Most of the Pac-10 of late has been about Oregon and for good reason. The Ducks are ranked number one in the country, their closest game was an 11 point win and that is their only game decided by less than 20 points. While Oregon has had praise heaped upon them though, there's another team quietly lurking. Despite playing without their starting quarterback for the last two weeks Arizona and Oregon St. are still in the mix. To take home the conference crown each will likely have to win their remaining games and while running the table won't be easy by any means, for all the Oregon talk, there are two other teams hanging around out there with a chance to make this an exciting finish to the Pac-10 season.
Player of the Week: LaMichael James, Oregon: This category has almost become the permanent home for Oregon players, but what are you going to do when they keep putting up monster games? On the road against USC on Saturday LaMichael James tore through the Trojan defense to the tune of 239 yards and three touchdowns. The entire Oregon offense put up big days to compensate for two rare interceptions by Darron Thomas, but it was James leading the charge for the Ducks and delivering yet another dominating win.
Stat of the Week: 34- Washington was beaten by Stanford on Saturday, 41-0, the first time they have been shut out at home since 1976.
Game of the Week: Arizona at Stanford, 5 pm PDT, ABC- We already know that Arizona is in the running to win the Pac-10, but both of these teams will have a BCS bowl game spot on the line when they take to the field in primetime. Whether Oregon runs the table and plays for the national title or not, a one loss Pac-10 team is well positioned to be the conference's second representative in a BCS bowl. Arizona may get Nick Foles back from injury, but Matt Scott has played well enough in his absence to give the Wildcats a chance if he is the guy, while Stanford is coming off of a housecleaning of Washington. The national title might be out of the reach for both the Cardinal and Wildcats, but the BCS is still in reach for both, at least until Saturday night when the loser will see those hopes dashed.
Pac-10 Power Poll (First Place Votes in Parentheses)
1) Oregon Ducks, 8-0 (10)- This wasn't the first time that a team hung around with Oregon for a couple quarters and even into this third, but eight games into the season and nobody has done it for four quarters. When push comes to shove, the Oregon offense has proven to be too much for anyone to keep up with. LaMichael James put on a show to put an end to the Gameday curse, but Jeff Maehl and Lavasier Tuinei plus a dominating offensive line made it clear to Jurrell Casey that the Ducks are more than a good quarterback and running back. Washington has been a Oregon rival for a long time, bu even if that rivalry game, it's unlikely that the Huskies will be able to pull the upset in Eugene this week. Last Week: 1
2) Stanford Cardinal, 7-1- After the Cardinal got wiped by Oregon in the last two and a half quarters of their game in Eugene many people wondered how good Stanford really was and if they had the athletes necessary to get it done week in and week out in the Pac-10 as they hoped to stay near the top of the conference. All they have done since that night in Eugene though is win, win and win some more. Last week it was a 41-0 shalacking of Washington in Seattle, but this weekend is the real test with Arizona visiting Stanford Stadium. Nick Foles or not, Arizona has an explosive offense that will challenge Stanford' team speed on defense and the Wildcat defensive line will make things difficult on Andrew Luck. If Stanford makes it through the Wildcats there won't be a doubter left. Last Week: 2
3) Arizona Wildcats, 7-1- When Nick Foles went down with a knee injury, Arizona was facing at least two weeks without their star quarterback with one of those games against a Washington team coming off of a big win and the next on the road at UCLA. While neither game would be considered unbelievably tough, they both presented challenges for a team without its quarterback, but the Wildcats have made it through them after beating UCLA 29-21. The Wildcat offense did sputter in the second half against Bruins and with a tough game with plenty on the line coming up against Stanford this weekend they could sure use Foles. Last Week: 3
4) Oregon St. Beavers, 4-3- Who besides Oregon in the Pac-10 controls their own destiny? Amazingly, it's Oregon St., who could get their chance at revenge on the Ducks. Last season the two met in the season finale at Autzen Stadium with the winner earning a Rose Bowl trip and should the Beavers enter this year's Civil War without another loss, they'll get another crack to beat the Ducks for a Rose Bowl berth, this time at home. At home is where they put a whooping on Cal, 35-7, this weekend in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated. Ryan Katz is starting to find a comfort zone, something that does not bode well for UCLA, where Oregon St. will play on Saturday. Last Week: 5
5) USC Trojans, 5-3- Is it weird that the Trojans gave up 53 points to Oregon and it can be argued that their defense didn't play too poorly. That was the case on Saturday when USC got a couple stops and made Oregon's offense work harder than they have in past games, but the Trojans just didn't have an answer for every member of the Duck offense, even if Jurrell Casey thinks they are just a quarterback and running back. Offensively, the Trojans moved the ball and made things difficult on the Oregon defense, but you have to wonder what was going through Lane Kiffin's head when he tried to go hurry up and play at Oregon's speed for a while, then went ultra-conservative with a third quarter lead. Last Week: 4
6) California Golden Bears, 4-4- Once again the Bears traveled and came up big losers. It was an ugly day for Cal as they were run through, giving up 197 rushing yards. Their offense didn't fare any better, amassing just 203 total yards and worst of all, Kevin Riley went down with an injury. It was a day full of bad for the Golden Bears, who lost 35-7. Through eight games this season they are 4-0 at home and 0-4 on the road, which is strange for a team not packed with youth. Another road game looms on Saturday when they play at Washington St. Last Week: 6
7) Arizona St. Sun Devils, 4-4- If Steve Threet throws it to the guys in the same colored shirts, Arizona St. wins, but when he throws it to the guys in the other colored shirts, the Sun Devils fall. It's become the determinant of Arizona St.'s fate in each game this season and versus Washington St., Threet didn't throw a single interception. The result? A 42-0 win. Threet hit the 300 yard mark and threw three touchdowns while three different Sun Devils all ran for a score. A trip to USC will be a tough task for the Sun Devils' defense, but if Threet can keep from throwing picks, they can put up points on the Trojans. Last Week: 8
8) UCLA Bruins, 3-5- If the UCLA defense could have played four quarters of football they would likely be celebrating a win instead of smarting from their third consecutive loss. After a horrendous start, the UCLA defense buckled down and gave the offense some chances to get back in the game, which they took advantage of with a couple big plays. When push came to shove though, the Bruin offense isn't good enough to play catch up and the UCLA defense has made a habit of making them play catch up of late. A bowl berth is becoming increasingly difficult for the Bruins and expecting them to win three straight may be a stretch, making Saturday's visit from Oregon St. a near must-win. Last Week: 9
9) Washington Huskies, 3-5- Two straight blowout losses and all of a sudden Washington's dreams of a bowl game are fading fast. Sitting at 3-3 and having upset USC and defeated Oregon St. in double overtime in two of their last three games, the Huskies looked to be in good shape, but now they're 3-5 after Stanford absolutely wiped the floor with the Huskies. Washington mustered just 107 total yards as the Cardinal won 41-0 and Jake Locker's senior season is looking more and more like another disappointment. With a trip to Autzen Stadium to play Oregon looming, it's not a bright and sunny day at Washington. Last Week: 7
10) Washington St. Cougars, 1-7- All of the positive steps that Washington St. had been taking in the last few weeks came to a halt when they took on Arizona St. The Sun Devils scored three times through the air and three times on the ground. Meanwhile, the Cougar offense was ineffective and never really put a scared in Arizona St. It was back to the Washington St. of old as the Cougs were absolutely destroyed, 42-0. While the uptick of the program may have been halted for a week, Wazzu gets a visit from Cal this weekend, a team that has yet to win on the road. Could that elusive Pac-10 win be in the cards? Last Week: 10