TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24: Runningback LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks carries the football on a 19 yard rushing touchdown past linebacker Derek Earls #40 of the Arizona Wildcats during the second quarter of the college football game at Arizona Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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: LaMichael James, Oregon - James had 288 yards rushing and 2 TD's against Arizona. Spank. Honorable mention Cameron Marshall (ASU) had 141 yards rushing and 3 TD's as the Sun Devils beat U$C. That means Neuheisel will throw the ball a total of 7 times against those two teams.
Stat of the Week: 11 - sigh...that's how many passes Richard Brehaut attempted against Oregon State (with Josh Smith attempting one other).
Game of the Week: UCLA at #4 Stanford, 7:30 PDT - UCLA run offense vs. Stanford run defense. Tough to predict a competitive game here. Will the Bruins catch the Tree napping? Will they magically learn to play defense? Will they be able to control the tempo? Stanford has the longest unbeaten streak in the nation, and some architect dude as a Quarterback, I heard he's pretty good.
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 (9) - Stanford had a bye last week. Somehow Andrew Luck still scored a TD. Now they're rested for UCLA at home. Yippee ka yay fothermuckers!
2) Oregon Ducks, 3-1 (2) - Oregon played at Arizona, spanking the Wildcats to the tune of 288 yards by LaMichael James. The Ducks had scored 5 TDs before Arizona got their first one...and that only made the score 35-9...at the end of the first half. Arizona clearly has issues, but that's still a scary good performance by the Ducks, with Darron Thomas only passing for 101 yards, going 11-20. 11 possessions...8 TDs. 3 punts.
3) Washington Huskies, 3-1 - UW hosted Cal in a bit of a shootout. Cal had a chance to tie the game as time expired, but the much-maligned UW defense managed to have a nice goal line stand to save the game. Still know nothing about this team, but they manage to win. They now travel to Utah, pitting Sarkisian against former mentor Chow. Great test for both teams.
4) California Golden Bears, 3-1 - Read above. WR Keenan Allen is stepping up for the Cal offense, but the defense is not as good as expected. The Bears still need to win 4 games to be bowl-eligible. They get a bye this week before facing Oregon. That won't be one of the 4 wins.
5) Washington St. Cougars, 2-1 - the Cougars had a bye last week, and will travel to Colorado for what should actually be an exciting, high-scoring game.
6) Oregon St. Beavers, 0-3 - The Beavers lost to UCLA at home. It is going to be a tough season for Mike Riley, but he is focused on the future and is not going to change his style or his strategy just because the team is rebuilding. There is hope for OSU because they have a pretty good coach, even though he made some conservative decisions during the game. Be that as it may, the score was 21-19 going into the 4th quarter. The Beavers travel to Tempe and should probably expect a beatdown, but could catch the Sun Devils napping a bit and put a scare into them.
1) Arizona St. Sun Devils, 3-1 (11) - ASU put its mark on the division by handling the Trogans at home, forcing 4 turnovers and benefiting from a balance offense. If they play like this consistently, they will go to the Pac-12 championship game. I just don't know how they lost to Illinois. This week, they get Oregon State at home and we'll see if they can maintain their focus.
2) U$C Trogans, 3-1 (1) - U$C finally had to travel for an away game, and all they got for it was turnovers, sacks and a dust storm. Maybe they should have spent the week preparing instead of calling ASU "dirty". Ah well, I won't shed a tear for the Trogans. They get Arizona at home and should rebound. Or maybe they'll just give up now.
3) Utah Utes, 2-1 (1) - Utah was off last week and will host UW this week. Always interesting to see what Chow is able to do on another team.
4) Arizona Wildcats, 1-3 - Another weak, another beatdown. This time, Arizona got hammered by the Ducks. It was never close. Now they get to travel to the crapiseum to finish a brutal stretch. Bowl hopes are slowly drifting away, but the rest of the schedule is more lenient.
5) Colorado Buffaloes, 1-3 - the Buffs also have had a pretty brutal schedule, this time traveling to battle Ohio State. It was never close, but the Buffs QB Tyler Hansen seems to be playing well. They host Wazzu this week and it should be competitive.
6) UCLA Bruins, 2-2 - blablabla power running blablabla execution blablabla situational playcalling. Or something. Whatever. The Bruins squeaked by a terrible Oregon State team, seemingly getting bored along the way and trying to keep things interesting. But fear not! Here's to retaining our undefeated Pac-12 record! Go Bruins! Pee on the Tree!
That's it, enjoy this week's games!