USA Today Sports

Our observations with news and notes from around the Pac 12 this past week

Here are some observations, news and notes from around the Pac 12 conference after week four of the college football season...

With several conference teams having the week off, including Washington, it was a good weekend the catch up on watching games live. It was a interesting weekend in the Pac 12 with an upset as well as a narrow win for Cal in Strawberry Canyon…


-- The Arizona State/UCLA game was one of the most physical contests I have seen in the Pac 12 in a long time. Both teams just went right at each other and eventually the Sun Devils made enough plays to pull away and upset #7 UCLA 38-23 at the Rose Bowl.


-- We’ve said it plenty of times, both privately and here in this column, UCLA’s Josh Rosen is going to be a star, but he’s got some growing pains to go through and Saturday was one of them. He looked confused and out-of-sync most of the night, save a couple of occasions, and he was battered and bruised by the ASU front seven.


-- Salamo Fiso, the ASU middle linebacker, was unstoppable most of the night. He pursued plays from the backside, he read draws and screen passes, he hit Rosen several times. Right now, Fiso would be my choice for All-Pac 12 middle linebacker. I remember when Husky linebackers played with his intensity and football instincts. I think we’re getting back there, but even NFL’s Donald Butler and Mason Foster didn’t play with the aggression and physicality that Fiso showed on Saturday vs. UCLA.


-- ASU’s D.J. Foster is one of those special players that you just need to get the ball into his hands at least 10 to 15 times a game. He was targeted eight times in the passing game, pulling in four receptions for 57 yards and a score, but he only touched the ball once as a ball-carrier which had me scratching my head. Sure, Demario Richard is a very good tailback and maybe because of the physical nature of the game they were in with the Bruins, they figured they’d just ride him and Kalen Ballage, but Foster needs to see the ball more.


-- Can I take back my overall assement from Jared Goff last week? In that critique, I said I thought Goff would still be an NFL draft choice and likely have a solid career there, but I also wondered how it was that he was considered possibly as the number one overall draft choice next May. Well, I take it back. When I watched him play vs. Washington State, I saw a quarterback who didn’t get flustered, who stood strong on the pocket and has a lightning quick release and he’s accurate as well.  The other thing I saw was a player who has a short memory and bounced back quickly from early mistakes to lead the Golden Bears to the win.


-- I know what the answer is, but, if you are Mike Leach, why would you fake a punt when your defense is playing well?


-- 3rd-and-26 from the Cal two yard-line and they run a draw. Good call, get yourself some yards to punt. However, their tailback breaks off a 28 yard run to give Cal four more downs.  Wow.


-- Because it’s Washington State, I’m not surprised it wasn’t overturned, but I don’t think Darius Powe recovered that onside kick in bounds. The angles weren’t good though, so overturning the call was unlikely to happen, but what a brutal possible missed call to have to deal with.


-- If Anu Solomon is out, Arizona becomes very predictable with Jerrard Randall in at quarterback. While the LSU transfer is a threat to run, he’s the exact opposite when he drops back to pass.


-- What can you say that hasn’t been said about Stanford and what they have been able to do so far this season. Kevin Hogan continues to show the ability to just manage games and make plays when the Cardinal needs it the most.


-- Is Christian McCaffrey the best running back in the Pac 12? For my money, it’s still Oregon’s Royce Freeman, but McCaffrey has been making his case the past couple of games.


-- How many Prozac were consumed by Duck fans this weekend was Oregon went into halftime against Colorado tied at 17 apiece?


-- Another question…Will Don Pellum still be the defensive coordinator at Oregon in 2016?


-- One last question…when he finally gets healthy, will Vernon Adams be the difference for the Ducks? Top Stories