This Weekend Pac-12 News; Huskies vs Ducks, Utes vs Stanford, Etc.
(AP) — No. 7 Oregon travels to Washington after earning the No. 4 spot in the initial College Football Playoff rankings of the season. The preseason predictions had this game underlined, circled and bolded as the one to possibly go a long way in deciding the Pac-12 North. A win by Washington creates a logjam at the top. A victory by Oregon would firmly put the Ducks in the driver’s seat. Oregon has won the last two meetings between the two rivals, and 14 of the last 16. Utah running back Tavion Thomas is a player to watch this week after rushing for a career-most 160 yards and four TDs in a win over UCLA.
SEATTLE (AP) — Washington and Oregon are set to renew their rivalry Saturday after last year’s game was canceled due to COVID-19 issues among the Huskies. The seventh-ranked Ducks are leading the Pac-12 North, while the Huskies are looking to turn around what's been a disappointing season. Washington coach Jimmy Lake added a little fire to the rivalry when he said any recruiting battles the Huskies have with Oregon are overblown. He said Washington recruits against schools with more academic prowess. Oregon coach Mario Cristobal chose not to engage in the ensuing conversation.
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Utah has seized control of the race for the Pac-12 South but knows one small let up could open the race back up again. The Utes can take a big step toward locking up a spot in the Pac-12 title game next month in Las Vegas with a victory on Friday night at Stanford. The Cardinal are mired in another disappointing season. They have shown flashes this year that have caught the attention of Utah.
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Oregon State will make attempt No. 2 at reaching bowl eligibility. The path is way more uphill for Colorado, with four straight wins now necessary to be in the picture. It starts this weekend at Folsom Field against the Beavers. Oregon State had a chance to reach win No. 6 last weekend but lost 35-29 at California as its dominant ground game suddenly turned stagnant. The Beavers haven’t been to a bowl since 2013. The Buffaloes are attempting to reach back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 2004-05.
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Southern California lost its coach after two games, dropped three games in the past five. Arizona State seems to have lost it focus, giving up 56 straight points over the span of two ugly losses. Somehow, the Trojans and Sun Devils still have a shot at winning the Pac-12 South. But now the margin for error has become paper thin, turning their game Saturday into an elimination game of sorts. Arizona State is a game behind Utah in the Pac-12 South and USC is 1 1/2 games behind.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona has played well for stretches in recent weeks. The Wildcats had a strong first half against Washington two weeks ago and rallied from a 21-point halftime deficit last week against Southern California. Arizona just hasn't been able to finish it off as its school-record losing streak has stretched to 20 games. The Wildcats are hoping to put it all together this weekend against Cal. The Bears also have been playing better in recent weeks after a rough start to the season. The Bears shut down Colorado in a 26-3 win and outlasted Oregon State 39-25.