Oregon catapulted themselves back atop the Pac-10 with an impressive comeback victory over previously unbeaten Stanford.
The Pac-10's biggest game of the week and one that may end up being the biggest game of the season was filled with fireworks. A quick start put Stanford up 21-3, but Oregon dominated the rest of the way and were rewarded with a jump up to number three in the country. With both of the teams ahead of them, Alabama and Ohio St., yet to play the second-best teams in their respective conferences, Oregon is in a good position to play for the national championship if they can win out. That task will be much easier knowing that the toughest team left on Oregon's schedule, Arizona, has to travel to Eugene for that match-up.
Player of the Week: LaMichael James, Oregon- At just 5'9'', 185 lbs., LaMichael James shouldn't be able to carry the rock time and time again without wearing down, but the wear if taking hits isn't a factor if the defense can't get to you. In front of a national TV audience, James did not have a negative carry even once in 31 carries. He ran all over Stanford to the tune of 257 yards and three touchdowns in a thoroughly dominating offensive performance. Might James be ready to pass Andrew Luck as the Pac-10's top Heisman Trophy candidate?
Stat of the Week: 15- Not since 2007 has Washington St. won a road game, a streak that has now stretched to 15 games with their loss to UCLA on Saturday.
Game of the Week: Oregon St. at Arizona, 3:00 pm, Versus- Coming off of a three point win over Arizona St., Oregon St. is back to .500 and looking to prove that they too are in contention for the Pac-10 title. Prior to the season, the Beavers were considered one of the top contenders for the conference crown and on Saturday they can reclaim their spot in the top grouping of conference teams. Meanwhile, Oregon appears to the runaway favorite for the Pac-10 title now, but Arizona can put a needlessly close win over Cal behind them with a win over the Beavers on Saturday and throw their name up there with the Ducks' for conference supremacy.
Pac-10 Power Poll (First Place Votes in Parentheses)
1) Oregon Ducks, 5-0 (11)- A rough start, but a big win for the Ducks in the end. Oregon proved to be the far faster team and their ability to use that speed in an uptempo offense eventually wore Stanford down. LaMichael James is shining, as expected, and the Ducks are in the hunt for a national title. The question is whether they can do that if they continue to get off to poor starts. This trend started at Tennessee when the Ducks fell behind early, but came back to win easily. Oregon didn't start well versus Arizona St. either and on Saturday, Stanford jumped out to a 21-3 lead. How much longer will Oregon get away with their slow starts? Last Week: 2
2) Stanford Cardinal, 4-1- So they don't have the speed to hang with Oregon, but despite the 21 point loss, Stanford didn't have a bad showing. The Cardinal showed flashes of very good play in the early going and before Andrew Luck took several big hits, he had the Stanford offense moving up and down the field with ease. Now, Stanford is going to need some help if they are to win the Pac-10, but a strong finish and they could still end up in a BCS bowl. They can take a step in the direction of a BCS bowl with a win over USC on Saturday on national TV in primetime. Last Week: 1
3) Arizona Wildcats, 4-0- Despite being 4-0 with a win they can hang their hat on (Iowa), Arizona had been very sloppy in the first third of the season. The turnovers and penalties of the first four games that the Wildcats had to work furiously to overcome may be in the past now. Without a game last week, Arizona had the time to sort things out and now will have to take their play to another level with Oregon St. visiting Tucson. Last Week: 3
4) Oregon St. Beavers, 2-2- The biggest question Oregon St. had to answer entering 2010 was what kind of quarterback play they would get with Ryan Katz stepping into the role. In the first three games, Katz hadn't been bad, but he hadn't been overly impressive either. He put together his best game of the season on Saturday though, completing 19 of 29 passes for 260 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, while getting the ball to eight different receivers. Jacquizz Rodgers chipped in with 145 yards and two touchdowns for the Beavers to pull out a 31-28 win and the defensive line rushed the passer well, but didn't do too well against the run. Now, they'll have to deal with Nic Grigsby and Nick Foles when they play at Arizona on Saturday. Last Week: 4
5) California Golden Bears, 2-2- UC Davis and a poor Colorado team are hardly wins to hang your hat on, but that's what Cal is doing right now. After opening the season with those two wins at home, the Golden Bears have lost to Nevada and Arizona on the road and now have to prove that they can beat a halfway decent team. They will begin trying to do that on Saturday when they play UCLA. Going in their favor is the fact that it is in Berkeley, where they are 2-0 this season and have owned UCLA of late. Unfortunately for Cal, they will have to face the Bruins' pistol offense, which Nevada used to torch them earlier this season. Last Week: 7
6) UCLA Bruins, 3-2- Picking up a win that extends a win streak to three is usually cause for celebration, but UCLA allowed a Washington St. team that was averaging 12 points a game to score 28. Had it not been for a key goal line stand, the Bruins could have dropped the game to the lowly Cougars. Despite their issues, UCLA is 3-2 now and are even at 1-1 in Pac-10 play with a key game versus Cal coming up. The Bruins haven't won in Berkeley in over a decade, but they do run the pistol offense that Cal couldn't stop earlier this year. With a trip to Oregon to follow, a win over Cal would be gigantic for the Bruins, but an improved defensive performance and the return of Kevin Prince will likely be necessary for that to happen.. Last Week: 6
7) Washington Huskies, 2-2- Just like last season, the Huskies had the ball with little time left and needed a score to beat USC and just like last season, they drove down the field for a game-winning field goal as time expired to take down the Trojans. Jake Locker once again led Washington down the field and showed off his great athleticism, which masks a continued inconsistency in his passing. Nonetheless, what was nearly a lost season for the Huskies looks like it may have hope once again. At 2-2, Washington may be able to get to a bowl game, but they will have to avoid a letdown when they return home to play Arizona St. Last Week: 9
8) Arizona St. Sun Devils, 2-3- If only Steven Threet could stop throwing the ball to the guys on the other team, Arizona St. would be in business. After throwing four interceptions as part of a seven turnover game that nullified 597 total yards in a loss to Oregon, Threet tossed three more picks against Oregon St. to find themselves at 0-2 in the Pac-10. With trips to Washington and Cal coming up, the Sun Devils have a tough stretch of games coming up and if Threet can't throw it to the guys in the right color jerseys, Arizona St. will likely find themselves 2-5. With that will come Dennis Erickson's spot firmly on the hot seat. Last Week: 8
9) USC Trojans, 4-1- Four unimpressive wins to start the season led people to ask what would happen when they played a decent team and last week those people got their answer. Once again, USC's defense was unimpressive and despite finding a groove in the middle of the game, Matt Barkley missed two open receivers on key plays, one for a first down and one for a touchdown. Most curious was Lane Kiffin's decision to go away from the running game on third and four with a chance to close out the game despite Allen Bradford's sensational 223 rushing yards. In the end, Washington drove down the field for a winning field goal for a 32-31 win that has the Trojans in a tough spot with Stanford, Cal and Oregon coming up. Last Week: 5
10) Washington St. Cougars, 1-3- Another road game, another loss for Washington St., but the Cougars did show improvement in their loss to UCLA. Jeff Tuel showed once again why he is the bright spot on the Cougars, throwing for 311 yards and two touchdowns and were he playing for a team that was winning, Tuel would be getting a lot more publicity. Despite Tuel's good play, the Wazzu front seven continued to struggle and hit a new low point in allowing 437 rushing yards to the Bruins. Having to play Oregon, Arizona and Stanford next certainly won't make things much easier for the Cougars. Last Week: 10