The Hangover – Pac-12 Week 8 Review

The Hangover

Wins and losses:  That’s the theme of Week 8 in the Pac-12 Conference. 

True, as long as there are games, there are wins and losses, but Week 8 offered such not only literally due to Saturday’s outcomes, but also off the field regarding perception, and more importantly with the passing of a conference icon responsible for a dominant era few fans of the conference will forget.

Don James coached the Washington Huskies from 1975 to 1992, when he retired under protest of ensuing sanctions levied by the NCAA regarding an investigation surrounding improper benefits to players.  In his tenure at Washington, he won nearly 75% of his games, 4 Rose Bowls, and a split National Title in 1991, when his Huskies finished a 12-0 season with a 34-14 win over Michigan in the Rose Bowl Game.  He won 3 national coach of the year honors while in Seattle and was inducted into the College Football Hall Of Fame in 1997.  While never a Washington fan myself, his and their formidability was undeniable in their time, his contribution to the university immense, and he should be honored, and will be missed by a school and program indebted to a great man and coach.  RIP Don James.

On a lighter note, however a more direct one regarding play on the field, Duck fans took a hit with the initial public offering of the not-so-highly-anticipated BCS standings.  In spite of another dominating performance on the field, Oregon opened the BCS standings in the 3rd position behind Florida State, leaving a portion of their fan base in a Nancy Kerrigan type situation … ”why, why!”  I’m going to tell you why, and in the process going to ease the pain levied upon you by a system designed to inflict just that.

Alabama is and will remain #1 based on past performance coupled with their play this season to this point.  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’ve built a level of equity that’s inarguable, which gives them the benefit of the doubt.  Nick Saban is a proven commodity when it comes to coaching, the SEC is a proven commodity when it comes to competition, and until they lose … it’s their throne to sit on.  So what about Florida State?  They just beat the #3 team in the nation, on their field, by 37 points.  In spite of Oregon’s impressive win at Washington a week ago (and it was impressive), it pales in comparison to the Noles thrashing of a pretty good Clemson team in “Death Valley.”

Relax Duck fans, win your games and the rest will take care of itself.  Oregon’s schedule gets tougher from here on in, and Florida State won’t have the level of competition to push them past you as the season progresses.

The BCS standings as they stand now are meaningless.  It’s a “way too early” barometer of the competition for the ultimate prize, but with 6 potential games remaining, it provides little more than fodder for outsiders to get worked-up about, and insiders to use as motivation.  It’s difficult to go undefeated, which is why doing so will likely get you where you want to go.

On that note, on to what was during last week’s slate of games:

  • Oregon State’s done losing to subpar talent.  Since their opening day loss to FCS Eastern Washington, the Beavers have taken care of the teams they should be beating.  I’m not in on OSU’s legitimacy yet due to wins over San Diego State, Hawaii, Utah, Colorado, and Cal (inarguably – outside of Utah who’s proven to be mediocre – not good football teams), but with Stanford, Washington and Arizona State on the horizon, we’ll know soon enough.
  • Sonny Dykes is not a good football coach.  Jeff Tedford didn’t leave this cupboard empty, and what Dykes is doing with reasonable talent is disappointing to say the least.  Over the last 5 years, Cal has had a recruiting class that’s averaged 29th nationally and 6th in the conference, not world-beater material, but definitely talent good enough to compete in the majority of their conference games.
  • Until I begin associating Bears with the desert, Arizona has to change their mantra to “Bare Down,” and an end-of-the-third-quarter tradition entailing co-eds flashing the crowd while Ginuwine’s “Pony” plays throughout the stadium, must begin.
  • Washington is in a flat spin out to sea, and the remainder of their season may depend on Steve Sarkisian’s ability to “punch them out” prior to crashing and burning.
  • Bishop Sankey – the NCAA’s leading rusher prior to last week’s game – ran for exactly 22 yards versus Arizona State.  The “steel curtain” they’re not, but the Sun Devil defense remains capable … at least situationally.
  • Mike Riley has to tell me why he continues to leave his star players in during blowout games deep into the 4th quarter.  This has become habit.  Cooks was nearly concussed and Mannion took a huge shot in the pocket the following play, well into the 4th quarter of last week’s game in spite of leading by 32 points.  It goes against Riley’s personality to suggest such, but I’m having a harder time not thinking he’s got individual statistics in mind.
  • Uncle Rico must’ve been proud watching Napoleon Dynamite throw for over 500 yards last weekend versus Oregon.  Oh, and I demand that Connor Halliday do that “Vote for Pedro” dance next time he gets into the end zone. 
  • Stanford’s defense is in fact alive.  After a more-than-disappointing performance at Utah last week, the Cardinal put their best foot forward against a UCLA team looking to prove a point.  Don’t bury the “trees” just yet.
  • It’s hard to believe DeAnthony Thomas essentially hasn’t played in 4 consecutive games, and Oregon seemingly hasn’t missed a beat.  This falls into the category of the rich getting richer, but all things point to DAT returning this week against UCLA, and I for one can’t wait to catch a glimpse of the country’s most exciting player.
  • Have I mentioned the Trojans?  They still stink.  I can’t wait until the list of 5-star coaches who turn down the USC job starts to leak out … and it will happen.
  • No more pink helmets.  Good cause … great, now file them away and never shall we see them again.
  • Nick Allioti is hereby assigned a 1 hour cooling-off period entailing a cold beer, jazz music, and a Swedish massage prior to all post-game pressers.  Relax Bro!
  • Every player involved with the lawsuit against the NFL must apologize to the game and the rules surrounding hitting a quarterback must be reset to 1995.  The 2 roughing the passer penalties against Cal last week for “hitting the quarterback in the sternum” put me over the top.  So you can’t hit them low, can’t hit them in the sternum, and can’t have any helmet-to-helmet contact. So … sacking the quarterback is out?
  • Colorado beat Charleston Southern.  That’s right, previously unbeaten Charleston Southern! (Just go with it, every dog needs their bone).

Highlight Of The Week – Brandon Cooks’ 197 first half yards receiving.  Cooks and Mannion continue to impress versus lesser competition, but the verdict still awaits as the lesser competition is now in the rearview mirror.

Lowlight Of The Week – Connor Halliday’s 89 pass attempts versus Oregon.  I’m not going to go “Allioti” on you, but you can’t win a football game throwing it 89 times, and paint your own picture regarding why Mike Leach would choose to do so.

 

This week’s Diva Award goes to Shayne Skov of Stanford.  Enough with the face paint!  Unless your name’s Alice Cooper, William Wallace, or any number of indigenous Americans equipped with archaic weaponry, lose the Halloween costume.

My Conference Power Rankings this week:

1.  Oregon

7. Arizona

2.  Stanford

8. Utah

3.  UCLA

9.  USC

4.  Arizona State

10.Washington State

5.  Oregon State

11.  California

6.  Washington

12.  Colorado

With that I bid Week 8 adieu, and the best of luck to you and yours next weekend.

Enjoy the games!

About Arran Gimba

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