That's a wrap on the Pac-10 regular season. Oregon are conference champions, three teams are bunched up in a tie for second and preseason favorites USC are in a tie for fifth. Washington won five more games than they did last year to give them a total of five, Arizona St.'s play has landed Dennis Erickson on the hot seat, UCLA reached their six win goal and Washington St. regressed from a 2-11 season. You can't say the Pac-10 was boring this year.
Player of the Week: LaMichael James, Oregon- The best way to win Player of the Week? Be the best player on the winning team in the season's biggest game. James was a stud in the Ducks' Conference Championship Game win over Oregon St., racking up 166 yards and scoring three times, doing enough to top the fantastic performance of Beaver QB Sean Canfield.
Stat of the Week: 13:12- USC QB Matt Barkley threw 13 touchdowns this year to 12 interceptions, proving that no matter how highly touted a guy is, a true freshman QB will struggle some. He also never threw for three TD's in a game and topped 300 yards once to five sub-200 yard games.
Game of the Week: Oregon vs. Ohio St., Jan. 1, 1:30 pm PST, ABC- The game is the Pac-10's best vs. the Big 10's best on New Year's Day, in front of 90,000+ sun drenched fans at the Arroyo Seco. I don't even need to get into the teams or match-ups and it's already must-see TV.
Pac-10 Power Poll
1) Oregon Ducks, 10-2 (5 first place votes)- In a year where every other Pac-10 team lost at least four total games, Oregon lost just two. In a year where every other Pac-10 team lost at least three games, Oregon lost just one. While every team faces tough times and adversity, no Pac-10 team faced more than Oregon following the LaGarrette Blount saga to begin the season. The Ducks capped the year with a Civil War win to wrap up the conference and are every bit deserving of the Pac-10's Rose Bowl bid. Last Week: 1
2) Arizona Wildcats, 8-4- In case there was any doubt entering the season, Mike Stoops is officially off the hot seat. An 8-4 season and berth in the Holiday Bowl, capped by a comeback win at USC will do that for you. While I don't think any Wildcat fan is complaining about the year, I think most have to be wondering "what if" because had that heart breaking overtime loss at home to Oregon gone the other way, Arizona would be the Pac-10's Rose Bowl representative. Last Week: 5
3) Stanford Cardinal, 8-4- Good news Pac-10 defenses. You have officially seen the last of Toby Gerhart. Oklahoma? Enjoy trying to bring down the Gerhart Express. A stunning season that has put Gerhart in New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation has also put Jim Harbaugh on the list of "hot coaches" and has the Cardinal heading to El Paso, TX for the Sun Bowl. The only thing that Stanford won't like about the year is the way it could end as they'll likely be without QB Andrew Luck versus the Sooners. Last Week: 3
4) Oregon St., 8-4- You try recruiting to Corvallis, Oregon. It can't be easy and nobody has done it with the continued success of Mike Riley. While the Beavers toil away in national obscurity unless they can get a Civil War game for the conference title, Riley has put together yet another fine season and cemented his spot in the mind of this person as the Pac-10's best coach. Sean Canfield was exceptional last week versus Oregon and now BYU can try to stop him and the Rodgers brothers in the Vegas Bowl. Last Week: 2
5) California Golden Bears, 8-4- Talk about a roller coaster season. From way up (3-0 to start the year), to waaay down (destroyed by Oregon and USC), to back up (winning five of six) and finishing it with an embarrassing 42-10 shellacking at the hands of Washington. Good luck trying to figure this team up. On any given week, this team could be the conference's best team or the 9th best (sorry, Wazzu). Which team will show up for the Poinsettia Bowl? Last Week: 4
6) USC Trojans, 8-4- Is the castle falling or does it just need a new paint job? The defense was inexperienced in a lot of key places, but it wasn't overly young so they'll be replacing again before long. The secondary is filled with seniors too, but at the end of the year, the problem was the offense. Matt Barkley was a below-average Pac-10 QB by the end of the season, but is it a matter of freshman mistakes? We'll find out next year, but it could be tough for him if the Emerald Bowl is Damian Williams' final collegiate game. Last Week: 6
7) UCLA Bruins, 6-6- The Bruins accomplished their goal of winning six games and getting to a bowl game. Well, they almost, kind of did. The six wins has been done, but the bowl game is still in doubt as UCLA is counting on a Navy win over Army to clinch their spot in the EagleBank Bowl. A team that regularly started eight freshmen or sophomores on offense should be alright next year, but the schedule is brutal and nobody is talking about losing Xavier Sua-Filo to a mission. Last Week: 7
8) Washington Huskies, 5-7- Whether or not Steve Sarkisian can keep things up once Jake Locker leaves is up for debate, but I think most will agree that he did a fantastic job this season. Taking a winless team to five wins, with a marquee win, rivalry game win and Senior Day win is pretty darn impressive and even more impressive when you consider that the Huskies had a pretty tough schedule. Now, it's time for Locker Watch. Will he stay or will he go? Last Week: 8
9) Arizona St. Sun Devils, 4-8- When you look at programs around the country, you could see teams with two or three good QB's so how is it that Arizona St., with some football tradition and sitting in the warm desert sun, doesn't have one mediocre one? The defense is stout and the offense has a couple playmakers, but Dennis Erickson will have to develop a decent QB before next season or the 2010 season could be his last in Tempe. Last Week: 9
10) Washington St. Cougars, 1-11- One of these days, the Washington St. program will turn around, but it doesn't look like it will be any time soon. The team was plagued by a lack of experience. It was also plagued by a lack of talent. While they can get a little more experience, an increase in talent doesn't look like it's on its way soon, meaning the Cougars could be in for another long year, two, three or four. Last Week: 10