Stanford and Oregon have clinched BCS spots. Washington St., Arizona St., Cal and UCLA cannot reach bowl eligibility. Oregon St. must defeat #1 Oregon. Only Washington stands a good chance of preventing the very unlikely but plausible scenario I outlined just three weeks ago. We're just one Couging away from a worthy WAC team taking a vacated Pac-10 spot in the Holiday Bowl!
Sure, the Pac-10's insistence on scheduling multiple challenging out of conference opponents and 9 game conference schedules (plus those cheatin' Trojans!) has resulted in just three bowl eligible teams. But I'm sure that we can console ourselves that doing so gives Stanford the computer boost to jump ahead of Wisconsin's poll advantage to earn an automatic BCS bowl.
. . . .If you'll excuse me I'm going to go pound my head into the wall. Hit the jump for more pain, plus funny football foibles: Southern California edition!
Oregon 48, Arizona 29
One of the few tiny specks of comfort Cal fans can take from this season is that our defense remains the only defense that did not fully bend to Oregon's inevitable second half onslaught. We can also comfort ourselves knowing that Cal wasn't the only team to needlessly shoot itself in the foot on special teams against the Ducks. A completely unnecessary and inconsequential offsides infraction erased a missed Oregon field goal when the Wildcats were only down one, and gave the Ducks a first down as the floodgates opened. Arizona's inability to stop Oregon's offense wasted a truly spectacular day from Nick Foles, who totaled 448 passing yards. Addicted To Quack keeps their postgame thoughts succinct:
After an evenly played first half, the Ducks game out blazing in the second half, outscoring the Wildcats 34-10. Josh Huff got it started with an electric 85 yard touchdown run, and the offense kept rolling from there. If the Cal game put any doubt in your mind about our place as the best team in the country, tonight's game told that doubt to shut the hell up.
AZ Desert Storm surprisingly pines for Matt Scott after Nick Foles throws for 448 yards against Oregon's defense. I can't help but feel they may be confusing causation and correlation:
Matt Scott has top-level ability with his arm and his legs. He has experience, and has a firm grasp of the offense. Even if Nick Foles has the best stats in the nation, it is meaningless if Arizona loses. This is the third week in a row that we've all had to read about how good Nick Foles performed in the loss. I'm sick of it. Matt Scott is a much better fit for this offense. Look at the stats. Not his stats, the overall rushing stats. In games in which Matt Scott started, the Arizona offense averaged 249 yards rushing. In games in which Nick Foles started, (Not including the Washington St. game, as he left the game early with an injury.), the Arizona offense averaged 108.9 yards rushing.
Yes, I'm looking ahead. How do you see Oregon faring against either Auburn or TCU?
Is there any reason to bench Nick Foles after he threw for seven times as many passing yards as Brock Mansion?
Stanford 38, Oregon St. 0
Yawn. Andrew Luck is ultra efficient. Stanford curb stops another overmatched opponent. Said overmatched opponent doesn't help themselves by unnecessarily turning the ball over. I'm not talking about this situation any more than I have to. Rule of Tree celebrates a BCS bid:
Boise State's overtime loss to Nevada on Friday coupled with LSU's 31-23 loss to Arkansas on Saturday afternoon paved the way for Stanford to jump into the top four of the BCS rankings--and thereby guarantee a BCS bid--with a win against Oregon State. The last part of the equation seemed far from a foregone conclusion, with Jim Harbaugh suggesting earlier this week that Stanford had no business being favored against the Beavers.
While Harbaugh's comments were nothing but motivational hogwash (Woo Pig Sooie!), OSU was coming off its best performance of the season, a rout of USC. As it turned out, the Beavers could've suited up former notable players Steven Jackson, Chad then-Johnson, TJ Houshmandzadeh, and Nick Barnett, and it wouldn't have mattered.
What was reinforced, as Oregon St. faced their third top seven team, with another to come, and their fifth top tier quarterback, and lost to all of them, is that an injection of team speed is mandatory before the Beavers can hope to move into that next level. Waiting for some of this quality of opponents to graduate their stars won't work, as the kind of programs that are beating the Beavers will reload. Being beat up hasn't helped down the stretch, but it has underscored that quality depth is a problem, because there is no better alternative to struggling starters to turn to.
What's the higher number: Andrew Luck's draft position or average home attendance in Palo Alto? ZING! (What, me bitter?)
Would a 5-7 season and rivalry game drubbing cause the same level of fan angst and off-season soul searching in Corvallis as it has/will in Berkeley? What's the temperature in Beaver land?
Arizona St. 55, UCLA 34
Steven Threet was hurt early against UCLA, but Brock Osweiler, Cameron Marshall and special teams play helped ASU respond to a 17-0 deficit with a 55-10 run that put the game away early in the 4th quarter. House Of Sparky breaks down what should be an interesting off-season quarterback battle:
Osweiler's performance initiates yet another quarterback controversy in Tempe, following in the footsteps of the epic battle between Rudy Carpenter and Sam Keller in 2007. While Threet has performed ably in 2010, Osweiler was dominant against the Bruins defense.
Should Threet be available next week against Arizona, will he play? Osweiler may give the Sun Devils the best chance to defeat the Wildcats and take back the Territorial Cup. Either way, having two good quarterbacks is a good problem for Dennis Erickson and ASU to have. The execution of the situation is what truly matters.
When this season is over, CRN needs to seriously look at his coaching staff and make major changes. If Bullough or any Walker disciple is back, that is going to be a huge strike against CRN (and believe you me, if you think BN won't go after CRN like BN did KD, you're kidding yourself). CRN still has time to turn it around and right the ship, but this season has shown he will need to make some tough choices to move this program in the right direction, starting with revamping his coaching staff.
Who would you pick to QB the Sun Devils in the territorial cup?
State your case as to why UCLA should fire/retain Norm Chow and/or Chuck Bullough.
Notre Dame 20, USC 16
Notre Dame turned the ball over 4 times in their own territory . . . and USC only turned them into 3 field goals and one touchdown. Mitch Mustain was ineffectual, the Trojan running game did nothing, and Notre Dame's three long touchdown drives were enough, leading us to question if this sanction handicapped team has given up. Conquest Chronicles isn't in a good mood:
It would be easy to say that we now know why Mitch Mustain was never the starter but that is unfair. Playing on the practice squad while barely getting any real playing time in the last 3 1/2 years what could we have expected? Of course it wasn't all Mustain's fault our receivers dropped a number of passes...especially RoJo's sure game winning TD right there at the end.
Lets be clear, things are going to get worse with the sanctions really hitting us next year. I am not buying any of the rumors at this point. I really don't have much more to say.
USC: Better or worse in year 2 of NCAA sanctions?
Arizona St. @ Arizona, 5:00 pm ESPN
Oregon @ Oregon St., 12:30 ABC
Washington @ Washington St., 4:00 Versus
USC @ UCLA, 7:30 FSN
It's rivalry week, which doesn't include the Big Game because Stanford admins are a bunch of weenies (or at least, that's how I understand it). The L.A. and Arizona schools play entirely for pride, as neither game should have any impact on bowl selections. But Washington St. can keep the Huskies away from the Holiday Bowl and Oregon St. has the opportunity to plunge the BCS system into potential chaos. So needless to say, GO BEAVERS!