Pac-12 Hangover – Week 6

Hangover

As much as things change, they inevitably stay the same.

Week-6 in the Pac-12 Conference felt a lot like Déjà vu:  Different movie, but awfully similar script.  Oregon dominated, Arizona State disappointed, and a Mike Leach quarterback threw more balls than a Little Leaguer on an offseason afternoon, under the watchful eye of a father living vicariously threw him.  Sure, the Ducks defense was sketchy for a half in Boulder, but it righted the ship.  Yes, Arizona State opened eyes after going “scorched earth” on USC in Tempe a week ago, but – as ASU almost certainly always does – the Sun Devils put the Pac-12 Planet back on its axis by coming up short against a mediocre Notre Dame squad Saturday night.  And per usual, Mike Leach’s signal-caller Connor Halliday nearly detached his arm from the socket while attempting 67 pass attempts against Cal in Berkeley.  It’s amazing how history tends to repeat itself, and while the coaches and players often change, there are virtual certainties attached to nearly every team in this conference, cemented over years and sometimes decades regarding the 12 pieces on this conference’s chess board. 

Washington State is the “Clemson” of the Pac-12, UCLA and ASU are habitually overrated, and Cal can never get over the hump.  Arizona … Mr. Irrelevant, USC and Oregon are and/or have become the evil empires, and Utah and Colorado are like 7th grade nerds playing foosball at a dance while their brethren slide head-first into second base.  Oregon State … loveable losers, Stanford … politically correct, and the Washington Huskies and their fans are the “irrationally confident NBA shooters” whose ego far exceeds their hierarchal standing.  It’s uncanny!

I wanted UCLA to live up to their ranking, but they’re just not dynamic.  I wanted Stanford’s appeal to exceed any number of the contestants on “Flavor of Love,” but they continue to win ugly.  And I wanted to believe an ASU quarterback this side of Jake Plummer could navigate a meaningful game without putting his team behind the eight ball … on multiple occasions, but again I was reminded that the likelihood of such equals that of Lloyd Christmas’ “chance” … one in a million.

Oh well, maybe this week will surprise me, in a conference which rarely does.  On to what was during last week’s slate of games:

  • UCLA isn’t quite there yet.  Improved … yes, but ready to play with the “big boys” of the college game … negatory.
  • Taylor Kelly is not a difference maker (at least not the good kind).  Too many interceptions, at too many of the worst times.  ASU isn’t good enough to overcome the habitual mistakes the Sun Devil signal caller regularly makes, and until he learns to protect the ball the Devils will continue to be a C+/B- team destined for second-tier bowl games.
  • Oregon’s defense may have shown vulnerability.  Colorado receivers ran free in the Ducks secondary for most of the first half, and against a team with an above average quarterback (Something Oregon’s yet to see) the Ducks could find themselves in a position to play their starters for the duration of a game.  Maybe it was a case of lack of motivation, but it also could be the first significant chink in an armor without one to this point.
  • Washington is legit.  I already knew the Huskies were a good team, but at Stanford they showed a “completeness” that few outside of Oregon (and that includes Stanford) can truly boast.  They’re very good offensively with Keith Price and his stable of playmakers, and defensively they look to have shown the ability to at least keep them in most games.  Oregon will have their hands full this weekend in Seattle.
  • Colt Lyerla will forever be “what could’ve been.”  Sure, he will almost certainly be playing in the NFL next season, but if you think the behavior that put him in this position is going to disappear after making it to the “league,” you either are or will soon be a card-carrying-member of a celebrity entourage near you.  Dude is extraordinarily talented, but sadly it appears he lacks the tools necessary to grasp what it takes to succeed at the highest of levels.  I wish him the best, but fear he’ll long be remembered for what could’ve been, rather than what was.
  • Maybe Jeff Tedford wasn’t so bad after all?
  • The Pac-12 is Notre Dame’s female dog.  USC, Stanford, now Arizona State; it’s increasingly difficult to give the Pac-12 props when they continue to lose to a team universally known as nationally overrated! 
  • A Saturday isn’t the same without DeAnthony Thomas playing football.  Watching an Oregon game without one of college football’s premier playmakers is like being sent to bed without supper.  Oregon needs to outsource rehab to Mr. Miyagi.  That rubbing his hands together thing could really come in handy before Saturday.  Washington may not be the Cobra Kai, but they’re at least that schlep who the 30-year-old, overweight Macchio beat in Karate Kid 3.
  • Kevin Smith didn’t catch that football at the end of the Washington/Stanford game.

Highlight Of The Week – D.D. Goodson’s 75 yard pass from Colorado receiver Paul Goodson in the first quarter of the Buffaloes game versus Oregon.  Highlights have been few and far between for Colorado since they joined the Pac-12, so I thought I’d throw them a bone in the interests of keeping them around.

Lowlight Of The Week – Stanford faking injuries.  Unfortunately this isn’t something new, but as long as teams keep doing it (And sorry Coach Shaw, in spite of your declarations to the contrary … you’re doing it), in the interests of playing the game right … I’ll keep pointing it out.

Diva Award

 

This week’s Diva Award goes to every Pac-12 defensive back who finds it necessary to follow every incomplete pass with the official’s incomplete signal.  There were a handful of individual qualifiers this week, but I’m so fed up with DB’s displays following the most trivial of pass break-ups that something needed to be said.

My Conference Power Rankings this week:

1.  Oregon

7.  Arizona

2.  Stanford

8.  Washington State

3.  Washington

9.  Utah

4.  UCLA

10.  USC

5.  Arizona State

11.  California

6.  Oregon State

12.  Colorado

With that I bid Week-5 adieu and the best of luck to you and yours next weekend.

Enjoy the games!

About Arran Gimba

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