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This Week In the Pac-12: Oregon Reasserts Supremacy

In which Oregon blitzes another hypothetical challenge yet falls in the polls, Arizona surprises with a UW blow out, and Oregon State stays undefeated.

Did I pick this picture solely to gross everybody out? Yes, yes I did.
Did I pick this picture solely to gross everybody out? Yes, yes I did.
Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Oregon 43, Arizona State 21

There are two types of Oregon games. The Oregon games where Oregon races out to a 40 point win and coasts in the 2nd half, allowing their opponents to make the score look vaguely respectable, and the Oregon games when Oregon can't run away in the first half but then score 21 points in the first five minutes of the 3rd quarter. They all pretty much end with the same final score in the end though.

Of larger interest is Oregon's drop from 3rd to 4th in the BCS standings. Ironically it's a Kansas State squad that backed out of playing Oregon this season (and thus killing Oregon's non-con schedule strength) that jumped ahead of the Ducks on the strength of their computer numbers. If Alabama/Florida, Kansas State and/or Notre Dame win out, is there a scenario in which Oregon finishes undefeated but out of the national title game?

I say no, because Oregon will likely play four more games against ranked opponents and rise in the computer rankings as other teams lose. But it's not so far-fetched a scenario as to be completely dismissed.

Addicted To Quack isn't mincing words regarding Kansas State:

You know what is better than beating someone in the polls? Proving it on the field. I'll start to respect Kansas State the day they play a decent OOC game. Bill Snyder is a pansy and I hope Texas Tech takes them behind the woodshed next week when Oregon is making fans do math on whether or not they would hit 100 if they left their starters in.

House of Sparky asks everybody to please calm down:

ASU took it on the chin last night. In today's instant-analysis, 140-character world, the immediate fallout will bury the Sun Devils as pretenders and the generally fairweather fanbase will see a few jump off the bandwagon.

OK, fine. That goes with life in 2012.

But for those are are becoming more fluent in Speaking Victory with each passing week, they will see this for what it was: a program on the rise getting beat by a much better team.

Oregon threw for just 48 yards against ASU. Is there a team in this conference that can force the Ducks to win a game on the strength of Marcus Mariota's unproven arm?

After opening the season in impressive fashion against questionable competition, did this performance 'expose' ASU, or just confirm Oregon's superiority?

Arizona 52, Washington 17

An Arizona win hardly surprises me, but 52 to 17? After the Wildcats lost three straight Pac-12 games to start the conference season? After a series of credible defensive performances, Justin Wilcox's unit was completely destroyed by Matt Scott and the spread-n-shred.

It's worth noting that after a false start against Toledo and a bizarre red zone let-down against Oregon's excellent defense, Arizona has been setting the scoreboard on fire. They should have beaten Stanford and had a great shot at taking down OSU. I'll be fascinated to see what they can do against USC next week, and if they pull the upset it's not unreasonable to suggest they have a shot at running the table.

AZDesert Swarm sees this win as an excellent sign in RichRod's program shift:

The combined record of Wildcat FBS opponents through Week 8 is 33-9; Washington accounts for four of the loses. For a program like Arizona in a rebuilding project -- even one ahead of schedule -- losses to Stanford, Oregon State and Oregon make sense. Beating the opponents of comparable or lesser talent is what makes the difference.

UW Dawg Pound kinda sounds like us:

I love Sark. I have barked for Sark. I will continue to bark for Sark because he is no villain. However after observing Husky football for nearly forty years you can begin to see the writing on the wall. That writing tells me that it will take an absolute miracle for him to get this turned around because his players aren't believing in him anymore.

Do you believe Sark might get fired at the end of this season? And should he be on the hot seat?

Oregon State 21, Utah 7

How often can OSU stay undefeated with all of these close games? Believe it or not, but this 14 point win is actually the 2nd biggest margin of victory the Beavers have managed this season . . . despite getting outgained by 80 yards at home by a team with an 0-4 conference record. Remind me again how Oregon State is undefeated?

On the other hand, after what happened this week it's pretty easy to imagine a scenario in which OSU beats Washington, Cal and (obviously) Nicholls State. That leaves a road game against Palo Alto and home games against Arizona State and Oregon to determine just how far this shocking comeback season for Mike Riley and crew goes.

Building the Dam loves that everything seems to be coming up Milhouse for OSU:

It's an age old debate; is it better to be good or lucky? Saturday night, Oregon St. demonstrated that some of both usually come into play when special seasons are in the making. The Beavers got off to their second only 6-0 start to a season, matching that of the 1907 squad, with a 21-7 Homecoming win over Utah on Blackout Saturday night, and it came down to Ute turnovers, especially a pair of them that occurred within a couple of minutes of each other late in the first quarter and early in the second period.

Block U sums up a trying season for the Utes:

Utah football is kind of in a state of limbo ... not ghastly bad and yet, still not good enough to win winnable games. Saturday, like the Saturday before, was a winnable game the Utes lost because of inconsistencies and undisciplined play. I guess, in that regard, they are consistent. Unfortunately, that type of consistency is never good.

How much longer do you think Oregon State can continue to win these close games?

USC 50, Colorado 6

I have no comment about this game beyond noting that USC could have basically named the score. The Pac-12 doesn't need Colorado to become great or anything, but we need them to improve at least enough that when they face a legit team the game isn't a complete farce.

Conquest Chronicles looks at some lopsided numbers:

Yes, the Trojans did play Colorado, but you can't be too picky here. Barkley, as noted already, tossed six touchdown passes, but he did so on 19-of-20 completions. That broke a Pac-12 record for completion percentage, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Ralphie Report mines for silver linings:

As hard as it is to say, the Buffs did a lot of things right today. There were flashes from the young guys, Christian Powell,Gerald Thomas, Vincent Hobbs, that showed that they may be starting to turn the corner. But there is no way that this Colorado team was going to lose the turnover battle and win this game. Six turnovers later that turned out to be true.

Do you agree that USC should be on upset alert next week against Arizona?

Next Week

Colorado at Oregon, 12:00 pm, Pac-12 Network
UCLA at Arizona State, 12:00 pm, FX
USC at Arizona, 12:30, ABC/ESPN2
Washington State at Stanford, 3:15, Pac-12 Network
California at Utah, 6:45, Pac-12 Network
Oregon State at Washington, 7:15, Pac-12 Network.

The good news is that for the first time this season we have six conference games in one week - and all on the same day even! The bad news is that three games range from uninteresting to down right cruel and unusual. Cal and Utah will be reasonably competitive if you're into watching two teams with seasons going nowhere, while Colorado/Oregon and Wazzu/Stanford are only for the most brazen of football addicts.

But the other three games hold potential intrigue, starting with a critical game for Jim Mora's UCLA squad against an Arizona State team looking to bounce back from an ugly loss to Oregon. Unfortunately, most of you probably won't see it because you'll be more interested in USC at Arizona. I think Arizona has a decent chance of outscoring the Trojans, but I also wouldn't be surprised to see Matt Barkley throw for an absurd amount of touchdowns. Either way, it should be a mini-preview of how ready USC's defense is for the Oregon challenge.

And finally, Oregon State at Washington seems like a game that maybe wouldn't be competitive. But the game is in Seattle and as I noted above the Beavers aren't into winning games by more than 10 points or so, which means they are constantly on upset alert.

And for those of you who are burned out on football talk, the start of the basketball season is less than three weeks away. This Week In The Pac-12 will likely start including some serious basketball content next week. If you can't wait to talk basketball, why not discuss the ongoing drama as UCLA waits and wonders if two of their huge recruits will actually be allowed to play?