Jon Wilner takes a look back at the weekend that was in the Pac-12, and takes a look ahead at some intriguing upcoming matchups, including WSU vs. USC.
Theme of the Week I: Gaffes galore.
Not difficult to pinpoint a shared trait among the losers of the five conference games: Mistakes.
Cal out-gained USC by 50 yards but had six turnovers.
Arizona out-gained Utah by 100-plus yards but had five turnovers.
UCLA out-gained Stanford but had four turnovers.
Colorado committed three turnovers — a clean game by comparison — and suffered a breakdown on special teams.
And Oregon? The Ducks only gave the ball away once, but they had 14 penalties.
Theme of the Week II: Statements, Holy Grail style
(If you haven’t seen the movie, my apologies. But it’s such a deeply profound examination of human nature — or just the funniest movie ever made — that the following should be obvious.)
Washington: “Go away or I shall taunt you a second time.”
Arizona State: “I’m not dead.”
USC: “Now stand aside, worthy adversary!”
Stanford: “It’s just a flesh wound.”
UCLA: “You must give us all a good spanking.”
Cal: “I move for no man.”
Theme of the Week III: Ground and pound.
Running games led the way in three important wins.
Stanford plowed through UCLA for 405 yards to end its two-game losing streak.
Washington found its form with 254 yards in its first test of the season. (UW’s prior issues were as much about boredom as anything else.)
And Arizona State — Arizona State! — churned for 142 yards with its season on the brink against Oregon.
Granted, it took the Sun Devils 42 carries to get there. But the commitment and the mentality is nearly as important as the yardage.
Best game: Arizona State 37, Oregon 35.
The only game of the six that produced true drama, with fourth-quarter lead changes and the sense that the trailing team had a chance to win.
(Sorry, Arizona. I never thought you had a chance in the fourth quarter.)
Offensive player of the week: Stanford RB Bryce Love.
Yes, UCLA’s defense is a turnstile, but 263 yards is 263 yards, and it came on just 30 carries (that’s an 8.8 ypc average).
According to the conference, Love is the first player in college football in the past 20 years to have six consecutive games with one run of at least 50 yards.
Defensive player of the week: Utah DB Casey Hughes.
Forced two fumbles, both when Arizona had possession in…