Pac-12 rewind: ASU’s upset, UW’s big win and Arizona’s escape highlight riveting Week 11

Washington and Oregon remain on collision course for a rematch

Recapping the Pac-12’s Week 11 action…

The week’s theme is “State of the Race.”

Because of victories by Arizona and Oregon State, Washington and Oregon were unable to secure spots in Las Vegas. However, the Huskies (7-0 in conference) will secure a berth with one more win (against OSU or Washington State), whereas the Ducks (6-1) will need two wins (against ASU and OSU) or one win and some help. And, given that the Ducks and Wildcats did not play each other, things could get messy if they finish tied for second place.

Cal 42, Washington State 39, game of the week

We chose the Berkeley game because of the fourth-quarter playmaking: the teams combined for four touchdowns in the final 15 minutes, with the Cougars rallying from a 42-24 deficit but missing on two chances to tie in the final minutes.

Kenny Dillingham of Arizona State is this week’s coach of the week.

Dillingham somehow coaxed and cajoled his 16.5-point underdogs to a 17-7 victory at UCLA despite a blowout loss at Utah and an injury list longer than November shadows. The Sun Devils have two conference victories and three overall victories, which are far better than they appear given the circumstances in Tempe.

Jedd Fisch(?) of Arizona is the season’s coach.

The conference appears to be a two-man race for COY between Fisch and Washington’s Kalen DeBoer. If the Huskies dominate, DeBoer should have a lot of backing. Fisch, on the other hand, has done outstanding work in Tucson with a team that was ranked eighth in the preseason media poll. The Wildcats (7-3/5-2) are currently in contention for a spot in the championship game.

Washington is the team of the decade.

The Huskies are the first Pac-12 team to start the season 10-0 since Oregon in 2012. The Ducks dropped their 11th game of the season to Stanford, ending their perfect league record. With two more victories, Washington would become the only team in the Pac-12 era (2011-23) to go undefeated in conference play.

UCLA is this week’s implosion.

The loss to ASU was nothing short of a disaster for the Bruins, who have once again failed to make an impact in the Pac-12 race. Sure, they were forced to use their No. 3 quarterback, Collin Schlee, due to injuries, but ASU’s health situation is far worse. If the Bruins lose to USC and Cal, Chip Kelly’s job security may be called into question.

Season’s farewell: Utah

The two-time defending champions made a valiant last stand in Seattle, but their 35-28 loss to Washington effectively ends their three-peat bid. The Utes have been eliminated from the No. 1 seed — they are three games behind UW with two games remaining — and will require massive assistance to secure the No. 2 seed.

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix was named offensive player of the week.

Anyone can look good against the USC defense; Nix did. He completed 23 of 31 passes for 412 yards and four touchdowns, but several on-target throws were dropped. If he isn’t the Heisman Trophy favorite, Nix is on a collision course with Washington’s Michael Penix in the Pac-12 championship game.

Cal LB Cade Uluave is the week’s defensive player of the week.

We saw a slew of outstanding defensive performances across the conference, but Uluave stood out with three interceptions. That’s correct. In the win over Washington State, the true freshman had two fumble recoveries and an interception. One of the recoveries resulted in a 51-yard scoop and score touchdown. Uluave had nine tackles as well.

Arizona is this week’s drive.

The Wildcats needed only five minutes to cover 67 yards and kick the game-winning field goal to defeat Colorado 34-31. The drive featured two long runs by tailback Jonah Coleman, as Arizona’s balance proved decisive. The Wildcats killed the final minute of play with kneel-downs by quarterback Noah Fifita, who was in range of a short field goal.

Week one bowl math: Cal

With the win over Washington State, the Bears (4-6) kept their postseason hopes alive. (By the way, it was their first victory since September.) The math is straightforward: They’re in if they can beat Stanford and UCLA, a double-dip that doesn’t seem as daunting as it did a few weeks ago.

Week 2 bowl math: Washington State

The Cougars have lost six straight and must beat Colorado and Washington (gulp!) to keep their streak of bowl bids intact in seasons not interrupted by a pandemic. Other than 2020, the last time WSU did not make the postseason was in 2014.

Colorado Bowl Math of the Week III

After blowing a second-half lead and losing to Arizona on a last-second field goal, the story of September in college football is in free fall. The Buffaloes (4-6) have lost six of their last seven games and, like Cal and WSU, must win out to qualify for the postseason. Their remaining road games are in Pullman on Friday night and Salt Lake City on Saturday. Best of luck with that.

Cal’s weekly stat:

Against Washington State, the Bears scored three touchdowns on fumbles: two were scoop-and-scores by the defense (51 and 52 yards), and the third was a recovery in the end zone by an offensive lineman. An offensive lineman, to be exact.

Arizona stat of the season I:

USC (7-4) has fewer losses than the Wildcats (7-3). Not bad for a team that hasn’t bowled since 2017 and was 1-11 just two seasons ago.

Washington’s season stat II:

The Huskies have allowed a total of seven points in the fourth quarter in their three biggest games of the year, against Oregon, USC, and Utah. Jordan James of Oregon scored the lone touchdown.

Oregon State’s statistic of the decade

The Beavers are 8-2 for the first time since finishing the regular season 9-3 and losing to Texas in the Alamo Bowl in 2012. OSU has won nine straight home games, the longest such streak since 2007-08.

Week 1 game: Colorado vs. Washington State

A Friday night game in the Palouse is a bowl-elimination game for the loser, though to be honest, the winner has little chance of becoming bowl-eligible as well. Despite this, both teams will be desperate following their respective collapses.

Next week’s game II: Washington vs. Oregon State

Oregon State (8-2) got what it wanted: an important game against the undefeated Huskies. ESPN’s ‘CollegeGameDay’ will not visit Corvallis, but will instead visit James Madison. It doesn’t matter. The energy in Reser Stadium for the 4:30 p.m. (ABC) kickoff will be palpable.

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