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Athlon recaps all of this weekend's action in the Pac-12.
What a last few weeks it should be out West. UCLA and USC will square off this weekend with a trip to the Pac-12 championship game on the line. Oregon now has to face possibly its toughest two opponents of the season with Stanford and Oregon State to finish the year. Jeff Tedford is hanging by a thread in Berkeley. And all chaos is breaking out in Pullman. Put on your seat belts Pac-12 fans, it's going to be a wild ride these last three weeks — and it could end with the Oregon Ducks heading to its second national championship game in three seasons.
Post-Week 11 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - Is 377 yards and 6 TD any good? Mariota now leads the nation in passing efficiency on what is the nation's best offense. He is clearly the most important Oregon Duck.
2. Matt Barkley, QB, USC - USC won a key game with another three Matt Barkley touchdown passes. This team now faces UCLA for the Pac-12 South title.
3. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon - Barner did very little to follow up his monster showing against USC last week. But he wasn't needed all that much. Which is good considering he dealt with a small hand/wrist injury early in the game. He returned and finished with 65 yards on 20 carries and no touchdowns.
Post-Week 11 Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford - He only posted a pair of tackles but he gets bumped to the top slot because his defense stymied the Beavers for the final 20 minutes of play and since his team won the key swing game, Thomas gets the nod over Jordan Poyer.
2. Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State - The Beavers' top defender made five total stops including one for a loss and returned a couple of punts in the crushing road loss to Stanford.
3. Anthony Barr, DL, UCLA - The Bruins' star defensive lineman had a huge game on the road against Washington State. He made eight total tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and blocked a kick in the win. He now is leading the league in sacks (11.0) and TFL (17.0).
Post-Week 11 Coach of the Year Standings
1. Chip Kelly, Oregon - The Ducks rolled to another huge win with another huge offensive number. This is the best offense in the country.
2. Mike Riley, Oregon State - The Beavers are running out of steam and have quarterback issues, but the job he has done this year has been nothing short of remarkable.
3. Jim Mora, UCLA - If he can somehow close the 50-point gap between his program and the Trojans that existed last year, he may shoot to the top of this list.
Post-Week 11 Power Rankings
1. Oregon (10-0, 7-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 11 result: Beat Cal 59-17
Marcus Mariota was brilliant for the Ducks as Oregon won for the 28th time in 29 tries in Pac-12 play. The freshman quarterback completed 27-of-34 passes for 377 yards and six touchdowns as Cal set up to stop the run all game (holding Kenjon Barner in check). The Ducks are leading the nation at 54.8 points per game on offense and set an NCAA record by scoring at least 30 points for the 23rd consecutive game. The second season in Oregon now begins in earnest with Stanford, Oregon State, a potential Pac-12 title game with either UCLA or USC and possibly a trip to Miami Gardens left on the slate. There is no chance the Ducks get left out of the national title game if they finish 13-0.
This week: Stanford (8-2)
2. Stanford (8-2, 6-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 11 result: Beat Oregon State 27-23
Kevin Hogan led his team from behind to keep their Pac-12 championship hopes alive in his first career start for Stanford. He threw three touchdowns, including two late scores to give the Cardinal the lead for good in the fourth quarter, and 254 yards in the physical showdown on The Farm. David Shaw's team overcame four turnovers and continues to control its own destiny. However, their path is difficult as it comes with road trips to Oregon and UCLA to finish the year. This defense is the best in the league and is the most physical front seven that side of the Mississippi, so if anyone can slow down the Ducks, it might be Stanford.
This week: at Oregon (10-0)
3. Oregon State (7-2, 5-2)
Previous rank: 2
Week 11 result: Lost to Stanford 27-23
As it has done all season long, Oregon State put itself into a hole, this time down 14-0 after one quarter of play. The Beavers then rattled off 23 unanswered points to take a commanding two-score lead. But the defense couldn't get key stops and the offense couldn't convert on key fourth downs in the fourth quarter. The loss puts Mike Riley's bunch behind both Stanford and Oregon and all but eliminates OSU from the Pac-12 championship. They need some serious help and a win over the Ducks to win the North. Cody Vaz was dinged up late in the game and Sean Mannion was forced into action, so this will be again be the most watched position in Corvallis this week.
This week: Cal (3-8)
4. UCLA (8-2, 5-2)
Previous rank: 4
Week 11 result: Beat Washington State 44-36
The Bruins exploded for 30 points in the second quarter, taking a 37-7 lead into halftime. Three late touchdowns for the Cougars made the score look much closer than it actually was in Pullman. Having said that, the Bruins only needed 334 yards of offense to put away Mike Leach's embattled bunch — which is nearly 200 yards less than its average coming into the weekend (514.9 ypg). Brett Hundley threw the ball well (261 yards, 3 TD), but Johnathan Franklin will need to be better than 66 yards on 19 attempts if UCLA wants to defeat the Men of Troy this weekend and win the Pac-12 South.
This week: USC (7-3)
5. USC (7-3, 5-3)
Previous rank: 5
Week 11 result: Beat Arizona State 38-17
One down, one to go. After getting embarrassed against Arizona State last year and Oregon last week, USC took care of business against an overmatched Sun Devils squad to move to within one win of a South Division title. And a potential rematch with Oregon (or Stanford for that matter). Matt Barkley keeps adding to his illustrious stats by throwing three more touchdowns and 222 yards as the Trojans pulled away in the final two quarters. Marqise Lee was his usual big-play self, catching 10 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown, while tailback Curtis McNeal took advantage of an increased work load, rushing for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
This week: UCLA (8-2)
6. Arizona (6-4, 3-4)
Previous rank: 6
Week 11 result: Beat Colorado 56-31
Matt Scott didn't play in the win over Colorado, but Ka'Deem Carey picked up the slack. And then some. The underrated sophomore rushed for a Pac-12 record 366 yards and scored five touchdowns — to go with 34 yards on two receptions as well — in the home win. Carey now has 1,381 yards and 18 rushing scores on the season. B.J. Denker completed 12-of-14 passes in place of Scott and tossed two touchdowns of his own. Rich Rodriguez got his team back on track but allowed 31 points and 437 yards at home to one of the worst scoring offenses in all of college football.
This week: at Utah (4-6)
7. Washington (6-4, 4-3)
Previous rank: 7
Week 11 result: Beat Utah 34-15
The Huskies won their third straight game on the powerful and productive shoulders of running back Bishop Sankey. Steve Sarkisian has obviously made an effort to get his star tailback the ball, giving him a career high in carries for three consecutive weeks. He has carried 25, 29 and 36 times in the last three games for 443 yards and has scored at least two touchdowns in each game. The obviously improved Huskies defense did the rest, holding Utah to 188 total yards of offense and just 55 yards passing. With Colorado and Washington State left on the schedule, Coach Sark is almost assured of a 8-4, 6-3 record this fall.
This week: at Colorado (1-9)
8. Arizona State (5-5, 3-4)
Previous rank: 8
Week 11 result: Lost to USC 38-17
Arizona State took a 17-14 lead a few minutes into the third quarter against USC. The Trojans then scored the final 24 points of the game, taking advantage of a Sun Devils defense that has been downright atrocious of late. Todd Graham's defense, which couldn't cover Marqise Lee or stop Curtis McNeal, has now allowed 40.5 points per game over the course of its current four-game losing streak. ASU likely needs to win this weekend against Washington State at home to get to bowl eligibility as a win across the state in Tucson on the final weekend of the year might be asking too much of this defense.
This week: Washington State (2-8)
9. Utah (4-6, 2-5)
Previous rank: 9
Week 11 result: Lost to Washington 34-15
Welcome to Seattle Mr. Wilson. The young Utes quarterback had been respectable during Utah's modest two-game winning streak. He was baptized by a big time college defense, however, in Washington this weekend. He completed just 8-of-23 passes for 55 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. He carried seven times for minus-13 yards, including three sacks. Kyle Whittingham's bunch now has to win its last two games to get to a bowl game for the 10th straight season. Colorado should be a win, but this weekend's home test with the Wildcats will be anything but easy.
This week: Arizona (6-4)
10. California (3-8, 2-6)
Previous rank: 10
Week 11 result: Lost to Oregon 59-17
Is it just a matter of time now for Jeff Tedford? Many are torn on the Tedford issues at Cal as he is one of — if not the — most decorated head coaches in Golden Bears history. He has been the driving force behind dramatic facilities and stadium upgrades in Berkeley. But his record is 15-21 over the last three years and he is experience his second losing campaign in three years. This weekend, without Zach Maynard or Keenan Allen, the Bears were totally overmatched and non-competitive. They allowed 575 yards of offense to the Ducks and now, due to a strangely placed bye week on the last week of the Pac-12 regular season, are set to wrap up the 2012 season next week at Oregon State.
This week: at Oregon State (7-2)
11. Colorado (1-9, 1-6)
Previous rank: 11
Week 11 result: Lost to Arizona 56-31
The offense played well in the desert, holding the ball for 41:17 and gaining 437 yards of offense. Yet, the defense couldn't stop the record-setting Ka'Deem Carey. Colorado has allowed at least 42 points in six straight games and allowed more than 50 points for the fifth time this year. This team's point differential for the season is bordering on historically bad as the Buffs rank 115th in scoring offense (17.6 ppg) and are 120th in scoring defense (47.2 ppg) on the season.
This week: Washington (6-4)
12. Washington State (2-8, 0-7)
Previous rank: 12
Week 10 result: Lost to UCLA 44-36
The final score was not indicative of how lopsided this game really was. Washington State trailed 37-7 and 44-14 before scoring the last three touchdowns of the game. The story coming out of Pullman, however, had nothing to do with the eighth loss of the season. The story was Marquess Wilson's strange letter concerning the state of the Cougars locker room. Accusations of verbal and physical "abuse" have news outlets across the country eyeing Mike Leach. Is there a pattern of improper behavior from the coaching staff? Or is it simply the ramblings of a disgruntled star who has quit on his team because times were tough? This soap opera is far from over.
This week: at Arizona State (5-5)
by Braden Gall
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