Pac-12 Blog Week 7

Washington Quarterback Keith Price Leads the Pac-12 with 21 TD Throws

Heisman  Darkhorse

Washington Huskies' quarterback Keith Price may be the best quarterback that nobody has ever heard of.  This week, Price had arguably the best game of his young career in Washington's 52-24 victory over the Colorado Buffaloes.  Price had a 75% completion percentage, threw for 257 yards, and four touchdowns.  This was the third game on the season that Price threw for 4 touchdowns, he has thrown for at least 3 in every game he has played this year.  

In total on the season, Price has thrown for 1,466 yards, 21 touchdowns, and only 4 interceptions.  Price leads the Pac-12 in touchdown throws and is 3rd in completion percentage.  And oh by the way, Washington isn't bad this year.  The Huskies are 5-1 and 3-0 in Pac-12 play this season.  Granted the Huskies have played: California, Utah, and Colorado, those teams combine for a record of 0-9 in conference play.  But Price and the Huskies have played who has been on their schedule and they have dominated who they were supposed to, they will get a major test this week when they play Pac-12 North favorite Stanford. 

North vs. South

The Oregon Ducks and the Arizona State Sun Devils battled Saturday night in Eugene.  The teams were tight for the first half, but Oregon flexed its muscles in the second half and ran away from the Sun Devils, winning 41-27.  This game was pegged as a potential Pac-12 championship meeting.  Through the first three or four weeks of conference play it has been clear that the Pac-12 North is superior to the Pac-12 South.  

The six teams from the Pac-12 North have a combined conference record of 12-7.  The teams from the Pac-12 South have a combined conference record of 8-13.  Three of the six teams in the south have not won a conference game this season.    The Pac-12 has four teams ranked, three of them come from the Pac-12 North.  The other is Arizona State, who just got rocked by Oregon.  It seems like the Pac-12 has two elite teams, Oregon and Stanford.  Both of those teams are ranked in the top ten, both teams undefeated in Pac-12 play, both teams are in the Pac-12 North.

 

3 and Out

Offensive Player of the Week: Keith Price, Washington

Not much else to say about Keith Price. He was nearly perfect against Colorado.  Price completed 21 of 28 passes (75%), threw for 257 yards, and had 4 TD's.  He is quickly becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the Pac-12, and with Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, and Nick Foles all expected to enter the 2012 NFL Draft, Price could be the best QB in the Pac-12 this time next year.

Defensive Player of the Week:Dion Bailey, USC

Dion Bailey was all over the field last Thursday against Cal.  Bailey had 6 solo tackles, and 2 interceptions.  Bailey finished the game with 8 total tackles and he also had 16 INT return yards.  Bailey, just a freshman, now has 48 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 INT's on the season.  His 2 INT's is tied for fourth in the Pac-12. 

Upcoming Game of the Week: #25 Washington @ #8 Stanford

Washington has looked great all season.  However the only ranked team that they have played as Nebraska.  THe Huskies lost 51-38.  Kevin Price and Co. get a huge test Saturday night when they visti Palo Alto and play Stanford.  Stanford has looked like the best team in the Pac-12.  Andrew Luck and company have outscored Pac-12 opponents 174-50.  Both teams have been mostly untested until this game and the winner will take a huge step in winning the Pac-12 North.  

 

Pac-12 Blog Week 6

Photo Credit: Getty Images

A Tale of Two Halfs 

The Oregon Ducks once again flex their muscles in Pac-12 play beating the Cal Golden Bears 43-15.  The Ducks looked, dare I say, ordinary in the first half, as the Bears led 15-14 at halftime.  In the first half, the explosive Oregon offense was held to only two touchdowns while punting three times, missing a field goal, and turned the ball over twice.  The second half was a totally different story as the Ducks scored touchdowns on their first four drives.  Oregon did get some bad news when Lamichael James went down in the fourth quarter with a dislocated elbow, his status for this week's game against Arizona State is uncertain.  

 

Arizona State Impressive

Coming into the season, Arizona State and Utah were predicted to battle for the Pac-12 South title.  When the two teams met last week, Arizona State did most of the battling, winning 35-14  The Utes looked outgunned and under manned against the number 22 Sun Devils. Brock Osweiler had another efficient game throwing for 325 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The Arizona State, which leads the conference in takeaways) forced Utah into five turnovers, including three in the span of seven plays.  ASU came out sluggish as they did against Oregon State but proved to be a second half team, outscoring the 25-7 in the second half.  

 

3 and Out

Offensive Player of the Week: Lamichael James, Oregon

Lamichael James had his third consecutive 200 yard rushing game on Thursday night.  James rushed for 239 yards on 30 carries and scored one touchdown.  James leads the nation in rushing yards with 852.  James dislocated his right elbow against Cal and although the injury is not season ending, James may miss some time.

Honorable Mention: Andrew Luck, Stanford, Keenan Allen, Cal

 

Defensive Player of the Week: Shaquille Richardson, Arizona

Richardson had seven tackles and two interceptions against Oregon State.  Richardson, the sophomore cornerback from Carson, CA, has three interceptions, and 14 tackles in his last two games.  Richardson also returned one of his interceptions for a touchdown last week against Oregon State.  

 

Upcoming Game of the Week: #18 Arizona State @ #9 Oregon

College Gameday will be present in Eugene as two teams with BCS dreams collide under under the lights in Autzen Stadium.  Oregon has cruised since a season opening loss to now number 1 LSU.  Arizona State has played well in its last three games since its loss to #16 Illinois.  Lamichael James' status is unknown but the Ducks have plenty of firepower as Darron Thomas, Kenjon Barner, and De'Anthony Thomas are all capable of making up for James' absence if it comes to it.  Arizona State must tackle well and try to run the ball better than they have in the last couple of games.  

 

 

 

As the calendar turns from August to September football season is upon us.  Fans of the Arizona State University football team are buzzing  about the 2011 Sun Devils.  Talks of a Rose Bowl birth, and even a trip to the BCS National Championship game are alive and well in Tempe.  Sun Devil fans have reason to be optimistic.  ASU returns about 15 starters including: All-American LB Vontaze Burfict, WR Gerell Robinson, and 2010 Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year Junior Onyeali.  

There is no denying that Arizona State has the talent to compete in the Pac-12 this year.  However, ASU lacks a key component every championship level team has, the ability to finish games.  Of ASU's six losses last year, four of them were by four points or less, and  
two of them came down to missed extra points (the easiest play in football).  

On September 18th Arizona State played perennial power Wisconsin University.  Arizona State scored with 4:09 left in the game and they were seemingly going to tie the game, when a missed assignment cause the extra point to be blocked.  ASU never got a chance to win after that.  The next week against future Pac-10 champion Oregon, Arizona State committed seven turnovers.  SEVEN TURNOVERS!!! The Devils only lost by 11 and were still in the game in the fourth quarter.  On November 6th Arizona State lost 33-34 against USC.  Thomas Weber missed a 42-yard field goal with 1:34 seconds remaining, this was after a PAT was blocked and returned for two points.

Arizona State does return a lot of starters from last season.  However last season this team was undisciplined and not fundamentally sound.  And these are mostly the same players as last season. Something has to change if this team is to compete in the Pac-12.  ASU already has been marred by injuries.  Senior CB Omar Bolden, Senior LB Brandon Magee, and Senior WR T.J. Simpson all might be lost for the season.  Meaning new players will have to step in and make an impact for the Devils.  Hopefully, for all Sun Devil fans, this years team can finish games and finally live up to expectations.  
 Attribution to Arizona Republic and LA Times 

Larry Fitzgerald is Dropping the Ball

Larry Fitzgerald is known around Arizona for having great hands.  However, in regards to his contract extension, he is really dropping the ball.  Fitzgerald is by far the most popular Cardinal, in fact he is probably the most popular Arizona Cardinal of all time.  He might also be the face of Arizona sports.  Most hardcore Cardinal fans would probably give a limb to keep Fitzgerald catching balls in an Arizona uniform.  However he might not be an Arizona Cardinal past this season.  
Fitzgerald is due to be a free agent after this season, and so far no contract has been accepted from Fitz.  The longer that Fitzgerald waits to accept this extension, the more his image around Arizona will take a hit.  The Cardinals have done everything that he has asked them too.  They got their QB of the future, someone to throw the ball to Larry Fitzgerald.  The Cardinals brought in an experienced pass catching Tight End to relieve some stress of Fitzgerald in the passing game.  And Cardinals GM Rod Graves has said that they are ready to make Fitzgerald the highest paid player in franchise history.  
So if money isn't an issue, and Fitz seems to be happy with the personal moves the team has made, what is the issue? In an age where loyalty is an afterthought the Cardinals and the fans expect it from Fitzgerald.  Many experts say if Fitzgerald isn't signed by September 11th (the Cardinals first regular season game) then he will walk and become a free agent.  Let us hope that it does not come to that.  Hopefully Larry Fitzgerald will take those good hands of his, and sign a contract extension.

Kevin Kolb...Savior?

They say with great power comes great responsibility.  Well that is exactly what new Arizona Cardinals Quarterback Kevin Kolb has on his shoulders, responsibility.  Kolb not only came over from Philadelphia with a high price, he came over with high expectations.  Fans in Arizona have anointed Kolb as the chosen one.  The one to bring balance to the force in Arizona.  Force that is been in disarray since the retirement of Kurt Werner.  Lets just say Kolb fails.  What would happen?  GM Rod Graves could be out of the job.  Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt could be out of the job, and the face of the Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald could be catching passes somewhere else.  Statistics say Kolb is not the chosen one.  11 TD's 14 INT's, and a career passer rating of 73.2.  However Kolb was serving under Amy Reid, a jedi master of quarterbacks.  Kolb is accurate, throws the deep ball well, and he throws lasers. Much of Kolb's game is unknown, as he has just a handful of starts.  However the Cardinals saw must have saw something in him.  After all they did give him 63 million dollars to be their guy.  Which Kolb will they get?  The Kolb that has more INT's than TD's, and lost his starting job to Michael Vick after and injury.  Or the Kolb that shows signs of brilliance.  Only time will tell, as for Kolb.  May the force be with him