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The PAC Twelver - Week 13

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

Rivalry Week Edition

First: #11 Washington (9-3 / 7-2 PAC 12) beat their rival #8 Washington State (10-2 / 7-2 PAC 12) in both will and spirit this past Friday night, winning the 111th Apple Cup 28-15 in a legitimate Pacific Northwest snowstorm. Unfortunately for #8 WSU, their dynamic passing attack was never able to find any rhythm in the tough winter weather, and they are only left to wonder what could have been had this game been played on a fairer day. In all fairness to the Huskies though, they have been the PAC-12’s best defense all year, and they got this giant W on the road in hostile territory. With the clutch win, #11 U Dub earns the PAC-12 North Title, and plays #17 Utah in the PAC-12 Championship Game this Friday in Santa Clara. The Huskies victory was their sixth in a row over arch-enemy WSU, and represents the third year in a row they have shattered the Cougars PAC-12 North Title hopes. U Dub senior running back “For” Myles Gaskin (27 carries / 170 yards / 3 TD’s / 6.3 YPC) was the best offensive player on the field, and only furthered his legend with the purple and gold. #DawgOfWinter #DawgsOfWinter

Second: However, the best football player on the field every time Washington suits up, is senior linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven (11 tackles / 1 fumble recovered / 1 QBH / 1 PD). Yet again, BBK9 did not disappoint, in what would have been the most significant Apple Cup win of all-time for WSU. #BBK9 #BewareOfDawg #BadDawg

Third: The PAC-12 South Title holders, #17 Utah (9-3 / 7-3 PAC 12), rallied to win their own interstate rivalry game against BYU (6-6) 35-27 last Saturday in Salt Lake City. The #17 Utes have a chance to win the PAC-12 Championship this Friday night versus #11 Washington as I previously mentioned, and have the physical style to match up with U Dub in the trenches. Against BYU, Utah senior linebacker Chase “Absolutely No Relation To The Band” Hansen (13 tackles / 3 TFL / 1 QBH / 1 PD) was a musical genius, and right behind BBK9 somewhere, he is a top-5 ILB in the conference.

Fourth: Stanford (7-4 / 5-3 PAC 12) took all that resurgent U₵LA (3-9 / 3-6 PAC 12) had, and still came out on top 49-42 in The Rose Bowl on Saturday. Cardinal junior quarterback K.J. Costello (23 for 37 passing / 344 yards / 5 TD’s / 1 INT / 90.9 QBR) had one of his finest outings of ’18, and it seems the vaunted Stanford running game has for the moment taken a backseat to a new-age air attack. The Cardinal certainly have the depth at WR & TE to do so.

Fifth: On that level, senior wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (7 receptions / 106 yards / 3 TD’s / 15.1 YPR) was healthy and back in the starting lineup against the Bruins, and that is always a good thing for The Card. With the 3 TD’s, JAW$ tied legendary Stanford and NFL HOF (Class of ’03) wideout James Lofton for the most touchdown catches in a season at 14 (Lofton - ’78), and looks to break the record in the 121st Big Game at CAL this weekend. #JAW$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ #SharkSightingsInTheEndzone

Sixth: Arizona State (7-5 / 5-4 PAC 12) came back to win the 92nd Territorial Cup on the road last weekend 41-40, versus their forever-rival Arizona (5-7 / 4-5 PAC 12). Sun Devils sophomore “Never” Eno Benjamin (21 carries / 80 yards / 3 TD’s / 3.8 YPC / 2 receptions / 33 yards / 113 all-purpose yards), a star in the making for ASU, punched in three scores on the day for his side.

Seventh: “The Savior” Herm Edwards not only won his first Territorial Cup as the ASU head coach, but he denied interstate foe Arizona from becoming Bowl eligible in the process. #WinningNotSinning #DesertDivinity

Eighth: Sadly for U$C (5-7 / 4-5 PAC 12) fans such as my nephews Cole and Noah, the Trojans played their best game of the season last weekend in The Coliseum on Senior Night, and the result was a 24-17 loss to ancient rival #3 Notre Dame (12-0). In light of that fact, SC head coach “Just” Clay Helton has apparently been told he will be back for next season. My only explanation for that decision, is that Los Angeles has more weed dispensaries than anywhere else on earth. #FastTimesAtU$C

Ninth: In the 122nd Civil War, of a rivalry that began back in 1894, Oregon “Ducked up” the “Dam” Beavers 55-15 in Corvallis on Friday night. Oregon freshman tailback CJ “Touchdown Tommy” Verdell (23 carries / 187 yards / 4 TD’s / 8.1 YPC / 1 reception / 21 yards receiving / 1 receiving TD / 208 all-purpose yards), the pride and joy of Chula Vista, was again a key weapon for the Quack Attack. #FastAsDuck #StrongAsDuck #ToughAsDuck

Tenth: Fellow Oregon freshman RB Travis “Quick Don’t Lie” Dye (33 carries / 199 yards / 2 TD’s / 6.0 YPC) also has a monster game for Team Nike, and the future of the Ducks ground game looks solidified. #FroshPride #MeanInNeonGreen

Eleventh: The CAL Bears (7-4 / 4-4 PAC 12) defense showed their claws against Colorado (5-7 / 2-7 PAC 12) this past weekend, forcing five turnovers in the 33-21 home win. Bears junior linebacker Evan “Bad Dream” Weaver (19 tackles / 2 TFL / 1 sack) is also top-5 at his position amongst the conference, and he showed as much against the Buffs. Also for the CAL D, junior safety Ashtyn Davis (3 tackles / 1 INT / 1 defensive TD / 1 PD) and sophomore cornerback Elijah Hicks (1 INT / 1 defensive TD) both had Pick 6’s in the victory.

Twelfth: I tipped more than a few Aloha Sculpins during the Stanford shootout win over UCLA, and then a few more after that to calm my nerves. This week there are two and only two PAC-12 games that you can possibly watch, the last two games of the regular season, and both are “... like three little Fonzies”. Cool. On Friday night you have The PAC-12 Championship between #17 Utah (9-3) and #11 Washington (9-3), for all the marbles, being held at the 49‘ers Stadium in Santa Clara. This is a heavyweight fight, and I like the Huskies in a last minute knockout. Then, on Saturday afternoon you have the 121st Big Game between Stanford (7-4) and CAL (7-4) in Berkeley, and since 1892 that has been a classic rivalry game to be tipping adult beverages for. No matter the results, please drop a line here on your favorite beers, cocktails, and wines for game days. Cheers y’all.