Athlon recaps all of this weekend's action in the Pac-12.
The Oregon Ducks cleared their first big hurdle with style and grace. Defensively, USC was able to move the football plenty, but simply couldn't stop what could be the best offense in the nation. However, due to a monster performance across town from UCLA over Arizona, USC sits back in the driver's seat for the Pac-12 South Division championship. And a trip to Eugene could be just as entertaining as this weekend's offensive showcase in Los Angeles.
Post-Week 10 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - He scored more touchdowns (4) than he threw incompletions in the big win over USC. He accounted for exactly 400 yards of offense and was extremely poised under pressure in L.A.
2. Matt Barkley, QB, USC - USC isn't out of the mix in the South and Barkley is still posting huge numbers. He threw for 484 yards and five touchdowns and scored 51 points on the No. 2 team in the nation. He is No. 2 in the league in passing efficiency and yards and is first with 30 total touchdowns.
3. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon - There are lots of deserving candidates for this award but Barner had a huge game and is settling as the best back in the league. He carried 38 times for 321 yards and 5 scores — giving him the Pac-12 league in both categories (1,295 and 19).
Post-Week 10 Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State - The star corner didn't play this weekend but doesn't get knocked off the top slot.
2. Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford - He didn't stuff the stat sheet this weekend but his team held Colorado to minus-1 yard rushing and zero points as Stanford now claims the No. 1 rushing defense in the nation.
3. Scott Crichton, DL, Oregon State - Posted five tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a pass broken up in the huge win over Arizona State. He is No. 2 in the Pac-12 in tackles for loss and sacks.
Post-Week 10 Coach of the Year Standings
1. Chip Kelly, Oregon - His offense is operating on a different level than anyone else in the nation. The fast tempo, the unique design, the elite talent and the power running game makes this the best team in the nation not named Alabama.
2. Mike Riley, Oregon State - There were some anxious first-half moments, but Oregon State won again coming from behind against a solid opponent. A massive showdown with Stanford looms this weekend.
3. Jim Mora, UCLA - The Bruins made a large statement this weekend, getting to seven wins with a dominating performance against Arizona. It gives Mora complete control of his own destiny in the South.
Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
1. Oregon (9-0, 6-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 10 result: Beat Colorado 62-51
Who was better? A quarterback who completed 20 of his 23 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 96 yards on 15 carries. Or the running back who rushed for a school-record 321 yards and five touchdowns? I tend to lean towards the QB actually, but either way, the Ducks offense was unstoppable in the statement win over USC in The Coliseum. Marcus Mariota was calm and poised while Kenjon Barner ran hard — he touched the ball 40 times — and picked up key first downs all night. This was the first of four big hurdles Oregon must clear to return to the BCS National Championship game. Stanford, Oregon State and the potential Pac-12 title game (and technically a road trip to reeling Cal) are all that is left between Oregon and Miami Gardens.
This week: at Cal (3-7)
2. Oregon State (7-1, 5-1)
Previous rank: 2
Week 10 result: Lost Beat Arizona State 36-26
The Beavers fell behind 19-10 with 13 minutes to go in the second quarter. But Cody Vaz, who gifted the Sun Devils with a touchdown on a turnover early in the game, led Oregon State on a 26-0 run until Arizona State mustered a final touchdown with 22 seconds left in the game. After the miscue, Vaz, who is filling in for starter Sean Mannion, rebounded to finish with 267 yards and three touchdowns as Oregon State got back into the win column. Mike Riley will have a huge decision on his hands this weekend in what might be OSU's toughest test to date. Mannion or Vaz on the road trip to Stanford?
This week: at Stanford (7-2)
3. Stanford (7-2, 5-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 10 result: Beat Colorado 48-0
This was ugly from the first whistle. And it's exactly how David Shaw wanted to see his team play this weekend. His defense once again proved it claims the best, most physical front seven west of the Mississippi. Stanford created three turnovers, forced nine punts, allowed just six first downs and sacked the quarterback five times while allowing a ridiculous 76 total yards of offense (minus-21 rushing). After the offense, led by back up Kevin Hogan (18-of-24, 184 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) jumped out to a 35-0 halftime league and then allowed the defense to suffocate what little life the Buffaloes had left in the final 30 minutes.
This week: Oregon State (7-1)
4. UCLA (7-2, 4-2)
Previous rank: 5
Week 10 result: Beat Arizona 66-10
The Bruins raced to a 28-0 lead to begin the game and went into halftime up 42-3 — and that was that in the Pac-12 South elimination game. Johnathan Franklin needed 21 yards to become UCLA's all-time leading rusher, so his 167 yards (and 2 TD) pushed him well past Gaston Green as the top rusher in Bruins history. Freshman quarterback Brett Hundley continued his stellar play, throwing for 288 yards and three touchdowns. He added 10 carries and another touchdown on the ground. While the record-setting offensive performances might steal the headlines, the defense gets tons of credit for the huge divisional win. Holding Arizona to 10 points, 257 total yards, four sacks and four forced fumbles is no easy task. UCLA now controls its own destiny in the Pac-12 South.
This week: at Washington State (2-7)
5. USC (6-3, 4-3)
Previous rank: 4
Week 10 result: Lost to Oregon 62-51
It is hard to win football games when you allow 730 yards of offense and 37 first downs to the opponent. Matt Barkley once again posted huge numbers through the air — 484 yards and five touchdowns — but his defense couldn't get stops against the high-powered Ducks when it mattered most (a bad call on an onside kick didn't help either). All is not lost, however, as games against UCLA and Arizona State still carry enough weight to keep the Trojans in the division title race.
This week: Oregon (8-0)
6. Arizona (5-4, 2-4)
Previous rank: 6
Week 10 result: Lost to UCLA 66-10
A letdown might have been expected but this was downright ugly. Matt Scott and the Wildcats offense had by far their worst day of the season against UCLA. Their 257 total yards of offense were easily a season low, marked the first time they failed to reach 300 yards and marked only the second time they didn't reach at least 500 yards. Scott set personal season lows in rushing attempts (3), passing yards (125), in addition to completing just 15 passes (second-fewest this season) and not accounting for a single touchdown. The loss gives RichRod four in the league and pretty much eliminates Arizona from the Pac-12 championship.
This week: Colorado (1-8)
7. Washington (5-4, 3-3)
Previous rank: 7
Week 10 result: Beat Cal 21-13
Austin Seferian-Jenkins showed the nation why some believe he is the most talented tight end in college football. He caught eight passes for 152 yards and what proved to be the game-winning touchdown from 29 yards out with 41 seconds left in the third quarter. Running back Bishop Sankey put the finishing touches on the road win by scoring his 11th rushing touchdown of the season late in the game. He finished with 189 yards and two scores on 28 carries giving defensive line coach and Cal grad Tosh Lupoi a happy homecoming. Star freshman Shaq Thompson, who signed with Washington instead of Cal once Lupoi was hired away from Berkeley shortly before National Signing Day, intercepted a key Zach Maynard pass late in the game to give the Huskies their first road in more than a year.
This week: Utah (4-5)
8. Arizona State (5-4, 3-3)
Previous rank: 8
Week 10 result: Lost to Oregon State 36-26
Arizona State got off to a hot start courtesy of nine gift points from Oregon State, but the Sun Devils' offense was shut down for the final 40 minutes of the game. Todd Graham's offense was inefficient, converting on 4-of-17 third downs and completing only 22-of-41 passes. It was the third consecutive loss to a Pac-12 contender for ASU, reminding fans this team has a ways to go before it is considered a contender on its own merits. The Devils, which were ranked No. 1 in the league three weeks ago, allowed 124 points in the those three losses. Things don't get any easier this weekend.
This week: at USC (6-3)
9. Utah (4-5, 2-4)
Previous rank: 9
Week 10 result: Beat Washington State 49-6
Behind a rejuvenated John White, the Utes have inched closer to a postseason bowl bid for the second straight week. The star tailback finished with 101 yards rushing and 2 TDs and has back-to-back 100-yard efforts and four rushing scores in the two-game winning streak. The switch to the young and talented Travis Wilson is beginning to pay off as well. He was 17-of-21 passing for 171 yards and 2 TDs. This team has two tough games against Washington in Seattle and Arizona in Salt Lake City before the season wraps up with Colorado. Utah will crush the Buffaloes, so one upset over the next two weeks puts Utah into a bowl for the 10th consecutive season.
This week: at Washington (5-4)
10. California (3-7, 2-5)
Previous rank: 10
Week 10 result: Lost to Washington 21-13
Star wideout Keenan Allen is likely lost for the season and didn't play in the sloppy loss to Washington. Things only got worse for Cal when quarterback Zach Maynard left the game in the fourth quarter. The offense moved the football (450 yards, 23 first downs) but four turnovers and the injuries cost Jeff Tedford a trip to the postseason for the second time in three years. Since 2009, Tedford is 23-25 and is staring at a nine-loss season. New facilities or not, it may be time for a changing of the guard in the Bay Area. Certainly watching Cal alum Tosh Lupoi roam the visitor's sideline coaching for a team that features former Cal commit Shaq Thompson has to drive the knife in even deeper.
This week: Oregon (9-0)
11. Colorado (1-8, 1-5)
Previous rank: 11
Week 10 result: Lost to Stanford 48-0
This is getting out of hand. Stanford raced to a 35-0 halftime lead as the fans in Boulder had little to root for as their team gained 28 yards in the first half. In fact, in the last 14 quarters, Colorado has been outscored 199-20. The Las Vegas odds makers have allotted Jon Embree's team roughly 115 points in the last three games against USC (+41), Oregon (+46) and Stanford (+28) and Colorado failed to cover in all three instances. Normally, I side with the conservative stance on making head coaching changes but this team isn't even close to being competitive. It's unfortunate, but there isn't anything else to be learned about the current regime. Six first downs and minus-21 yards rushing is completely unacceptable.
This week: at Arizona (5-4)
12. Washington State (2-7, 0-6)
Previous rank: 12
Week 10 result: Lost to Utah 49-6
For the sixth time in six games, Mike Leach failed to get his first Pac-12 win as the Cougars' head coach. And it seems like things are getting worse as his team was pushed around by a team that has five losses of its own. After keeping the score close with Stanford and Oregon State, Washington State failed to show up against Utah. Leach's team trailed 39-0, converted only one third down in 11 tries and had minus-13 yards rushing at the end of the third quarter. Wazzu finished the game 2-of-15 on third down and posted a negative rushing total for a staggering fourth time this season (minus-4). With Arizona State, UCLA and Washington left on the slate, the chances Washington State wins a single Pac-12 game are starting to look more unlikely.
This week: UCLA (7-2)
by Braden Gall
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