Monday, October 31, 2011
Halloween in the Pac-12
By Ted Miller
The Pac-12 has its share of ghosts, ghouls and goblins. So in the spirit of the Halloween weekend ...
Haunted House -- scariest place to play: Oregon has won 21 straight home games, two shy of tying the school’s all-time mark of 23 set from 1997-2001.
Scary movie -- Worst loss of the season: UCLA was terrible in every area in a 48-12 loss at Arizona on Oct. 20 on ESPN. It even seemed to lose the brawl just before halftime.
Rising from the dead: But then UCLA blew out California 31-14 this past weekend, showing it hadn't quit on its season. It was the Bruins' most complete performance of the year.
Nightmare at the Coliseum -- biggest debacle of the season: What exactly was the final score of the USC-Utah game? For a while, it was (officially) 17-14 Trojans. But then it turns out that it was 23-14, as Utah's blocked field goal attempt that was returned for a TD that actually did count, making the official -- for real this time -- final 23-14. It was sort of annoying for the media, and embarrassing for the Pac-12, but it was a not-so-amusing thing in Las Vegas, where sports books lost BIG.
Trick or treat -- game with high stakes for a team(s): In the preseason, Oregon's visit to Stanford looked like the Pac-12 game of the year. Still does, barring an upset this weekend.
Boo (boo) -- biggest loss because of injury: There have been a lot of bad injuries in the conference, but Utah losing QB Jordan Wynn doomed the Utes' chances to make a big statement in the South Division. Jon Hays has been game, but the transfer from Nebraska-Omaha has struggled to keep up with the pace of Pac-12 play.
Cursed team: Washington State started 3-1 and it seemed the Cougars had finally turned the proverbial corner. But after losing four in a row, it appears it will be another lost season in Pullman as coach Paul Wulff fights to retain his job.
Thriller: Stanford's 56-48 triple-overtime win over USC might have been the best game so far this season -- anywhere.
Jason Voorhees -- teams that won't die: Each time we try to stick a fork in California, UCLA and Utah, they come back to life. The Utes looked dead after an 0-4 start in conference play, but they blasted Oregon State over the weekend. California the week before seemed to be on track when it stomped the Utes, but it face planted against, yes, UCLA. All three are 4-4 and need just two wins to become bowl eligible. Who -- if any -- will get there? Heck if I know.