By My Count Pac 12 After Dark Finally Gets Its Moment In the (Partly-Cloudy) Sun

Chris Dufresne

By my count the Pac 12 needed Oregon over Washington more than it’s needed anything since it needed Reggie Bush to be in the game on fourth-and-two.

Or Cam Newton to get food poisoning before the 2010 title game in Arizona.

Or Christian McCaffrey to win the Heisman Trophy.

Oregon’s 35-31 victory over Washington was the perfect-outcome for everyone save those driving boats to Husky Stadium along Lake Washington.

Oregon’s win was that rare Pac 12 parlay of high-quality entertainment that also did NOT completely wreck the league’s playoff chances.

First, the game did not start at 9 a.m. on Pac Net or end at 4:22 a.m. on the East Coast.

It was played in the same 12:30 time slot the SEC has used for years to showcase its best silverware pieces and propagate its propaganda. It featured Oregon uniforms that did not make you puke as the Ducks donned fabulously-white unis with glistening reflector helmets, while the Huskies held their own in classic purple with trim.

Oregon over Washington featured joystick plays and two future NFL quarterbacks, Justin Herbert and Jacob Eason, who mostly shined on the big stage.

Oregon over Washington, play for play, was a suitable companion piece to LSU’s terrific home win over Florida last week in Baton Rouge.

Get this: Oregon over Washington was played in a packed stadium and would not have been complete without a probably botched no-pass interference call from Pac 12 officials.

This is just the kind of swallow-your-whistle stuff we’ve seen for years in the SEC when it comes to officials knowing exactly which school needed the call more in the, um, bigger (playoff) picture.

Oregon moving to 6-1 instead of dropping to 5-2 was critical to the Pac 12’s difficult (but not impossible) path to the four-team playoff.

The No.12 Ducks will creep closer to the top 10, thanks to Wisconsin’s shocking loss to Illinois, and also benefited from Auburn putting half-a-hundred on Arkansas.

Oregon’s only loss, to Auburn, in a game the Ducks mostly dominated, looks stronger every week the top-10 Tigers keep winning.

Auburn controls its own destiny to the playoff and can drag Oregon along for the ride. The Ducks now stand a decent chance of winning the Pac 12 and finishing 12-1 and seeing how that holds up in comparison.

Oregon over Washington may have been the conference’s most positive, feel-good moment since USC defeated Penn State in the Rose Bowl or, in the same stadium, Marcus Mariota-Oregon gas-lighting Jameis Winston-led Florida State in the first national semifinal game ever contested.

And if on Sunday night, the Pac 12 issues a statement saying PI should have been called on Oregon in the final seconds, well, isn't that too bad.

By my count Wisconsin, despite losing at Illinois on Saturday, has still not trailed for one second in regulation this season. It's true Illinois shocked the Badgers on James McCourt's game-winning field goal but a replay review confirmed the ball did not hit the ground until after 0:00 showed on the clock. We're certain this will provide little comfort to Wisconsin, which probably choked away its playoff chances. There's every bit of evidence to suggest the Badgers were looking ahead to next week's game at Ohio State. Still, it must be said that Wisconsin had full control of the game in the fourth quarter, leading 23-14, and appeared on its way to making it 30-14 when Heisman-candidate Jonathan Taylor fumbled deep in Illinois territory...

By my count the Texas Longhorns are now 16-2 all-time against Kansas, going back to 1938, but that doesn’t do justice to what a thorn in the saddle the Jayhawks have been…Texas outlasted Kansas, 50-48, winning on a last-second field goal by Cameron Dicker. Kansas had taken the lead seconds early after a touchdown and two-point conversation. Three years ago, Kansas shocked Texas after losing 13 straight in the series.

First-year coach Les Miles hasn’t made Kansas contenders yet, but he has made them interesting. Consider: the Jayhawks scored 48 at Texas this year, at 48 in a win at Boston College. They also scored seven points in a home loss to Coastal Carolina…

By my count Alabama fans are breathing easier tonight after hearing the high-ankle sprain quarterback Tua Tagovailoa against was not serious. He might miss a game or two. Alabama hosts Arkansas next week and then has an off week before LSU visits on Nov. 9. What was serious is how shabbily Alabama played in a very misleading, 35-13, final score…

By my count it was a rough Saturday for Heisman candidates Tagovailoa, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Wisconsin’s Taylor. Tagovailoa had a bad red-zone pick before he exited with his injury while Lawrence threw two, first-half interceptions at Louisville. Taylor had a key fumble in Wisconsin’s first loss…

By my count the coolest moment of the day was seeing Minnesota's Casey O'Brien make his collegiate debut as a holder on extra points in the Gophers' 42-7 win over Rutgers. O'Brien is a four-time cancer survivor and has undergone 14 surgeries. If that didn't bring a tear to your eye...Minnesota is 6-0 for the first time since 1960...

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Bell64Ogle
Bell64Ogle

My best Rankman impression: "Sooners ask Switzer, Stoops to take the reins, to keep Boomer Scooner upright."


Chris Dufresne

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