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The PAC Twelver - Week 4

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

NCAA Football: Stanford at Oregon Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

First: #7 Stanford (4-0 / 2-0 PAC 12) rallied back to beat #19 Oregon (3-1 / 0-1 PAC 12) 38-31 in overtime last Saturday night, in what was arguably the best football game of the entire weekend. “The Cardinal demean Eugene” is what I’m calling it, but feel free to take your own liberties. Stanford junior quarterback K.J. Costello (19 for 26 passing / 327 yards / 3 TD’s / 95.5 QBR) was a difference maker in the 2nd half and overtime, and continues to play like a star in the making for The Card.

Second: Senior wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (4 receptions / 84 yards / 2 TD’s / 21.0 YPR) remained ‘red’ hot for the Cardinal, catching two more touchdowns against the Ducks. That gives him 7 in his first 4 games. I referenced his skill set a couple weeks back as being ‘Antonio Gates-like’, in both his ability to create space with his large frame, and his tremendous hands in tight spaces. Equally, both players have competitive basketball backgrounds, which translates well on the outside for receivers and tight ends “boxing out” DB’s for the ball.

Third: Even in the tough loss, I can confidently say that Oregon has again found the right leader for their program. I like the fire I see in first year head coach Mario Cristobal, and feel he will have a ‘Duck Dynasty’ of his own in the next few years.

Fourth: #10 Washington (3-1 / 2-0 PAC 12) held on at home to beat Arizona State (2-2 / 0-1 PAC-12) 27-20 this past weekend, putting the Dawgs back on the right path. Huskies senior QB Jake Browning (15 for 22 passing / 202 yards / 3 TD’s / 86.2 QBR) finally looked like the player he is supposed to be, after a rocky start to the season which tallied him an equal number of TD’s and interceptions (4) going in to this matchup.

Fifth: I could not write a PAC-12 football column this week without also mentioning Huskies senior All-Conference linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven, who I referred to in The Twelver’s Pre-Season Preview as a lead option for Ridley Scott’s eventual sequel to ‘Gladiator’. None of that was ever actually written, but it should have been. BBK had 20, yes 20 tackles vs. ASU, along with 2 forced fumbles, 2 QB hurries, 1 fumble recovered, and 1 pass defended. No other U Dub defender had more than 7 tackles. The kid is a stud. End of story.

Sixth: Though ASU savior Herm Edwards has now lost consecutive heartbreaking games, after starting 2-0, he is rebuilding the culture of ‘fun’ in the desert. After his squad gave #10 Washington all they could handle on the road in a hostile environment, with an effort level any coach would have been proud of, Edwards was still not having enough ‘fun’. “Losing is not a lot of fun. There’s a pit in your stomach when you lose a football game. It’s two in a row now so we have to figure out how to win another game, because this is not a lot of fun when you lose.” You said it Herm, I love fun.

Seventh: U$C (2-2 / 1-1 PAC 12) produced more drama this past Friday night, but fortunately for Trojan fans, it was the good kind this time. SC freshman D-lineman Jay Tufele (4 tackles / 1 blocked kick / 1 QBH), the pride and joy of Salt Lake City, blocked the Washington State (3-1 / 0-1 PAC 12) field goal that would have tied the game with only 1:41 remaining in the contest.

Eighth: The PAC-12 has a wealth of amazing linebackers this year, and USC senior Cameron Smith (16 tackles / 2 TFL / 1 QBH / 1 PD) is near the top of that list. As seems to hold true each week, his stat line validates that fact more than my words ever could. #FightOnSmitty

Ninth: The Trojan victory takes “Just” Clay Helton off the hot seat, for a New York second anyhow. I feel like I would think he is an amazing coach, if he were at Fresno State, but I see a program with the tradition of USC needing a football icon to lead it. He’s “Just” Clay, and he’s always going to be “Just” Clay.

Tenth: Those “Dam” Beavers (1-3 / 0-1 PAC 12) were at it again on Saturday, and this time it was Arizona (2-2 / 1-0 PAC 12) sophomore RB J.J. “Sweet Baby James” Taylor (27 carries / 284 yards / 2 TD’s / 10.5 YPC) that flooded the OSU D.

Eleventh: UCLA (0-3/ 0-0 PAC 12) head coach Chip Kelly has a mediocre squad, an NFL hangover, and drunk football dad’s Tweeting him on the reg at Happy Hour. Some guys just have all the fun. #BabyBlueChipBruins

Twelfth: This past weekend I watched the #7 Stanford v. #20 Oregon game with a twelver of ‘Baja Perrier’, A.K.A. Pacifico. For the unofficial record, there may have been a celebratory Don Julio shot or two mixed in there at the end. Or, possibly even three. Needless to say, it was perfection. The way I see it, the three best PAC-12 games to be tipping adult beverages for this weekend are #7 Stanford (4-0) at #8 Notre Dame (4-0), #20 BYU (3-1) at #11 Washington(3-1), and #19 Oregon (3-1) at #24 California (3-0). However they play out, please feel free to drop a line here on your favorite cocktails, beers, or wine for game days. Cheers y’all.