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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 six of the college football season...

-- The Utah/Cal game was compelling on several levels and, while it wasn't a pretty contest, it lived up the hype. Seven interceptions -- five by Jared Goff and two by Travis Wilson -- were a bit surprising, but a big reason was the duress both signal-callers were under during the game.

-- While his five turnovers were a big reason why Cal lost the game, I was still impressed with Goff's toughness. He just kept coming back and he almost willed his team to the win.

-- When you have a weapon like Goff, it's hard not to put the game in his hands, but Sonny Dykes has some very good tailbacks to turn to and he bailed on the run too early in the game.

-- Remember Devante Downs from Mountlake Terrace (Wa.) High School? He had a pick vs. Utah for Cal and posted two tackles as well. Downs has fully recovered from the knee injury he suffered in high school and he's already having a impact as a true sophomore for the Golden Bears although he has yet to start a game in his two years on campus.

-- Utah sophomore CB Marcus Williams is having a big season for the Utes. He's a big corner with great ball skills. He currently leads the Utes with four interceptions and he's tied for the team-lead with four pass breakups as well.

-- Utah had a nice contingent of recruits on hand for their big win over Cal, hosting three recruits from the state of Washington on official -- Central Valley (Spokane) OL Scott Peck, Bellevue TE/DE Isaac Garcia and Davis (Yakima) LB/S Eric Briscoe Jr. -- as well as UW target Lamar Jackson. They also had over 50 unofficial visitors as well. Big weekend for the Utes.

-- You have to be impressed by the effort that Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham has elicited from his players and staff. This summer it looked like his days were numbered, but he's got things rolling there and a big reason why is a defense that flies around and is opportunistic.

-- How can you tell how bad Oregon's defense is? They allowed 195 yards rushing to Washington State. Up until last week, the Cougars had averaged a little over 50 yards per game on the ground.

-- Yeah, Washington State's offense is geared toward big numbers for the quarterback, but Luke Falk's 505 yards with five touchdowns and no picks were remarkable, especially when you consider how much he was getting harassed by the Oregon defense which posted seven sacks and 12 quarterback hurries.

-- The clamoring for Mark Helfrich's head on a platter has grown louder over the past couple of weeks and it picked up more steam shortly after the loss to WSU. However, most in the know say Helfrich's job isn't in jeopardy this year. Whose might be? Look no further than defensive coordinator Don Pellum whose charges look scared, confused and slow.

-- Oregon sophomore RB Royce Freeman just keeps proving how good he is. Week in and week out, especially once QB Vernon Adams went down with a hand injury, Freeman is the player defenses game-plan against and week in and week out, all he does is go out and punish opposing defenses. Last week, Freeman racked up 246 yards and two scores on the ground.

-- I don't think I have ever seen so many UW fans happy for a WSU win.

-- I haven't done the research, but when was the last time Oregon lost two games in a row at home?

-- Arizona is such a different team with QB Anu Solomon. When Jerrard Randall was in, teams stacked the box and dared him to pass. With Solomon defenses can't do that anymore. If they can keep him healthy, Arizona will be a tough team to beat down the stretch.

-- Oregon State QB Seth Collins showed some outstanding toughness coming back to play against Arizona after going down with a leg injury, but he still wasn't very good. Even more concerning for the Beavers is that Marcus McMaryion really isn't very good either.

-- Colorado continues to put up good offensive numbers, but their defense is just not very good. They lack size and speed. With the way the conference is moving, the teams at the top of the conference have solid defenses that can hold the explosive offenses they face on a weekly basis at least in check. The Buffs don't have that luxury.

-- ASU QB Mike Bercovici just continues to put up good numbers. When he faces tough defenses, his numbers go down a bit, but all he does is continue to move the Sun Devil offense and make plays when given the opportunity.

-- It's a sad situation for now former USC head coach Steve Sarkisian. His life has seemed to spiral out of control since he left Montlake back in December of 2013. He's in the process of a divorce, he's been to rehab for alcohol and now he's been let go by the Trojans. It sounds like there might be more stuff that surfaces in the coming days/weeks and the Trojans just couldn't take the PR hit any more than they already have.

-- Some have rejoiced over Sarkisian's fall. There are fans at UW who are happy to see him fall, but to me, this is a person's life. I don't necessarily feel bad for Sarkisian as he's an adult who has made the decisions that have led to this point, but having met his three children several times, you have to feel horrible for them. They get to watch their father's dirty laundry paraded through the public square for all to see. They didn't make that choice and it's hard to imagine what they are going through right now.

-- Sarkisian is a good coach. He's probably a better coordinator than a head coach, but he helped get Washington back on the national scene and after four years of Tyrone Willingham, that was no small feat. Hopefully he takes care of whatever pesonal demons he has and he gets back to coaching because I think he's a pretty good play-caller.

-- Does Sark's downfall mean that the USC commit list will whither on the vine? Well, when you consider who USC recruits, the ones you have to keep an eye on are the out-of-state kids. The local prospects will wait to see what happens, but as long as the Trojans make a good hire, a majority will likely stick with their decisions.


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