Can the Chip Kelly era in Westwood recover or has he truly lost his spark?