And there goes any competition in the Pac-10. Prior to the week, both Oregon St. and Arizona had clear roads to a Pac-10 title. While both needed to win out in all likelihood, winning out would propel them into the Rose Bowl, but all of a sudden only Oregon is in position to win the conference. The Ducks are undoubtedly the conference favorites, as they were a week ago, but now they have the leeway to lose a game and still win the Pac-10 without any help. With the Ducks on cruise control, there are two things to watch in the Pac-10. One is whether Stanford can win their remaining games to be the Pac-10's second BCS bowl team and the other is how many teams will be bowl eligible with three teams sitting on four wins and another sitting on five.
Player of the Week: Cameron Jordan, California- How often does a defensive end lead his team in tackles? Cameron Jordan did on Saturday to help Cal get their first road win of the season. Three of Jordan's 12 tackles went for losses, he had 1.5 sacks and even forced a fumble to boot. For the third time this season, a standout defensive player finds himself as the best player in the Pac-10 conference in a week.
Stat of the Week: 43,506- Stanford is a top-ten team and on Saturday they played a top-15 team with a chance to take a big step towards making a BCS bowl. The weather in the Bay Area was beautiful and Stanford plays in a fantastic stadium, yet just 43,506 people managed to show up to watch the Cardinal play Arizona.
Game of the Week: Oregon at Cal, 4:30 pm PDT, Versus- In a week without many tasty Pac-10 games, Oregon and Cal stand out as the best. At 5-4, Cal still needs a win to become bowl eligible and the Ducks can't afford a single slip up if they're to play for the national title. For as poorly as Cal has played away from home, they have been just as good at home. The Bears look poised to play a great game, but the Ducks have shown that even when opponents are at their best and they are not clicking, Oregon can come out on top.
Pac-10 Power Poll (First Place Votes in Parentheses)
1) Oregon Ducks, 9-0 (8)- It must be nice to know that you can not play near your best and still come away 37 point winners in a rivalry game. That is what Oregon did when Washington went to Autzen Stadium, hung around for a bit and then were blown out in the last parts of the game as so many other Ducks' opponents have. Once again, Oregon topped 500 yards in total offense in a 53-16 win over the Huskies and now the Ducks are just three wins away from the national title game. The first game of Oregon's three game final stretch is Saturday when they head to Strawberry Canyon to play Cal, who enters 4-0 at home on the season. Last Week: 1
2) Stanford Cardinal, 8-1- The most impressive win of the weekend was by Stanford, who despite minimal fan support, put a good old fashioned whooping on what many believed was a good team. Andrew Luck was an efficient 23-32 for 293 yards and two touchdowns, the bulk of it to Chris Owusu, who caught nine balls for 165 yards. The defense didn't exactly shut the Wildcats down, but despite giving up chunks of yards, they kept the Wildcats from getting points on the board with key stops at key moments. Now we have to wonder what more a team has to do to move up the rankings? Stanford's only loss of the season remains a defeat at the nation's number one team. Last Week: 2
3) Arizona Wildcats, 7-2- Still third in the rankings, Arizona's loss to Stanford made it clear how big the gap between number two and number three in the Pac-10 is. Despite moving the ball for 428 yards, the Wildcats couldn't score the necessary points while the defense surrendered 510 yards in a 42-17 defeat. 5.8 yards per carry showed Arizona's offensive versatility and Nick Foles wasn't bad, but wasn't his normally super-accurate self coming off of two missed games due to injury. A good team, Arizona is clearly a giant step behind the Pac-10's top three, but will need to beat USC back in Tucson on Saturday. Last Week: 3
4) USC Trojans, 6-3- After losing a pair of last second heartbreakers on field goal, you could say that USC got one back when Arizona St. couldn't convert on their game-winning field goal. After letting the Sun Devils drive down the field, USC caught a break when their field goal went wide and the Trojans were able to kill the clock. Nonetheless, the Trojans had to hold on for dear life and get a break to beat a struggling Arizona St. team partly because of two Matt Barkley interceptions. A trip to Arizona is next on tap and odds are the Wildcats won't give the Trojans many breaks. Last Week: 5
5) California Golden Bears, 5-4- It took until their fifth try, but Cal finally won a road game. Sure, it was at Washington St. and it was hardly an impressive win, but after an 0-4 road start the Bears were hardly in a position to get picky. Kevin Riley was a no-go due to an injured knee and Brock Mansion had himself a rough go at it, completing just 50% of his passes and throwing two interceptions without a touchdown. Shane Vereen continued his great season with 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns to push the Bears within a win of bowl eligibility. Getting that win this weekend will be tough though against Oregon. Last Week: 6
6) Arizona St. Sun Devils, 4-5- Once again, the Sun Devils can't get it done late. For the the third time this season, late failures kept Arizona St. from getting a win so instead of already being bowl eligible, the Sun Devils have a couple wins left to get to that point, which may be necessary to save Dennis Erickson's job. Versus USC, it was a missed field goal that did the Sun Devils in. After coming from behind and trailing by just one point, the Sun Devils had a field goal to go-ahead and likely wrap up the game, but the kick went wide and now a loss to Stanford on Saturday will put the team on the brink of bowl ineligibility. Last Week: 7
7) UCLA Bruins, 4-5- All is not lost. What once looked like a lost season after losing three straight games may not be so now that UCLA came away with a 17-14 win over Oregon St. to get a win they almost certainly had to have to have to make it to a second consecutive bowl game. Richard Brehaut was efficient and Jonathan Franklin ran for 100 yards and a touchdown, while the defense limited Jacquizz Rodgers to just 63 yards. Kai Forbath missed a pair of field goals, something once thought impossible, but as time expired he knocked one through to give UCLA a victory. The Bruins take this week off as they prepare for a Thursday night contest at Washington. Last Week: 8
8) Oregon St. Beavers, 4-4- The James Rodgers-less offense looked very much like one without one its most explosive players versus UCLA, managing just 267 yards and 14 points. Markus Wheaton showed flashes of being able to do some of the things Rodgers usually does, but besides not being James Rodgers, Wheaton was also overthrown a couple times when he was open for potential big plays. With Jacquizz Rodgers bottled up, Wheaton and Joe Haluhuni alone weren't enough partly because Ryan Katz did not have a stellar day. At 4-4 with USC, Stanford and Oregon still on the schedule, a bowl appearance is no longer a guarantee for the Beavers. Last Week: 4
9) Washington St. Cougars, 1-8- For the first time ever, Washington St. is not at the bottom of these rankings. The Cougars still haven't found that elusive Pac-10 win, but they came awfully close versus Cal and lost by only one score, 20-13. Jeff Tuel had himself a horror of an afternoon, going 9-25 for a meager 92 yards. The Cougars forced a pair of key Bear turnovers and had some chances late, but they just couldn't get it done without a passing game. A trip to Oregon St. is next on their list of possible Pac-10 wins. Last Week: 10
10) Washington Huskies, 3-6- To the bottom the Huskies go after their third consecutive blowout loss. After 44-14 against Arizona and 41-0 against Stanford, Oregon thrashed Washington to the tune of 53-16. The Huskies were outgained 522 to 263 despite the Ducks never really getting everything clicking. Jake Locker remains out with a broken rib and this week's bye will do the Huskies good as they continue to work with freshman Keith Price and get him up to speed before their final home game of the season next Thursday versus UCLA. Last Week: 9