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Pac-12 looking back and looking ahead weeks five and six: the last unbeaten falls

Its another week-to-week season for the Pac-12.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at California Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Looking Back

Fright Night Lights...out - It just seems where Friday night is where Pac-12 favorites go to die. Cal was the latest to lose as a favorite on Friday night, getting downed by Arizona State in Berkeley after losing quarterback Chase Garbers. The Bears still control their destiny in the North, but lost wild card CFP hopes and each game without Garbers could be a challenge.

Week-to-Week - We have another season where it seems like teams are different week-to-week. Center stage this week was Arizona State as the Sun Devils dropped a very-winnable game against Colorado last week in Tempe and then turned around and then won at undefeated Cal six days later. You never know who to trust when.

Washington’s defense comes alive - Washington’s defense looked like work-in-progress at the start of the season after losing nine starters from 2018. They looked like they might have come of age Saturday as they willed Washington to a comfortable win over USC. The Huskies could be right back to where they were the past three years if their defense keeps putting the pieces together.

Clay Helton countdown - The Trojans played HARD Saturday in Seattle, fighting for their coach’s job, but it wasn’t enough to get the win, and the problem wasn’t that the Trojans lost to Washington, it’s that they lost to BYU two weeks ago. It certainly feels like USC’s game at Notre Dame in two weeks could be a must-win for Helton.

Utah bounces back - The Utes had to take on another air raid after getting bombed by USC’s in The Coliseum. They looked more like themselves as they clamped down on WSU and their aerial attack, pulling away for a huge win with Tyler Huntley impressing on offense. They look like they just have to hope that they can win the games they should and have USC drop a game or two the rest of the way.

Washington State in trouble? We’re just two weeks into Pac-12 play and the Cougars look as troubled as they’ve been since early in Mike Leach’s tenure in Pullman. Quarterback Anthony Gordon is started to look human, the Cougars are in an 0-2, and Leach is insulting his players...is this the year the Cougs slip back down to Earth?

Arizona gets it done - The Wildcats did the impossible in the Pac-12...win a home game they should have won. That’s about it.

Back up QBs - It seems like just about every team in the conference is already down to their back up quarterback - Arizona, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, and USC all started secondary options under center. We’re only a handful of weeks into the season and almost have of the conference is without their starter. Hopefully we’re done with major QB injuries for the rest of the year, but I have a feeling we’re not.

Stanford’s not dead...for one more week - Speaking of backup QBs...Stanford’s Davis Mills got the job done in Corvallis. The Cardinal stave off virtual elimination in the North for another week and the Beavers are heartbroken, letting one of their best chances to grab a Pac-12 this season slip away against an injured animal.

Looking Ahead

A showdown no more? I thought we were headed to the good old days of Bellotti vs. Tedford of the mid-2000s with Cal vs. Oregon Saturday, but the Bears loss and the likely loss of Garbers takes off a lot of the luster and it seems very unlikely that Cal can pull off the win in Eugene now.

Redemption song? If the Cardinal and David Shaw are still the Cardinal and David Shaw, they have their coming out party Saturday night against Washington in Palo Alto. The Cardinal are still very talented and may have been able to get KJ Costello healthy enough to get themselves right enough to have an upset shot at the Huskies next week.

Oregon or Washington? It certainly feels like we’re building up to Oregon and Washington’s showdown in Seattle deciding the North and likely who is the best team in the conference. If both teams can win their next couple of games, we will get a huge matchup of likely Top 10 teams with the winner becoming the conference’s last hope for a CFP berth.