Things are starting to come into focus in the college football world. Most teams have played 5 games by now, are well into their conference slate, and are starting to feel the first pangs of excitement, doom...or just plain indifference. Here in the BN community, it's like Groundhog Day. Here we are again, debating whether a performance was good or bad, whether a coach can make it or is failing. You have to wonder, if the fan base is so divided...then isn't there inherently a problem with the program? It's going to be a tough year, Bruins. Brace yourselves for heated discussions, but please stay civil, and don't disagree with me. Just kidding.
Player of the Week: Matt Barkley, U$C - sorry guys...Cheatie's loverboy had himself a field day against Arizona's pathetic defense, going 32-39 for 468 yards (a U$C record) and 4 TDs, and rushing for 1 TD. With the time Matty boy had to throw the ball, I'd probably have a TD too. His favorite target Woods had 255 yards receiving and 2 TDs.
Stat of the Week: 391 - number of pass attempts in the Pac-12 this week, or 39 per team (Mannion of Oregon State had the most with 66). Power running anyone? Oh here's another one: 4. That's the number of incompletions by Andrew Luck against the stout UCLA defense.
Game of the Week: Cal at #9 Oregon, Thursday October 6, 6PM PDT - last year, playing at home, Cal used unsportsmanlike methods to slow down Oregon, by faking injuries. Apparently the NY Giants were impressed. Still, they kept the game close. Curious to see what kind of team Cal truly has.
With that, here is this week's Pac-12 Power Poll, after the jump:
1. Stanford (6): It seems Stanford's stomping of UCLA was actually not very impressive to the frontpagers. In fact you can see that this team is quite beatable, but their strength is that they don't beat themselves. To beat Stanford, a team must be mistake-free, and have better athletes. UCLA was about even as far as the athletes (except at QB, which is pretty important) but was definitely not mistake-free. Colorado is visiting this week, should be another easy win for the Tree.
2. Oregon (5): despite having the week off, the Ducks are closing the gap on Stanford. Only the face-off will determine the best team in the division. For now the Ducks get Cal at home and I expect a pounding to teach them a lesson for the bullshit fake injuries last year.
3. Washington: the Huskies are chugging along steadily, this time helped by their defense which got them 5 turnovers against Utah. UW's offense is nicely balanced but their D remains vulnerable, helped only by the turnovers in this game. The Dawgs get a week off before getting Colorado at home, after which they will likely be 5-1...and not missing Locker much.
4. Cal: the Bears were off last weekend and have not been impressive thus far. They have lost to the only decent team they faced, and barely beat a Colorado team that lost to Wazzu. Middle of the pack seems about right for this year's version. Sadly they will face Oregon which also had a week off. Oh well, sorry haters!
5. Washington State: the Cougars showed a lot of grit and determination in a comeback win at Colorado, scoring two TD's in the last two and a half minutes of the game. Only their second road win under Paul Wulff. Wazzu can score and have a nice passing attack. They travel to battle UCLA again this week...it will be a very tight game and the Cougs may have their starting QB back. Bruins should be worried (how sad is that).
6. Oregon State: the Beavers made a valiant effort in Tempe, jumping to a 13-0 lead due to Sun Devil turnovers, but eventually falling once ASU realized they were supposed to win this game. One thing is clear though: Mike Riley has made his move and is sticking with it. Freshman QB Sean Mannion played the whole game, going 40-66 for 341 yards but with 4 INTs. The point is, Riley is letting his QB make his mistakes and learn to get better, instead of playing QB flip flop. That's how you coach. This week Arizona visits and the Beavers have a good chance at getting their first win.
1. Arizona State (11): ASU had a bit of a reality check in their game against the Beavers. This time they decided to wake up and didn't fall prey to the usual letdown typical of previous years. We'll see if that holds true when they travel to Utah. If they continue to play consistently, the Sun Devils could run the table the rest of the way, with the only challenging game being a trip to Oregon, a team they should have beaten last year.
2. U$C: the Trogan offense is looking prolific, but this game against Arizona was pretty much devoid of any defense. The condoms put up 582 yards of offense but the defense allowed 554 yards. Still, the Trogans so far have lost to the only team they played that actually had a defense. They get the week off, but the remainder of the schedule won't be as forgiving.
3. Arizona: what a brutal stretch for the Wildcats. With just a little bit of defense, they could have done much better. Instead they are 1-4. But what is sad is that they still get ranked 3rd in this lame division. Anyway, things might get easier this week as they travel to Oregon State, but I expect the Beavers to put up a good fight and maybe even pull off a win at home.
4. Utah: turnovers undid the Utes against Washington. They were able to move the ball, using two QBs, but gave it away 5 times, which is unforgivable at home. Nothing too impressive or worrisome on this team. They get a visit from ASU this week and could catch them napping...or not.
5. Colorado: close but no cigar. Decimated by injuries in their secondary, Colorado was seconds away from its first conference win...but couldn't hold on in the last 150 seconds of the game. A trip to Stanford won't do much for their confidence either.
6. UCLA: the agony continues, the future remains unclear and the fans are losing their mind. This team finds new ways of infuriating you every week. There is never any good without more bad, and the bad is avoidable. They're Lucy, we're Charlie Brown, on our ass again. And we should be very worried about Washington State's upcoming visit...with 7 games remaining, UCLA's outlook is starting to dim considerably.
The way things are working out, clusters are forming within the divisions. Oregon and Stanford will battle for the North, while ASU and U$C are vying for the South. The battle for 3rd is quite interesting in the North, and I could see UW even challenging Stanford potentially. Wazzu is a bit of a dark horse here and I think they could end up ahead of Cal. In the South, the rest of the teams are crap. That is why it is so depressing that UCLA has not gotten it together, in what is truly a winnable division. There is still hope...right?