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The Huddle: Unbeaten Huskies are the class of the Pac-12

Dante Pettis
Washington wide receiver Dante Pettis (8) celebrates his 3-yard touchdown with his teammates in the first quarter against Stanford on Sept. 30.
(Lindsey Wasson / Seattle Times)

Each week during the season, visit the Huddle for the latest in college football news, notes, conversation and opinion. 

This is notable

The bark is back at Montlake. Washington is off to a 5-0 start after routing Stanford, 44-6, last Saturday and the Huskies are the only undefeated team in the Pac-12 Conference. This week they jumped to No. 5 in the Associated Press poll, their highest ranking since the end of the 2000 season when they won the Rose Bowl. Washington has won eight consecutive games dating back to last season, which is tied with Houston for the third-longest winning streak in the nation. Washington plays Oregon, a team it has lost to 12 times in a row, in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday. 

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South Alabama hasn’t exactly won the games it was expected to win, but the Jaguars, in their fourth season in the FBS, have mastered the upset. They have a record of 3-2, with victories over Mississippi State and No. 19 San Diego State. And get this: In both upsets the Jaguars were led by first-time starting quarterbacks. South Alabama has one more chance for a major upset when it travels to Louisiana State on Nov. 19.

That was tweet

“Back-to-back!! #GoCougs”

—Washington State (@WSUCougars), accompanied by an illustration resembling the popular 1980s Nintendo game “Duck Hunt,” a cougar holding up two dead ducks.

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Washington State opened the season 0-2, losing to Eastern Washington and Boise State. But the Cougars defeated Oregon for a second consecutive season last Saturday, 51-33, and the program’s official Twitter account wasted no time trolling the Ducks.

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“DB4Heisman”

 —Jalen Reeves-Maybin (@Jalen Reeves-Maybin)

Tennessee linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin has tried to start a Heisman Trophy campaign for teammate Derek Barnett, who had two sacks in a win over Florida and two more in a win over Georgia. 

Hot off the presser

“In this day and age when nobody ever says it’s their fault, nobody tells the truth, nobody does anything, I don’t really want to be a part of that group. So one of the things I’d have to say, when it came to the officials, Baker, any of them, the bottom line to it is, is that you have to be bigger than all of it.”

—Gary Patterson

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The Texas Christian coach fell short of an apology this week for comments he made about the officiating in a 52-46 loss to Oklahoma and quarterback Baker Mayfield, but he did express regret for spouting off. Patterson wasn’t the only coach upset about officiating. UCLA’s Jim Mora called the officiating “criminal” in a victory over Arizona, earning a reprimand from the Pac-12

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“To be honest with you, we show a 24-play reel of all Hail Marys in the NFL over the last two or three years. We always go through that and make decisions on what we’re going to do. … It happens. I know you guys want to talk about it, but we’re way past it. We’re into South Carolina and we spent time on that, corrected that, and we’re moving on.”

—Kirby Smart 

No one gets over a Hail Mary, Coach, and it’s a given that next year when your Georgia team is preparing for Tennessee, you’ll have a reminder for your players.

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“I don’t like it. I don’t like it. I want to be watching my son on Fridays. I don’t like it. I don’t like the fact it takes away from the high schools on Friday night. I’ve never liked it.”

—Dabo Swinney 

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The Clemson coach makes sense, but would he put money where his mouth is? 

Television revenue drives Friday college games and that same revenue stream, somewhere in the money tree, contributes to coaches’ salaries.

Fresh out the Pac

Oregon can change uniforms every week, but that won’t disguise its problems.

The Ducks are 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Pac-12, with losses to Colorado and Washington State.

“It absolutely has to become personal,” Coach Mark Helfrich told reporters this week. “We talk about personal goals and why the guys do what they do. … Guys are learning the hard way, the slap-you-in-the-face way.”

Helfrich has opened the quarterback competition this week between Dakota Prukop, who has passed for 1,173 yard and eight touchdowns, with two interceptions, and freshman Justin Herbert. 

If the Ducks lose to Washington, that’s a real slap in the face.

My Thiry

Nick Saban, not always the adult in the room.

The Alabama coach couldn’t help himself and didn’t let a young man transfer out of his program without owning the last word.

“It’s one of those things where I think the culture has changed a little bit,” Saban said during his radio show last week. “There’s certain pride people have in competition. There’s certain things I was taught growing up about not quitting and seeing things through. I think if I’d come home and told my dad that I was going to quit the team, I think he’d have kicked me out of the house.”

Saban never mentioned Blake Barnett by name, but it was clear that he was referring to the redshirt freshman quarterback who lost the Crimson Tide’s starting job to freshman Jalen Hurts and decided to leave the program to seek success elsewhere.

Saban has jumped around a bit himself. Toledo gave him his first head coaching job and he stayed one season, then moved to the Cleveland Browns as defensive coordinator, then to Michigan State as head coach, then to Louisiana State, then back to the NFL with the Miami Dolphins and finally to Alabama.

Sometimes it takes a while to find the right fit.

lindsey.thiry@latimes.com

Twitter: @LindseyThiry


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