The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

It does not get much more fun than the Pac-12 – NCAA week nine

Pac has upsets, talent and storylines
Cam+Ward+looks+up+to+the+Ducks+Vision+board+during+media+timeout%2C+Oct.+21%2C+in+Eugene%2C+Oregon.+
BRANDON WILLMAN
Cam Ward looks up to the “Ducks Vision” board during media timeout, Oct. 21, in Eugene, Oregon.

The Pac-12 is notorious for self-sabotage when it comes to the College Football Playoff. It is not uncommon for a mult-loss team to upset one of the top teams in the Conference, making it seem like those teams are weaker than the cream of the crop of the SEC and other Power 5 conferences. 

While it is debatable whether their is a significant skill discrepancy between conferences like the SEC and Pac-12, what is clear time and time again is the fact that the Pac-12 is the deepest conference and the one with the most talent spread throughout the 12 teams. 

Any week it feels like any team can take down the top dogs of UW, Oregon and USC, which has already nearly happened on several occasions. 

The Huskies have taken the full time to beat their last few opponents, Oregon lost to UW and USC barely squeaks by on a weekly basis. 

But that is why people love the Pac-12. 

Oregon State vs. Arizona 

Despite taking a loss earlier in the year to the Cougs, the Beavers looked poised to run the table and shock the world to make the Pac-12 Championship. That was until they ran into the surging Wildcats.

Since naming Noah Fifita the starting QB, Arizona has looked like a completely different team, a significantly better team. Against a strong OSU defense, he went 25-of-32 for 275 yards, three TDs and a single interception.

He out-dueled DJ Uiagalelei’s 16-of-30 for 218 yards and two TDs performance and proved that despite his physical limitations, he is a good QB. 

After nearly getting wins over USC and Washington with Fifita, the Wildcats are just a singular win away from bowl eligibility, not the prediction most had for a team that looked a couple of years away from competing entering the season. 

Washington vs. Stanford 

Another week, another un-inspiring win for the Huskies against a lesser opponent. UW looks to be one of the weirdest 8-0 teams in history are constantly in close games no matter who they are playing as of late. 

Even weirder, against Stanford, Michael Penix Jr. had 369 yards and four TDs, throwing just one pick. They also had two rushing TDs as a team and nearly 100 total yards on the ground. 

Stanford had nearly 11 full minutes more of possession than the Huskies, proving that their biggest fault might be their offense does not spend enough time on the field. Whether a TD or a three-and-out, this offense seems to get off the field as quickly as possible.

Early in the season, this is not a problem, as everyone on the defense is fresh. But as injuries start to pile up and the wear-and-tear of a season catches up to you, this style can prove detrimental and the Huskies are on a ticking clock for an upset loss if they cannot figure out a solution. 

USC vs. Cal 

How the Trojans pulled off this win is beyond me. Some controversy at half that gave USC a field goal try to technically end the first half that led directly into the kick off the second half did not matter to the final score, as the kick missed, but it was still another weird nugget of this game,

USC found themselves down big near the end of the game but scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to take the lead. With time winding down, Cal scored what everyone assumed was the equalized TD, as it made the score 50-49 and an extra point would send this weird game to OT. 

Surely, they do not try to win it all despite having home-field advantage. 

Surely they are not going for a two-point conversion.

Of course, their two-point conversion failed.

Final: USC 50, Cal 49. 

Oregon vs. Utah 

Utah is the team that loves to play spoiler in the Pac-12, a reputation they earned for “ruining” the seasons of the Ducks and USC in previous years. But Oregon did not mess around in 2023.

A huge 35-6 win over the Utes is exactly what they needed as the season progresses, and Bo Nix, Bucky Irving and the talented receiving core of the Ducks looks their best all year.

The SEC-style defense that Dan Lanning has brought into Oregon has already improved so much over the course of the year and writers across the nation rightfully believe that the Ducks are a legit title contender out of the Pac-12.

That is if they can survive the rest of their Conference slate without a prototypical Pac-12 upset. 

WSU vs. Arizona State

The Cougs skid continues in what has been an ever-confusing turn of events since the bye week. 

This time the one-win Arizona State Sun Devils just looked better than the Cougs. Cam Ward attempted 50 passes, the Cougs did not turn the ball over, they only punted three times, but they only converted 25% of their third downs.

While not perfect, the offense scored 27 points and did not look as completely lost as they had against Arizona and some other teams. 

But the defense was about as bad as it has ever been.

Allowing 509 total yards to a one win team and allowing 7.8 yards per play to that team is never a good sign, and head coach Jake Dickert needs to figure out what went wrong if the Cougs want to salvage what once was a very promising season, but not looks like one where the team is looking to scrape by with a Bowl Game appearance. 

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About the Contributor
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2023 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.