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The PAC Twelver - Week 8

A twelve-pack of observations on The Conference of Champions.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

First: #13 Notre Dame (6-1) punished #11 USC (6-2 / 1-2 PAC-12) in South Bend this past Saturday, 49-14. It never looked like a fair ‘fight’ for the Irish, who imposed their will on the Trojans both offensively and defensively. Notre Dame junior running back Josh Adams (19 rushes / 191 yards / 10.1 ypc / 3 TDs) had a huge day, and Fighting Irish junior QB Brandon Wimbush also managed to account for four touchdowns in the game.

Second: This type of loss is bad for the PAC-12 as a whole, in terms of the national perception of the “toughness” within the conference, and the now-#21-ranked Trojans are a far more vulnerable football team than I had previously thought.

Third: That being said, Notre Dame is very good, and extremely physical in all three phases. They moved up to the #9 spot in the rankings this week, and their only loss thus far is to #3 Georgia. Furthermore, the Irish will likely creep into the final four if they can run the table on their schedule, but it will not be easy. They still play #14 NC State, at #8 Miami, and then on The Farm versus #20 Stanford to end the regular season.

Fourth: Albert Einstein once said, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” This almost perfectly describes my intuition regarding the college football season up to this point, as I find myself baffled, shocked, and amazed on a weekly basis.

Fifth: Along those same lines, Arizona State (4-3 / 3-1 PAC-12) pounded Utah (4-3 / 1-3 PAC-12) 30-10 in Salt Lake City this past weekend. As I wrote in ‘The Twelver’ last week, “... in spite of the big ASU win over UDub, I like Utah to bounce back in this contest.” Wrong again dummy, and might I add, the ASU defense suddenly looks formidable.

Sixth: The Wildcats (5-2 / 3-1 PAC-12) out-clawed the Bears (4-4 / 1-4 PAC-12) 45-44 in double overtime at California Memorial Stadium on Saturday. In no way, shape, or form was this a defensive masterpiece, as there were 984 yards of total offense in the game. Separately, for the second week in a row a PAC-12 team loses a game going for the win on a two-point conversion. While I fully respect the commitment and faith these coaches have in their offenses, when it does not work out, it is an awful tough way to lose a football game.

Seventh: University of Arizona’s rising star, sophomore quarterback Khalil Tate, has been nothing short of amazing in his three starts since taking over behind center. Get this: in those three games he has accounted for over 1,100 yards of total offense, and 11 touchdowns.

Eighth: Out of seemingly nowhere, the state of Arizona (U of A & ASU) has become extremely relevant in the PAC-12 South race.

Ninth: UCLA (4-3 / 2-2 PAC-12) coasted past an injury-depleted Oregon (4-4 / 1-4 PAC-12) team in the Rose Bowl over the weekend, proving yet again that they can easily beat a lesser opponent. Josh Rosen (21 for 36 passing / 266 yards / 2 TDs / 63.7 QBR) padded his career stats in front of the home crowd, but his name is clearly no longer associated with the Heisman as it was before the season began.

Tenth: #15 Washington State (7-1 / 4-1 PAC-12) blanked Colorado (4-4 / 1-4 PAC-12) 28-0 on a rainy, stormy night in Pullman. The Cougars’ defense got back on track after last week’s humiliating loss, and Senior QB Luke Falk looked like himself again, throwing three touchdowns in the comfortable win. Colorado, much like Oregon, simply cannot get any quality production from the quarterback position.

Eleventh: The way I see it, the two best conference games this week are #15 WSU at Arizona, and #21 USC at ASU. So, if you want to watch some good college football live, pack up a cooler full of cold beers and head for the desert this weekend.

Twelfth: Ballast Point has not called yet, but the Sculpin train rolls on for me as long as Stanford can manage a win versus Oregon State on Thursday night. Teams traveling to Corvallis on off days have frequently had bad outings, but the Cardinal are playing their best football right now, and I find it hard to believe they could lose this one. Even with Bryce Love’s injury still very much in question, and the quarterback controversy which remains, Stanford wins by 10. Separately, please drop a line here on your favorite cocktails and beers for game days, and I’ll be happy to try them all out over the course of the season. Cheers y’all.