Another week gone by and this week, it was all Pac-10. UCLA was the only conference team to lose on Saturday and the Bruins dropped their game to fellow Pac-10 school Stanford, while the rest of the conference went a perfect 8-0. Four of those wins came against teams from a BCS conference, giving the conference somewhat of a boost for the wins, but all four of the teams are some of the poorer teams in their respective conferences so there's only so much that can be said for the wins. That changes this week when there are three top 15 opponents on tap for three Pac-10 teams and another top 25 team also on the slate.
Player of the Week: Mike Mohamed, California- It's not easy for a defensive player to catch the eye as a dominant performer, but it's also not easy for a player to make 14 tackles and return an interception for a touchdown. That's what Cal's Mohamed did to lead the Bears to a dominating 52-7 win where despite putting up so many points, the star of the team, and conference, was on defense.
Stat of the Week: 6- In a season where the Pac-10 was supposed to be very deep, it has been just that with six conference teams ranked in the polls with Oregon, Stanford and Arizona in both the AP and coaches' polls. USC and Oregon St. are ranked in the AP poll, while Cal snuck into the bottom of the coaches' poll. Washington and Arizona St. both received votes in the coaches' poll as well, adding to the conference's depth.
Game of the Week: Iowa at Arizona, 7:30 pm PDT, ESPN- In arguably the biggest non-conference showdown the Pac-10 has all year, Arizona welcomes the number nine ranked Iowa Hawkeyes to what will surely be a raucous Arizona Stadium. Picked by some (me included) to win the Pac-10 and believed by some (me included) to be underrated, the Wildcats won't get a better opportunity to prove their worth than a national TV game with a top-ten team in their backyard. The Arizona offense has been firing on all cylinders and their defense better than expected so far this season, but it's been against poor competition. The Hawkeyes are anything but poor and will give us a clue as to how good this Arizona team really is.
Pac-10 Power Poll (First Place Votes in Parentheses)
1) Oregon Ducks, 2-0 (8)- After giving up 132 first quarter rushing yard and trailing 13-3 early in the second quarter, it looked as if the mass of orange that is Neyland Stadium may have gotten to Oregon. No problem, the Ducks just ran off with 45 unanswered points to close out the game and put up the most points on a Tennessee home team since 1988. Oregon's points came in all forms with two touchdowns through the air, two on the ground, one on an interception return and one on a punt return. Oh yeah, they also only allowed 89 second half yards. Last Week: 1
2) Arizona Wildcats, 2-0 (1)- Two games down, two wins, zero quality opponents. That changes this week when Arizona welcomes #9 Iowa to Arizona Stadium. Nic Grigsby looks to be rounding into form after rushing for 117 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries on Saturday as the Wildcats destroyed Citadel 52-6, while Nick Foles continued a run of super-efficient passing by way of the short and intermediate pass, but doing it against Toledo and Citadel is different than doing it against Iowa. Last Week: 2
T3) Oregon St. Beavers, 0-1- After a tough loss to TCU to open the season, Oregon St. got a week off to prepare for a pair of important home contests. It begins this week with a struggling Louisville team in Corvallis. While the Beavers should beat the Cardinals, Louisville is good enough to shock Oregon St. if they don't show up to play. That said, it should be an Oregon St. victory, setting up a huge match-up with Boise St. visiting Corvallis next weekend as the Beavers get a second chance at beating a top five opponent. Last Week: 3
T3) California Golden Bears, 2-0- Cal was the first Pac-10 team to get a look at Colorado since it was announced that the Buffs would join the conference in 2012. After the way the Golden Bears treated them maybe Colorado wants to reconsider? Cal's defense forced five turnovers, one of which was a interception return for a touchdown and another of which was a fumble return for a touchdown. Meanwhile, Kevin Riley threw for four touchdowns and allowed the Bears the chance to look ahead to a deceptively tough game in Reno on Friday night versus a good Nevada team. Last Week: 4
5) Stanford Cardinal, 2-0- There was little to be taken from Stanford's shalacking of Sacramento St. to open the season, but laying the wood on UCLA is a whole other matter. No matter how much the opponent appears to be struggling, going on the road to open conference play and coming away with a thorough 35-0 win is nothing to sneeze at and the team that some feared unable to overcome the loss of Toby Gerhart may not be hurting so much. Andrew Luck got as much done with his feet as his arm and the Stanford defense allowed the Bruins to convert on just one third down. Last Week: 5
6) Washington Huskies, 1-1- After losing to BYU in the season opener and falling behind 10-0 to a bad Syracuse team at home Washington fans were rightly in a foul mood in the first quarter on Saturday. Three Jake Locker to Jamaal Kearse touchdowns changed the Huskies' faithfuls tune and the home team eventually strolled to a 41-20 victory to open their home slate. Things go to a whole new level this week though as Washington welcomes #8 Nebraska to Husky Stadium in what can be a statement game for the home side. Last Week: 6
7) USC Trojans, 2-0- Rarely has a 2-0 team been as upset with their performances as their year's USC team and Lane Kiffin said as much after the game. All of that is for good reason as the Trojans struggled to get past a Virginia team predicted to finish at the bottom of a poor ACC. The 17-14 win may be enough for 2-0 and that type of play will likely be good enough to beat a horrible Minnesota team this week, but it won't be good enough when the heart of the Pac-10 comes looking for blood against the Trojans. Last Week: 7
8) UCLA Bruins, 0-2- Prior to the season, it looked like the bottom two of the Pac-10, Washington St. and Arizona St., were pretty well cemented to the conference dweller, but the Bruins may try to give them a run for their money. While a loss on the road against a solid Kansas St. team may have been frustrating, it was by no means embarrassing. Losing to Stanford is not embarrassing, but losing 35-0, as the Bruins did on Saturday, because of poor fundamentals and a special skill to shoot themselves in the foot at the perfect time is. A visit from Houston may be easier if Case Keenum's concussion keeps him out, but it won't be easy regardless. Last Week: 8
9) Arizona St. Sun Devils, 2-0- Like their in-state rivals, 2-0 only means so much when you beat no one of note. Wins over Portland St. and Northern Arizona are hardly eye opening, but beating #11 Wisconsin on the road would be and that's the chance that the Sun Devils have this week. A trip to Madison gives Arizona St. a chance to grab some attention and Dennis Erickson a chance to gain some job security. Another 391 yards from Steven Threet would help and the QB does have experience taking down highly ranked Badger teams, beating a #9 Wisconsin in 2008 when he was under center for Michigan. Last Week: 9
10) Washington St. Cougars, 1-1- Playing a FCS team is supposed to be a chance to rack up an easy win, even when you're Washington St. Apparently neither the Cougars not Montana got the memo because Saturday's home win was anything but easy for Wazzu. The Cougars trailed for over 57 minutes against the Bobcats, but a late field goal capped off a 16 point fourth quarter that Washington St. needed to get into the winner's column. Now, they get to play the only team they beat last season, SMU, but this time it's in Texas and not the friendly Palouse. Last Week: 10