It ended before it even began
It’s September 9, just two weeks into the season and the Pac-12’s hopes to make the college football playoff for the first time since December of 2016 are on life support.
Washington’s 20-19 loss to the Cal Golden Bears in the early hours of Sunday morning sum up the strange and frustrating misadventures of the Pac-12’s playoff quest in the early stages of the season:
Stanford gets blasted by 25 against a USC squad with a true freshman making his first start.
So yeah, things aren’t going great for the Pac-12 and while some Oregon fans may cling to faint hopes for a playoff spot, gagging away a 15-point lead in the first week of the season won’t keep you in the playoff discussion. Sorry.
Now, who does the Pac-12 turn to? Well, the easy answer is Utah who sits at 2-0 but still has to face both Washington, USC, and Washington State. Easier said than done.
I know there still might be some hope for the conference if Utah, USC, or even Washington State does somehow make a miracle run to the playoff. However, the theme remains. While other conferences have their contenders thriving and making their stand, the Pac-12 trips over themselves and kiss the playoffs goodbye before they can even think about making it a goal.
A Tale of Two LA Stories
UCLA and USC are very different. From their colors to their fan bases and even where they play. They do have one thing in common, and that is the seemingly instability at the head coaching position.
On one hand, you’ve got Chip Kelly in his second season at UCLA and still trying to find his footing and establish something within the program. The downside to this is the lack of support that seems to drop week after week in Westwood. Only 36,000 attended the season opener vs. San Diego State, keep in mind that the Rose Bowl seats 92,000.
Now, I would say give Chip Kelly another season at UCLA but if the losses continue to accumulate, there may not be much to salvage.
As for USC, Clay Helton’s rocky path to surviving another season got a bit smoother with the surprise 45-20 victory over Stanford this past weekend. Freshman Kedon Slovis threw three touchdowns and nearly 400 yards in his first-ever start. However, the Trojans are 2-0 but still have a difficult journey. In the next three weeks, they face BYU, Utah, and Washington.
Everything is good for the men of Troy, at least till the next loss.
When first-year head coach Mel Tucker got to Colorado, he said that his teams would fight and they would be relentless in that fight. If you need any further proof of that, just watch the Colorado Buffaloes 34-31 comeback victory in overtime over the Nebraska Cornhuskers this weekend.
Down 17-0 at halftime, Tucker showed he wasn’t afraid to flip the game upside down and called for a “flea flicker” deep in his own end. That score made it a three point game and eventually took the game into overtime. Although Colorado won the ballgame, they held a lead in the contest for no time during regulation but still walked out the winners. Gotta love college football.
Have we been here before with a program like CU? Sure but after two games, with wins over their two biggest rivals. It is apparent that Tucker’s relentless fight in getting CU back on top is working very well.
Looking ahead to week three, you’ve got a bit of a road show to look at over both Friday and Saturday. Washington State, Stanford, USC, and Arizona State all face stiff road tests. Could be we be seeing the Pac-12’s playoff hopes officially going under? Only time will tell.