Another week of college football means another week of the Pac-12.
Of course, that means watching the Oregon Ducks continue to make opposing defensive coordinators look foolish with his high powered, fast paced spread offense that continues to have success with a red-shirt freshman in the shotgun, shutting out the newly coached Rich Rodriguez Arizona Wildcats. Meanwhile, USC bounced back with a win over California, while No. 19 ranked UCLA was upset by Oregon State, and Colorado pulled off a one point win over Washington State. Arizona State also won handily 37-7 over the Utah Utes.
That being said, what can we take away from the Pac-12 this week?
When the Beavers and the Bruins faced off this week, who'd have thought their quarterbacks, a sophomore and a freshman, respectively, would both throw for more than 350 yards? Well, they both did.
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley went 27 of 42 for 372 yards and one touchdown, while Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion went 24 of 35 for 379 yards and two touchdowns, along with one interception. Both of these quarterbacks threw the ball well, but that extra touchdown proved to be the deciding factor in the Beavers' upset win over the Bruins in Week 4.
But going forward, both teams have to like the way their young quarterbacks threw the ball.
Sticking around with the Beavers and the Bruins, we go from their young gunslinging quarterbacks to their pass-catching receivers. For the Beavers, the main men were Brandin Cooks, who had 175 receiving yards and a touchdown on the day, and Markus Wheaton, who had 150 receiving yards and a touchdown on the day. For the Bruins, it was Shaquelle Evans, who had 148 receiving yards and a touchdown, and Jerry Johnson, who had 75 receiving yards.
Both of these teams, who don't get a lot of spotlight because of the likes of Oregon, Stanford, and USC, have got to like the production they got in Week 4, especially from their younger guys, and could become trap games for those top tier Pac-12 teams.
Colorado and Washington State. Not a matchup that excites a lot of fans, but football is football. And this turned out to be a good game, with Colorado edging out a 35-34 win, in large part thanks to Tony Jones, who had 105 rushing yards and a touchdown on only four carries. An ability like that says one thing: We need to get him the ball just a little bit more.
Jones' rushing ability should warrant more future looks for him to boost a Colorado team that is looking for some kind of success in the Pac-12.
Washington State barely lost out to Colorado, but it did, and largely because of their lack of a running game, with 400 of their total 451 yards coming through the air. That lack of ground game came through for Colorado, who did not struggle to run the ball, and did it well.
After their huge loss against the Stanford Cardinals, the USC Trojans came and took care of business against the California Bears, rising to 3-1 after their 27-9 victory. Matt Barkley, while not breaking any record books, was steady, going 22 of 34 for 192 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions.
USC, once touted as the main team headed to the national championship, has a large part of the spotlight off of them, and hope to make a comeback in the Pac-12 South division, as they are now third behind the first-place Sun Devils and the second-place Colorado Buffaloes.
Normally, Oregon's defense isn't their biggest asset. But it was against Arizona as they shut out the Wildcats and effectively shut down Rich Rodriguez in his first year as head coach of the Wildcats.
Could this be a sign that Oregon's defense could finally complement their offense to get them back to the national championship? It's a possibility, but we have a lot of football left to play.
Utah was once a decent team in the Pac-12, and could usually be counted upon as a competitive second-tier team that could pull potential upsets and make bowl games on a regular basis. Well, that may not the be case for this Utah team after a 37-7 loss against the Arizona State Sun Devils.
The Utes had only 209 total yards, with 117 passing yards and 92 rushing yards, but only averaged two yards per carry on the ground, while giving up more than 500 yards to the Sun Devils offense. It does not bode well for the Utes to have such an ugly loss early in the season.
The Arizona State Sun Devils won decisively against the Utah Utes 37-7, going to 3-1 and 1-0 in their Pac-12 division. The Sun Devils put together a 500-yard performance while holding the Utes to less than 200 yards on offense.
Right now, it looks like the Sun Devils are a Pac-12 team that others can't afford to underestimate, and can be the perfect trap game for both Oregon and USC. The Sun Devils seem to clicking well enough on all cylinders to make it to bowl season.
With Oregon's win over Arizona, there is now a three-way tie in the Pac-12 North between Oregon, Stanford and Oregon State. While all three have played only one conference game, it is interesting to note that all three are ranked in the Top 25 and are coming off of great performances the past few weeks, the most notable of which is Stanford beating USC in Week 3.
The North, as was the case last year, will come down to Oregon and Stanford, who proved to all of college football that they are still the same Stanford without quarterback Andrew Luck, who is now with a rebuilding Colts team. How well Oregon State handles its conference schedule as such a young team remains to be seen. And of course, we know what to expect from Chip Kelly and his Ducks.
As stated previously, the Sun Devils could make a case in the Pac-12 as they are currently at the top of the South Division over USC as a result of their loss against Stanford in Week 3. The Sun Devils have to hope they can build on their decisive win against Utah for the next few weeks before they face USC, which could essentially decide the winner of the Pac-12 South division. Keep a close eye on the Sun Devils in the following weeks.