This Week In The Pac: Haves and Have Nots

To the surprise of very few, the Pac-10 race has crystallized into a four team race.  Oregon, Stanford, Arizona and Oregon St. are a combined 16-3 in conference play, and two of those losses have come against each other. All four won their games on Saturday, further solidifying their grip on the Pac-10. Meanwhile, 6 other teams struggle to make a bowl, struggle through sanctions or fight for that one, magical win, and I get increasingly depressed about Cal's defeat while trolling other SBN blogs for writeups exulting in victory.

The marquee match up this week was Oregon at USC, which some had pegged as a potential upset after USC's impressive destruction of Cal.  The Trojans even had two weeks to prepare for Oregon's offense, but it was all for naught.  599 yards, seven touchdowns and 53 points later the Ducks reaffirmed their status as Pac-10 top dogs for the near future.  Now only four games stand between Oregon and a spot in the National Championship.  Addicted to Quack wants to make sure the Duck defense gets some love:

While the offense will get a lot of credit for piling up 599 yards and 53 points, I am very impressed by Oregon's defensive performance. USC is the most talented offense Oregon has faced this season, and likely for the rest of the season. They came into the game averaging 7.3 yards per play. They averaged only 4.4 yards per play on the night, better than Oregon's season average.

And they're also starting to sound like USC fans:

Make no mistake about who owns this conference, as SC just doesn't have the depth at any level to compete with the Ducks for four quarters.  Maybe soon we'll have to start calling it the 1+11 Pac Review.

Jeez, can't this conference go a few years without an all-consuming overlord?!?

Meanwhile, Conquest Chronicles has similar thoughts as Avi's re: pro coaches transition to the college game:

I don't care how many Super Bowls Monte has won. I don't care that is a Hall of Fame lock. I do care that he has stuck with this antiquated defense when it is well known that this defense doesn't do well with running QB's especially with kids who are inexperienced. The college game has passed Monte by. This isn't the boring NFL schemes that he is used to running. Like I alluded to above, Monte either needs to pull a few rabbits out his hat and adjust or he needs to move on. The latter would not surprise me at the end of the season.

Which team is more likely to trip up Oregon - Arizona in Eugene or Oregon St. in Corvallis?

What do you think of Lane Kiffin's chances to keep USC nationally relevant through sanctions?

 

Arizona 29, UCLA 21

UCLA was able to stay close to Arizona, mostly because the Wildcats had three drives inside the UCLA 25 that resulted in zero points and two other long drives that ended in short field goals.  Still, UCLA may have found a quarterback:

While there has been much discussion (and speculation) over the past couple of months regarding who is the Bruins' best Quarterback, with the season-ending injury to Kevin Prince, there is no question that Richard Brehaut now has the job, and the playcalling appears to be adapting to his strengths (throwing) and weaknesses (running, pulling off the option look crucial to running in the Pistol) as compared to Prince.

AZ Desert Swarm isn't pleased with the defense but they're happy to get a win with Nick Foles set to return soon:

While I continue to be sick to my stomach at the over-use of the zone defense by the defensive coaches, the coaching staff deserves a pat on the back here. Stoops especially. He never gave up on QB Matt Scott, and he certainly could have. Instead, he had faith in him, and left him in to finish the game. And QB Nick Foles has another week for his knee to heal before taking that first hit.

Is Richard Brehaut the answer to UCLA's long history of QB struggles?

Who do you have when Arizona visits Palo Alto next Saturday?

 

Stanford 41, Washington 0

Not much to say.  A superior team destroyed an inferior team by running the ball down their throat.  UW Dawg Pound hands out 6 D's and F's and plays the Willingham card:

Coach Sark...your team is slow and predictable. Jim Harbaugh and his staff smoked you tonight. They made you look Willingham-esque. Your team wasn't ready to play and there is no excuse for that. We can talk talent gaps all night but your team didn't begin to fight until they were down by 28.

Rule of Tree is the opposite of displeased:

The Cardinal limited Washington to 107 yards, the second best defensive performance in school history. Coupled with its 35-0 shutout at UCLA on September 11, Stanford has two shutouts in a season for the first time since 1972, when it blanked San Jose State and Washington at home. The last time the Cardinal had two road shutouts in the same season was 1968, when Stanford closed the season with wins at Pacific and California. Washington hadn’t been shut out at home since 1976.

When (if ever) do you see UW returning to their days as a national power?

How insanely frightened are you of Stanford's offensive line?

 

Arizona St. 42, Washington St. 0

Not much to say.  A superior team destroyed an inferior team by passing the ball down their throat.  Nuss at Coug Center has reached a breaking point:

I know I said they owed it to themselves to win a game. And I still believe that. But they owed it to us to at least show up in Tempe. And they couldn't even do that. 

So, I'm not going to bother to show up, either. I'm sick of writing about losing football. I'm sick of trying to measure progress one baby step at a time. I'm sick of trying to think up unique and interesting angles relating to a team getting its collective face kicked in on a weekly basis. I was willing to do it, up to a certain point. We passed that point on Saturday. 

I'm not giving up on these guys. I still believe Paul Wulff is the right man for the job, and I still believe they can win a game this year. I'm still going to follow things, and if they win a game and give me something meaningful to write about, I'll be more than happy to jump back into the fray. But until that happens, I'm just not going to write about football.

House of Sparky is really really happy they didn't get coug'd:

I was really sick of reading about how Washington State was going to win this weekend. I didn't think it was even a possibility, and I'm glad that my comments regarding this game were accurate. 

The Sun Devils are a team with a lot of talent and depth. They are inexperienced and can be easily defeated by a smart coach and a good team. ASU needs to work on a lot of things in order to consistently compete in the Pac-12 next season, but the good news is that we are still worlds better than the Washington schools.

Cal can't possibly lose in Pullman, right?  RIGHT?!?

Arizona St. gave Oregon and Oregon St. a scare - any chance they knock off Stanford or Arizona?

 

Next Week

Washington @ Oregon, 12:30, ABC
Cal @ Washington St., 1:00, CSNBA
Oregon St. @ UCLA, 4:00
Arizona @ Stanford, 5:00, ABC
Arizona St. @ USC, 7:30

The obvious big game is Arizona @ Stanford for sole possession of second place in the Pac-10.  Please, for the love of God, GO WILDCATS.  In other action, Cal tries to avoid the embarrassing road loss to end all embarrassing road losses, Washington probably gets Willingham'd again, Oregon St. continues another maddening November surge and an irrelevant game is played in the Coliseum.

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