Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss the Pac-12’s chaotic weekend that included losses for Oregon and UCLA, and debate if the Pac-12’s final chance at a College Football Playoff spot rests with USC.
DAN WETZEL: All right, Pac-12, Oregon, terrific game.
ROSS DELLENGER: You fit it. Hold on, Dan, you-- you fittingly let out a Pac-12 and then a real cough, though, that sounded fake. Pac-12, gagging it away. Gagging it away.
DAN WETZEL: Yeah, that was a real cough. Yeah, Pac-12.
ROSS DELLENGER: Well timed.
DAN WETZEL: Pac-12 might have stayed out too late last night also.
PAT FORDE: It did. I stayed up with them til like 2:00.
DAN WETZEL: Yeah, Pac-12-- it was exciting. Arizona finishes UCLA. Terrific game. Washington-Oregon, one of the great underrated rivalry. Kalen DeBoer has resurrected that program quickly. Terrific victory over the Ducks. Pat, what happened out West now? We're just down to-- USC's got to run this gauntlet, but those are two really good wins, and Arizona is rising. So, like, it's just a fascinating league right now.
PAT FORDE: It is. I mean, it's been an interesting season. It's continuing to be interesting. It will be for the next three weeks as well. And, yeah, if you're like a Pac-12 fan, or if George Kliavkoff and you're sitting there saying, OK, USC, which is jilting us, leaving us high and dry, is our hope. Go USC. Kind of, kind of not, you know? I mean, you want to make the playoff. You want the revenue. You want the bragging rights, but that's a tough one to root for to carry your banner, but that's what you got.
Oregon-Washington was a hell of a game. Great game, from the uniform combos, the all solid color, color rush, the day-glo yellow for Oregon, and the purple for Washington to the up and down nature of it, some great quarterback play, some very good skill position play, some good defense occasionally, not a lot. But the way Oregon lost the game was just brutal.
We have seen them have chances at National Championship contention. In 2007, they were going to the playoff, and then Dennis Dixon, their quarterback, blows his knee, and there it goes. Poof, end of the, like, this time of year. In 2010, they're in the Championship Game, and it looks like it's going to go to overtime, right? And Michael Dyer somehow stays off the ground and runs like 50 yards, and Auburn kicks the winning field goal. Poof, gone.
And then this one, I mean, you are up 4 points. Washington drives and Michael Penix was phenomenal, makes one bad play, tries to throw it into the end zone, gets intercepted at the 1. Oregon turns around and just mashes you downfield. 5 yards, 7 yards, 6 yards, 10, whatever, 20 plays, gets down to the 10-yard line, and then on third and 5 you run Bo Nix. He's stopped. He gets hurt, and everything goes to hell from that point on.
There's like five plays in a row, succession, where it's just all falls apart. You kick a field goal. Washington gets a chance. You kick off out of bounds. Washington gets field position. Michael Penix makes a ridiculous cross-field throw. Your safety misplays it. They get a touchdown. It's tied. And then Dan Lanning makes the worst call of the weekend, maybe one of the worst calls of the season. You got fourth and 1 in your own territory. It's tied. There's 90 seconds left. Bo Nix is not in the game.
Bo Nix is one of the best short yardage running quarterbacks in recent years. He's healthy enough to go back in. You don't put him back in. You don't call timeout. You don't punt. You keep your backup quarterback in. He hands off to a guy who slips and falls down. Washington kicks the winning field goal. I mean, it was just brutal. Dan Lanning's had a great first season as a head coach, and he had a terrible, terrible moment there. And it happened to be one that cost his team a chance at a playoff. So it was a great game. It was a brutal ending for Oregon.
DAN WETZEL: Bo was trying to get back in, right? Wasn't he begging to get in?
PAT FORDE: Yes, according to Brock Huard calling the game, Bo Nix is jumping up and down on the sidelines ready to go.
DAN WETZEL: Yeah, I think they had--
PAT FORDE: You call timeout and you put him back in. They didn't.
ROSS DELLENGER: How about Michael Penix? I mean, this guy, every-- I was looking at like his game by game. He's thrown for 300 yards pretty much every-- I mean, one game he fell 2 yards short of the 300-yard mark. But dude has put up, basically-- averaging like 350 every game and like 70, 65, 70% completion percentage. His touchdown-interception, 25 to 6.
Last night, he had 408 against Oregon, two touchdowns, one interception, completed 75% of his passes. I mean, guy's got a rate-- quarterback rating of 155 this year, just tearing it up, and here we are, right? We're in a familiar place for the Pac-12 where this year, we-- they've been really exciting to watch, like, the conference. The games have been exciting, and really great, actually.
They've got two or three of the best games that we've seen this year out there on the West Coast. And they sit here with one last hope because they've kind of beating each other-- beating each other up, eating each other up. So, yeah, it's just-- it's a struggle out there.