Another wild week of Pac-10 play that saw a major upset (Washington), a couple lost opportunities (Oregon St., Arizona) and a solid win that answered some questions (Oregon). This week, conference play begins in earnest as there are four games between conference foes, including one on Versus thanks to our crack conference office.
Player of the Week: Jake Locker, Washington- Locker's numbers were solid (21-35, 237 yards), but his impact could not be measured in numbers anyways. Anyone who watched Washington's upset of USC knew who the best player on the field was and the final drive was perfectly orchestrated by Locker.
Stat of the Week: 15- Utah had a 15 game win streak entering last week, which was tops in the nation. That win streak came to a end as Oregon beat the Utes by a pair of touchdowns as they showed flashes of being the team everyone hoped they would be in the preseason.
Game to Watch: Cal at Oregon, 12:30 pm PDT, ABC- Some people are already talking about USC's trip to Strawberry Canyon in two weeks for a matchup that could determine the conference champion, but Cal has themselves a major test on their hands this week as they visit Autzen Stadium and a rejuvenated Ducks squad.
Pac-10 Power Poll
1) California Golden Bears, 3-0 (four first place votes)- For reasons unknown to anyone but himself, Jeff Tedford put the man who would eventually score five touchdowns, Jahvid Best, on the bench for stretches of the second half. It wasn't enough to give Minnesota the game though as the Bears prevailed on the road by two scores. A trip to hostile Autzen Stadium awaits. Last week: 1
2) USC Trojans, 2-1- There's not much to say about their loss to Washington that hasn't already been said, but the loss has put the Trojans' back against the wall. If they want to win another Pac-10 title, they may have to win out and with road games at Cal, Oregon and Arizona St., that won't be easy. Last week: 23) UCLA Bruins,- It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but what does it say about the strides this program has taken that parts of their fanbase is now complaining wins? Does any team in the conference instill confidence in being able to win any game, but the same fear that they could just as easily lose any game? Such is the mindset of a rebuilding program.Last week: 4
4) Oregon Ducks- After their embarrassing showing in Boise to open the season, this weekend's win over Utah meant a lot to the Ducks. Now, this Ducks team carries plenty of momentum into conference play, which opens with a visit from a top ten team in Cal. Oregon has their chance to make a statement. Last week: 6
5), 2-1- Steve Sarkisian and the Huskies have themselves a win they can hang their hats on for quite some time, but anyone who has seen this team knows that they're not a one week wonder. They probably wouldn't beat USC every week, but they're a solid team led by the conference's best QB and will give everyone they play problems, including this weekend's opponent, Stanford. Last week: 9
6) Stanford Cardinal- A comfortable win over San Jose St. last week was important for a program on the way up that needed to prove they can take care of the minnows. Now, with their eyes set on a top half Pac-10 finish, the real season begins for Jim Harbaugh and Co. Last week: 7
7) Oregon St. Beavers, 2-1- Surprisingly, it was their running game that failed the Beavers in their loss to Cincinnati last week. 240 yards passing would usually be enough for this team, but 2.9 yards per rush is not for a team which leans on their running game. The loss to Cincy was an opportunity to make a statement, but they better rebound because Arizona is coming to town. Last week: 3
8) Arizona St. Sun Devils- No one is quite sure what to make of this team. After all, what can you make of wins over Idaho St. and Louisiana Monroe, but this week they go to Georgia to take on the Dawgs. That one will answer a lot of questions. Last week: 5
9) Arizona Wildcats, 2-1- The danger of scheduling the way Arizona does is that one game can make or break your image. That game for them was last week at Iowa, where they hung around, but were never really in control as they fell to the Hawkeyes. The Wildcats look okay, but nothing special and Pac-10 play could be a rough one for them as they open at Oregon St. Last week: 8
10) Washington St. Cougars, 1-2- They won a game! Down 24-7 to SMU, the Cougs fought back to tie the game at 27's, thanks to a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns. It then took a second overtime, but I don't think Wazzu is complaining about the style with which they won. A trip to USC this week will be a bit different than a visit from SMU though. Last week: 10