The Oregon Ducks are the best team in college football right now, but that has more to do with the fact that the Alabama Crimson Tide lost to the Texas A&M Aggies. The Ducks did their job by beating the California Golden Bears 59-17, but I don’t think anybody expected it to be anything other than a blowout. Cal was without Keenan Allen, Zach Maynard, and Matt Summers-Gavin (among others), so Oregon basically beat up an inferior opponent that was already banged up to begin with.
But boy did they take them down in a convincing manner, and Marcus Mariota was at the head of it all. I don’t know where to rank him among the best quarterbacks in the Pac-12, but he has to be in the top three somewhere. Matt Scott, Matt Barkley, and Brett Hundley are all in there, and the Pac-12 is loaded with QBs. I mean, I don’t think a conference has better QBs top-to-bottom. Keith Price, Jeff Tuel, and Sean Mannion are others that come to mind.
Josh Huff put in the most impressive performance against Cal, and the emergence of him and Colt Lyerla have made up for the losses of Lavasier Tuinei and, perhaps, David Paulson. Perhaps. Nevetheless, both players combined for five touchdowns, and I feel like Huff is just getting started.
Major props the other way to Isi Sofele, who had the best game of his season with 134 rushing yards on 15 carries. He’s been on fire at home, and he’s yet another solid Cal running back (Justin Forsett, Shane Vereen, Marshawn Lynch). They produce running backs over there like Oregon produces safeties (Avery Patterson, John Boyett, Patrick Chung, Jairus Byrd).
The big story for Oregon was the amount of injuries they suffered in the win, and it’s a good thing that Kenjon Barner and Marcus Mariota returned. Let’s hope those two are not injured severely, and I also felt my heart skip a beat when Avery Patterson went down. He has been so important back there in the secondary, and the transition from John Boyett to him at safety has been seamless. On a side note, I hope Boyett gets drafted. He’s worth the injury risk.
There isn’t much time for those key players and the many defensive linemen who went down to rest up, because the Stanford Cardinal are coming to town. Stanford took down Oregon State, and the Beavers will be waiting for us the week after for what will be one of the best Civil War games in a long time. And yes, I am extremely nervous about both games.
Marquess Wilson has been in the news for leaving the Washington State Cougars, and the door that was open for return will almost certainly be remained shut forever. Wilson said, “This was going to be our year. My teammates and I were aspiring to be the winning team you deserve. Unfortunately for all, the new coaching staff has destroyed that endeavor. I believe coaches have a chance to mold players, to shape men, to create greatness. However, the new regime of coaches has preferred to belittle, intimidate and humiliate us. This approach has obviously not been successful, and has put a dark shadow on this program.”
One of the best receivers in college football, Wilson was the third best wide receiver in the Pac-12- a conference that has two of the best in the game in Keenan Allen and Robert Woods. We all need to know exactly what is going on in the Cougars locker room, because this isn’t the first time we’ve heard of Mike Leach selling out his players.
Leach has been solid on the recruiting trail for WSU early on, and the fact that the team is 2-7 is more due to a lack of talent. Still, they should be better than this and his decision to play Connor Halliday over Jeff Tuel earlier this season was, quite frankly, a terrible one. Something completely wrong has to be going down in the Washingotn State locker room, because star players don’t just walk out on a college football team for no reason. I know Leach has been in the news for this before- and it was an unfair accusation- but this one has some legs to it.
Even so, there are signs that this is just a frustrated player leaving his team and taking it out on the coaching staff. Wilson is known for being inconsistent on the field, and he did quit after a very strenuous team workout. The latter is more indicative than the former, but it seems like there is something going here both ways. I mean, players just don’t quit the team entirely after even the toughest of workouts, and, again, Leach hasn’t been the best of coaches this year towards his players.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.