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QB’s Out West Are Better

It’s often assumed that the SEC West is the best division in college football, for whatever that’s even worth.

The SEC West now has some competition, even if many in the coaches poll are in bed before they kickoff.

The Pac-12 South had an impressive Saturday as UCLA, Utah and USC posted blowout victories on the road against very good opponents in Arizona, Oregon and Arizona State by a cumulative score 160-64.

“They showed a great deal of heart, effort, work ethic and pride,” USC coach Steve Sarkisian said after the Trojans 42-14 victory, which came just a week after they were disappointed as double-digit favorites in a loss to Stanford.

“I think this is the best team we’ve had overall,” Arizona State coach Todd Graham said, “We’re just not playing that way.”

That includes a team that played for the Pac-12 Championship not that long ago.  The Trojans took them out of the game early and continued to pour it on.

UCLA pounded a very good (16th ranked) Arizona team, 56-30, in a game which wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.

“That’s what you’re supposed to do on offense, drive down the field and score,” Bruins head coach Jim Mora said.

Finally, in perhaps the most impressive victory of the day, Utah went into Oregon and destroyed the Ducks, 62-20.

“`It was a good win. We’ve got some things we’ve got to clean up and get ready for Cal,” said Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham.

Utah handed Oregon their worst loss at home since 1977, when they were blanked by Washington, 54-0.

“It felt amazing. It’s a great win for this program, a great step for this offense. To put that many points on a team like Oregon is unheard of,” Utes quarterback Travis Wilson, who completed 18 of 30 passes, for 227 yards and four touchdowns said.

Why is the Pac-12 catching up to the SEC?

Quarterback play.  While even the best SEC teams scuffle each week with erratic throws, bad interceptions and poor pocket presence, the signal callers out west look a lot closer to what you see on Sunday’s.

“I said last year I thought the Pac-12 was better than the SEC, and one of the reasons I said it was the overall quarterback play in the entire league was better,” Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said. “That wasn’t knocking the other league; we just had some really good ones. If you look at the NFL, the teams that win have a what? A quarterback. You have a more consistent team week in and week out if you have a good quarterback.”

In a season after losing the No. 2 overall pick in the draft in Marcus Mariota (who is the very early favorite for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year), the conference still has some future pros in potential first-overall pick Jared Goff from California, USC’s Cody Kessler, UCLA phenom Josh Rosen, Utah’s Travis Wilson, Stanford’s Kevin Hogan, Arizona State’s Mike Bercovici and Washington’s Jake Browning.

“Every quarterback in the Pac-12 tends to be very talented, and you have to be to compete in this conference and you have to be able to lead this team to a lot of points,” Goff said. “That’s the way this conference goes.”

More Rankings

Time to give you our version of this week’s Top 10.

  1. Ole Miss Rebels- They weren’t dominant in somewhat of a “trap game” against Vandy, but they have the best D-line in the SEC and maybe the best quarterback.
  2. Utah Utes- The Utes have a quality win against Michigan and the maybe the best win of the season against Oregon.  Who else has done more?
  3. Baylor Bears- Baylor hasn’t played anyone good, but they’re dominating who they play and that’s all they can do.
  4. Michigan State Spartans- Their victory over Central Michigan was underwhelming, and some wind is taken out of the Oregon win with the Ducks latest performance.
  5. LSU Tigers- LSU has a devastating ground game and they had the guts to go on the road in the Northeast.
  6. UCLA Bruins- Budding superstar at quarterback and they keep playing well against very good competition.
  7. Ohio State Buckeyes- The most talent of any team in America and one of the softest schedules to go with it.
  8. Georgia Bulldogs- They haven’t played anyone, but they’ve beaten soundly who they’ve scheduled.
  9. TCU Horned Frogs- Needed a near miracle to avoid a land mine at Texas Tech.  Conference games on the road are tough.
  10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish- The most resilient team in America will have a great chance to take a step forward this week against Clemson.

Heisman Rankings

  1. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU- After 244 yards rushing and two more touchdowns, he can’t drop out of the top spot.
  2. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU- Boykin led the Horned Frogs on a last-second touchdown in a comeback victory that kept their National Title hopes alive.  He’s going to need to continue putting up huge numbers.
  3. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia- Chubb may be the best running back in America, Fournette included.  He hasn’t been in the Bulldogs blowouts enough to get the gaudy numbers.
  4. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA- The true freshman has been mostly fantastic for the Bruins, and he will have plenty of opportunities with their schedule to put up big performances against good teams.
  5. Cody Kessler, QB, USC- Kessler is one of the most accurate passers in college football and has the weapons to put up huge numbers.  He makes the list after a five touchdown performance against Arizona State.

About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.