PAC12 posted November 14, 2016 at 5:04 PM
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californiasgold

China,

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Hey It's been awhile. Ive read the posts but Havent had time to talk much. I now got a chance

It's been a changing of the guards here in the PAC 12.

USC lost it in 2009, and the joint dominance of Oregon and Stanford is coming to an end.

Washington is king, and they will be tough to unseat for a while.

Utah is making that leap from good to great in the PAC 12, and Colorado is finally getting a great season after years of being a doormat.

Buffaloes couldn't be that bad forever. It was only a matter of time before they get things right, at least for one season. Plus last year we saw signs that they were improving, so this season although it's surprising to see them play this well, it's not a surprise that they are no longer a pushover.

USC should be in the discussion for the 2nd best team in conference behind Washington. The way USC is playing now, Utah and Stanford were winnable games.
But that slow start with the "wrong" QB cost them. Otherwise I see them a 7-1 or 6-2 team. In the meantime, Colorado and Utah get the attention.

As for USC, I'm just glad to see there is improvement. Sam Darnold is amazing.
He is the reason for the mid-season resurgence.

What I love about his game is that he's more athletic than any USC quarterback in recent memory.

He makes plays with his feet, running for those first downs when a USC QB of the past couldn't, and he keep the plays alive longer being more mobile in the pocket.

Finally USC's offense is starting to become what I wanted it to be 5 or so years ago, one that can utilize a mobile quarterback, because up until now defenses never had to worry about the QB running. Now they have to be worried!

And that's the direction this game has gone in the last 10 or so years, and USC hadn't gotten with the times.

The future QBs will need to be a Sam Darnold-style quarterback. The days of an immobile pocket passer who folds under pressure if the offensive line breaks down just isn't acceptable anymore. We need a QB who can improvise. Today's defenses are faster than before.

Defensively, I think USC is doing a little bit better at stopping running QBs. Overall there's room to improve on defense. The defensive line is young, and the secondary needs to stop all these pass interferences. The team as a whole needs to be more disciplined. Too many penalties. A 45-24 win should have been a 55-60 point to 14 win if not for the shots in the foot, offensively and defensively.

UCLA apparently is struggling, but I don't think they're as bad as people say. They gave Utah a good game, lost close games on the road. They have a lot of talent that is playing below their potential, and I won't sleep on them when USC plays them. That might be the one game they wake up.

Cal has a good offense give them credit, but defensively they can't stop the run. The shootouts they get in, They'd be a great addition to the Big 12.

ASU is being average as expected in conference, and Arizona, well, someone has to lose in conference. We can't all be winners.

It's just a weird season in the PAC 12 because you have teams like Oregon being the "worst" in conference, Stanford looking bad, and I just can't look at them or UCLA as the "easy" teams to beat in conference. Oregon might have the worst record, but i wouldn't take their offense lightly 

 

Colorado and Washington State are "supposed" to be the PAC 12 doormats, and Washington was "supposed" to be beatable. I guess Oregon State would be a doormat, but with the falls of the others, the Beavers advance up to beatable.

The point is any team can still scare you or knock you off the top.

And the other thing about football is so much can change in one season.


Alabama is Alabama.
Oregon and Stanford were supposed to be on top, then Washington was rising.. Utah and UCLA were expected to be ranked, and now Colorado was no longer the freebie win we all knew them for, plus Notre Dame was seen a top 10-15. USC had an embarrassing start to the season, and thereafter looked like a schedule of death.

And as bad as it was, i knew there was no point dwelling on it not only because it's not good to occupy your mind with not the happiest of thoughts, but because football is an emotional, strategic game of momentum, and as a fan you might as well relax and go where the wind and current takes you. I'm sure Clay Helton is thrilled for his own sake because he might have job security as long as Sam Darnold is QB.

A spark is lit somewhere. Adjustments are made. Somehow the players finally figure out how to thrive in the systems they're learning. And vice versa. Some teams inexplicably fall apart.

If USC can finish 9-4, I'll say it was a good season just because they improved. But an 8-5 finish is also likely and still "ok" considering the improvement from 1-3, but in that situation you'd be kicking yourself over missed opportunities early in the season.

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TheTopFan

Greenville, SC

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Great to see you back, Cal!!

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John_M-01

Houston, TX

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Had this been the mid-2000s, the (then) Pac-10 was basically "USCal.. and the Pac-9."  These days, it's Washington just having a baller season.  A lot of people usually have an East Coast bias or a bias of southern schools... and maybe the Midwest also.  But out west right now, it's Washington's to lose.  It's almost as if the spirit of the 1991 Washington Huskies is instilled in the 2016 Washington Huskies.  Washington COULD run the table the rest of the way with their remaining schedule (at California, USCal, Arizona State, and at Washington State).  If they do win out, then the question becomes where they will figure into the 2016 College Football Playoff rankings.  Or let's say they lose one of their remaining games.  Would you put a one-loss Washington in the playoff against a one-loss Big Ten team, a one-loss SEC team, or even a one-loss ACC team?  The Pac-12 right now is Washington's to lose basically.

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californiasgold

China,

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I don't think a one-loss Washington would make the playoffs.

The expected powers in the north like Oregon and Stanford are struggling this year, so normally wins over those would mean a lot, but in this year such wins are devalued.

Washington has gotten quality wins over Utah and has two more possibilities with USC and Washington State, and those wins might just be good, but not good enough.

USC could be a ranked team by next week if they beat Oregon, and another quality win while staying undefeated helps their case.
.
But if USC wins, the Huskies will not go to the playoffs because the team they lost to got blown out by playoff contender Alabama. Plus their most notable non conference win was Rutgers.

Washington State is flirting with the top 25, but a loss to the Cougars would take them out because like USC, they aren't a playoff caliber team. And also it's timing., A loss too late in the season hurts your chances to recover fast enough if other are winning.

Alabama, Michigan, and Clemson have all been in the playoff discussion since the beginning of the season, along with Ohio State. Their success is known, and a loss could be seen as a hiccup, but wouldn't undermine their playoff-contending credentials.

Washington has been the surprise, and as well as they've played, there is still some doubt about them because they're new to the playoff scene, and people are still learning about this team. Would a loss just be a hiccup or is it a sign they aren't playoff contenders?

They would just have to win out, or hope the other playoff-contending teams lose as well.

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SpiffyGuitarMan

Birmingham, AL

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I'm still holding out hope that Washington St wins out and takes the PAC-12 as a two loss team (those two losses being to Boise St and an FCS team).  How crazy would that be?

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John_M-01

Houston, TX

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"You're good, but we're better," says the University of Southern California towards Washington. Yep... Washington had themselves a deflating loss at home to the USCal Trojans last night. The Huskies of U-Dub got swept in all the madness from yesterday. I thought maybe Washington would win out, but it just seemed like USCal either wanted it more or played harder. Any way you look at it, it was not a good night last night for the University of Washington.

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californiasgold

China,

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Big win!

Not sure what to make of it just yet, but let's just say it's another a step in the right direction. Best win of the season so far.

It's a boost of confidence for this team and for me as a fan. 

Chris Petersen is a great coach and given his Boise State history, is the best coach in the Pac 12, turning Washington around. You'd probably lose most times when you bet against him. The thing I was "worried" about was if he became unbeatable, a changing of the guard that wasn't USC, and even if USC continued improving, wouldn't be able to overcome undefeated Chris Petersen-led teams. 

But having seen it and now knowing what is possible for the Trojans, that gives me more confidence in the head coach.

So what's next?

A Pac 12 title for USC is still in play, but will be difficult. First, USC has to beat UCLA, otherwise there's zero chance to win it.

I like what I see so far from the Trojans, and they should have the advantage going into the game, but it's a rivalry game. You can never be too careful.

If USC wins, then they just have to hope Colorado and Utah lose one more game, and it depends on which team they lose to.

Wash St has to beat Colorado
Colorado has to beat Utah.

USC would win the tiebreaker with Colorado, and Trojans go to the Pac 12 title game. 
Utah would win a tiebreaker with USC, and the Utes go.
If Colorado wins out, Buffaloes go.

In the meantime, the Apple Cup will likely be winner take all for the north, probably one of the most anticipated Apple Cups in a long time.


So here are probably the list of rivalry games where there is the most at stake, to the least at stake.

1) Apple Cup - Likely the winner represents the North

2) Rumble in the Rockies - Likely the winner represents the South

3) Crosstown Showdown - A USC win gives the Trojans an outside chance to play in the title game.

4) Civil War - Neither team is bowling. The Beavers might be struggling, but so are the Ducks. Home game for the Beavers. The record might not be great, but they've shown the ability for upset alert at home this year.

5) The Big Game - Nothing at stake. Could be high scoring.

6) Duel in the Desert - Maybe it would be interesting, but there's absolutely nothing at stake. I'd rather get my popcorn for a Civil War or Apple Cup.

 

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TheTopFan

Greenville, SC

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Very interesting out there this year.

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