What did we learn from Week 9 of Pac-12 action?
Stanford can win a brawl: After blowing out 10 consecutive opponents, it was reasonable to wonder how Stanford might handle itself when challenged in a game that was tight in the fourth quarter. Well, the Cardinal emphatically answered that question with a 56-48, triple-overtime win over USC. Quarterback Andrew Luck had to rally the Cardinal in regulation just to force OT after he tossed a fourth-quarter pick-six, but there was plenty of poise to answer the call.
Chris Polk is a beast: We already knew this but it bears repeating. Polk hoisted Washington on his shoulders by scoring five touchdowns in the 42-31 win over Arizona. He also became the first player in Washington history with 100 yards rushing and receiving in a single game. Polk had 34 carries for 144 yards and four touchdowns, and he caught four passes for 100 yards with another score. Up next for Polk is a chance to get some national notice against Oregon.
UCLA and Utah aren't dead yet: Last week, UCLA and Utah suffered humiliating defeats: UCLA to Arizona, Utah to California. Some were writing epitaphs to their seasons. But the Bruins blistered baffling California on Saturday and the Utes dominated Oregon State for their first-ever Pac-12 victory. Both ran the ball and dominated the line of scrimmage. And both have hope if you look at the record and schedule. Both are 4-4 and two wins away from bowl eligibility. The Bruins actually could take control of the South Division with a win against Arizona State on Saturday. Utah is at Arizona with a chance to record its first conference road victory.
Oregon is not, at present, a well-oiled machine: Is Darron Thomas healthy? And, if yes, is he still ahead of Bryan Bennett in Chip Kelly's eyes? And what's with getting outgained at home by Washington State? The Ducks have two big tests coming up: at Washington on Saturday and at Stanford on Nov. 12. They won't have the friendly confines of Autzen Stadium to help work through their issues.
Redemption doesn't always last: Last week, Arizona, Cal and Oregon State each seemed to make a positive statement, one that suggested each was emerging from struggles. While Arizona has an excuse -- playing at Washington with four players suspended; fired head coach -- Cal and Oregon State just looked awful. These three fan bases are used to bowl games. Will any of the three be eligible for one at season's end.