There is one advantage to bringing up the rear: you can see who's ahead of you. And if that doesn't embarrass you enough, then you can chill, lay back and just participate. It's debatable whether UCLA is the worst team in the entire conference, but I don't think there is a doubt in saying that it is the most disappointing team in the conference, by a mile. Most out-of-conference games have been played by now and we get into the meat of the Pac-12 season starting Saturday. The picture is getting clearer by the day...for most teams.
Player of the Week: Andrew Luck, Stanford - Luck went 20 of 35 for 325 yards and 2 TDs against Arizona in a road game. If you had a chance to watch the game, it would have reminded you of how beautiful football can be...though it would make you long for seeing a team like that at UCLA. Luck is head and shoulders above any QB in college, he truly looks NFL-ready. Honorable mention to Jeff Locke who nailed FGs of 51 and 49 yards...as a punter. Way to go Jeff. Cheatie's loverboy Matt Barkley should be mentioned as well, throwing 5 TDs to 5 different receivers...but he played at home against Syracuse.
Stat of the Week: 3 - sigh...that's how many interceptions Kevin Prince had in the first quarter against Texas. Out of 7 passes. In front of a "crowd" of less than 55,000. BYU also lost 6 fumbles against Utah.
Game of the Week: U$C at Arizona State, 7:15 PDT - ASU is coming off a close loss against Illinois in a road game, where their offense was less than stellar. Meanwhile, the Trogans are on a roll behind Barkley's efficient play. This game is for top dog status in the South division. U$C can ill afford any injuries, and they'll be going up against a tough and physical ASU defense.
With that, here is this week's Pac-12 Power Poll, after the jump:
Pac-12 Power Poll (First Place Votes in Parentheses)
1) Stanford Cardinal, 3-0 (8) - Stanford is rolling along, and with a convincing win on the road against a decent conference foe, they put a little distance between themselves and Oregon. Andrew Luck continues to impress but also benefits from 242 yards rushing. Unfortunately Stanford lost the heart and soul of its defense in this game, Shane Skov, who is out for the season. They have a bye this week until the face UCLA at home. Great.
2) Oregon Ducks, 2-1 (2) - Another lame opponent for the "mighty" Ducks, so nothing to report. They travel to Arizona, so it will be interesting to see how they do compared to Stanford, though the Wildcats are starting to feel the pain of so many tough opponents in a row.
3) California Golden Bears, 3-0 - the only question I have is whether any of the Cal players converted during the game against Cal Presbyterian. And I don't mean an extra point. They visit Washington this week to claim rights for 3rd place in the conference.
4) Washington Huskies, 2-1 - The Huskies continue to put points on the board, but their defense continues to get gashed. This time it was Nebraska who put up 51 points on them with over 300 yards rushing, and the Cornhuskers got their revenge for the Holiday Bowl. Still hard to read this team, as the Nebraska defense hasn't exactly been stout, but they are definitely dangerous. Cal visits this week in what should be another shootout.
5) Washington St. Cougars, 2-1 - This one is going to sting the Cougs for a while. Wazzu was up 24-14 against San Diego State in the 3rd quarter but ended up losing 42-24. SDSU put up 21 points in the 4th quarter, due to WSU's QB having 2 interceptions and a fumble. Ouch. Anyone else wish Rocky Long had come back to teach UCLA defense again? The Cougars have this week off.
6) Oregon St. Beavers, 0-2 - The beavers had the week off to try to end UCLA's season on Saturday. Yay us.
1) U$C Trojans, 3-0 (7) - the Trogans had their third, yes, third home game in a row against non-conference foes. And it happened to be Big East powerhouse Syracuse. Except it wasn't basketball. So Matt Barkley had a field day, throwing 5 TDs to 5 different receivers. Their DL continues to impress though. This week's game is their first tough game, at Arizona State. Here's to Burfict eating some Barkley burgers.
2) Arizona St. Sun Devils, 2-1 (3) - As in every season in Erickson's tenure, ASU starts 2-0 only to lose their 3rd game, this time against Illinois, though it was a road game. The Illini are a mysterious team, but the ASU offense did not perform as it could, with their QB getting sacked repeatedly. They come back home to try and put their stamp on the division with U$C visiting.
3) Utah Utes, 2-1 (1) - Utah spanked its bitter rival BYU in the "holy war", but did receive 7 turnovers from the suddenly generous Cougars. 'Tis better to give than to receive, so I hope they remember that when they play UCLA. On the positive side, their defense only allowed 11 net yards rushing, but they allowed 343 yards passing, clearly as BYU played from behind. Utah is also off this week.
4) Arizona Wildcats, 1-2 (1) - Arizona came to play at home against Stanford. They were down only 16-10 at halftime, and Foles was incredibly accurate, hitting 17 passes in a row. But the Wildcats could not get their run game going against a hard hitting Stanford team (our boys should watch them tackle, you just can't get by these guys) and eventually got worn down by the relentless and physical Stanford offense. As a reward for their hard work, they get to host Oregon this week. How would you like that schedule? First you get pounded, then you get run out of the stadium. Not much longer till a Stoops meltdown...
5) Colorado Buffaloes, 1-2 (1) - the Buffs finally get in the win column with a victory over rival Colorado State, who beat them last year. A decent defensive effort by Colorado, and in case you were wondering, alleged backpack thief Paul Richardson only had 27 yards receiving with 3 big drops. Colorado gets a fourth out of conference game, since they played at Hawaii...and they get to travel to Ohio State.
6) UCLA Bruins, 1-2 -our Rose Bowl was infested by clowns on a Vespa. Now we get to see if they live at the stadium or travel with the team when they visit Oregon State. I think I know the answer.
That's it, enjoy this week's games! Achilles was at it again, ranking everyone 1st but UCLA. Yup, it's a pretty far drop-off right now. Just FYI, the Beavers have a bye week before playing UCLA at home, then Stanford has a bye week before hosting us. Hip hip hooray!