Predicting college football has always been near impossible. Constant roster turnover, 12 game schedules, injuries and the simple fact that college age athletes are prone to wild fluctuations in week-to-week performance make for erratic results.
But seriously? Cal just finished curbstopping UCLA and had competitive losses to two ranked teams on the road. So of course they get absolutely destroyed by a team that struggled to beat Hawaii, Virginia and Minnesota. Oregon State had two competitive losses to top 10 teams and just beat a ranked Arizona team in Tucson. Washington just lost to Arizona St. by 10 at home. So of course UW takes a 21-0 lead 20 minutes into the game and finally wins in a double overtime thriller. I mean, how do you even begin to make sense of this series of results:
Nebraska 56, Washington 21
Washington 32, Southern Cal 31
Arizona State 24, Washington 14
Oregon State 34, Washington 35, , 2OT
Even Washington St. is vaguely competitive these days! Is there any bastion of sanity and predictability for me to hold on to? Just one consistent performer in the hurricane of unpredictability?
Washington 35, Oregon St. 34
Ryan Katz regressed just enough from last week's apparent breakout performance for Jake Locker and the Huskies to overcome Jacquizz Rodgers and their own mistakes for a critical win in their quest for a bowl game. Washington gave up the ball four times in Oregon St. territory four different ways (fumble, interception, downs, missed FG) but a missed Beaver 2 point conversion in the second overtime secured the win despite themselves. UW Dawg Pound is happy to break a long losing streak to the Beavers:
Jake Locker led Washington to an exciting 35-34 overtime win over Oregon State on Saturday night. Jake threw for a record five touch down passes while leading the Huskies to their first win over the Beavers in six seasons. The win evens Washington's record at 3-3 and keeps them in the race to qualify for a bowl game.
Oregon St. came in unprepared defensively, while Washington had mastered everything there was to learn from the Beavers' game against TCU. It didn't help that Ryan Katz, who reminded everyone of the dangers of an inexperienced quarterback, finally had a bad outing.
But rather than kick the extra point, and force a third overtime, which would have been played on the end of the field that the Oregon St. band and fan section was located, Oregon St. coach Mike Riley called a time out, then opted to try to win the game with an all or nothing game. The call in the low-percentage conversion attempt was a pass to TE Joe Halahuni, who had caught only one pass in the game. Katz missed on the throw into the endzone, however, and the Washington fans exploded to celebrate their victory, which ended a 6 game Oregon St. winning streak in the series, and a 4 game streak of the Beavers beating the Huskies in Seattle.
Oregon St., Arizona, Stanford and Washington are all 2-1 behind Oregon's 3-0. Which team is most likely to challenge Oregon for the Pac-10 title?
Is a freshman quarterback without James Rodgers too much for Mike Riley, evil Pac-10 witch doctor to overcome?
Arizona 24, Washington St. 7
There's not much insightful to say about the final score of this game - WSU is improving, step by tiny step, but a superior opponent beat them in a game without any real drama. The main story line is that Arizona's golden-haired hero may miss significant time with a knee injury. The current prognosis has Foles out "2-3 weeks" with a strained knee, though there are rumors of a more significant injury. AZ Desert Swarm is suitably freaking out:
As soon as he went down, it seemed wrong. As he lay on the turf, grabbing at his knee, this Arizona fan’s gut was churning with worry. I felt the season slipping away before my very eyes. As Matt Scott warmed up, I remembered all of the overthrown passes. All of the poor decision-making. The lack of faith in his receiving corps. I wondered, how could Scott possibly lead the Wildcats through the juggernaut that is the second half of their season? Arguably the four toughest tests of the season remain. Games against USC, @ Oregon, @ Stanford, and the ‘dual in the desert’.
In a game with so many swings, WSU made too many mistakes to win the ballgame. Nearly every time they were on the verge of seizing the momentum, a mistake or turnover gave the game right back to Arizona.
After weeks of watching the offense steadily improve, it was the defense's turn this week. The offense took a step back, but the defense took a big step forward, holding there own against an Arizona offense with plenty of weapons, even without Foles.
How do you see Foles' injury impacting the Wildcats over the 2nd half of the season?
All times Pacific standard
UCLA @ Oregon, 6:00 ESPN
ASU @ Cal, 12:30, CSNBA
WSU @ Stanford, 2:00, Fox College Sports? Is that a thing?
Washington @ Arizona, 7:15, ESPN
We almost return to a full schedule, with Oregon St. and USC getting the week off. UW at Arizona has to be the most interesting matchup considering Washington's 2OT win and Nick Foles' injury. Cal vs. ASU has turned into a desperate battle of reeling, desperate .500 teams that need a win if they want to go bowling. Sigh.
With a week with so few games to recap, let's have some fun with mid-season bowl predictions. Here's what I've got:
Rose Bowl: Oregon
Alamo Bowl: Stanford (ugh)
Holiday Bowl: Oregon St.
Sun Bowl: Arizona
Las Vegas Bowl: Cal
Kraft Fight Hunger Emerald Bowl: Vacant! Thanks USC!
Cal vs. Washington on November 27 may very well match up two 5-6 teams. I'm going to be a homer and say that Cal gets to 6 wins at least. Please. I beg of you, sweet merciful gods of football. Also, if the Pac-10 were to get two BCS teams it's entirely possible that two slots are left vacant. Thoughts?