Pac-12 Tracker: North Division is Dominating

Steve Francis

Some early North-South separation and blowouts marked Week 5 of the Pac-12 football season.  So far, the North clearly looks to be the stronger of the two divisions, and could make a legitimate case for being the “toughest” division in all of college football.

Outside of UCLA, the south has mostly underwhelmed, with Arizona State being a possible exception.  We will get to see both teams in action this week in critical road games.  UCLA will travel to Utah for a Thursday night game, as a mere 5.5-point road favorite, and Arizona State gets Notre Dame in South Bend, also with a 5.5-point spread.

This game will be the first of three for the Pac-12 vs. Notre Dame (Stanford, USC) and is a golden opportunity for the Sun Devils to showcase themselves to the rest of country.  If a Pac-12 team with a conference loss hangs, say, 40+ points on the Irish in a win, it will only continue the upward trend in national consensus about the strength and depth of the Pac-12.

There is no question that the marquee game this week features No. 15 Washington at No. 5 Stanford.  This matchup should go a long way toward solidifying the pecking order in the North, and identifying the main competition for the Ducks, who get the Huskies in Seattle next Saturday.

Washington running back Bishop Sankey, who leads the country in terms of rushing yards per game with 151.3, carried the ball a bruising school-record 40 times last week vs. Arizona.  Most Pac-12 players are tough, but we’ll find out if any lingering effects of that potentially draining strategy exist, as they head down to The Farm to face a rugged and physical Cardinal defense.

This week’s vote for most entertaining game, though, has to be the proverbial toss-up – Washington State at Cal.  After both teams saw their productive passing attacks grounded in losses last week, this game has the makings of a fast-paced shootout, with bowl implications already on the line.  With the lack of defense exhibited this year by both teams, don’t be shocked with a 56-52 type of score in a game featuring the likely 5th- and 6th-place finishers in the North.

To the Stats!  (Note: The new format uses national rankings in the various statistics.)

Derrick Malone gets a hit on Cal QB Zack Kline

Steve Francis

Derrick Malone gets a hit on Cal QB Zack Kline.

Scoring Offense

2. Oregon 59.8

3. UCLA 52.7

11. Arizona State 44.3

19. Utah 42.0

20. Oregon State 41.6

21. Stanford 41.3


Total Offense

2. UCLA 614.3

3. Oregon 599.3

5. Washington 574.0

15. Arizona State 505.0

16. Utah 504.8

19. Cal 498.3


The Oregon Ducks are rolling on both sides of the ball

Steve Francis

The Oregon Ducks are rolling on both sides of the ball.

Turnover Margin – Ave./Game

2. Oregon +2.3

T-13. Arizona +1.3

T-13. Arizona State +1.3

22. Oregon State +1.2

44. Washington +.5

56. Stanford +.3


Scoring Defense

T-4. Oregon 10.8

T-4. Washington 10.8

12. Arizona 14.3

29. UCLA 18.0

34. Stanford 19.5

38. Washington State 20.6


Ifo Ekpre-Olomu typifies the dominating Oregon defense

Kevin Cline

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu personifies the dominating Oregon defense.

Total Defense

13. Washington 288.8

19. USC 306.8

23. Oregon 320.5

25. Washington State 323.8

29. Arizona 335.0

35. Stanford 343.5



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