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The annual case study of Arizona's biggest rival suggests that nobody should dismiss the Wildcats just yet, but the Pac-12 South's defending champions are reeling.

The discovery that Arizona is allowing 55.5 points in Pac-12 play would not be surprising if this were basketball season. In football, that's a disastrous statistic — and it's barely better than the Wildcat basketball team's defensive average in 2014-15 conference games.

Arizona State righted itself with a 38-23 victory at UCLA last weekend, after the Arizona schools' dual disaster in the desert the previous Saturday, when they lost to the Los Angeles schools by a combined 98-44. But the Wildcats got even worse, allowing 570 total yards in a 55-17 loss at Stanford.

The Wildcats have improved defensively since coach Rich Rodriguez arrived in 2012, while an explosive offense also has masked some deficiencies. But the combination of quarterback Anu Solomon's absence due to a concussion and injuries to star Scooby Wright and two other linebackers devastated Arizona against Stanford. "Everything is fixable," Rodriguez said. Yet until the Wildcat defenders do a better job of getting off blocks and making tackles, opposing offenses will continue to thrive.

Arizona should recover this week when Oregon State visits Tucson, but the Wildcats have a lot of work to do in hopes of staying in the division race.

ASU is back in the picture, only a week after USC's 42-14 blowout seemed to eliminate the Sun Devils. The team's turnaround against UCLA probably shouldn't have been surprising, considering how ASU has recovered well in recent years after losing badly to Stanford and UCLA.

The latest response was "extremely gratifying," said coach Todd Graham. The Sun Devils host Colorado this week with a chance to sustain some momentum going into next week's game at Utah.

Oregon bounces back

Like the Arizona schools, Oregon suffered an embarrassing home loss Sept. 26. The Ducks' fall was greater, because of their national status, but coach Mark Helfrich succeeded in getting them back on track with a 41-24 win at Colorado — although they were tied 17-17 at halftime in Boulder.

"You have to flush a win or flush a loss," Helfrich said, reviewing a tough week. "If somebody tells you you're the greatest team ever, that's not true. If somebody tells you you're the worst team ever, that's not true."

Utah would like the Ducks to swing toward the high end of the scale, further boosting its credibility after a 62-20 win in Eugene. Oregon should keep winning for a while, playing Washington State and Washington before launching a tough stretch of the schedule.

Sark faces Huskies

In his five years as Washington's coach, Steve Sarkisian was known for never producing a spectacular season. Maybe the failure to follow through was an indictment of his work, but it is remarkable to look back at victories over USC in his first two seasons in Seattle. Washington beat the Trojans 16-13 in 2009 and won 32-31 in Los Angeles the following year.

Sarkisian labeled USC and Washington "historically, the two most successful programs in our conference," and they'll meet Thursday. Washington coach Chris Petersen went through a reunion of his own in September when the Huskies visited Boise State, but he figures Sarkisian's experience will be different, with the game in Los Angeles.

Jack leaving UCLA

Seemingly every Pac-12 program, including Utah, recruited UCLA junior linebacker Myles Jack out of the Seattle area. So opposing coaches are very familiar with a player who's not only out for the season with a knee injury, but now intends to enter the NFL draft.

The Bruins are missing "one of the most dynamic, versatile players in the country," Graham said. Jack's last collegiate play was an interception of BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum in a 24-23 victory Sept. 19. He was injured in practice the following week.

Twitter: @tribkurt —

Tribune Power Rankings

1 • Utah (4-0)

Utes moving on, not fielding any more questions about Oregon

2 • Stanford (4-1)

Christian McCaffrey leads FBS with 229.8 all-purpose yards

3 • USC (3-1)

Cody Kessler No. 2 in country in passing efficiency; 15 TDs, one interception

4 • California (5-0)

QB Jared Goff will face Utah for first time in three-year career

5 • Arizona State (3-2)

Sun Devils held UCLA to 62 rushing yards

6 • UCLA (4-1)

Bruins looked like team in need of bye in loss to Arizona State

7 • Oregon (3-2)

Five players recorded sacks vs. Colorado

8 • Washington (2-2)

Huskies will face former coach Sarkisian in Coliseum

9 • Arizona (3-2)

Wildcats allowing 55.5 points in Pac-12 play

10 • Colorado (3-2)

Seven players have interceptions for Buffaloes

11 • Washington State (2-2)

Cougars have given up 50.6 points to Oregon in last eight meetings

12 • Oregon State (2-2)

With bye, Gary Andersen watched son make two special-teams tackles for Utah St.