There’s definitely a late-night Pac-12 feel to the trash fires this week.
Dumpster Fires of the Week: Week 4
I’m trying to remember the last time a team that previously finished as the runner-up to the national title got blasted at home like Oregon did last weekend. Sure, senior-laden squads leave, and teams have to rebuild. But Oregon got embarrassed in the allegedly formidable Autzen Stadium, and before any Oregon fans accuse Utah of running up the score, Oregon’s been blasting folks for years. This was pure payback.
Utah owned the Ducks on both sides of the line of scrimmage and in special teams with a great fake punt return. If Vernon Adams is out for awhile, Oregon could be in real trouble. Everyone in the Pac-12 probably would love a little payback for the previously marauding Ducks.
2. Football in Arizona
It was supposed to be a big weekend for Arizona and Arizona State. Both teams could make statements in the Pac-12 South with UCLA and USC coming to town.
First up: Arizona, with ESPN GameDay in Tucson. UCLA, playing with a freshman quarterback, torched the Wildcats for 42 first half points. 'Zona can at least point to starting QB Anu Solomon getting hurt early as part of the reason why the Wildcats got blown out by the Bruins. Still, a showcase game turned into a rout that was over at halftime.
Meanwhile, Arizona State self-destructed in every way possible. How do you punt once, but trail 35-0 at halftime? ASU missed two easy field goals and had three turnovers in the first half, including a kickoff return that was fumbled for a touchdown. It was a terrible performance by Todd Graham’s Sun Devils.
3. Fourth quarter of Texas-Oklahoma State
This was reminiscent last year’s Wake Forest-Virginia Tech 0-0 debacle in terms of overall futility.
Terrible coaching? Check.
Terrible officiating? Check.
Ridiculous ending? Check.
First, let’s talk about the “winning” coach. With two different possessions in the fourth quarter and trailing by three points, Gundy was somehow rewarded for coaching not to win.
We’ve all seen games where coaches get conservative trying not to lose, but Gundy has perfected a new strategy: coaching NOT to win. You start by changing QBs during a possession, previously known as the John Blake Shuffle. Then, while trailing, you try to NOT move the ball. Finally, you sit and wait for your clueless opponent to make mistakes to give you the game.
While Gundy was coaching NOT to win, Charlie Strong was making enough mistakes to lose. An awful fourth-down call gave OSU great field position. Then, after a terrible call against UT, Strong apparently did enough to draw a personal foul that put OSU in FG range.
(UT fans, cry me a river with your refereeing conspiracy theories. Big 12 refs suck. The rest of the conference has known it for years. You were not complaining about the multitude of calls that went UT’s way the last 14 years.)
Tie game, it appeared, with the Longhorns playing for overtime and Gundy continuing to coach NOT to win. All UT had to do was punt the ball.
In a play eerily familiar of the Blake era, UT’s punter flat out whiffed on a good snap, recovered then shanked a punt that went out on the Longhorns' 18-yard line. Cue OSU kicker Ben Grogan twice winning the game due to a delay of game penalty on OSU.
Terrible coaching and game management by Gundy and Strong. No one really deserved to win.
4. Bret Bielema/Butch Jones School of Game Mismanagement
101: Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory - An Introduction
102: Giving Up Big 4th Quarter Leads
203: Talking Big, But Getting Your Fat Head Smashed in the Dirt
204: When to Not Go for 2
War Damn... Where’s the eagle?
More like War Damn Pigeon.
I think this about covers it: