Wild-card playoff update entering October: the conference’s only unbeaten team is Colorado, ranked No. 22 in the latest USA Today coaches poll and No. 21 in the AP.
You could say the Pac 12’s only undefeated school is getting the “Group of Five” treatment except Central Florida, out of the American, is ranked No. 12 in the AP.
Once again, the Pac 12 just can’t get its playoff eggs in order. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Colorado at 4-0 appears to be very formidable and could even boast about a huge win at Nebraska if…
…this was 1997 and Scott Frost was the quarterback, not the coach.
Nebraska in 2018 is one of the worst teams working the major college circuit, one of four schools without a victory. That club includes UTEP, San Jose and UCLA.
Colorado, to my mind, is the real deal and starting to look like the program I thought it could be when it joined the Pac in 2011. I looked pretty dumb early when I predicted CU, even though it was struggling, was a better long-term fit for the league than Utah. Then the Buffs unveiled seasons of 3-10, 1-11, 4-8, 2-10 and 4-9.
But this team, circa 2018, looks like some of the rough-and-tumble Ralphie teams we knew in the early 1990s and even under Rick Neuheisel and Gary Barnett.
Too bad Colorado won’t get a sniff of playoff consideration unless the SEC files for bankruptcy.
This is just the way it always goes. Colorado played what seemed to be a formidable non-conference schedule with away-from-home games against Colorado State and Nebraska.
Colorado State, in fact, beat Arkansas, which would be big news if this was 1964. And, oh, and Arky is CSU’s only win so far this season.
Colorado of Boulder, despite its impressive start, doesn’t appear to have enough coal to shovel into the steam train. Thanks in great part to Nebraska (0-4) and CSU (1-4) and a most recent win over UCLA (0-4), the Buffs own the No. 121 schedule rank in this week’s Sagarin ratings.
That ought to knock the socks of the selection committee, huh?
Colorado also resides in the lowly Pac South Division, ranked No. 7 by Sagarin.
The power in the Pac is in the North, which has not one, not two, but THREE one-loss teams ranked ahead of CU in the AP poll—Washington (10), Stanford (14) and Oregon (18).
Wait, it gets worse, because Colorado misses Oregon and Stanford this year, leaving AT Washington on Oct. 20 as its biggest statement chance.
Everything the SEC gets right about playoff timing and maneuvering; the Pac 12 continues to get wrong—almost every year.
Stanford likely missed its chance by letting a potentially close loss at Notre Dame last weekend turn into a 38-17 playoff (likely) eliminator.
Coach David Shaw, down double digits, also allowed Bryce Love to receive a hand off on a third-and-21 situation that almost certainly called for a pass. Of course, on the play, Love re-injured the ankle he has been protecting for what seems like years.
Oregon is back and very exciting, running an offense Chip Kelly would kill for and led by a Justin Herbert, a potential very high NFL pick.
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Naturally, the Ducks decided this was the year to play Huey (Bowling Green), Dewey (Portland State) and Louie (San Jose State) in non-conference and also the year to blow what seemed to be a 31-7 home lead against Stanford.
For this Oregon has zero shot at the playoff.
Which leaves the Washington Huskies, swimming upstream like salmon as they peer up at a back-water push that includes Notre Dame and six or seven SEC schools.
Last year Washington got ripped for playing a “cupcake” schedule that included Rutgers. ESPN even made fun of the Huskies on national television.
This year, UW went to Atlanta to play Auburn and also just wiped out, at home, by the score of 35-7, the Brigham Young team that upset Wisconsin in Madison.
And none of that matters as Washington sits in, basically, the same non-playoff conversation position. The Huskies need to win out and then, what, hope for a rematch against Colorado in the Pac 12 title game?
Here's a good note for the ESPN crew: Washington, at No. 12, has the toughest SOS of any team in the Sagarin top 20. The closest SEC team to UW is LSU with an SOS No. 22.
These are the playoff hands the Pac is playing...and they’re all bad.
And we saw all of this coming, from day one, maybe not exactly like this. But close enough.
UCLA being awful is one thing, but the Pac 12 desperately depends on USC to carry its national banner. Well, so much for that. The Trojans' late night performance at Arizona did little to dispel the notion that nice-guy Coach Clay Helton is basically a pencil pusher with Sam Darnold now playing quarterback for the New York Jets.
Saturday night's come-from-ahead, 24-20 win in Tucson was only watchable (on tape, after the good games) because you thought USC might actually blow a 24-0 lead against an Arizona team led by one-legged QB Khalil Tate.
The lack of discipline and lack of buzz surrounding this USC team is stunning. The Trojans continue to get blown out in signature games (Alabama, Notre Dame, Penn State, Texas) and fail to put away the schools they should handle.
This summary says it all:
More penalties than completed passe? Really?
USC struggled in its opener against UNLV and needed a blocked kick to salvage a Friday night home win over Washington State.
Saturday night, USC led 24-0 in the third quarter yet, to secure the game, also needed to securely handle an Arizona onsides kick.
No wonder USC fans are going nuts after a 2-2 start.
"I love all wins," Helton said in his post-game presser. "But our team is a realistic team. We need to finish the game and that didn't happen."
USC gets an off week before hosting Colorado on Oct. 13. I've never been more exited about a bye week and more willing to wait for an upcoming USC game.
I'm half-hoping it's on Pac 12 Net so I can't watch it.[/membership]