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This Week In The Pac: No Foles, No Problem

In a sign that it was a week of unexciting matchups, the most interesting news was probably the announcement of the Pac-12's coming division split.  On the football field four games essentially resulted in four blowouts - the smallest lead the winning team had going into the 4th quarter was Arizona's 23 point lead over Washington.  Two of those blowouts were expected, but one of those was not.  Last week I asked how Arizona would do without Nick Foles, bubble screen master.  The answer?  Just fine, apparently

Matt Scott was efficient and accurate, and the Arizona running game took advantage of what has been an increasingly porous UW front seven for 234 yards on the ground. Juron Criner and Keola Antolin both had big days (OH NO I FEEL A FLASHBACK COMING ON) and both Wildcats lines dominated in the trenches. Meanwhile, Jake Locker only found limited success through the air, the Huskies couldn't get it going on the ground and Locker eventually left the game with a mild rib injury.

AZ Desert Swarm wonders if Matt Scott has created a quarterback controversy:

Matt Scott entered last season as the heir apparent to Willie Tuitama, and lost the starting job only after a horrific showing against Iowa.  Nick Foles came in and never gave up the starting job.  But now, Scott has been given a second chance.  With Foles out anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months with a knee injury, and with Scott playing so well, he may just steal back the starting job.

UW Dawg Pound knows it's tough to win a game when both lines get dominated:

Offensive Line

The Huskies were held to under 300 yards and Jake was under constant pressure. On a night when Jake really could have used some extra help this unit was overwhelmed after the first quarter. Arizona seemed to make adjustments and we couldn't counter. I can see Schaefer moving back to center this week and Kohler moving out to right tackle. Christine is just getting clown stomped. I don't care how well he can direct people around. If he can't block he is useless.  Grade F

Defensive Line

Where was the pressure? Why did Scott have all day to throw in the pocket? Taamu had some good stops early but as the night went on the middle opened up like a freeway for Arizona. We missed Talia Crichton tonight. I never thought I would say that. His absence definitely limited what we could do. Jamora is going to be good but as you saw tonight he isn't an every down player at this point. The Wildcat offensive line owned these guys from start to finish.  Grade F

If Matt Scott has a similar performance against UCLA who should Mike Stoops start against Stanford in Palo Alto?

Arizona fans chanted "Wazzu's better" as the Huskies left the field.

Is there any truth to this taunt?

It may not be highlights, but I think seeing that Nick Foles' golden locks have been replaced with an awesome Afro is even more important.


Stanford 38, Washington St. 28

In front of 36,679 Stanford's offensive line did most of the work for Jim Harbaugh and company, but Wazzu made it interesting with three 4th quarter touchdowns.  I'm not sure if I'm happy about the score of this game because it indicates Stanford is vulnerable, or nervous because Cal still has to visit the Palouse in two weeks.

Rule of Tree will take the ugly win:

They probably won't be making any T-shirts about Saturday's 38-28 win over Washington State. A commemorative poncho, the kind intended to be thrown away after one use, would be more appropriate. Two days after the fact, I won't spend too much time rehashing this one.

Stanford never trailed and took a commanding lead into halftime on the strength of two Stepfan Taylor touchdown runs, but the Cardinal looked flat, committed too many penalties, and was outscored 21-7 in the fourth quarter.

Coug Center must be getting tired of writing the same story every week, accurate as it may be:

Another week, another moral victory, but that isn't a bad thing. Washington State not only survived the last three games, but they improved in each of them. John Fullington held his own at left tackle and Jeff Tuel made it out alive. With the tough part behind them, the Cougs move-on to four winnable games to close the season. What happens in those will show us what this team is made of.

Can you contain your excitement for the OMG LUCK LOCKER SKILLS INTANGIBLES ACCURACY LEGS SPEED UPSIDE battle next week?

Where would you rank Jeff Tuel amongst his Pac-10 peers?


Oregon 60, UCLA 13

If you saw Cal run the ball right at the heart of UCLA's defense with great success then you knew it was going to be ugly when that same Bruin defense went up against Oregon's spread.  So this final score wasn't surprising to anybody, particularly Bruins Nation, who are displeased with conservatism from their team:

So for number of macro and micro reasons there are legit questions about Rick Neuheisel's program. It doesn't mean that the season is lost. There are 5 games left and I still believe the team has enough talent to win at least 3 of those games. To get that done though, the coaches - on both sides of the ball - will have to find a way to shed their conservative tendencies.

Everyone - including both of Rick Neuheisel's coordinators - should be on alert rest of this season. They are now officially more than half way point of a reasonable five year period of rebuilding a program. The numbers this year (during Pac-10 season) have not been acceptable. They need to figure out fast how they are going to move in the other direction. 

Meanwhile, an increasingly cocky Addicted To Quack enjoys another easy win:

Oregon came into Thursday night's showdown with UCLA with a lot of questions.  How would this team deal with the pressure of being #1?  Could the defense step up and play a complete game?  Was Darron Thomas' shoulder completely healthy after the Washington State game? Sixty points and a systematic obliteration of UCLA later, the Ducks can answer those questions with an affirmative.  With all the pressure of the #1 national ranking and the solitary national stage of Thursday night, the Ducks were as collected as could be.  The 47 point margin of victory was the biggest in the history of the series.

UCLA sits at 3-4.  Will they meet BN's pre-season expectations by earning a bowl bid?

Oregon travels to L.A. to take on USC.  Will the Trojans become the first team to hold Oregon below 40 points this year?


Next Week

All games Pacific Standard

Arizona @ UCLA, 12:30 FSN/CSN, probably
Cal @ Oregon St., 12:30 Fox College Sports
Washington St. @ Arizona St., 4:00
Stanford @ Washington, 4:00 Versus
Oregon @ USC, 5:00 ABC

Lots of interesting matchups.  Can Cal play on the road like they did against Arizona, rather than like they did against USC and Nevada?  Will Dennis Erickson get Coug'd? Can Locker and UW find some home magic and continue winning every other game? And what happens in the marquee game of the week at the Coliseum?