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The Kish Debut and Week 8 in the Pac-12

The Arizona Wildcats and their athletic director, Greg
Byrne, ran out of patience with their 8-year head coach
Stoops following a 1-5 start and a stretch of ten straight
losses by the ‘Cats to FBS teams.

Now, in week eight of Pac-12 play, we see the debut of
interim head coach Tim Kish in Tucson as Arizona hosts
on the Thursday night schedule.

There are five other games on the slate this week,
including a pretty tasty matchup in Northern California
between two ranked teams.

Here’s our look at week eight in the Conference of

The Thursday Night Special

UCLA (3-3, 2-1) at Arizona (1-5, 0-4) – Thursday –
Arizona Stadium – Tucson, AZ
– Yes, the shakeup
came in Tucson with the axe falling on Mike Stoops for the
Wildcats’ lackluster start. Interesting to note that the
end still came for Stoops despite the fact that Arizona’s
schedule to this point of the season is rated the toughest in the nation by Jeff
. Also interesting to note that defensive
coordinator Tim Kish was handed the reins of the team
despite the U of A defense is ranked 116th in the nation.
On the other side, of the field, Rick Neuheisel’s seat is
still hot although the Bruins remain in contention for the
Pac-12 South title. That’ll change on Thursday. The part
about being in contention, I mean.

Arizona 27…UCLA 24

The Pac-12 Game of the Week

#25 Washington (5-1, 3-0) at #8 Stanford (6-0, 4-
0) – Saturday – Stanford Stadium – Stanford, CA

Finally a test for the Cardinal. Stanford has been
impressive, beating opponents by an average of 33 points
per game. But their six opponents (San Jose State, Duke,
Arizona, UCLA, Colorado and Washington State) have a
combined record of 14-24. It’s a battle of great
quarterbacks as well with Stanford’s Andrew Luck taking on
Washington’s Keith Price, who is 2nd in the nation with 21
touchdown passes. Washington’s much better, but they’re
not on Stanford’s level just yet.

Stanford 34…Washington 23

The Rest of the Schedule

#10 Oregon (5-1, 3-0) at Colorado (1-6, 0-3) –
Saturday – Folsom Field – Boulder, CO
– Nobody
knows if Heisman candidate LaMichael James practiced on
Wednesday or not, but he was seen leaving practice
carrying a helmet and shoulder pads. Oregon QB Darron
Thomas also injured his knee in last Saturday’s win over
Arizona State, and his status for this game is unknown.
Doesn’t matter. Oregon’s running game actually improved
when Thomas left the ASU game, and Kenjon Barner ran for
171 yards in James’ absence. Colorado is also without
their top rusher, Rodney Stewart, and his absence Saturday
will be felt much more by the Buffs. Should be a cakewalk
for the Ducks.

Oregon 55…Colorado 14

Utah (3-3, 0-3) at California (3-3, 0-3) –
Saturday at AT&T Park – San Francisco, CA
– The
winner for the weirdest team in the conference? Utah.
The Utes have been all over the board this season, and
last week their defense dominated Pitt in a 26-14 win,
holding the Panthers to 120 total yards and only two
special teams touchdowns. Cal hasn’t been a picture of
consistency either, and has really struggled in conference
play, getting outscored 104-47 in consecutive losses to
Washington, Oregon and USC. This could be the closest
game of the week, and Utah will get their first Pac-12

Utah 19…California 18

USC (5-1, 3-1) at Notre Dame (4-2) – Saturday –
Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN
– On his Pac-
12 Blog for ESPN, Ted Miller wrote an interesting piece
about why USC isn’t ranked despite their 5-1 record. That
got me to thinking. You ever play a game of Trivial
Pursuit, and your 9-year-old nephew wants to play? You
let it happen because it’s easier to deal with than having
a crying pre-teen interrupting the game. And you know
there’s no chance of them winning, so you grin and bear
it, and if the young sprite answers a question right, you
pat him on the head. USC is the 9-year-old nephew. OK,
they’re really smart for a 9-year-old, but in the grand
scheme of things, you know the Trojans are never going to
get the Arts and Literature pie piece and win the whole
game, so you just tolerate them. That said, this is a
pretty good matchup in a rivalry that is back to being
competitive after USC ran off eight in a row from 2002 to
2009. Notre Dame beat them in L.A. last year, but I think
the Trojans get their (meaningless) revenge.

USC 28…Notre Dame 21

Oregon State (1-5, 1-2) at Washington State (3-3,
1-2) – Saturday – Century Link Field – Seattle,
– The Cougars hung with Stanford for a half,
before getting outscored 34-7 in the 2nd half. The Cougs
also got quarterback Jeff Tuel back from his collarbone
injury, but it was hard to tell if he was rusty or just
shut down by Stanford’s defense. If there was rust, more
of it gets shaken off this week in a Wazzu win.

Washington State 34…Oregon State 30