The Pac-10 started out the year with what seemed like a lot of great defenses, but lacking in the offense department. How bad that looks now. The USC offense? Rising. The USC defense? Vulnerable. Oregon St. has an offense that is clicking, but that defense? It's leaky. How about UCLA? Well, their offense isn't any good, but the defense isn't what it looked like early on either. The Cal offense is running like a machine again, but the defense is poor and that's only on a good day. Is it the prolific offenses of the conference creating these numbers or are the defenses as mediocre to poor as they've looked in recent weeks? The only team that looks like it has a real shut down defense right now is Oregon.
Player of the Week: Sean Canfield, Oregon St.- Oregon St. players are becoming a regular in this category. On the road versus a talented USC team, Canfield was 30-43 passing with three touchdowns in a close loss to the Trojans. The Rodgers brothers and tight end Joe Halahuni also made convincing arguments for player of the week honors, but Canfield orchestrated the offense in a fantastic game for the signal caller.
Stat of the Week: 39- The winning teams in the Pac-10's five games this weekend averaged 39 points. The offenses dominated in this series of conference games and it doesn't look like it will change much in the coming weeks.
Game to Watch: USC at Oregon, 5:00 pm PDT, ABC or ESPN2- Well, this is the game most people have been waiting for. This is the one that will in all likelihood determine the Pac-10 champions and the BCS bowl bid that goes with it. If USC wins, they maintain their spot as the top one-loss team in the country and first of the one-loss teams to hop into the title game if there's only one undefeated team. If Oregon wins, all of a sudden they're in the national title game picture. This is the game of the year in the Pac-10 with national implications.
Pac-10 Power Poll
1) Oregon Ducks, 6-1 (four first place votes)- So much for the revival of the Northwest's premier rivalry. Oregon took control of their game versus Washington from the beginning and cruised to a 43-19 victory. The game was never close as the Oregon defense played well and Jeremiah Masoli returned to the field with a solid performance. Now, they get USC for control of the Pac-10 and they get it at Autzen Stadium. Last Week: 1
2) USC Trojans, 6-1 (one first place vote)- USC played their first close home game in quite some time and to the surprise of many, it wasn't the defense that won SC the game. The USC defense looks vulnerable, but the offense is coming along, even if Matt Barkley is still making some freshman mistake. The offense line is opening up big holes and the running backs are making plays in the second level. The defense will need to step up in what will be an incredible atmosphere at Autzen Stadium though. Last Week: 2
Arizona Wildcats, 5-2- Had they been able to hang onto the ball, UCLA would have never had a chance last week. The defense was much improved, albeit against an impotent offense and while the offense was solid, it wasn't as explosive as in recent weeks. Regardless, this is a team on the rise who has certainly earned the bye they have this week. Last Week: 3
Oregon St. Beavers, 4-3- No Beaver will pretend that moral victories are good enough for this program anymore. Even if the media doesn't want to acknowledge it, Mike Riley has a damn good program in Corvallis and moral victories are a thing of the past, but it's tough to think any less of this team after their loss to USC. They played well, just not quite good enough. The offense is a machine right now though and will look to continue its momentum on homecoming versus UCLA. Last Week: 4
California Golden Bears, 5-2- After taking two weeks off versus Oregon and USC, the Cal offense is back to its explosive self, putting 49 more on the board versus Wazzu last week. Jahvid Best is back on track with 159 more yards too, but the defense has to be a major concern, allowing 440 yards to the Cougars, 385 through the air. They're at a sliding Arizona St. squad this week. Last Week: 5
Stanford Cardinal, 5-3- A pretty poor Arizona St. team at home is a gimme win, right? Well it should be and if you want to measure the growth of this program under Jim Harbaugh, it's that the gimme wins actually are gimme wins now. 237 more yards on the ground and a 19 point win has them one win short of bowl eligibility heading into a bye week. Last Week: 6
Arizona St. Sun Devils, 4-3- Seven games into the year and we're deciding between a win over a 3-5 Washington team or close loss to Georgia as Arizona St.'s best performance so far. This team is struggling and regressing, a bad sign for the future. A brutal finishing schedule that leaves a bowl game in serious doubt begins with Cal this week Last Week: 8
Washington Huskies, 3-5- So the Huskies are better, but not quite ready to revive a dormant rivalry with Oregon. Their win over USC early in the year raised expectations far too high for a team that was winless last year. This team is much better than last year, but even with Jake Locker, the third quarter was almost over before they scored a TD. A bye week to sort out the offense is a gift from the scheduling gods. Last Week: 7
UCLA Bruins, 3-4- Looking for positives is becoming increasingly difficult for this team. Having to play a good Oregon St. team in Corvallis won't help this team one bit as their path to six wins is getting rockier and rockier. Their finishing schedule includes some of the conference's poorer teams though so there's still a little hope, even if their own play doesn't inspire any. Last Week: 9
Washington St. Cougars, 1-6- This team is awful. That's not a surprise and another bad loss reinforces that, but there are positive signs. Freshman QB Jeff Tuel threw for 354 yards at Cal last week with a couple TD's and no picks. This team is a long ways off, but for the first time in years has a few guys they can build around for the future. Last Week: 10