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Pac-12 Weekly Recap

Another week in the Pac-12 has sadly come to an end and what an exciting and crazy week of college football it was. We saw an upset at Berkley, two near-upsets of ranked teams and the continued domination of the Oregon schools. If you weren’t around to catch last Saturday’s games, here’s what you missed a little of what to look forward to in the Pac-12 Conference next week.

Barkley strengthened his Heisman candidacy with his performance Thursday

USC and Utah got the week started early with a Thursday night game in Salt Lake City. Number 13 USC came into the matchup heavily favored, but struggled early and fell behind by 11 points. However, the Trojans rallied to gain a 24-21 halftime lead and ended up holding on to win 38-28. The close shave certainly won’t help them with pollsters, but surviving any road game in the conference is a good thing. Heisman hopeful, Matt Barkley also was strong in the win, completing 23-30 for 303 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.

USC has a big game in Seattle this Saturday against the Huskies and should be favored, but not by much. Washington has proven to be much improved after beating Stanford earlier this season, which was the only team to defeat the Trojans so far. Look for USC to win this one on the road, but it could be close, possibly within 10 points.

Eighteenth ranked Stanford also survived a scare against unranked Arizona on Saturday, winning in overtime 54-48. The Wildcats led by 14 points with under seven minutes to play, but the Cardinal regrouped and punched in two touchdowns, the final one coming with under a minute to go to send the game into OT. After an Arizona threw an interception, Stefan Taylor ran in from 21 yards for the game- winning score.

Stanford showed some resilience after losing to Washington, but will have a much tougher test this weekend; a non-conference rivalry matchup with #7 Notre Dame. The Irish are off to their best start in years and seem to be strong on both sides of the ball whereas the Cardinal have obviously struggled on both sides at times this year. Look for Notre Dame to improve to 6-0 this week with a fairly easy win against Stanford.

UCLA wasn’t as fortunate as USC or Stanford when it came to avoiding an upset. The turnover-plagued and previously 25th ranked Bruins lost 43-17 to Cal, falling to 4-2 on the season. The Bruins beat themselves as much as Cal did, coughing up the ball six times, including four interceptions. Jonathan Franklin enjoyed another solid game with more than 100 yards, but didn’t enjoy watching the Golden Bears tear apart his team’s defense. Cal racked up nearly 500 yards of total offense en route to its biggest win of the season.

UCLA and Cal will both be favorites this week against subpar Pac-12 foes. The Bruins will look to and should rebound against the Utah Utes at home, while the Golden Bears should be able to sustain their newly found momentum against the Washington State Cougars even in Pullman.

The sleeper team in the Pac-12 has to be Oregon State at 4-0

The only unbeaten teams in the Pac-12 stayed that way last Saturday as the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers notched victories. The Ducks cruised to another easy win, 52-21 against the Huskies to improve to 5-0 and the Beavers got the job done against the Cougars 19-6 to improve to 4-0. Offense was on display once again in Eugene as the number two team in the land matched its season average for points. Meanwhile, the Beavers continued their surprising start to 2012 with another defensive-minded victory.

The Ducks will get the week off while the Beavers will travel to Provo to take on BYU. We can expect another defensive battle here as the Cougars are only allowing 8.8 points per game and Oregon State is giving up just 17 per contest. I like OSU to win a close one this week, but it wouldn’t be too shocking if BYU pulled the upset since they are at home.

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