Oregon barely escaped Cal, but now the Bears get another choice to play spoiler by beating their rivals, knocking them out of BCS bowl contention and best of all for them, clinching a bowl berth (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Maybe Oregon's offense isn't so unstoppable after all? Cal held the Ducks to just 15 points on Saturday, but just as Oregon's offense looked mortal, their defense stepped it up. Even so, the once unbeatable Ducks now look beatable, as pretty much every team looked on Saturday. Well, all the teams looked beatable except for one and undoubtedly the most unexpected of the bunch as Washington St. played a tremendous game in Corvallis, Oregon to take down Oregon St. for their first Pac-10 win since 2008. Once again, we have no idea what to make of the Pac-10, but at least that's nothing new.
Player of the Week: Washington St. Cougars- I've never given this to more than one player before, but it was fantastic to see the Cougars get themselves a win and not just any win, but a win in a game where they were clearly superior. With so much losing in their recent history, it takes some mental fortitude to step up and keep going, especially on the road so the entire Wazzu team gets credit as players of the week for this win.
Stat of the Week: 16- Washington St. had lost 16 consecutive Pac-10 games before beating Oregon St. on Saturday in Corvallis.
Game of the Week: Stanford at Cal, 12:30 pm PDT, ABC- The Big Game should be a heck of a contest this year as a top 10 Stanford team in search of a BCS bowl has to play in Berkeley. While home and away isn't always a big deal in these rivalry games where the two schools are so close to each other and they still get to stay and practice at home, Cal has been infinitely better at home than away this season so they may be able to take down the Cardinal to not only ruin their rivals' BCS hopes, but also clinch their own bowl eligibility.
Pac-10 Power Poll (First Place Votes in Parentheses)
1) Oregon Ducks, 10-0 (9)- Who would have guessed that Oregon would score just one offensive touchdown in the game? That's all they got against Cal and they needed a punt return for a touchdown from Cliff Harris and a missed field goal only after a made field goal was wiped out by a penalty to get past the Bears. It was the defense that stepped up against Cal and limited the Bears to just 193 yards to keep the team in the game. Despite a sub-par offensive day, the offense came through with a huge non-scoring drive to ice the game, keeping it for a nine minute and 32 second drive to run out the clock for a 15-13 win. This was undoubtedly Oregon's worst game of the season and now they get a week off to improve and prep for a visit from Arizona in two weeks. Last Week: 1
2) Stanford Cardinal, 9-1- Having entered Saturday without a win at Arizona St. since 1999, Stanford wasn't about to get picky about how they beat the Sun Devils. Andrew Luck had thrown an interception and fumbled once in the game, but with Stanford trailing 13-10 as time was winding down in the fourth quarter he led the Cardinal 85 yards on 10 plays to give Stanford the lead they would hold onto for a 17-13 win in Tempe. Stanford's two turnovers almost doomed them, but their defense stood tall to give Luck one more shot and that's what they did to preserve their chances at a BCS bowl with The Big Game looming on Saturday. Last Week: 2
3) USC Trojans, 7-3- Only once this season had USC come away with an impressive win, but on Saturday the Trojans added a second impressive win to their resume. On the road against a good Arizona team, the Trojans jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and despite the Wildcats working to cut down on the lead, USC never relinquished their lead. Marc Tyler carried the load with 160 on 31 carries for the offense and despite allowing Nick Foles to rack up yards with less than stellar pass defense, the unit showed up when necessary for the key stops they needed to hold onto the lead for a very good road win. Oregon St. is reeling, but USC has struggled to win in Corvallis of late so who knows what might happen when they go north on Saturday. Last Week: 4
4) Arizona Wildcats, 7-3- At some point moving the ball isn't enough. Too often this season Arizona has moved the ball up and down the field, but haven't gotten the points that show how well the offense moved the ball. On Saturday, Arizona piled up over 400 yards on USC, but it led to only 21 points and a loss. The problem for the Wildcats though was that they fell behind early and surrendered 14 points in the first quarter, meaning they had to chase all game long and they never chased well enough to get a lead at any point in the season. Surrendering over 200 rushing yards was also a low point for Arizona, who fell to the Trojans at home and must now use their week off to prepare for Oregon at Autzen Stadium. Last Week: 3
5) California Golden Bears, 5-5- They were oh so close and closer than anyone else has gotten this year, but Cal just couldn't get it done and beat Oregon. Once again the Bears played well at home and the defense was absolutely sensational, but a punt return for a touchdown proved to be the backbreaker for the Bears. After such a close game, which finished 15-13 in favor the Ducks, you have to wonder if the Bears had the experienced Kevin Riley at quarterback instead of him watching from the sideline with an injured knee, would Cal have pulled off the upset? Cal doesn't have the chance to worry about that with The Big Game coming up next. Last Week: 5
6) Arizona St. Sun Devils, 4-6- After playing great all game, Arizona St. couldn't get the stop they needed to close out Stanford at home. Having held the Cardinal to 10 points through three and a half quarters and forced Andrew Luck into two turnovers, the Sun Devils allowed Stanford to drive 85 yards on 10 plays for what proved to be the game-winning drive. One thing that will haunt Arizona St. again will be Steve Threet throwing the ball to the other team. He only threw one interception versus Stanford, but that one came at the Cardinal's 27 yard line, taking what was a good scoring chance away. The Sun Devils will now take a week off to prep for their final two games, which they have to win to make a bowl and possibly save Dennis Erickson's job. Last Week: 6
7) UCLA Bruins, 4-5- A week off gave UCLA a chance to prep for the three biggest games of their season. Getting into a bowl game has been the Bruins' goal all season and they need to win two of their final three to get it done. What must make Los Angeles football fans salivate is the possibility of a fired up UCLA team hosting USC in the season's final game with a bowl berth on the line, but the Bruins will surely prefer to win their next two, beginning Thursday at Washington, and have a bowl game wrapped up before the season finale. Last Week: 7
8) Washington St. Cougars, 2-8- They're moving on up! After spending the entirety of this weekly ranking's existence in last place, Washington St. moved up a spot last week to ninth and now they've reach an all-time high of eighth all thanks to a win over Oregon St. Jeff Tuel only threw for 157 yards, but he added 79 rushing yards and the Cougs held the Beavers to just 164 total yards in what was a thorough win for Wazzu. This wasn't a win that the Cougars got lucky in or squeaked by. They were the flat out better team and the game was on the road. Strangely, Washington St. didn't have a bye all year and will now take two weeks off before their Apple Cup game with Washington. Last Week: 9
9) Oregon St. Beavers, 4-5- That James Rodgers-less offense is looking poorer and poorer by the week. Despite Washington St. being a much better team than they have been in the last few years, a home game against the Cougars is one that the Beavers should have come away with, but they were completely out played in a 31-14 loss. Ryan Katz wasn't horrible, but he hardly did enough to win and despite averaging 6.3 yards per carry, Jacquizz Rodgers got just 15 rushes. After a great run over the last few years, Oregon St. is now a bad team and with USC, Stanford and Oregon left it is unlikely they win two games to get bowl eligible. Last Week: 8
10) Washington Huskies, 3-6- Three games left and all three need to be wins if Jake Locker is to go out with his first bowl appearance. Of the three games left, this Thursday against UCLA is probably Washington's best chance to get a win. It is the last home game of the season and the crowd will be fired up not just for the last home game, but also Locker's final home game, a Thursday night special and Rick Neuheisel returning to Seattle. A loss on Thursday and it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that the Huskies finish 3-9 this season, taking any remaining luster off of Steve Sarkisian. Last Week: 10