Well, if we weren't already sure of it, now we know. In the Pac-10, nothing in guaranteed and on any day, anything can happen. A week after Oregon looked unbeatable, they were beaten and not just on the scoreboard. Toby Gerhart and Stanford pounded the Ducks physically and took down the team atop the Pac-10. Elsewhere, USC looked less than impressive in beating Arizona St., UCLA picked up their first Pac-10 win, Oregon St. beat Cal in Berkeley and Arizona cruised past Wazzu to move just a half game behind Oregon in the conference. The unpredictability of the conference and depth from top to bottom that makes winning out so difficult has once again cost the conference a chance at a National Title Game representative as the teams are now squarely focused on a Rose Bowl berth.
Player of the Week: Toby Gerhart, Stanford- The best player in the conference's biggest game. Gerhart ran by Oregon defender and more often, through them as he racked up 223 yards and three touchdowns while carrying the ball 38 times. That is the definition of carrying the load. Now second nationally in yards per game with 16 touchdowns, he has to be a Heisman candidate, right?
Stat of the Week: 2001- The last time Stanford was bowl eligible was in 2001. In just his third season, Jim Harbaugh has the Cardinal bowl eligible at 6-3 and they trail Oregon for the conference lead by just a half game.
Game of the Week: Stanford at USC, 12:30 pm PST, FSN- It's a Stanford heavy "of the Week" list, but the Cardinal have the conference's best player and find themselves squarely in the conference title race as the head to the Coliseum for a match-up with USC. The last time the Cardinal went on the road to play USC, they came away with a monumental upset. This upset wouldn't be nearly as big, but a win may mean more to the program.
Pac-10 Power Poll
1) Oregon Ducks, 7-2 (2 first place votes)- Sure, they looked bad in their loss to Stanford, but over the course of the conference season, no team has been as good. Their dominating win over USC wasn't that long ago, although seeing their once dominating defense get torn apart must be a concern. The offense was still moving the ball against Stanford so not everything went bad. Returning home to play an Arizona St. team that has a poor offense on a good day will help. Last Week: 1
2) Arizona Wildcats, 6-2 (1 first place vote)- Yeah, they're pretty darn good. Ever since Nick Foles took over as QB, they're averaging 38 points per game and are 4-1. Thanks to their win over Washington St. on Saturday, they're only a half game behind Oregon and are in the thick of the conference race. With Cal, USC, Oregon and rivals Arizona St. left of the schedule, only one of which is at home, things will get far tougher now and their road to a Pac-10 title is the toughest among contenders. Last Week: 33) USC Trojans, 7-2 (1 first place vote)- It's been a while since the Trojans have put together back to back games as unimpressive as the past two. After being rolled over by Oregon, USC looked very poor in beating a bad Arizona St. team. Matt Barkley completed only seven of his 22 passes and the Trojans had only four first half first downs. At least the defense looked better and with a surging Stanford team on tap this week, both the offense and defense will have to be on their games. Last Week: 2
4) Stanford Cardinal, 6-3- Being the first Pac-10 team to top Oregon is a major accomplishment, but it was the manner in which they did it that impressed most. Not only did Gerhart run for over 250, but Andrew Luck threw for over 250 as the Cardinal racked up 505 total yards and held onto the ball for nearly 38 minutes. They cannot give up another 570 yards against USC this week though if they want to win their second consecutive game at the Coliseum. Last Week: 6
5) Oregon St. Beavers, 6-3- Sean Canfield continues to impress for the Beavers, racking up another 342 yards in their win over Cal while completing 29 of his 39 pass attempts. With the Rodgers brothers bottled up for the most part, the OSU offense didn't lose a step as Joe Halahuni stepped up with 128 yards receiving. As is always the case with Mike Riley teams, they're just getting better as the year goes on. They get Washington this week in their last home game of the year. Last Week: 5
6) California Golden Bears, 6-3- You would really expect a better performance from the Bears at home. I understand how Jahvid Best's scary injury may have changed the mindset of many Cal players, but Oregon St. was in control of that game already. The Bears' defense looks more porous each week and 436 yards by the Beavers continues that trend. Their final home game of the year comes up this weekend and it will be a tough one versus Arizona. Last Week: 4
7) Arizona St. Sun Devils, 4-5- You would think that Arizona St. would have a better offense than they do with Dennis Erickson at the helm, but it has been atrocious. Freshman Brock Osweiler came in and showed that he has some good tools, but he is a long ways off. On the bright side, their defense is as good as their offense is bad. Their four wins are still over Idaho St., Louisiana-Monroe, Washington and Washington St. though, all at home. At Oregon this week will be an uphill battle. Last Week: 7
8) UCLA Bruins, 4-5- How many points could the Bruins have scored had Kevin Prince understood when it's time to slide? The redshirt freshman was rolling and leading a suddenly explosive offense. Kevin Craft did what you'd hope for from a backup and that is give the receivers chances. The offensive line is really coming on, but the defense looks to have stagnated, which isn't bad, but not great either. A win in the Palouse on Saturday puts them on the brink og a bowl bid. Last Week: 9
9) Washington Huskies, 3-6- The Huskies run at a bowl looks to have come to an end, but those hopes were always a bit far-fetched. Jake Locker wasn't bad in Saturday's loss to UCLA, but for the Huskies to win games, he needs to be phenomenal. Chris Polk had himself a big game though and had UW been able to turn just one more of those five turnovers into points, they'd have had a W. After their game at Oregon St. on Saturday, they finish out with two at home. Last Week: 8
10) Washington St. Cougars, 1-8- Penalties. Turnovers. Inability to convert on third down. Only 18:41 of possession. You're not going to win many games like that and especially not on the road, where the Cougars were trounced by Arizona. The game started with Wazzu letting the opening kick off get run back for a TD and that was as close as it got. They still can't decide on a quarterback as they welcome UCLA to the Palouse on Saturday. Last Week: 10