Back from the dead and buried. Probably the most exciting game at the Rose Bowl since the victory over Tennessee in 2008, which ironically also ended with a missed field goal. So much hope and promise after that game. And look at where we are now. Somehow, UCLA has found itself at the top of an arguably crappy division after a victory this weekend. Just as in years past, sadly, this is causing more division than unity. The big picture always looms, but our Bruins live to fight another day.
Player of the Week: Derrick Coleman, UCLA - Our bruising Bruin ran for 119 yards on 17 carries, with 2 TDs, against a pretty good ASU defense, in a huge game. Derrick is an inspiration and I wish more on the team played with his fire. The initials "DC" just seem to carry some weight in Westwood...
Stat of the Week: 0 - UCLA has won 0 conference championships in football during Guerrero's reign of error. This is the first 10-year stretch in which UCLA has not won a conference championship since 1935 (though after 1965 the next one wasn't until 1975) and the 2000's was the first decade without a conference crown for UCLA Football.
Game of the Week: Oregon vs. Stanford, 5:00 pm PT, ABC - though not as big as LSU vs. Alabama, this game has the makings of a classic. With a victory, Stanford has a huge chance at the BCS championship game, but Oregon cannot be counted out just yet. Speed vs. Power.
1. Stanford (10), 7-0: the Cardinal weren't all that sharp against Oregon State up in drizzly Corvallis. The Beavers were only down by 4 midway through the 3rd quarter in a game that featured a pretty ugly interception by Luck. But then, Oregon State made one crucial mistake that put the game away. Sure, Stanford may have been looking forward to the Oregon game, and they haven't had much success in that state, but those fears were laid to rest in the dominant second half to set up this week's gigantic game.
2. Oregon (2), 6-0: In one of the conference's most bitter rivalries, Oregon visited UW in the last game in Husky stadium before renovations begin. Ironically, Oregon also had a pretty slow first half against Washington. This game was more for the Ducks defense which beat up and picked off Keith Price repeatedly. Meanwhile, LaMichael James was back to form. Zoom! Now, the big showdown looms against Stanford.
3. Southern Cal, 4-2: The Trogans traveled to Colorado and won 42-17 in yet another Friday night blowout in the Pac-12 on ESPN. Glad it wasn't the Bruins this time. Cheatey's lover boy Barkley did break the record for most TD passes in a game, with 6. And yet, no one talks about him. So I laugh.
4. Washington, 4-2: when the Huskies can't score and score some more, they lose, because Nick Holt is still their defensive coordinator (and he should get a lifetime contract). In a nostalgic night where the 1991 co-national champions were honored, the Husky offense was stymied by the Ducks, so we didn't get the expected shootout. Next up for the Dawgs is a trip to Southern Cal to see if Sark can stick it to Lane yet again. I enjoy that very much.
5. Arizona State, 4-2: continuing with their tradition of inconsistency and sucking on the road, Erickson's Sun Devils let this one slip through their fingers and lost to UCLA after 3 missed field goals by their young kicker, including the potential game winner. ASU still has an easier road to winning the division, but for now is relegated to second place. Nothing like a game against Wazzu to lift your spirits...but this game is in Pullman and it's gonna be 40 degrees. So don't be surprised if they lay another egg.
6. UCLA, 4-2: It was a nice victory in a meaningful game. It felt good. Winning always does. But perspective trumps elation once Sunday rolls around. This was Neuheisel's first win against a team that will likely end the season over .500, and it happened against an ASU team that has less talent and that sucks on the road. The reason it felt so good is because this team was left for dead. Credit to the players for playing incredibly tough and not folding. They deserve to win when they play their heart out. The defense had some good stops but still got gashed. The offense got too conservative at times. That won't work very well against a good Utah defense in high altitude.
7. California, 2-4: the Bears bounced back from their beatdown to easily handle Wazzu at "home", relying this time on a nice rushing attack that gained nearly 300 yards. Maynard didn't even throw an interception! Cal gets another game at home from the visiting Beavers in what should be a tougher challenge but still manageable
8. Utah, 2-4: have the Utes woken up? Have they adjusted to the tougher conference and a new OC? Well, they did allow 457 yards to Arizona but were saved by big mistakes from Nick Foles. The offense continues to be unimpressive but it wasn't needed as much in this game. Now the Utes get a visit from UCLA and have a chance to make a statement by trying to beat the division leader on a cold drizzly day.
9. Arizona, 1-5: this was the Arizona team we should have gotten, but their darn AD went and fired their coach and fired up their team. Interceptions, blocked punts, botched fake field goals...Arizona was at its worst and no streaker could have saved them in this game against Utah. Mike Johnson doesn't want his offense to ever forget our game in the desert, and no fan should either. With no chance at a bowl game, Arizona goes to Colorado to play for beer.
10. Oregon St., 2-4: A good start against Stanford was undone by a crucial mistake in the second half. Still, Mike Riley has laid the foundation for the future with his freshman QB Sean Mannion, and he could end up a good one. They will continue to try and improve, as all Riley teams seem to do throughout the season, when they visit Cal this week.
11. Washington St., 1-5: A 3-1 start gave the Cougars promise and a lot of cockiness. Then they played UCLA and started a 5-game losing streak. So it's back to normal for Wazzu, even though they are better than last year. They were manhandled by Cal who ran all over them and didn't allow their offense to get anything done. They go back home to the cold confines of Pullman to host ASU and perhaps pull off yet another upset on the roadaphobic Sun Devils.
12. Colorado, 0-6: Ouch. Another week another beatdown, this time on national TV on Thursday night by the Trogans. A bad situation seems to be getting worse, the Buffs are pretty awful despite a seemingly seasoned offense. This looks like more than a rebuilding job for Jon Embree, it looks like reviving the dead. Let's see what they can do against Arizona at home, a chance to build up some self-esteem perhaps.