Pac-12 Football Roundup: Week 4 Scores, Rankings, Reactions

    Week 4 Pac-12 football scores, rankings and reactions for each game, including Stanford's shocker over USC and Utah's demolition of Oregon.

    September 28, 2015

    Week 4 Pac-12 Football Roundup

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    Scroll down for thoughts on each Pac-12 team, recaps and picks.

    Pac-12 Player of the Week

    Playing with a bad shoulder, Utah QB Travis Wilson fueled a shocking upset of Oregon by accounting for 327 yards, 100 on the ground, and five touchdowns in the shocker over Oregon.

    Pac-12 Title No Longer Goes Through Eugene

    The Pac-12 staged five league games in Week 4. The visitor won all five, most in a shellacking that was not anticipated. This past weekend was emblematic of a league shedding its skin. But no game reverberated with more violent ferocity than Utah’s 62-20 unthinkable demolition of Oregon in Eugene.

    Not long ago, Autzen Stadium was a house of horrors for visitors. An impossible place to survive. The Utes, in one of their most memorable wins in school history, turned the building into a peaceful enclave, where the opposition can open up the playbook, flourish on both sides of the ball and walk out with a signature win as a door prize.

    Utah, which was struggling to belong in the Pac-12 just two years ago, is now a contender. And a serious one if QB Travis Wilson can continue to take pressure off RB Devontae Booker. Role reversals, in fact, are becoming themes in the Pac-12.

    UCLA was reeling after losing another defensive star, LB Myles Jack, for the season. Dirt was being poured on Stanford after its opening day loss to Northwestern. USC was overrated once it fell to the Cardinal in the Coliseum. Cal was a perennial doormat. All won in Week 4 … away from home.

    Meanwhile, Oregon isn’t going to be fine after all following the close call with Michigan State two weeks ago. The offense is a shell of its former self, and the defense got shelled by the Utes Saturday. Mark Helfrich’s third team in Eugene is a mediocre one by the usual standard, no longer scary in any form or fashion. And no longer the gatekeeper to a Pac-12 championship.

    Up is down. Left is right. And winning on the road is no longer a hill too steep to climb for Pac-12 schools. Buckle up, folks, because the race to Santa Clara is sure to include more bumpy moments and hairpin turns. UCLA-USC and Cal-Stanford will loom larger than ever in late November. But for now, Salt Lake City is the center of the Pac-12 universe.

    Arizona: L, UCLA 56-30

    With or without QB Anu Solomon, who suffered a head injury, the Wildcats weren’t beating UCLA last weekend. Still, the game would have been closer than 56-23, because backup Jerrard Randall is a glorified running back, with little chance of hurting defenses with his arm. Long term, Arizona needs Solomon back as fast as possible, because without him the offense loses all of its balance and unpredictability.

    Arizona State: L, USC 42-14

    Todd Graham misread his team in the offseason. The coach liked what he saw in his kids, but that hasn’t translated to the season. The Sun Devils have now been whipped by two good teams, Texas A&M and USC. And lackluster efforts versus Cal Poly and New Mexico were actually signs of impending trouble. LB Salamo Fiso played his heart out Saturday night. Otherwise, little went right for an ASU team that’s seen its bar lowered substantially in just a month.

    Cal: W, at Washington 30-24

    The Bears are an offensive-driven program. Period. But when this team starts chipping in on defense, it’s a really, really good sign for Cal in 2015. The Bears slowed down Washington’s progress by controlling the clock, creating five turnovers and allowing just two first down conversions. If this program can make stands even occasionally, the sky is the limit over the next two months.

    Colorado: W, Nicholls State 48-0

    The Buffs demoralized Nicholls State, but what does it all mean? Not much now that Pac-12 play is set to begin. Colorado will only build on the confidence that comes with a 48-0 whitewash if it continues to run the ball effectively with Phillip Lindsay, Christian Powell and Donovan Lee, who had his best day with the program. The Buffs need the ground troops to take heat off the D and QB Sefo Liufau, whose accuracy has been spotty.

    Oregon: L, Utah 62-20

    Eastern Washington and Georgia State had some success against the Duck D, but those were blowouts, so who really knew what it meant? However, Utah did things at Autzen Stadium that’ll have the Oregon staff scratching its for a long time. Erratic Ute QB Travis Wilson enjoyed a career night, and the Ducks were both outmuscled and outwitted. This is a bad defense right now, without the scoring potential to survive shootouts like in the past.

    Oregon State: L, Stanford 42-24

    While QB Seth Collins and the offense showed a little more life versus Stanford, the defense took a significant step in reverse. And that’s going to be the personality of a team that’s still building and seeking consistency. The Cardinal routinely blew the Beavers off the ball, providing a blueprint for future opponents on how to control the clock and keep the ball out of Collins’ hands.

    Stanford: W, at Oregon State 42-24

    Now, that’s more like it. The Cardinal, whose identity aligns so closely with a strong running game, finally unleashed its best backs. After averaging less than four yards a carry in its first four games, Christian McCaffrey and Barry Sanders fueled a 325-yard, four-touchdown outburst versus Oregon State. And if Friday night’s effort was a harbinger of things to come, QB Kevin Hogan will be the biggest beneficiary.

    UCLA: W, at Arizona 56-30

    The Bruins played brilliantly in Tucson, shredding Arizona in a game that was supposed to be up for grabs. Still, Jim Mora won’t like what sees on tape from his run defense. UCLA gave up 351 yards on the ground, allowing RB Nick Wilson and reserve QB Jerrard Randall to both cross the century mark. The front seven softness didn’t hurt the Bruins in Week 4, but Mora knows the importance of shoring up the D to remain unbeaten.

    USC: W, at Arizona State 42-14

    Justin Wilcox’s defense really needed this effort in Tempe. After getting picked apart by Stanford a week earlier, the Trojan D was on its heels. Pitching a shutout for almost three quarters against the Sun Devils, though, ought to dramatically help the unit’s mindset. USC intercepted three passes, had three sacks and is getting increased contributions from blue-chip rookies, like LB Cameron Smith, CB Iman Marshall, LB Osa Masina and S Marvell Tell. As these kids evolve, the D should become better and better over time.

    Utah: W, at Oregon 62-20

    The Utes embarrassed Oregon in Eugene … and RB Devontae Booker was not the central figure on offense. That is a huge development for a team that has too often relied on its workhorse on the ground. Booker tossed a touchdown pass, but he operated in the shadow of his quarterback, Travis Wilson, for a change. If Wilson, who was not 100%, is remotely as sharp as he was against the Ducks, Booker will start erupting again as defenses are forced to respect the passing game.

    Washington: L, Cal 30-24

    Jake Browning has a great future in Seattle, but he’s still just a year removed from high school. And, like fellow true freshman Josh Rosen of UCLA last weekend, he had a rookie moment in Saturday’s loss to Cal. Browning didn’t complete a pass until deep into the second quarter, threw two picks and failed to produce a touchdown. It’s the price that sometimes comes with using such a young and inexperienced player behind center.

    Pac-12 Football Rankings After Week 4

    Pac-12 North

    1. Stanford (3-1)
    2. California (4-0)
    3. Oregon (2-2)
    4. Washington (2-2)
    5. Oregon State (2-2)
    6. Washington State (2-1)

    Pac-12 South

    1. Utah (4-0)
    2. UCLA (4-0)
    3. USC (3-1)
    4. Arizona (3-1)
    5. Arizona State (2-2)
    6. Colorado (3-1)

    Scores & Picks: How’d We Do?

    2015 Pac-12 Football Picks Through Week 4: Straight Up: 33-7, ATS: 17-15

    Stanford 42, at Oregon State 24

    Line: Stanford -15.5, o/u: 57, Prediction: Stanford 31, Oregon State 23
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    at Colorado 48, Nicholls State 0

    Line: No Line, o/u: No Line, Prediction: Colorado 58, Nicholls State 7
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    California 30, at Washington 24

    Line: Cal -4.5, o/u: 61 , Prediction: Cal 38, Washington 30
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    UCLA 56, at Arizona 23

    Line: UCLA -4, o/u: 64 , Prediction: Arizona 30, UCLA 28
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    Utah 62, at Oregon 20

    Line: Oregon -14, o/u: 65, Prediction: Oregon 37, Utah 27
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    USC 42, at Arizona State 14

    Line: USC -5.5, o/u: 63, Prediction: USC 37, Arizona State 30
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    MORE: Week 4 College Football Rankings, No. 1-128

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