Posted on October 23, 2018 by: Tony Krikorian
In Week 8, all eyes were on the Pac-12 with College GameDay in Pullman. Washington State and Utah separated themselves from the rest of the pack in their respective divisions, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Here are my quick thoughts after Week 8.
1. Washington State’s win over Oregon was epic: The story of Ol’ Crimson’s College GameDay streak is well documented. And when Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and crew rolled into Pullman, Cougar Nation did not disappoint – both on and off the field. Thousands of flag-waving, sign-bearing, and Minshew-Mustache-wearing fans showed up at 6am in 30 degree weather to show what Cougar Nation is all about. And the pre-game festivities were equally as epic as the game itself.
Wazzu’s 34-20 beat down of the Ducks leaves them as the only one-loss team in the Pac-12. Offensively, Gardner Minshew passed for 323 yards and 4 touchdowns, but numbers like that have become commonplace for the Cougs. What was most impressive was how Mike Leach’s defense smothered Justin Herbert and the Ducks offense. WSU held the Ducks scoreless in the first half and contained what has been a strong run game to only 58 yards on the day. Washington State has showed that they deserve to sit atop the North division, but they will have to continue to prove themselves with Stanford and Washington still on their schedule.
2. Utah is the clear favorite in the South: I’m still not sure who is good and who is bad for the majority of the South teams, but Utah has definitely risen to the top. The Utes have scored more than 40 points in three consecutive games. Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss are hitting their stride at the perfect time and will be a headache for opposing defenses in the upcoming weeks. Even with the offense rolling, the Utes’ defense is still the focal point of the team. Utah currently only gives up 17.7 points per game, just under 75 rushing yards, and has produced 20 sacks and 51 tackles for loss on the year. Kyle Wittingham has Utah in the driver’s seat for the South and things don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.
3. USC is in a heap of trouble: The Trojans went up 14-0 against Utah and things were looking good. And then things went really bad, really fast. Utah absolutely dominated the final three and a half quarters – culminating in a 41-28 victory for the Utes. Utah exposed what the Trojans have struggled with all year: an ineffective passing game, no rushing game, terrible on 3rd down conversions, and a lack of creating turnovers. Things are not looking good for USC and Clay Helton’s seat is fiery hot. He’s got to turn things around and spice up the offense or he could be on his way out of LA.