Can anyone make sense of the middle of the Pac-10? Here's what we know: Oregon and USC have emerged as the conference's best two and I don't think many would argue that. Few would argue that Washington St. isn't the Pac-10's worst two as well. That right there is about all we know. It's all too easy for every single one of the seven other teams to be somewhere between three and nine both now and by the end of the year. Little separates those seven and it's much easier to knock all of them than it is to praise them, but all have shown flashes and are capable of strong finishes. It's really is a free for all in the middle of the Pac-10.
Player of the Week: Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon St.- It was the other Rodgers brother in this spot last week, but Jacquizz had himself a great game with Stanford in town on Saturday. Jacquizz ran for 189 yards, picked up 82 more as a receiver and crossed the goal line four times. He's finding his rhythm so good luck to the rest of the Pac-10.
Stat of the Week: 12- The Arizona St. defense picked up 12 sacks in their win over Washington St., a huge number, but astonishing when you consider that they only had three total in their first four games of the year.
Game to Watch: USC at Notre Dame, 12:30 pm PDT, NBC- Without any great Pac-10 matchups this week, it's a non-conference game to watch. Playing at a decent Notre Dame team has to keep the Trojans focused on this week, even with three tough games to follow, right? They better because while Notre Dame has been far from a juggernaut this year, they match up pretty well with SC.
Pac-10 Power Poll
1) Oregon Ducks, 5-1 (4 first place votes)- The Ducks hold onto the top spot, but aren't so solid with the health of Jermiah Masoli still a question. They won't be able to count on 14 points in 26 seconds again so the level of play has to rise, but it's becoming clearer and clearer than their defense is a real force to be reckoned with so they'll be in every game. A trip to Husky Stadium is never easy so they better be ready to play. Last Week: 1
2) USC Trojans, 4-1- How much good will a week off do them? It better do them a lot of good because they have a rough stretch coming up. They travel to Notre Dame this week, come home to play a surging Oregon St. team, then have the Pac-10 game of the year at Oregon, followed by a trip to Arizona St. Nothing will come easy for USC and it starts this week at Notre Dame. Last week: 2
3) Oregon St. Beavers, 4-2- What would Oregon St. do without the Rodgers brothers? Luckily for them, that's not a problem for them as the two of them continue to lead an increasingly dangerous Beavers team. Dominating on the ground, effective through the air and stout on defense when necessary (Stanford was 1-9 on third down), Oregon St. finds themselves towards the to of the Pac-10...again. Last Week: 4
4) Stanford Cardinal, 4-2- Their perfect Pac-10 start is over now that they've fallen at the hands of Oregon St., but they did their best to make the game somewhat close after falling behind 31-7 at half. They have a winnable, but tough Pac-10 road game again this week as they head to Tucson. A win here could set them up for a big finish as four of their final five are at home. Last Week: 3
5) California Golden Bears, 3-2- After a disasterous two games, Cal got a week off to regroup. We'll find out on Saturday how much good it did the Bears when they visit UCLA. The winner will be in good shape to qualify for a bowl game, while the loser will have a lot of work left to do. For the Bears, who not long ago had national title hopes, a bowl game is a must so this weekend's game is huge. Last Week: 6
6) Washington Huskies, 3-3- .500 and it feels so good. Jake Locker didn't have the best of games, but he came through when it counted, tossing a pair of late touchdowns and converting on a two-point conversion to lead a Husky comeback for a 36-33 win over Arizona. Now, Oregon visits Husky Stadium. Oregon vs. Washington used to be a great Pac-10 rivalry and with UW on the way up, it could be again starting with this year. Last Week: 8
7) UCLA Bruins, 3-2- A tough loss for the Bruins, who once again struggled to put points on the board. A crazy first 26 seconds of the second half, in which they allowed 14 points, did them in and now thir 3-0 start seems ages ago. They're not far off though and a win over Cal this weekend could have them right back where they want to be, firmly on track for a bowl berth. Last Week: 5
8) Arizona Wildcats, 3-2- Just once of the many 3-2 teams in the conference, Arizona was oh so close to 4-1. A late game loss to Washington will mask the fact that they went to Seattle and outgained the Huskiesby more than 2:1, while holding possession almost twice as long. Nick Foles, despite his two interceptions, threw for 384 yards and looks like a real player. A visit from Stanford this week will give them an opportunity to get back on the smiling side of the scoreboard. Last Week: 7
9) Arizona St. Sun Devils, 3-2- Arizona St. absolutely abused whoever was in at quarterback for Washington St., picking off two passes and racking up 12 sacks. They also picked up a pair of fumbles in a game they dominated from start to finish. The offense didn't look nearly as good though, throwing three interceptions and fumbling three times. If Arizona St. wants to make any noise, they need a QB and to hold onto the ball. Last Week: 9
10) Washington St. Cougars, 1-5- The Washington St. defense has been pretty darn good when you take a look at it. They forced six turnovers this week and while they won't be considered dominant any time soon, are doing pretty well for 1 -5 team who is always on the field and defending a short field. The offense has been nothing short of atrocious though. At least they won't turn it over this week. They have a bye. Last Week: 10