Around The Pac 12 - Week 10

Here are some observations, news and notes from around the Pac 12 conference after week 10 of the college football season...

-- Luke Falk continues to be the difference for the Cougars and has them bowl-eligible. In WSU's 38-24 win over Arizona State, Falk completed 36 of his 55 passes for 497 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. He was sacked just three times by one of the better pass-rushes in the league and that was without his starting left tackle, Joe Dahl, who missed the game with an injury.

-- I get that people are piling on the referees, heck I have been pretty outspoken about what a joke it has been this season, but I'm not sure why there is such an outrage, enough to get a ref suspended, over the phantom whistle. WSU missed a 4th and 5 attempt from the ASU 11 and there was an inadvertent whistle that resulted in WSU getting a second-chance at points. Falk then connected Dom Williams on an 11-yard touchdown strike. Okay, I get it, WSU scored points when they shouldn't have been given another shot, however, was it the difference in the game? ASU still led 14-10, there were still over 35 minutes left in the game and ultimately, ASU lost by 14 points. 

-- While Falk and the Cougar offense have been putting up yardage and points, the biggest reason they are bowl-eligible today is because of their defense. Along the defensive line, the Cougars and big and tough to run on and their secondary, while not great, have been playing much better. I was a huge fan of S Shalom Luani coming out of City College of San Francisco and figured he'd be a big addition for the Cougars and he's definitely lived up the hype. 

-- Mike Bercovici just looked baffled against the Cougars. It wasn't like the ASU offense didn't have plenty of opportunities to draw closer at the end, but they couldn't do much of anything after the first two possessions of the game. 

-- Is Todd Graham losing the Sun Devils? Probably not. But they sure don't look like a team that could make a run this season. 

-- Going into his team's game with what has been a shaky Oregon secondary, you had to believe that Jared Goff was set to have a big game. While his final numbers weren't bad -- 329 yards passing with two touchdowns and an interception -- he only hit on 18 of his 41 throws. 

-- Oregon DE DeForest Buckner is a beast. He's so athletic and long. I'll be shocked if he lasts past the 10th pick in the NFL Draft next spring.

-- Royce Freeman is so good. Man he is fun to watch. He's a big back, but he's so smooth. He looks effortless getting up to full-speed. As much as I like Leonard Fournette, in my honest opinion, Freeman is probably the better big back.

-- When he's playing smartly, Utah QB Travis Wilson is one of the tougher matchups in the country. With his size and underrated athleticism, he's really tough to stop inside the five on running plays.

-- Boy is Arizona missing running back Nick Wilson. They haven't been able to find a consistent running threat since he went down with an injury and it has showed the past two weeks in losses to UW and USC.

-- Man is Ronald Jones going to be special. He's already really good, but he's so strong and he runs very hard for a young player. He rarely goes down in the open field and he will be a big reason that USC will be tough, if they find a coach that actually uses him correctly, over the next two or three years.

-- It's pretty obvious that Rich Rodriguez's days with Arizona are numbered. There is a groundswell in the fanbase to get him out of Tucson and with head coaching jobs coming open all over the country, at least one of his feet sure seems to be out the door already.

-- What a lost season for Oregon State. We all knew that losing Sean Mannion was going to hurt them, but they just have no shot with the quarterbacks they are using right now. We liked Nick Mitchell when he was a senior at Mount Si high school, but he really wasn't ready to play college football so early in his career. Not helping matters is the fact that Mitchell has very little help at the "skill positions".

-- UCLA TE Thomas Duarte is a matchup nightmare for defensive backs. He's big enough that a corner can't cover him one-on-one, but he's athletic enough that he's a tough matchup for a linebacker or safety. His six receptions for 116 yards and two scores was arguably his best performance of the season. He did have 10 receptions for 141 yards and a score vs. Cal earlier in the season, but overall, he sure seems to be an underused weapon by the Bruins.

-- Games I am looking forward to watching this weekend - WSU at UCLA. (UCLA is a 9.5 pt favorite), Oregon at Stanford (Stanford is a 10 point favorite) and USC at Colorado (USC is a 16 point favorite). If WSU doesn't let up now that they are bowl-eligible, take the points. They will keep it close. As long as Vernon Adams can stay healthy, take Oregon and the points vs. Stanford. I doubt Colorado beats USC, but Colorado has been able to score this season and since they are playing at home, I will take the Buffs and the points.

-- I still think the best back in the conference is Freeman, but Devontae Booker is so good at making guys miss in open space and he's such a workhorse. Now throw in Jones (USC), Christian McCaffrey (Stanford), Wilson (Arizona), Myles Gaskin (UW), Sotonye Jamabo (UCLA) and the combination of Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard at ASU and this conference that is known for their passing games, sure looks like it will be a run-heavy conference in the coming years. Top Stories