Long live the Pac-12!
A very, very long time.
Larry Scott’s announcement that his conference will not be expanding was music to the ears of fans in Arizona, Utah and Colorado. Now those in the proposed Mountain Pod can go back to enjoying the beauty of the Pac-12 South and, you know, real life football games.
Texas and Oklahoma can do what they need to do. Out here on the West Side the bowl picture looks like this after Week 3:
Wait, Washington moves up after losing? The Huskies have shown some offensive firepower in their three games, even at top-10 Nebraska. I like their chances of getting four more wins considering they have Cal, Colorado, Arizona and WSU at home. Of course, if they lose against the Bears this week they’ll drop right back down.
The University of Utah Utes’ bump was easier thanks to a dominating road win against BYU. Add in Utah’s soft Pac-12 schedule and it’s safe to say U³ will be extending its eight-year bowl streak.
WSU has been downgraded to Bubble Out. The Cougars really needed a 3-0 non-conference record because they only have four Pac-12 home games and three of them are against Stanford, ASU and Utah. If Wazzu can get one of the next two (at Colorado, at UCLA) I’ll bump them back up to the Muddle.
With four teams trending like they won’t make it to the land of bowl eligibility it looks like all Arizona has to do is get to six wins and a bowl invite will be waiting. Are there five more wins on the schedule? That’s the question of the year in Tucson (at least it should be).
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Looking at the Pac-12 South race, only two of the South 5 have played conference games and both lost so ASU, UCLA and Colorado remained tied for first by not playing. The Buffaloes are continuing that strategy by delaying league play for another week.
If USC beats ASU and UCLA loses on the road – neither out of the question – Colorado would be alone in first place among eligible Pac-12 South teams with a 0-0 record.
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Notes from re-watching the Stanford game, if you dare:
• Andrew Luck’s first two passes were to a tight end and he was open both times. The Wildcats couldn’t correct that the entire night.
• The loss to Stanford snapped a five-game (and four-year) winning streak for the blue-on-blue-on-blue uniform combination. That leaves the hottest combos as blue helmets-red jerseys-blue pants and blue helmets-red jerseys-white pants. Both have won their last two appearances and haven’t lost since 2007.
• On the quest for progress: Stanford had a 1st-and-goal at the 3 on its second possession. The Arizona defense held firm by stuffing the run on 1st down followed by two strong plays from Trevin Wade. The senior corner had good coverage on an incomplete fade attempt (remember Oklahoma State running that play like they were the only ones on the field last week?) and the 3rd down (overturned) interception. A ton more work to do but something to build on.
• Garic Wharton may have track speed but he needs to get it out of second gear on kickoff returns. If he can’t, put Ka’Deem Carey back there by himself a la Michael Bates and let the kid fly.
• The “1st Down – BEAR DOWN!” chant attempt was a good idea. I’ve been saying for years that Arizona Stadium needs some new cheers. My little corner of the bleachers continues to yell “BEAR DOWN!” after every kickoff. ZonaZoo, if you lead the way on either, it’ll happen.
• Would the second half have been different if Juron Criner had been able to complete that one-handed catch at the end of the second quarter? The fact I was shocked when he didn’t make the play is a testament to his greatness.
By the way, before the 2008 season the UA coaching staff said GRONK! could catch 100 passes on the year. He ended up with mono and a serious back injury.
The next time Arizona has an elite pass-catcher, I suggest limiting his potential to 99 receptions.
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