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UWDP Pac 12 Roundup and Power Rankings - Week 5

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Cougs have a pulse, Utah impresses and a Hail Mary. All in a day's work in the PAC.

The freaks were out and stoked in Pullman as the Cougs mounted their upset bid over Oregon.
The freaks were out and stoked in Pullman as the Cougs mounted their upset bid over Oregon.
William Mancebo

The first full week of conference play across the nation only included two conference games thanks in part to three BYEs and a few extra OOC affairs, but what a pair of games those were. It was an exciting, and telling, weekend for the PAC with all sorts of movement in the Power Rankings. We'll get to that in a moment. Let's start with some round up dots.

PAC 12 Roundup

  • The story of the week was the near upset that the Cuogs almost pulled on Oregon in Pullman (gee, I can't seem to recall which blogger predicted a 7 point win for Oregon in this one). You have to be impressed with what the Cuogs did as they thoroughly outplayed the Ducks on both sides of the ball. The WSU D-line owned the line of scrimmage on their way to 7 sacks on Marcus Mariota. The WSU receivers basically got whatever they wanted against the Duck secondary. And, most amazingly, the WSU o-line gave QB Connor Halliday a clean pocket all night surrendering just one sack late in the game. Unfortunately. It was the Cuogs who committed the one turnover in the game, and that was the difference.
  • On the Oregon side, the win is a true testament to the greatness of Marcus Mariota. In a game where his o-line was terrible (and this includes all-everything C Hroniss Grasu) and the inside zone read was non-existent, he carried his team. His ability to break contain and gash the Cuog D with his speed led to him getting wide open deep ball opportunities. On his five TD passes, I don't think that there was a WSU defender anywhere within 10 yards of the receiver. That kind of openness only happens when the secondary is more concerned about Mariota rushing than their actual assignment. It was amazing to watch.
  • Speaking of the Oregon D, you have to think that Duck fans are pretty worried about their direction under Don Pellum. For the Ducks to not get any pressure against that porous WSU o-line all day and then to watch Halliday torch that secondary, including several successful shots at CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, has to be disconcerting.
  • Whether or not you think Arizona deserved to beat Cal or not, you have to acknowledge the greatness displayed by the 'Cat receivers. I'm not sure there is a better tandem in the PAC then Cayleb Jones and Austin Hill.
  • A Hail Mary! A game in the PAC was won on a Hail Mary! That Cal-Zona game was deliciously ugly.
    Anu-solomon-to-austin-hill-on-a-hail-mary-to-beat-cal_medium
  • Note to Cal: if you are going to work so hard to get a big lead on the road, doing things like tackling and covering up onside kicks are kind of useful.
  • Despite the loss, it is hard to not notice that Jared Goff, who really has a live arm, seems to be turning the proverbial corner.
  • The best win of the weekend was Utah over Michigan. I was really impressed with how Utah compensates for their lack of team speed with discipline and very stout LOS play - particularly on that d-line. This may be the most disciplined team in the PAC not named Oregon and, as of now, they look like the best defense in the league.
  • How about this for the worst Heisman pose ever (courtesy of Kaelin Clay)?
    20140920_lbm_aa1_283.jpg.0_standard_709.0_medium

  • QB Travis Wilson needs to start thinking of how much he enjoys living because he is a threat to his own life every time he runs the ball. Literally.
  • The PAC 12 refs were not horrible this weekend. But based in both the UW and WSU games, remedial classes on the finer points of Pass Interference may be in order.
  • Colorado is making strides and WR Nelson Spruce is the PAC's newest star. Still, if what we saw from WSU was legit, then the gap between Colorado and the rest of the PAC may be increasing.
  • Would the real Huskies please stand up? To think that this roster put up what may possibly have been the worst half in Husky football history is mind boggling. To think that they could then come back and put up the most prolific half is just as confounding.
  • The Cyler Miles pooch punt worked beautifully. That still doesn't make it the right play. But it wasn't the wrong play. Regardless of where you fall on this silly debate, I will be deleting any comments that try to carry that tired debate forward. We will all agree to disagree. And it will be good.
  • I'm really looking forward to the ASU / UCLA game next week, but it is sort of a no-win for Jimmy Mora's crew. They will be expected to crush a Taylor Kelly-less Sun Devil team. They won't get any credit for simply going on the road and winning a close one against a good team in a tough divisional matchup.
  • PAC 12 Power Rankings - Week 5

    Rank Prev Team Record Next Game
    1 1 Oregon_medium
    Oregon 4-0 (1-0) BYE
    Last Week WIN Oregon 38 @ WSU 31
    There are red flags here to be sure. An offensive line that allowed the franchise, Marcus Mariota, to get sacked 7 times, a complete inability to establish in the inside zone read, zero pass rush and a secondary that just got carved up by the Cougs. Still, Mariota commands so much respect that he creates easy big play opportunities for himself. He literally can carry this team while they get their young players developed and their injuries healed. They needed the Pac 12 refs to give them a no-call on a clear PI, but they are still the best in the Pac.
    Week 4 POG: QB Marcus Mariota (329 yds passing, 5 TDs, 58 yds rushing) Tip of the cap to WR Devon Allen on a breakout performance but Mariota single-handedly carried the game for his Ducks.
    2 3 Utah_medium
    Utah 3-0 vs WSU
    Last Week WIN Utah 26 @ Michigan 10
    The Utes took my #3 ranking from a week ago and gave me reason to consider moving the up even further. Their impressive win over Michigan in the Big House was complete in every sense of sentiment. Special teams, offense, and, most importantly, defense. The Utes absolutely dominated the Wolverines offense, in particular with absurdly competent defensive line play. If there are any questions raised from Utah's first legitimate competition of the season, it involves the lack of team speed on offense and the questionable decision-making that Travis Wilson makes with both the ball and his body at the QB position. For now, the Utes own one of the three most impressive wins in the Pac this season.
    Week 4 POG: LB Jared Norris (9 Tckls, 2 TFLs, 1 PBr, 1 QBH) The stats, are good but don't really tell the story on Norris's day. He was collapsing his side of the line of scrimmage and was as disruptive force as you could hope to find against a major opponent on the road. He was a maniac for Utah.
    3 2 Stanford_medium
    Stanford 2-1 (0-1) @ Washington
    Last Week BYE
    Nothing against the Cardinal, but the big Utah win in Ann Arbor gives them a better win than anything Stanford has mustered.
    Week 4 POG: n/a
    4 4 Usc_medium
    USC 2-1 (1-0) vs Oregon State
    Last Week BYE
    Nothing to talk about with the Trojans. They needed this BYE to get healthy.
    Week 4 POG: n/a
    5 7 Ucla_medium
    UCLA 3-0 @ ASU
    Last Week BYE
    The Bruins get a much-needed BYE which should give Brett Hundley time to heal before their trip to Tempe.  His availability is worth a bump.
    Week 4 POG: n/a
    6 8 Washington_medium
    Washington 4-0 vs Stanford
    Last Week WIN Georgia State 14 @ Washington 45
    The Huskies opened up the first half with one of, if not the worst halves of football ever produced in program history. They were overlooking their opponent. However, the Huskies compensated for their lack of first half playmaking by sticking to the basics: ball protection, special teams (more on Dante Pettis momentarily) and forcing turnovers. The formula resulted in a ridiculous explosion of production over a 19 minute span in the second half that resulted in 42 Husky points. The Huskies would finish with 45 points in the second half - a school record. The Huskies go into the Stanford game as a complete enigma. The "good" Huskies could be considered favorites against the Cardinal. The "bad" Huskies will lose this game before they even know what hit them. Who knows?
    Week 4 POG: PR Dante Pettis (4 PRs, 24.5 avg) It would have been easy to pick Marcus Peters and his two interceptions for UW POG. However, the game didn't really turn until Dante Pettis went off in the second half on three straight punt returns that gave the Huskies short fields and resulted in three touchdowns. Pettis was explosive and elusive. He showed suddeness that we haven't yet seen in the punt return team and, in doing so, probably locked up not only the PR job but also made himself a factor in the receiver rotation.
    7 5 Arizona_medium
    Arizona 4-0 (1-0) @ Oregon
    Last Week WIN Cal 45 @ Arizona 49
    Apparently, defense is optional in the desert. Arizona is taking a tumble after watching their secondary get carved up like a goose who wanders into a Chinese restaurant the day before Thanksgiving. I get that the 'Cats were able to pull off a ridiculous victory with a hail mary (and kudos to Austin Hill - unreal!). The fact is that no amount of heroics from Hill, Anu Solomon, Nick Marshall or Cayleb Jones is going to mean anything until the 'Zona D becomes something more than Scooby Wright and Tremayne Boudrant. I'm dropping Zona despite an amazing comeback versus Cal.
    Week 4 POG: WR Austin Hill (8 rec, 127 yds, 2 TD) I wanted to go with Jones here - the Texas transfer had 186 yds and 3 TDs - but I can't ignore Austin Hill. Hauling in the Hail Mary to win the game was just the icing on a cake that was full of big catches and big yardage. A huge day for a young man that has traveled a long road to get back into the game.
    8 6 Arizonast_medium
    ASU 3-0 UCLA
    Last Week BYE
    Unlike the Bruins, who get their QB back, the Sun Devils are using the BYE week to prepare Mike Bercovici for a critical division matchup with UCLA. The injury to Taylor Kelly costs ASU a few spots this week.
    Week 4 POG: n/a
    9 10 Oregonst_medium
    Oregon State 3-0 @USC
    Last Week WIN San Diego State 7 @ Oregon State 28
    This was a thorough and complete man-handling performance for the Beavs. QB Sean Mannion was sharp as he became the leading passer in Oregon State history. The Beavs rushing attack scored all of their touchdowns. The D was fierce led by a linebacking corps that is quickly becoming one of the most notable units in the Pac. I'm still concerned about the state of their o-line and the hits that Mannion is taking. It is hard to raise the Beavs based on beating SDSU, but they have our attention. We'll be interested to see what they can do in conference play.
    Week 4 POG: LB Michael Doctor (5 Tckls, 1 INT, 1 TFL) It wasn't so much the huge stats but the presence of that Beaver LB unit that convinced me to go in that direction with this POG. Doctor led the charge and was effective both in penetrating the o-line of SDSU and in covering his zone.
    10 9 Cal_medium
    Cal 2-1 (0-1) vs Colorado
    Last Week LOSS Cal 45 @ Arizona 49
    Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The Cal Bears just plain "Coug'd it". 36 points surrendered in the fourth quarter?  How does that happen?  Has that ever happened before? I'm not sure what to think of Cal here. They came out on fire and their offensive looked unstoppable. But Arizona never really went away and that Bear D simply couldn't make enough plays to protect that advantage when it mattered. On the plus side, the Bears are rolling with their offense. Look for them to keep it rolling over Colorado next week.
    Week 4 POG: RB Daniel Lasco (123 yds, 1 TD) Lasco isn't the homerun threat that Khalfani Muhammad is, but he may become the workhorse that Sonny Dykes needs. Today was a big step in that direction.
    11 12 Wsu_medium
    WSU 1-3 (0-1) @ Utah
    Last Week LOSS Oregon 38 @ WSU 31
    Hats off to the Cougs. They played about as well as they could against Oregon. They mounted a pass rush. They protected their QB. They ran the ball (a little). And Connor Halliday was just about as sharp as he could be with no unforced errors. The game literally hinged on three factors: a Jamal Morrow fumble, a non-call on an obvious PI that killed a Coug drive in the 4Q, and Marcus Mariota. They left it all on the field, but they still lost. And now they have to find 5 wins in their next 8 games to get bowl eligible.
    Week 4 POG: WSU Offensive Line Connor Halliday got sacked just one time and there actually was a rushing game that made a difference for the Cougs. This is not a good unit, but they looked like they were stacked with first-teamers versus the Ducks importent front seven. Kudos to the big uglies.
    12 11 Colorado_medium
    Colorado 2-2 (0-1) @ Cal
    Last Week WIN Hawaii 12 @ Colorado 21
    Granted, Hawaii is a hot mess with key player injuries. Still, the Buffs did everything that they had to do, particularly on the defensive side on the ball. They aren't ready to bolt up the power rankings quite yet, but you can see that this team has turned a corner. If they can develop a little more competency on the o-line and in that linebacking corps, they could take somebody down in conference play this year. For now, it was the weakest showing in the conference and they are going down a spot.
    Week 4 POG: WR Nelson Spruce (13 recs, 172 yds, 1 TDs) Nelson Spruce is, in my mind, the best player on the Colorado football team and I'm not sure it is even close. He is a legit top 5 PAC receiver after his fourth straight POG for Colorado in the UWDP Power Rankings. 13 catches is a school record that is sure to last for a while.

    Call for Questions: Week 5 Mailbag