After a re-enactment of the Game of Thrones: Red Wedding episode back in week 11, things played out a bit closer to what was expected during last week’s slate of Pac-12 games. With Stanford’s win over Cal sealing up the North division, the last week will determine whether USC or UCLA will be playing the Cardinal in the Pac-12 Championship game in a little over a week’s time. So there’s that reason to watch Pac-12 games this weekend, not to mention Rivalry Week: Part II.
- #13 Stanford (9-2, 8-1, S&P+ Overall 12th)
Week 12: Defeated Cal; 35-22.
Stanford played big boy football against the Bears with just 12 of its 52 plays coming by way of the forward pass. At times in The Big Game, they were helped out by questionable play calling by Sonny Dykes and a special teams score to seal it late in the fourth, helping to mask what has been a Stanford defense lacking the playmakers we’ve grown to expect over the past five seasons.
With their conference schedule secured, they’ll look to add to their College Football Playoff resume with a win over Notre Dame at home this weekend before a short trip to Levi’s Stadium in 7 days time. The odds look a lot better for Heisman contender Christian McCaffrey who set the school single game all-purpose yardage record with 389.
- #18 Oregon (8-3, 6-2, S&P+ Overall 32nd)
Week 12: Defeated No. 24 USC; 48-28.
In the strange bizarro world that is the 2015 Pac-12, there’s a good chance that Oregon could be the highest ranked team in the conference while missing out on playing for the conference championship thanks to back-to-back wins against Stanford and USC. As a gift for their recent positive play, they’ll get to face-off against Oregon State in the Civil War where they are currently 34-point favorites.
- #20 Washington State (8-3, 6-2, S&P+ Overall 62nd)
Week 12: Defeated Colorado; 27-3.
In what should serve as the appetizer on Friday to to USC/UCLA on Saturday, Washington State looks to close out its best season in over a decade against a Washington team playing for a chance to extend its season one more game into bowl season.
Luke Falk is one big game away from giving Christian McCaffrey a run at Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, and his head coach should all but have Pac-12 Coach of the Year wrapped up. But a head injury suffered against Colorado last week has Falk’s status up in the air and could force Mike Leach to call on redshirt freshman Peyton Bender to make his first collegiate start. Bender was in an open competition with Falk up until the final week of camp this summer, so the team is confident in his ability to lead this high-flying offense.
- USC (7-4, 5-3, S&P+ Overall 25th)
Week 12: Lost to No. 23 Oregon; 48-28.
The clock finally struck midnight on Clay Helton, but Trojans fans would be hard pressed not to support his candidacy to make that interim title permanent if he can break the streak of three straight losses to Jim Mora’s Bruins.
- #22 UCLA (8-3, 5-3, S&P+ Overall 17th)
Week 12: Defeated No. 13 Utah; 17-9.
UCLA was fortunate to play Utah without Devontae Booker and is now just two wins away from a Rose Bowl berth. Those two wins are a mighty proposal however against USC and Stanford.
Still, if Josh Rosen can lead this team down that road he’ll be right back on the hype train this offseason that was already about to explode back in August.
- Utah (8-3, 5-3, S&P+ Overall 34th)
Week 12: Lost to UCLA; 17-9.
It’s been a disappointing second half of the season for Utah as its hopes have trailed that of the conference over the last few weeks. Things went from bad to worse as it limps into the final game of the regular season searching for its offensive identity for a second straight week without Booker. Thankfully they’ll be playing against an equally lost Colorado team without the luxury of Utah’s defense or special teams to help carry the load.
- Arizona State (6-5, 4-4, S&P+ Overall 64th)
Week 12: Defeated Arizona; 52-37.
The Territorial Cup win against Arizona was a great advertisement for recruits watching last Saturday in how Todd Graham wants to win football games; sacks, turnovers, points off turnovers, and running the football.
Cal doesn’t have a great offensive line, but they also get the ball out quickly avoiding sacks which could negate the explosive run of form devil-backer Antonio Longino is having at the moment. Longino has been playing out of his mind the past two weeks claiming back-to-back Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week awards.
- Cal (6-5, 3-5, S&P+ Overall 49th)
Week 12: Lost to No. 11 Stanford; 35-22.
On another day Cal catches some breaks and walks away from The Farm with a win over the Cardinal. But this is the real world, where Bears fans could witness the final home game of the Jared Goff Era, complete with a 2015 second half meltdown that would reach losing six of their last seven games if the Devils are triumphant.
- Washington (5-6, 3-5, S&P+ Overall 26th)
Week 12: Defeated Oregon State; 52-7.
The Huskies cleaned up in all three phases of the game against the lowly Beavs, helping to show the shine of a defense that has really dominated all season, currently ranked 12th in Defensive S&P+. Which is a good thing heading into it’s Apple Cup showdown against the Cougars that rank 33rd in Offensive S&P+.
- Arizona (6-6, 3-6, S&P+ Overall 83rd)
Week 12: Lost to Arizona State; 52-37.
It feels like we never really got to see the true identity of this team throughout the season with the injuries sustained by most of its key players. At his apex, Rich Rodriguez was able to slay the the tenth-ranked Utes a week before the Territorial Cup. At the same time their other victories came against the likes of UTSA, Nevada, NAU, Oregon State, and Colorado.
- Colorado (4-8, 1-7, S&P+ Overall 98th)
Week 12: Lost to Washington State; 27-3.
Colorado finishes its 2015 campaign in its Pac-12 manufactured rivalry with the Utes which could actually turn out into a solid game seeing Utah is still searching for its identity without Booker.
- Oregon State (2-9, 0-8, S&P+ Overall 114th)
Week 12: Lost to Washington; 52-7.
The Beavers may get quarterback Seth Collins back this week according to head coach Gary Anderson. But if the one-time starting quarterback plays in the Civil War it will most likely be at receiver as Anderson looks to get his best athletes on the field one last time for a team that has lost eight straight since beating San Jose State in mid-September and really haven’t played a meaningful four quarters of football since losing by two scores to Utah nearly a month ago.
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** S&P+ rating was created by FootballOutsiders.com : The S&P+ Ratings are a college football ratings system derived from the play-by-play and drive data of all 800+ of a season’s FBS college football games (and 140,000+ plays).