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Recapping the Pac-12 football weekend

Not the most drama we’ve ever seen!

Arizona State v Stanford Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Good morning. As we all know, our Washington State Cougars were idle this week, in preparation for their upcoming Thursday night clash against the Utah Utes. In the absence of a WSU game, there were a paltry four Pac-12 games on Saturday. Among them was what was supposed to be the conference’s best matchup to date, as two Top 10 teams squared off in Eugene.

The other three? Y-U-C-K. As it turned out, one of the trash heap games, Arizona State at Stanford, provided the most drama. Notice I didn’t write “best game,” because the play itself was as low quality as one might expect. The other two were highly sleepy, but in different ways. Regardless, since we don’t have the Cougs to write about, let’s do some quick recaps of the other conference action.

Oregon Ducks defeat UCLA Bruins, 45-30

The tight game we all hoped for an expected did not come to pass, as Oregon exploded for 28 points in the second quarter and then held UCLA at arm’s length for the rest of the afternoon. While Oregon was scoring touchdowns, UCLA was kicking field goals. I’m no math major, but I don’t think answering TDs with FGs is a sound way to keep pace.

Leading the charge was quarterback Bo Nix, who played a nearly flawless game. On the day, Nix completed 22 of 28 passes for 283 yards and five - count ‘em, FIVE - touchdowns. Among those was an absolutely sublime 49-yard rainbow to Tony Franklin to give Oregon a 17-10 lead. Nix’s 180-degree turnaround this season has been staggering. After three underwhelming (to put it kindly) years with the Auburn Tigers, and one final curb-stomping by the Georgia Bulldogs, Nix has been sensational.

As always, there are likely a multitude of reasons: A much-needed change of scenery, the fact that he’s no longer in the SEC media pressure cooker, better coaching etc. I happen to think that the #1 reason for Nix’s renaissance is the dropoff in defensive talent he’s facing. In the three NFL Drafts following Nix’s Auburn seasons, 36 SEC defensive players went in the first two rounds of the draft. During that same span, a whopping nine Pac-12 players shared that distinction. Much easier to display your talents when you don’t have a bunch of high-end future NFLers breathing down your neck week after week.

As for UCLA, at least there’s this!

In all seriousness, the Bruins do have a rather clear path back to the Pac-12 title game, as outside the rivalry game with USC, their remaining opponents are Stanford, ASU, Arizona and Cal. They will be heavily favored to win all of those.

Stanford Cardinal defeat Arizona State Sun Devils, 15-14

How ‘bout that Stanford crowd!

As I mentioned, there was a lot of drama! There were also lots of penalties! ASU, a three-point underdog, took a 14-6 lead 19 seconds into the second quarter on a 39-yard Elijah Badger touchdown catch. The Sun Devils decided that was enough offense for the day, figuring that it was only fair if Stanford were allowed to keep it close.

Doing its best NFC Central circa 1993 imitation, Stanford did just that, scoring 15 points while never entering the end zone. Matter of fact, the shortest of those five field goals was 36 yards, meaning that Stanford won a game in which it didn’t get inside the opponent’s 15! I don’t know if that’s impressive or humiliating, but a win’s a win.

Despite the paucity of offense, ASU still had a shot, albeit a very long one toward the end. Facing fourth and 20, Emory Jones heaved the ball deep down the left sideline, and Badger made an incredible one-handed catch at the two yard line! ASU is gonna win the game!



Oregon State Beavers defeat Colorado Buffaloes, 42-9

I didn’t want to watch any of this game. I did not watch any of this game. If you did, you’re either a player’s relative, an alumnus of one of the schools, or a degenerate gambler. I am one of those three, but not even that was enough to compel me.

Colorado is terrible. Oregon State is fine. It wins the games it should, and it loses the games it should. It’ll finish 8-4 and go to a nice bowl game. All in all, that’s a heck of a season at a place that’s been in the wilderness for several years.

Washington Huskies defeat Cal Bears, 28-21

If you watched this game, first of all I hope you did so on mute. I was only able to stomach one half of bad football coupled with atrocious announcing. Such is life when Cal and Washington are on the field and Rod Gilmore is in the booth. I hadn’t tuned for more than 10 seconds when I heard ol’ Rod drop this knowledge bomb, when talking about Cal running back Jadyn Ott:

“Ott is decisive when he makes up his mind.”

So what you’re saying, Rod, is that when he decides to do something, he’s...decisive? Insightful!

Later on, when talking about great Cal running backs such as Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett, Gilmore made sure another guy got a mention.

“Shane Verret gets overlooked.”

I, too, will admit that I’ve often overlooked Shane Verret. Largely because his name is Shane Vereen.

As for the game, Washington was clearly better, as Cal showed throughout the first half why it’s one of the conference’s worst. If Washington hadn’t kept gacking in the red zone, the game would have been over at halftime. Instead, we were treated to an enthralling 6-0 work of art.

The second half was clearly more entertaining, as Washington found the end zone instead of settling for field goals, while Cal - despite playing with a right tackle so bad he might not even see the field for WSU, finally remembered that it was facing Washington’s defense, and scored three touchdowns. It wasn’t enough to win, but it was enough to beat the spread!

And as I mentioned, Marshawn Lynch was on hand, on the 10th anniversary of his famous cart grand prix around the stadium after Cal beat Washington. Unfortunately for Cal, a win wasn’t in the offing. But hey, at least they got Marshawn in a cart again.

Given Marshawn’s multitude of driving-related incidents as of late, it was probably best for everyone that he rode in the back this time.


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This Week in Parenting

Pretty nice little Saturday for the kiddos, as they eagerly took advantage of a local Experimental Aircraft Association chapter’s offer to take kids up flying. It’s a pretty cool organization, and they do some really great things. They both got their own rides.

Upon landing, each flight around the area got unanimous rave reviews, although they didn’t get to take part in an Split S or barrel roll maneuvers.

It was also the first judgement week in the house, as first quarter report cards came home. Despite 1-2 emails from the 11 year-old’s teachers, asking us to help with his classroom behavior, he came home with a solid set of grades, and there weren’t even any teacher’s comments regarding behavior!

The freshman pulled off something akin to the Cal lateral play against Stanford back in ‘82. His academic transition to high school has been a struggle, particularly because he’s in two honors classes and an AP class. I would have earned about a 1.25 with his lineup. about 3/4ths of the way through the quarter, his grades were looking rough. But somehow, some way, he pulled them north of a 3.0. I told him it’s a good start, but semester grades are where the money is made. I am hopeful that once football ends, and he’s getting home before 7 p.m. every night, that the stress level will ease a bit.

He also informed us that if he’s going to end up playing Major League Baseball, it will be solely due to the copious amount of snacks that are available. We all have our motivations.


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