In college football, winning isn't the only factor. Who you beat, and how, is a vital part of moving up the rankings and getting into a good bowl game. So each week during the 2012 season, we'll take a look at how Utah's past and future opponents performed.
Aug. 30: Northern Colorado W, 41-0
Sept. 7: at Utah State L, 27-20 OT
Sept. 15: BYU, W, 24-21
Sept. 22: at Arizona State, L, 37-7
Oct. 4: USC, L, 38-28
Oct. 13: at UCLA, L, 21-14
Oct. 20: at Oregon State, L, 21-7
Oct. 27: Cal, W, 49-27
Nov. 3: Washington State, W, 49-6
Nov. 10: at Washington TBA
Nov. 17: Arizona TBA
Nov. 23: at Colorado 1 p.m. (FOX/FX)
Record: 3-6, 2-4 Big Sky
Last week: Won at Portland State, 32-28
By way of an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 29-yard touchdown pass, both by Dominic Gunn, Northern Colorado rallied through an 18-point third-quarter deficit and overcame Portland State to win. The go-ahead score that culminated a 6-play, 57-yard drive, came with 7:26 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Northern Colorado QB Seth Lobato went 26-for-46 in the throw game for 316 yards and two touchdowns.
"We've been working with the kids in believing in themselves, in doing the right things both on and off the field and we talk about playing as a team and this game was absolutely, no question, a team victory," Head Coach Earnest Collins Jr., told KOCO-TV
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 10 at Weber State
Record: 8-2, 4-0 WAC
Last week: Won at home vs. Texas State, 38-7
The Aggies have romped through their WAC schedule with ease, and Saturday's matchup with Texas State was no different.
Quarterback Chuckie Keeton threw four touchdown passes and ran for another, all in the first half, as the Aggies rolled up 593 yards of total offense on the day.
With a bye this week, the only thing now standing between the Aggies and a likely WAC title is a matchup at No. 20 Louisiana Tech.
Next up: Bye; Saturday, Nov. 17 at No. 20 Louisiana Tech
Last week: Bye
With their bowl fate basically sealed, all that remains for BYU is to become bowl-eligible. Fortunately for them, BYU's next three results are mostly foregone conclusions. The Cougars now enter the easiest month on their calendar. Between Idaho and New Mexico State — two of their last three opponents — there are only two wins.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 10 vs. Idaho
Record: 5-4, 3-3 Pac-12
Last week: Lost on the road vs. No. 11 Oregon State
The second half of Arizona State's season is completely unraveling. After beginning 5-1, their only loss coming to Mizzou, the Sun Devils have now lost three straight, including last week's tragedy against UCLA.
Against the Beavers, ASU was tied at halftime, 19-19, but the Beavers came out with 17 unanswered points in the second half and put the game out of reach.
Arizona State's defense and special teams came up big. The defense caused a fumble that was recovered in the endzone, and the punt team caused a safety. Had their offense operated at the same high level, perhaps the result would have been different.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 10 at No. 19 USC
Record: 6-3, 4-3 Pac-12
Last week: Lost on the road vs. No. 4 Oregon
Oregon ran all over USC's defense in this game. The Ducks racked up 730 yards of total offense and 62 points — the most allowed by a USC defense in the 124 years that USC has been playing football.
Fortunately for the Trojans, the USC offense was nearly as productive as the Ducks. Matt Barkley passed for 484 yards and four touchdowns. He hit Marquise Lee 12 different times. It's not very often that a quarterback will produce like that and have the team lose, but it did this time.
It's very plain that the Oregon offense is simply on another level.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 10 vs. Arizona State
Record: 7-2, 4-2 Pac-12
Last week: Won at home vs. Arizona, 66-10
Johnathan Franklin became UCLA's all-time rushing leader, and UCLA embarrassed No. 22 Arizona en route to a 66-10 win.
With the win, UCLA took hold of first place in the Pac-12 Southern division and put themselves squarely en route to play in the school's first bowl game in 15 years. For the first time since 2001, UCLA has a better record than USC through nine games.
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez told ESPN, "I felt we were ready to play tonight, but we weren't," he said. "It starts with me and the staff. This does not define who we are, but give UCLA credit."
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 10 at Washington State
Record: 7-1, 5-1 Pac-12
Last week: Won at home vs. Arizona State, 36-26
After Washington knocked them from the ranks of the unbeaten last week, the Beavers got back on the winning track by holding off Arizona State in Corvallis.
The game was tied at 19 at halftime, but the Beavers came out with 17 unanswered points in the second half to put the game out of reach.
Backup quarterback Cody Vaz, elevated to a starting role since Sean Mannion went down with injury, overcame a rough start and poor accuracy to throw three touchdown passes.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 10 at No. 14 Stanford
Record: 3-7, 2-5 Pac-12
Last week: Lost at home vs. Washington, 21-13
After suffering a 49-27 shellacking from the Utes, the Bears were hoping to bounce back as they hosted the Huskies.
But their inconsistent offense couldn't put up many points against a tough Washington defense, and on the other side of the ball, UW's Bishop Sankey ran for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
The loss ensures that the Bears won't be bowl eligible this season.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 10 vs. No. 3 Oregon
Record: 2-7, 0-6 Pac-12
Last week: Lost at Utah, 49-6
Any strides the Cougars might have apparently made in their performance against Stanford last week completely vanished against the Utes. After rolling up more than 400 passing yards against the Cardinal, Wazzu mustered only 259 in Salt Lake City.
They fared no better on the defensive side of the ball, allowing the Utes to tally 453 yards of offense and rarely pressuring freshman quarterback Travis Wilson.
And to top off a truly terrible performance, the Cougars allowed Utah kick returner Reggie Dunn to score his third TD return in the last two games.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 10 vs. No. 18 UCLA
Record: 5-4, 3-3 Pac-12
Last week: Won at Cal, 21-13
The Huskies are the great unknown of the Pac-12 North. They have beaten two top-10 teams at home this season, but hadn't managed to get a road win in more than a year. In fact, the Huskies had been plain embarrassed in just every road game they've played this season, including a 52-17 shellacking at the hands of Arizona. That all changed on Saturday.
Bishop Sankey had a career night. He ran for 189 yards and two touchdowns. Washington forced the Bears into two field goals, and then took the lead for good at the end of the third quarter.
The game against Cal was particularly sloppy. Both teams had four turnovers. However, the game was basically over after Washington secured a late interception.
The question of the week is which Washington team will show up -- The giant-slayer, or the cream puff?
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 10 at home vs. Utah
Record: 5-4, 2-4 Pac-12
Last week: Lost at home vs. UCLA, 66-10
Arizona, a team that ranked 110th nationally in total defense before this game, certainly didn't do much to help their defensive game. They allowed UCLA to run, pass and kick all over them in their most lopsided loss of the season.
Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez said he was embarrassed by his team's performance. Ka'Deem Carey, the nation's 12th-best rusher, was held to 54 yards on 16 carries. Before Arizona even had managed to get a first down, UCLA had put them into a 21-0 hole.
To make matters worse, Arizona linebacker Hank Hobson was carted off the field in the fourth quarter with a serious injury and taken to a local hospital. Rodriguez said he has movement in his arms and legs, but as of the game's end didn't have any idea on Hobson's diagnosis. Additionally, Arizona QB Matt Scott got his bell rung halfway through the third quarter, had to leave the game and didn't return. Initial reports were concussion-like symptoms. As of yet it's unclear if he will play in Arizona's next game, but Rodriguez said he'd be OK.
Fortunately, things will get a little easier for them next week.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 10 vs. Colorado
Record: 1-8, 1-5 Pac-12
Last week: Lost at home vs. No. 14 Stanford, 48-0
Perhaps it's appropriate to wonder if this is the worst football team in the history of the University of Colorado. They are last in scoring defense, kickoff coverage, sacks allowed and passing efficiency.
That defense allowed Stanford's backup QB Kevin Hogan 184 passing yards and 48 rushing yards by the end of the first half. When he left the game in the fourth quarter, he had thrown for two touchdowns, zero interceptions, had been sacked twice and was leading Colorado 45-0.
The Buffalo offense, for their turn, couldn't reach Stanford's half of the field until Nick Kasa hauled in a 20-yard catch at the Stanford 33 with 9:16 remaining in the fourth quarter. It was a squandered accomplishment; a sack two plays later pushed them back 20-plus yards, and they never managed to get back.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 10 vs. Arizona