In its wake, Week 8 leaves a fallen top-5 team, a new No. 1 in the conference and a few school records being re-written. Here’s everything you need to get caught up.
Offensive player of the week: We gave the helmet sticker to Gabe Marks for setting a Washington State school record with four touchdown catches in the 45-42 win over Arizona. But his quarterback, Luke Falk, gets offensive player of the week honors. He scattered his 47 completions on 62 attempts among 10 different receivers, throwing for 514 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions.
Defensive player of the week: USC’s Cameron Smith almost single-handedly shut down the Utah offense. He became the first USC player since Jason Oliver in 1991 against Penn State to tally three interceptions in a game and he returned one of those 54 yards for a touchdown. He also led the Trojans with nine total tackles in their 42-24 win over No. 3 Utah.
Special-teams player of the week: UCLA’s Ka'imi Fairbairn connected on a 60-yard field goal as time expired in the first half of the Bruins' 40-24 win over Cal. It was a school record, and the second longest field goal in conference history. On top of that, he also hit three more field goals, making him 4-for-4 on the day.
Team of the week: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. USC coach gets fired. Interim coach steps in, loses to Notre Dame but also beats a top 5 team. Sound familiar? If history is going to repeat itself, USC is destined to lose to UCLA and then beat up on a Mountain West team in the Las Vegas Bowl. But we all know the dangers of playing the futures game with the Trojans. Or most Pac-12 teams, for that matter. So instead we’ll just say nice win Trojans. What else you got?
Trend/stat of the week: Defensive scoring is up, but special-teams returns are down. Through the first eight weeks of the 2014 season, the Pac-12 had 12 defensive touchdowns and 12 special-teams scores. Through the first eight weeks of this season, the league has had 18 defensive scores, but only eight returns.
Play of the week: The longest field goal in Pac-12 history belongs to Jason Hanson of Washington State, who drilled a 62-yard kick against UNLV in 1991. Only three other kickers have scratched the 60-yard barrier: WSU’s Andrew Furney in 2012 and USC’s Don Shafer in 1986. The third is UCLA’s Fairbairn. Officially it was a 60-yard field goal, but he had about 5 or 6 more yards to spare.
Theme of the week: Chaos. But when isn’t that the theme in the Pac-12? With USC’s blowout over Utah, ESPN’s FPI metrics now say there is a 77 percent chance that the Pac-12 champion will have two or more losses. The Utes aren't out of it. They still hold a lead in the Pac-12 South. But some of the league's playoff burden shifts to the back of the Stanford Cardinal. Stanford is sitting on one loss, a perfect conference record and wins over a pair of ranked teams in USC and UCLA. The Cardinal go on the road for back-to-back games against Washington State and Colorado. Then it’s home for a three-game set to close out the year against Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame. A one-loss Stanford or Utah team should be a lock. Anything more than one loss, and things get dicey. Remember, the first CFP rankings come out next Tuesday.
Non-football random thought of the week: All of this Back to the Future business is officially behind us. What I’m most concerned about is Skynet has been self-aware for years and they haven’t attacked yet. What are they waiting for??