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Pac-12 News and Notes

   by Matt Fargo - 11/14/2011

Week 11 Rewind

The outcomes in the Pac 12 this past weekend were different than the last two weeks where only one game was decided by single digits each week.

This week none were!

The game that everyone was anticipating ended up being competitive for a half. Oregon took care of Stanford by 23 points despite getting outgained 400-387. The Ducks took advantage of five Stanford turnovers and turned three of those into touchdowns. The Cardinal have lost just twice in 23 games, both coming against Oregon.

Colorado picked up its first ever Pac 12 victory with a resounding win over Arizona. The Buffaloes racked up 500 total yards, only the second time they have gained at least 500 yards this season. Colorado held the Wildcats to 60 yards rushing on 23 carries (2.6 ypc) while its own offense ran for 273 yards on 45 carries (6.1 ypc).

USC outgained Washington 426-244 and allowed just one drive of more than four plays in the first half. The Trojans jumped ahead 30-3 as they returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown and eased off the pedal after that. USC is averaging 39.8 ppg in its last six games after averaging 25.5 ppg in its first four games.

After falling into the situation of controlling its own destiny, UCLA returned to its old form and was shellacked at Utah. The Bruins actually outgained the Utes 295-291 but were hurt by two interceptions, two fourth down failures and a missed field goal that resulted in 175 'empty' yards.

California became bowl eligible with a rather easy win against Oregon St. The Golden Bears outgained the Beavers 424-270 and it was the rushing advantage that was most prominent. California rushed for 296 yards on 46 carries (6.4 ypc) while the Beavers were held to 27 yards on 21 carries (1.3 ypc).

The biggest upset took place in Pullman as Washington St. took down Arizona St. as 11.5-point underdogs. The Cougars outgained the Sun Devils 598-411 as freshman quarterback Connor Halliday threw for 494 yards and four scores. It should be noted however the game was played on a snowy field.

Pac 12 South Debacle

As mentioned, UCLA controlled its own destiny in the Pac 12 South but a loss at Utah made the division even more of a mess. The Trojans are ineligible so even though they are in first place, it means nothing.

A few hours after the UCLA loss, Arizona St. lost which put the Bruins back in the drivers seat. UCLA holds the tiebreaker over the Sun Devils because of the head-to-head win but the Bruins close the season at USC so winning out is not likely.

The Sun Devils last two games are at home so they have a good shot at a strong finish.

Don't forget about Utah though. The Utes close with games against Washington St. and Colorado so should they win out and both UCLA and Arizona St. lose once, the Utes will face the North Division winner in the inaugural Pac 12 Championship.

Going Bowling

Six of the 12 teams in the conference are bowl eligible with Utah and California locking up spots this past weekend. They join Oregon, Stanford, Washington and Arizona St. as the only teams eligible for the postseason.

UCLA needs one more win while Washington St. needs two more wins to join the group. The Cougars upset of Arizona St. kept them alive and they must win out with a home game against Utah this week and then facing Washington in the season finale in the Apple Cup.

That game is not a true road game as it takes place at Qwest Field with Husky Stadium undergoing renovations.

"We've been talking about this, particularly the last few weeks," Cougars head coach Paul Wulff said, "to continue to improve our aggression, to continue to play at a high level for four quarters and to play with more attitude on a consistent basis."

He may need his team to win out in order to save his job.

Game of the Week

The game of the week has the second highest pointspread of the six conference games on Saturday but it has the makings of a good one.

USC is playing very solid despite the fact it is not eligible for any postseason games. The offense is clicking at a high caliber right now and it will need to continue that in order to keep up with Oregon.

You only need to look back to last season to prove that as USC took the lead on the Ducks early in the third quarter 32-29 but Oregon ran off 24 unanswered points to end the game as the Trojans offense stalled with two turnovers on downs, an interception and a punt in their final four possessions.

The one edge for USC is a possible letdown by Oregon following the win at Stanford.

The Ducks are listed as 14.5-point favorites.

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