10 things to watch in the Pac-12: Will road dominance continue?

Whittingham leading Utes to new heights

Behind Kyle Whittingham's coaching, Utah has looked like one of the best teams in the country. Chris Low explains why Utah has been so successful.

Here are 10 things to keep an eye on in Week 5.

  1. Home field disadvantage: Keeping with a bizarre trend that played out last year, the home teams have been getting squashed so far in conference play. Coaches say it’s too early in the season to call it a trend this season -- but the 0-6 home record in conference games is certainly noteworthy and worth keeping an eye with three ranked teams at home this weekend (California, UCLA and Stanford).

  2. Keep calm and drop 60: Keeping with the above theme, not only have road teams been winning, they have been winning big. In the last two weeks, the margin of victory for the road team has been more than three touchdowns. With Utah’s 62-20 win at Oregon, the Utes became the fifth team since 2013 to drop 60 on the road. The other four were Cal at Washington last year (the rematch is this week), UCLA at Arizona State last year (also a rematch this week), Washington at Oregon State in 2013 and USC at Cal in 2013.

  3. Keep an eye on: Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey is averaging 222 all-purpose yards per game, which is tops in the Pac-12 and third-best nationally. Is that sustainable? Since 1978, only four other conference players have averaged more than 200 yards per game; Marcus Allen, Glyn Milburn, Reggie Bush and Marqise Lee. Pretty good group to be mentioned with. Worth noting that McCaffrey’s father, Ed, was a teammate of Milburn’s.

  4. California dreamin’: With Cal making an appearance in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2010, we have a scenario where all four California teams -- Cal, Stanford, USC and UCLA -- are ranked. That’s only happened five other times, with the last one coming in 1992. And for those old enough to remember, the week of Oct. 13, 1952 was pretty good with Cal at No. 3, USC at No. 7, UCLA at No. 10 and Stanford at No. 13.

  5. Scoring bonanza in Berkeley? Last year’s showdown between the Air Raid and Bear Raid produced one of the most memorable games in recent memory, with Cal winning 60-59. It was a quarterback exhibition with Connor Halliday setting the NCAA passing record with 734 yards and six touchdowns. Jared Goff wasn’t too bad either, throwing for 527 yards and five touchdowns. That’s not to say we’re going to have a repeat of last season. Both defenses seem to show signs of improvement from last year’s units (a lot more from Cal, see No. 7). But we’re not saying it couldn’t happen again.

  6. The complete Cal: The Golden Bears are off to their best start since 2009 and looking for their first 5-0 start since 2007. The reason for the surge can be explained on both sides of the football. Offensively, the Bears are getting yards in chunks with 31 plays of 20-plus yards. That’s third in FBS behind Ole Miss and Baylor. On the flip side, the much-maligned defense from last season -- which only snagged 17 turnovers -- already has 14 takeaways this season. The Bears have scored 58 points off of those turnovers, second-best in FBS behind Ole Miss' 59.

  7. Week 5 magic? The Arizona State-UCLA game has blossomed over the last couple of years into one of the better rivalries in the conference. The Sun Devils could use a little bit of their Week 5 magic in bouncing back from a blowout loss to USC last week. In 2013 and 2014, the Sun Devils were blown out in Week 4, only to come back and have dramatic wins in Week 5.

  8. Speaking of bouncing back: A couple of other teams looking to get back up are the Oregon Ducks and Arizona Wildcats. Both took one on the chin last week and need wins to stay relevant in the league race. The Ducks travel to Colorado, a team they have averaged 50.8 points against in the last five meetings. The Cardinal have beaten the Wildcats in three straight.

  9. However ... Stanford isn’t going to make it easy for the Wildcats. Under David Shaw, the Cardinal are 13-0 at home when they are ranked and playing a non-ranked team. In those games, the Cardinal average 41.5 points per game. Dating back to last year, Stanford has scored at least 30 points in six of its last seven and has won five of those six by double digits, which makes their Week 1 loss to Northwestern even more baffling.

  10. Taking a breather: Four Pac-12 teams are off this week; Oregon State, USC, Utah and Washington. The Huskies and Trojans meet up in LA next Thursday in Steve Sarkisian’s much-anticipated reunion with the Huskies. The Utes host Cal next Saturday in what should be a fantastic game and Oregon State makes the trek to Arizona.