No. 9 Washington at Stanford score: Pac-12's playoff hopes dead in upset
However, Bryce Love's Heisman run lives on
Say this for Friday #Pac12AfterDark: It rarely disappoints. Unless you're vying for a College Football Playoff spot. Then sometimes it can be quite disappointing.
That's how No. 9 Washington must be feeling, to put it lightly, after a 30-22 loss at Stanford. This had . It was a road game on a short week. Never take the road favorite to cover in those situations.
The loss by Washington is bad news for the Pac-12 in the playoff race, but good news for running back Bryce Love in the Heisman conversation one week after he had a season-low 69 yards in a loss to Washington State. From those storylines and more, here's all that you need to know from Friday's upset.
1) The Pac-12's playoff chances are officially dead: You don't want to make such brash declarations too early, but it's safer now. Unless college football gets absolutely bananas over the next four weeks -- which, hey, don't put it past it -- the Pac-12 has cannibalized itself out of the playoff field. Every member in the conference has at least two losses. Of the two-loss teams (USC, Washington and Washington State) no one has a good enough win that would offset the losses they've incurred. Keep in mind, too, that Washington and Washington State still have to play in the Apple Cup, meaning at least one more guaranteed loss is coming.
2) Bryce Love should still be entrenched in the Heisman race: Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield is your Heisman clubhouse leader. Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate won the October Heisman and should be a finalist if he keeps up his video game-like performances. But Love is still deserving of consideration, too. Against the No. 6 run defense in college football, Love had 166 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. And he did it all on a bum ankle.
What makes Love special beyond the tangibles -- his burst, lateral quickness and vision -- is his ability to create. Stanford did a fine job opening some holes for him, but several of Love's better runs came when Washington had the play defended. The dirty little secret about Stanford's offense is that its run blocking isn't as efficient as you'd normally assume. Love has been able to offset that with his creativity. That's truly what makes him one of the best runners in the game.
3) Stanford won via some unorthodox methods: Stanford beat Washington by doing some things it should, like feeding Love the ball. It also beat Washington by doing things it doesn't normally do. For instance, the Cardinal entered Friday with a third down conversion rate of just over 40 percent and ranked ninth in the Pac-12 in that category. On Friday, it went 10-of-18. Not only that, Stanford was at one point averaging more than 12.1 yards per play on third downs. Stanford's defense was also routinely giving up long touchdown drives, including 21 of at least 75 yards. After giving up back-to-back long scoring drives early against the Huskies, the Cardinal got a key fourth down stop. After that, Washington had just one drive longer than 28 yards on seven possessions, and it was a desperation nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter.
4) Washington has hurt itself immensely in both losses: The Huskies' two losses have been defined by a common theme: They just hadn't been themselves. The Arizona State loss was easily one of the worst games Washington played in the Chris Petersen era. This one wasn't much of an improvement. Washington's seven penalties were bad, but the poor timing of said penalties cannot be overstated. A false start in the second quarter made a 3rd and 1 play a 3rd and 6. Two plays later, Washington failed to convert a fourth down call. Defensive tackle Vita Vea's facemask penalty on 3rd and 18 not only kept Stanford's drive alive, but Love scored on a 13-yard run one play later. The costly holding call on Washington's final drive with a chance to tie took away a first down. And running back Myles Gaskin's fumble? It was only the second of his career. Stanford notched a field goal on its ensuing possession. Washington has no one to blame but itself.
5) Jet Toner is my new favorite All-Name selection: I'm a little ashamed it has taken me this long to discover one of college football's best names. The Stanford place-kicker, who went 3-of-4 on field goals, could have a lucrative career at Xerox if this football thing doesn't pan out.
Oliver's star has already been born, but 2018 is when it will truly be recognized
Craig Kuligowski is reportedly leaving Miami to take the same job with Alabama
BT Potter is about to be very popular in the Clemson locker room
McElwain will coach receivers and help coordinate the offense for the Wolverines
Nathaniel Watson Jr. was involved in a car accident that injured a passenger in early Febr...
The honorable Tom Fornelli presides over the ASU vs. UM case