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The PAC Twelver - Week 9

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A twelve-pack of observations on The Conference of Champions

Washington State v Arizona Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

First: #23 Arizona (6-2 / 4-1 PAC-12) finally proved to me and everyone else that they are for real, dominating #15 Washington State (7-2 / 4-2 PAC-12) from start to finish 58-37. The Wildcats seemed to break the Cougars’ spirit in this contest, and WSU went as far as to bench veteran senior standout QB Luke Falk (13 for 23 passing / 93 yards / 1 TD / 28.4 QBR) for the likes of sophomore Tyler Hilinski (45 for 61 passing / 509 yards / 2 TD / 4 INT / 66.2 QBR).

Second: The true quarterback story in this game, however, had nothing to do with WSU. Arizona’s breakout star, sophomore Khalil Tate, was dazzling yet again. The young QB is 4-0 since taking over the as the starter, and has won each of those games nearly single-handedly.

Third: No one in their right mind would have thought that Rich Rod could come out of this season looking better than ‘The Pirate’ Mike Leach, but here we are. As I have written before, just another reason why we love college football, the pure unpredictability.

Fourth: #11 Washington (7-1 / 4-1 PAC-12) took down UCLA (4-4 / 2-3 PAC-12) 44-23 in Seattle this past Saturday thanks to the legs of Myles Gaskin. The Huskies’ junior tailback went for 169 yards and a TD on the day with a 6.3 yards per carry average, against one of the worst run defenses in the country in the Bruins.

Fifth: Each with a week to chew on their first losses of the season, #11 Washington and #25 Washington State respectively responded in exact opposite fashions.

Sixth: In his cumulative twelve years as the head coach at the University of Washington and Boise State, Chris Petersen is 126-27. Again I will repeat myself here at ‘The Twelver’, from top to bottom, The PAC-12 has the best coaching of any conference in the country.

Seventh: #18 Stanford (6-2 / 5-1 PAC-12) won what was possibly the ugliest football game ever played, beating Oregon State (1-7 / 0-5 PAC-12) 15-14 in Corvallis. Cardinal junior QB Keller Chryst (16 for 33 passing / 141 yards / 1 TD / 1 INT / 25.5 QBR) threw a game-winning touchdown to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside with just 20 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter, but the heated quarterback controversy on The Farm only became more apparent to the Cardinal faithful. It is hard to imagine that sophomore K.J. Costello (89.5 QBR on the season), who has been sensational in his spot play thus far, would not get the start next week at #25 WSU.

Eight: In what seems to be the weekly highlight for #18 Stanford, senior defensive lineman Harrison Phillips (10 tackles / 2.5 tfl / 2 fumble recoveries / 1 forced fumble) again proved that he is one of the premier players in the country, managing to come up with the fumble recovery that led to the game-winning touchdown in the final minute. Minus that play, Stanford was all but finished in the game. For Phillips’ all-around Braveheart-type effort, he has been named The PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Week.

Ninth: #17 USC (7-2 / 5-1 PAC-12) ran over Arizona State (4-4 / 3-2 PAC-12) on Saturday in Tempe, by the tune of 48-17. Junior RB Ronald Jones II (18 rushes / 216 yards / 12.0 ypc / 2 TDs) broke out in a big way for the Trojans, while highly touted sophomore QB Sam Darnold (19 for 35 passing / 266 yards / 3 TDs) put another dominant performance on his NFL resume.

Tenth: Oregon (5-4 / 2-4 PAC-12) bullied Utah (4-4 / 1-4 PAC-12) in Salt Lake City last weekend, handing the Utes their fourth tough conference loss in a row. Ducks senior running back Royce Freeman rushed for 139 yards on 20 carries, and his junior counterpart Tony Brooks-James added 105 yards on 6 touches, at an amazing 17.5 yards per carry average.

Eleventh: The Colorado Buffaloes (5-4 / 2-4 PAC-12) stampeded the Cal Bears (4-5 / 1-5 PAC-12) 44-28 in Colorado this past Saturday, as senior RB Phillip Lindsay racked up 184 total yards in the game. Buffs sophomore QB Steven Montez (20 for 26 passing / 347 yards / 3 TD’s / 93.8 QBR) made the most of his shot at redemption, after being benched last week for his poor play.

Twelfth: The Ballast Point Sculpin train has been so very good to me and my family on this five game Stanford win streak, that it will obviously continue this Saturday as the Cardinal travel to Pullman. I can only hope that this week’s game is not quite so frustrating on the offensive end, as my Sculpin consumption turned into quite the audacious performance last Thursday night. Let’s just say that I woke up in Baja on Friday, and we’ll leave it at that. Drinkers of ‘The Twelver’, please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings on anything PAC-12 football, as well as the fine adult beverage that you and your home team savor on game days. Cheers y’all.