Around the Pac-10: Week 4

Alright, time for me to get back on schedule with the blog.  This was about the best week possible for the Pac-10 from a national perspective.   I’ll take a look at the conference games first:

Oregon -42 Arizona State- 31

So, is Oregon not quite as dominant as they looked in the first 3 games?  Or is Arizona State actually a good team?  The easiest answer is a little bit of both.  The Oregon defense was torn apart and Arizona State’s defense played pretty well against the Ducks amazing run game.  If the Sun Devils hadn’t committed 7 turnovers who knows what would have happened.  Take into account that it was 100 degrees and this score seems a little more reasonable.  Still, the feeling after this game is that Oregon might not be as far ahead of the Pac-10 as we thought.

Arizona – 10 Cal -9

This is weird.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch any of these games, I’ve only read about them but this is pretty far from the prediction I had for this game.  After getting torn apart by Nevada, I thought California wouldn’t be able to keep up with Arizona’s offense.  They did.  The Wildcats needed a late touchdown to win this one and Cal seemed in control most of the game.  Arizona’s defense is obviously good but their offense can’t disappear like this if they want to win the Pac.  When they’re at their best, the Wildcats could win the conference but when they aren’t, they’re just an average team.  Give credit to the Cal defense for playing so well.  Kevin Riley needs to be a lot better if they want to have a chance to contend.  But, Kevin Riley isn’t very good so that probably won’t happen.

USC – 50 WSU -16

While the other two games weren’t what I expected, this was exactly what I expected.  The Cougars scored first and passed pretty well against a questionable Trojan secondary but they never really stood a chance.  Matt Barkley made a few questionable decisions in the first half, throwing two interceptions.  He went on to say after the game that if they hadn’t committed 3 turnovers they would have scored 70.  Good observation, Matt.  Running back, Marc Tyler, told a reporter he could have run through the holes that the offensive line was making.  To complete the awesome quotes, WSU receiver, Jeffrey Solomon, said, “We’re so close to being good, it’s not even funny.”  This is my favorite quote of the year.  I wish I would have started Stanley Havili on my fantasy team this game, as he was the Trojan’s leading rusher and receiver.  Lane Kiffen lives to make me mad.

Now, the non-conference games:

UCLA – 34 Texas -12

Well, I thought Texas was overrated but I also thought UCLA was just pretty bad.  Credit the Bruins, they have really turned things around since getting drilled by Stanford.  Beating a national power like Texas at Texas is a huge achievement.  UCLA didn’t look great in the first half, only picking up 77 yards but they took control in the 2nd and were never close to losing this game.  Their defense is really starting to play well.  Now, we get to see if they can sustain this success or not.  Maybe the Pac-10 is really that much better than the Big-12.  That’s what I like to think, but Nebraska showed me otherwise.

Oregon State – 24 Boise St – 37

I’m starting to believe the Bronco hype.  This is the first year where I think they could actually challenge for the Pac-10 title.  The poor Beavers will learn that they shouldn’t schedule two teams that are in the top-10, on the road, for their non-conference schedule.  So, the Beavers aren’t an extremely elite team but they’re still dangerous.  They played TCU and Boise close and are the best 1-2 team in the country.  I don’t think that’s enough to challenge for the top of the Pac though.

Stanford – 37 Notre Dame -14

Yes, the Irish aren’t that great but Stanford looks fantastic.  We knew the Cardinal had a lot of potential but it looks like they may be even better than what we expected.  They are so physical and fundamentally sound that it just makes it tough to foresee a future letdown.  With that being said, they haven’t been tested like they will be this week against Oregon.  They dominated yesterday and look to ride that momentum into an early season showdown.

Next Week:

UCLA @ WSU
Arizona State @ Oregon State
UW @ USC
Stanford @ Oregon

Wow, those are some really interesting games.  Someone should write to the Pac-10 and tell them not to have the Stanford-Oregon game at the same time as UW-USC.  Because, I know that would do a lot of good to write to them…  Power rankings after the jump.  Pac-10 Power Rankings

1.  Oregon- First true test this weekend.  This game could determine the Pac-10.
2.  Stanford- So physical.  And a fun team to root for.  It would be great if they blew Oregon out and then ran up the score like they did last year against USC.  I can only dream.
3.  Arizona- If they become consistent, they’ll join Stanford and Oregon at the top.  At the moment, they’re a step below.
4.  USC- A very unimpressive 4-0.  Now, they get into a few teams who might challenge them.  This week will tell a lot.
5.  Oregon State- As I said, the Beavers are the best 1-2 team in the country.  Now, it’s time to see if they’ll put it into another gear for conference play.  They usually do.
6.  UCLA- Maybe the most impressive non-conference win in the Pac-10 this year.  What a strange conference.
7.  Arizona State- Two wins that don’t mean much.  Two losses that show they could be a pretty decent team.  Who knows?
8.  Cal- They have the talent, they just don’t put it together very often.  If they play a complete game they’d be a very dangerous team.  4-8 in these rankings are very close.
9.  Washington- Their second season starts now.  A win would do wonders this week.  A loss, which is more probable, could send this season into a real downward spiral.
10.  WSU- But, they’re so close to being good, it’s not even funny.  Hahaha.  I wonder if anyone in history has said those words after getting beat 50-16 before.

Thanks for reading!

Andrew

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