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This Week In The Pac: Sense - This Makes None

The Team A > Team B > Team C > Team A paradox is one of the yearly quirks that makes college football so interesting.  In a sport built upon the necessity for supposedly impartial arbiters to judge teams nationwide that share few, if any common opponents, these frequent loops make trying to understand an inherently confusing sport even more perplexing.

USC beat Washington St., 50-16.  Washington St. beat Oregon St., 31-14.  Oregon St. beat USC, 36-7.

Three games, three teams, three games that ranged from not-close to blow-out.  Sure, if you want you can try to make sense of it all.  Washington St. got blown out early in the year when their players were younger and less experienced.  USC lost Matt Barkley halfway through the OSU game (even though USC was already down 20-0).  Whatever.  All this really is is another in a long line of data points illustrating how utterly unpredictable college football is, which can either be endearing or maddening, depending on your point of view.  All I know is that with the possible exception of Big Game 2009 Cal hasn't been on the right side of a jaw dropping, head scratching win since 2003.  Send a little bit of serendipity our way, Gods of College Football!

Oregon St. 36, USC 7

Usually when a score makes absolutely no sense turnovers and special teams played a prominent role in the outcome, and that was certainly the case for OSU.  USC had two turnovers on downs deep in OSU territory and Matt Barkley threw one Kevin-Riley-versus-Nevada-esque interception that was returned for a touchdown.  Building The Dam finds the bright side in everything:

It might be that the embarrasing 31-14 loss to Washington St. was the best thing that could have happened. Oregon St. could and possibly should have won both the one point double overtime loss at Washington, and the UCLA game that was won on a field goal as time ran out. Coming close can allow problems to be under-appreciated, or overlooked all together. But there was no missing things in the Cougar contest, and doubtless there were some private minutes of self reflection when 'Quizz issued a public apology, for issues largely on others.

Conquest Chronicles wants more from Matt Barkley:

Can we now stop all the great talk about Barkley's game. He looks no better than Rob Johnson right now. I am sure he will improve but its time to be realistic.  Barkley continues to struggle. I don't have an answer for it. His throws lacked confidence or they looked liked wounded ducks. And there were a number of throws that went into coverage...obvious coverage that anyone could see and then there was the Pick 6. The DB was spying that play from the moment it started.

If Matt Barkley can't go against UCLA what chance do you give the Bruins to pull the upset?

Does this surprising win convince you to give Oregon St. a fighting chance in their last two games @ Stanford and vs. Oregon?

Washington 24, UCLA 7

I missed the first half of this game, so I suppose it's possible that the first half was filled with vaguely competent offensive play stifled by better defense.  But that's not what I saw in a bad, bad second half filled with poor quarterbacking, bad blocking, mind numbing penalties and general sloppy football.  The quarterback position continues to be cursed for the Bruins as an ineffective Richard Brehaut was removed with an apparent concussion in favor of players clearly not ready for FBS football.  Meanwhile Jake Locker continued to torpedo his draft stock, if anybody was paying attention.  UW Dawg Pound is just happy to get a win:

This was a game that could have gone either way in the fourth quarter. Washington was dominating play but they weren't putting points on the scoreboard. You could sense that the first team to make a critical mistake was going to lose this ballgame. UCLA made it when Quinton Richardson intercepted the ball and returned it for a touchdown. Hats off to the defense tonight. They took advantage of what was out there and won the game.  This was a game Washington had to win and they did. Wiping the taste of losing away is always a good thing.

Bruins Nation is getting increasingly frustrated with the Neuheisel regime:

The whole team imploded once again on national TV embarrassing themselves and embarrassing the four letters. Yes, there are injury issues with this team. Yes, we are young (an excuse that seems to be in play in Westwood every year). Yes, we went to a back up. Yet, there are just no justification for how clueless, how out of sync, how unprepared and undisciplined this team looked with the season on the line. This was not the first time we experienced this kind of implosion this season and it is very difficult to take. We have said since the Oregon game the careers of the entire coaching staff are going to be in line for this season. Tonight's game was a huge test and needless to say everyone FAILED in spectacular fashion.

How many more seasons would you give Rick Neuheisel to turn things around?

Am I the only person annoyed by the trend of teams declaring that black is their third color and then having a contrived 'black out?'

Next Week

All games Pacific Standard Time

UCLA @ Arizona St., 12:30 pm, FSN
Arizona @ Oregon, 4:00 pm ESPN

Washington @ Cal, 12:30 pm, CSNCA
Oregon St. @ Stanford, 4:30 pm, Versus
Notre Dame @ USC, 5:00 pm, ABC

The Pac-10 again trots out a weekday clunker as UCLA tries to hold onto the last vestiges of a bowl bid against ASU - but thankfully this one isn't on national TV.  Meanwhile the Oregon coronation looks to continue unharmed, Washington and Cal will play in a game I'll struggle to care about, I'll become a huge Oregon St. fan for one week and USC and Notre Dame play a rivalry game dying a slow death.  Get your picks in early!