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The PAC Twelver: Week Five Observations

A twelve-pack of observations on the Conference of Champions

NCAA Football: Southern California at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

First: #11 Washington State (5-0) changed the entire landscape of the PAC-12 with their 30-27 pillaging of #14 USC (4-1) in Pullman this past weekend. It turns out Mike Leach really is a pirate. This was WSU’s first win over a top-5 team since 1992, when a young Drew Bledsoe was at the helm, and their first win over the Trojans since ’02.

Second: Though Luke Falk (34 for 51 completions / 340 yards / 2 TDs against USC) does not project to the NFL at the same level as Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, or Jake Browning, he has proven himself as much a winner as any of them over his career at Washington State.

Third: All praise to Falk considered, the difference in the Cougars this year is clearly their defense. They have some tough dudes on that side of the ball, and they play fast.

Fourth: If Bryce Love continues at this pace (1,088 rushing yards / 8 TD’s / 11.1 ypc), they will have to re-sculpt the Heisman Trophy to resemble him. As I have written before, the only strike against him is that he did not get the ball nearly enough in Stanford’s first three games. Love set the school record Saturday on The Farm with 301 yards rushing on 25 carries against Arizona State, adding touchdowns of 61, 59, and 43 yards. In the words of his head coach David Shaw, “I have never seen anything like it, ever.”

Fifth: Stanford (3-2) sophomore QB K.J. Costello won his first start against ASU (2-3) this week, and is clearly the future of the program. His positive energy and downfield passing ability have added much needed depth to this offense, and luckily for the young quarterback, he can lean on Love when times get tough.

Sixth: With a hard fought 27-23 UCLA (3-2) win over Colorado in the Rose Bowl, Jim Mora looks to have kept his job for another week. Had UCLA dropped this game, I believe we would have seen our first PAC-12 coach fired on the season.

Seventh: Josh Rosen had a typical performance for the Bruins, with 372 yards passing, a touchdown, and two bad decisions. In all fairness to ‘The Rosen One’, the UCLA offensive line has left much to be desired in terms of pass protection, but with every forced throw Rosen continues to make he slides another few spots in next year’s NFL draft.

Eighth: Oregon (4-1) rolled over Cal (3-2) 45-24 in Eugene on Saturday, but the victory came at a tremendous cost. The Ducks lost both their starting (Justin Herbert) and back-up (Taylor Alie) quarterbacks, as well as their star running back (Royce Freeman) and a key wideout (Dillon Mitchell) to injury during the game.

Ninth: #5 Washington (5-0) dropped the hammer on Oregon State (1-4) 42-7 this week in Corvallis, and this was shocking in absolutely no way. What should worry everyone else in the conference however, is that the Huskies offense played a mediocre game by their standard, and won on the road by 35 points.

Tenth: With The Dawgs and The Cougs seeming destined for a PAC-12 showdown that could very well determine the conference champion, I can hardly remember the last time The Apple Cup harbored such grand implications.

Eleventh: In my eyes, the two best games on the PAC-12 docket for week 6 are #11 WSU (5-0) at Oregon (4-1), and Stanford (3-2) at #18 Utah (4-0). Somehow Las Vegas has Stanford favored by 6 points in Salt Lake City in a conference game against an undefeated team. This says everything that I just did about the dynamic tandem of Love and Costello.

Twelfth: As we finish ‘The Twelver’ each week discussing quality adult libations, I remained on the Ballast Point Sculpin train again this past Saturday, as I have since the turnaround win against UCLA. In any case, no matter what you are drinking this weekend, please hold one up in honor of Mr. Tom Petty. Though it has nothing to do with football or the PAC-12, the man was a true gift, and his music will always live on in American culture. Cheers y’all.