The Pac-10 has put on quite a show to this point in the season and next week the conference goes to league-only match-ups so we just about have a wrap on non-conference action with the an exception here or there. No other BCS conference in the country schedules as tough as the Pac-10 so we usually get a decent look at the teams early on in the season and this season is no different. The surprise has easily been Stanford, who hasn't just won each of their games, but has absolutely put a whoopin' on teams. Unsurprisingly, Washington St. is stuck in the cellar and Oregon and Arizona are in the conference's upper echelon. As for best wins, they go to UCLA for beating Texas and Arizona for taking down Iowa.
Player of the Week: John Boyett, Oregon- Like Mike Mohamed a couple weeks ago, Boyett gets the award despite being on the defensive side of the ball. Boyett led Oregon in tackles with 11 against Arizona St., but also broke up three passes and put his stamp on the game by returning an interception for a touchdown. Defensive players usually have to go above and beyond to take the spotlight away from the offensive players, but all eyes were on Boyett for being the only Ducks to play some defense against the Sun Devils.
Stat of the Week: 22- In the last two weeks, Arizona has committed 22 penalties and somehow managed to win both games. Add in a combined five turnovers in those two games and the quality of their opponents, Iowa and Cal, and it's a wonder that the Wildcats are still perfect, but they are.
Game of the Week: Stanford at Oregon, 5 pm PDT, ABC- With the top of the conference suddenly bunching up with highly-rated teams there figure to be a lot of must-watch contests in the Pac-10 this season and this is the first of them. With College Gameday heading to Eugene and the game time switched so it could be shown nationally on ABC, the entire country will have their eyes on the Cardinal and Ducks. A week after Arizona St. bullied them around, can Oregon stop Stanford's punishing offense? Can Stanford's defense stick with Oregon's blazing team speed? Power vs. speed on display at Autzen Stadium, a venue that just may decide the winner.
Pac-10 Power Poll (First Place Votes in Parentheses)
1) Stanford Cardinal, 4-0 (5)- Notre Dame is not a national powerhouse, no matter what NBC tells us, but they're not a horrible team either. Stanford made them look pretty damn horrible on Saturday in a 37-14 win, holding the Domers without a touchdown until the fourth quarter. Despite Andrew Luck's poor day, the offense had no problem putting up points thanks to 44 pounding runs. Owen Marecic took top honors, plunging in from a yard out for one touchdown and then returning a pick for six more points just 13 seconds later. They'll stake a strong claim to Pac-10's best with a win in Eugene on Saturday. Last Week: 3
2) Oregon Ducks, 4-0 (3)- Four weeks into the season and Oregon is still perfect, but they finally showed some chinks when they went to Tempe on Saturday and came away 42-31 winners. Arizona St. rolled up 597 yards on the Ducks as Oregon showed an inability to stop either the run or the pass. Their ability to force seven turnovers is the only reason Oregon is still undefeated, but you can bet Stanford won't turn the ball over seven times when they go to Autzen Stadium this week. Oregon is going to have to shore up their defense if they want to stay sixth in the country, but they will have a raucous home field to their advantage. Last Week: 1
3) Arizona Wildcats, 4-0 (1)- Where did the Arizona offense go? The Wildcats' defense was supposed to be their question mark coming into the season, but they've stood tall thus far while the offense went missing on Saturday in a 10-9 win. At home, against Cal, Arizona couldn't find a first half point and it took until the waning moment before they got the touchdown they needed to win the game. The poor play could be attributed to a hangover after their huge win over Iowa and now Arizona gets a weekend off to get clicking again, which they'll need to hang in a tough Pac-10. Last Week: 2
4) Oregon St. Beavers, 1-2- An unimpressive record, sure, but there isn't much to be ashamed of when both of your losses have come away from home in tight games to top-five opponents. In week one it was TCU who edged out Oregon St. in Arlington and this week it was Boise St. who downed the Beavers in Boise, 37-24. James Rodgers returned a punt for the Beavers' highlight of the game, but they were always playing catch-up with the Broncos. Ryan Katz has yet to be disastrous, which is somewhat of an accomplishment for a first-year starter, but he'll need to be better if the Beavers are going to hop into the conference title race. Last Week: 4
5) USC Trojans, 4-0- It's tough to be a less impressive 4-0 than USC has been to this point, but a schedule that consists of Hawaii, Virginia, Minnesota and Washington St. will do that to you. To the Trojans' credit they've won those games, but what's going to happen when they play a team who will play back? A home tilt with Washington will give them a glimpse of that and they will be looking for some revenge after the Huskies beat them a year ago, but USC's first real test comes in two weeks at Stanford. Last Week: 5
6) UCLA Bruins, 2-2- There weren't many outside of Westwood who picked UCLA to go 2-2 in their opening four games against Kansas St., Stanford, Houston and Texas and none anywhere who stuck with it when they were 0-2, but the Bruins' 34-12 upset win at Texas on Saturday gave them their .500 start. Many have pointed to Texas' five turnovers as evidence that the Longhorns lost the game more than the Bruins won it, but it's tough to explain away UCLA's 21-9 margin in the second half when Texas turned it over just once and the Bruins owned the line of scrimmage. A visit from Wahsington St. gives UCLA a good of a shot at 3-2 as they could hope for. Last Week: 8
7) California Golden Bears, 2-2- Cal's defense answered the bell, holding the potent Arizona offense to just 10 points on the road in Tucson. They kept the Wildcats under 100 yards on the ground, sacked Nick Foles three times and held him to 212 yards through the air. Sure, they gave up the late touchdown that won Arizona the game, but they more than did their part. So did Shane Vereen who continued his great season with another 100 yard effort, but Kevin Riley threw for just 116 yards and was picked off in a game where the Bears didn't get into the end zone once as they fell on the road, 10-9. Now, they get a week off to find an offense. Last Week: 6
8) Arizona St. Sun Devils, 2-2- The two teams Arizona St. has lost to are almost as impressive as the two teams they won against. Wins over Portland St. and Northern Arizona make you yawn, but Oregon and Wisconsin make you open your eyes. A week after a back-breaking loss in Wisconsin that the Sun Devils had every chance to win, only to shoot themselves in the foot, they got Oregon at home and shot themselves in the foot seven times. That's how many times they turned the ball over in their 42-31 loss with four interceptions and three fumbles to make 597 total yards go to waste. Last Week: 7
9) Washington Huskies, 1-2- A week off should have refreshed the Huskies and especially Jake Locker. A quarterback who has had to carry the load for an inept team his entire career, Locker turned in a horrific performance two weeks ago against Nebraska. Now, Washington heads to Los Angeles where Locker will look to repeat his best performance of his career when he led a game-winning drive to upset USC a year ago. Locker will need another performance of that ilk to have a chance because they've had few positive moments through three games. Last Week: 9
10) Washington St. Cougars, 1-3- In yet another season devoid of joyous moments, Washington St. had themselves one against USC. On their opening drive the Cougars ran a beautiful double-reverse pass for a touchdown to go ahead 7-0. The ballgame would finish 50-16, but Washington St. did have that one moment. At some point you run out of thing to say about the Cougar program because they've been stuck in the same place for several years now, but I guess each week is another chance to dig their way out of their hole and this week they'll try it against UCLA. Last Week: 10