Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 16, 2011
A Look Back at Saturday around the Pac-12


Offense:   The offense started slowly taking over a quarter to get into the positive yardage. Even with the slow start, the Ducks were able to capitalize on an early Stangord miscue and take an 8-0 lead despite having -1 total yards after scoring. From there, though, the Ducks dominated putting up 388 yards on the final 3 quarters. Had they put up that pace in the first quarter, the game may have been out of reach much earlier. The 388 yards in three quarters would equate to 517 yards total offense. LaMichael James looks to be back to 100% as he made a really nice 58 yard run.

More refreshing was to see Josh Huff display strength and speed on his 59 yard catch and run for a touchdown. De'Anthony Thomas obviously made his mark again with his screen pass touchdown on 4th and 7. Other than a major mental error (that he got away with) Darron Thomas played  his best game since returning from the knee injury suffered against Arizona State.

Defense:The Duck defense just gets better and better each week. The insertion of Wade Keliikipi into the starting lineup has made a huge impact on this team. Not only does this defense have great speed, they are starting to match-up well in the size department as well. Dominating Stanford's power attack is not an easy task and the Ducks did so with ease it seemed. If I didn't know better, I would think that there was an SEC defense out there last week.

Coaching: Any questions? Chip had this team ready and had a lot of impressive adjustments throughout the game that really showed why he is the best coach in the now Pac-12. It doesn't hurt that he has great athletes; but he recruited them as well. And, the nickname is now permanent. 4th and 7? And you throw a screen pass? Big Balls Chip is just starting to hit his stride as a coach. 31-5 as a head coach, only Nick Saban has a better winning percentage at an AQ school.

Around the rest of the conference:

Arizona State: At the beginning of the season, Arizona State was the South division darling; especially after thumping USC. Now, after consecutive losses to UCLA and Washington State, it may turn out that Dennis Erickson gets the boot before Rick Neuheisel. ASU is fading fast and yet STILL can win the South Division.

Arizona:  After playing well for a couple of weeks, Arizona decided to give a welcome gift to the lowly Colorado Buffaloes. Colorado had scored just 33 combined points in its previous three games, yet scored 48 against the Wildcats and put up 500 yards of offense.

California: In a season of ups and downs, Cal used a dominating defensive performance against Oregon State to become bowl eligible. Iso Sofele passed 1000 yards for the season with a career best 190 yard performance.

Colorado: Colorado had a great offensive and defensive performance to natch their first conference victory. How the heck did anyone give this team 500 yards of total offense? Oh, that's right, it was the worst defensive team in the conference that Colorado beat. Rodney Stewart at full strength did not hurt as he rushed for 181 yards.

Oregon State: What has been the worst season in a long time in Corvallis got worse as the Beavers got drubbed by an inconsistent Cal team. OSU could muster little offensive threat and almost no running game. That probably will not change over the last two weeks of the season. This could be a 10 loss season for the Beavers. While fans and coaches will say different, there is not a lot of hope for a great season next year either.

Stanford:The game against Oregon was not as much of a shootout as many expected, but Stanford's lack of speed was exposed. Andrew Luck is still the best quarterback in college football, but without the smoke and mirrors it became obvious that he had no real weapons to rely on down field. All it took was a team with enough depth to withstand the jumbo formations.
USC: Not getting caught in a trap game, USC dominated Washington from the very beginning. Washington went in beat up and demoralized after putting too much energy into one game that they lost. The only downside for USC is that Robert Woods looked gimpy and was not playing well. He has gotten progressively more dinged up as the season has gone along and it looked to have caught up with him last Saturday. Time will tell if he can recover for Oregon.

UCLA: Rick Neuheisel may have saved his job for another season with his mediocre performance this season, but the Bruins had the South Division in their hands; and then laid an egg against Utah. The Utes have a good defense, but UCLA didn't even look like they were trying.

Utah: Somehow, someway, Utah may have a shot at a Pac-12 South title. With no real passing game, the Utes are surviving on defense and a running game. They have a legitimate opportunity to win their final two games, but getting the South division title would take Arizona State losing their final two games one of which is against the worst defense in the conference, Arizona. A long shot at best, but the Utes have a shot at a 5-4 conference record still.

Washington: Reality sets in for the Huskies as they have suffered two blowout losses in a row to Oregon and USC. They are still quite a ways away from contending for a Pac-12 title. Sarkisian has brought them a long way in a short time, but they were so far behind that it is going to be a longer process. The Dawgs do gt to lick their wounds this week with a trip to Oregon State.

Washington State: Washington State coach Paul Wulff is another who has saved his job. Though the team is not great this season, they are certainly improved. With Washington improving and the North division being extremely tough and competitive, the Cougars are still a long way from contending, but they have become respectable again... and that is a step in the right direction.

PAC-12 Schedule for Week 11:

Washington at Oregon State, 12:30 PM
Utah at Washington State, 2:00 PM
Colorado at UCLA, 4:30 PM
USC at Oregon 5:00 PM
Arizona at Arizona State, 6:30 PM
Cal at Stanford, 7:15 PM


Post a Comment