Are The Cal Bears Among The Early Pac-12 Contenders?


Last week was a wild one for college football across the nation. As many favorites lost, most shocking was Ole Miss’s upset win over then #2 Alabama. The Pac-12 had there share of surprise’s Standford beating then ranked #6 USC. California is 3-0, they might be a contender for Pac-12 North and Oregon State has finally found a quarterback in Seth Collins to lead them. Ted Miller from ESPN found an intestesting historical fact after the first three weeks. Every team in the Conference has at least two wins. It is just the third time in the history of the Conference, the last two times were when it was the Pacific Coast Conference in 1919 and 1921. Back to 2015 where there are many contenders in the Pac-12 vying for the North and South title, and even a possible surprise team in the North.

Pac-12 North

Sep 19, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of the line of scrimmage as Stanford Cardinal long snapper C.j. Keller (68) prepares to snap the ball against the Southern California Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

#21 Stanford: Stanford shocked the college football world beating host USC 41-31. Stanford looks to be stronger this season after finshing the 2014 season 8-5, 5-4 in Pac-12 play. After a rough opening week against Northwestern which they lost 16-6, didn’t score a touchdown and was knocked out of the top 25. The Cardinals are in the hunt again, it goes to show how back and forth college football is. Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan sprained his ankle against the Trojans. He is questionable against Oregon State. The Cardinals play host Oregon State on friday at 7pm on FS1. After Oregon State, their schedule get tougher as they host #16 Arizona and the following week #9 UCLA. The Cardinals are hoping to have Hogan at full strength for those games.

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#13 Oregon: After losing to Michigan State 31-28, they had a gimme game against Georgia State where they rested injured quarterback Vernon Adams. Jeff Lockie started in Adams place, and it was plain to see how much better the Ducks are with Adams. Although Ducks have one loss it doesn’t mean their hopes to get to the college championship is over, but many doubt they will this year. The Ducks have a stiff test this week in #18 Utah on saturday at 5:30pm on Fox. Last year the Ducks were on their way to being down 14-0 to Utah, but Utah’s Kaelin Clay dropped the ball before the goal line. The Ducks Joe Walker scooped it up ran all the way back to tie the game 7-7. After that momentum shifted to the Ducks as they won 51-27. Expect this one to be a close one and the Ducks defense tested.

California: California is the most surprising for early contenders this season. As they are 3-0 to begin the season. Last week they surived against Texas, after the Longhorns scored but missed the point after try to give the Golden Bears the win 45-44. The offense seems to be clicking under junior quarterback Jared Goff at they have put up 73, 35 and 45 in their last three games. They open Pac-12 at Washington at 2pm on the Pac-12 Network. If the Golden Bears can push their record to 4-0, the Pac-12 should take notice that they have a new contender in the mix.

Pac-12 South

Sep 19, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins wide receiver Jordan Lasley (2) and defensive back Randall Goforth (3) and defensive back Adarius Pickett (6) warm up before the game against the Brigham Young Cougars at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

#9 UCLA: If you would have told a college football fan before the season started that UCLA would be ranked higher then both USC and Oregon heading into week four they probably would have laugh at you. The Bruins earned a hard fought win over BYU 24-23, to remain undefeated. UCLA is lead by true freshman Josh Rosen at quarterback. There was concern after Brett Hundley left there would be dip in talent, but Rosen has proved either wise. The Bruins travel to Arizona to take on the #16 Wildcats, game time starts 5pm on ABC.

#16 Arizona: The top two teams in the Pac-12 South battle this week, in what could be a preview of the Pac-12 South champion. Both teams are at 3-0 on the season, with the defending South champion Arizona being the underdog. Rich Rodriquez’s Wildcats are 0-3 against the Bruins, which he no doubt hopes to change in his bid for another Pac-12 South title.

#18 Utah: The Utes are kicking themselves over last year’s loss to Oregon. As they had momentum and were on their way to a 14-0 lead before Kaelin Clay dropped the ball before the goal line. Utah this season pulled an impressive upset over Michigan in the opening week with a 24-17 win. In this week’s game against Oregon they hope to do the same. The game might be closer then people think as Oregon’s defense continues  to struggles and Vernon Adams is banged up. Adams being bang up is no excuse, he is still learning the playbook, but the Utes defense is gonna be a tough test for him. Along with a physical running game lead by Devontae Booker. Utah sat injured starting quarterback Travis Wilson, but backup Kendal Thompson filled the role nice. It remains to to be seen if Wilson will start against Oregon.

#19 USC: The Trojans suffered a huge upset as they lost to Stanford 41-31 at home. USC dropped fast from #6 to #19 which must have been a big shock. They need to quickly regroup as they face a tough Arizona State team this week. With a loss the Trojans could find themselves out of contention in a always competitive Pac-12.

Next: Quarterback Questions Lead Oregon and Utah Matchup