Talk about an uneventful week in the Pac-10. There were only three games and none of them were really all that close. UCLA hanging around for a bit before Washington brought the hammer down on them (or did UCLA bring the hammer down on themselves?) was the closest thing we got to a game this week. That changes this week with four conference games on the slate, including two on Friday, plus the USC vs. Notre Dame game which last had major implications when both teams were good at the same time, maybe 20 years ago.
Player of the Week: Andrew Luck, Stanford- Andrew Luck's collegiate career is winding down so get a look at him playing for Stanford while you can. The kid blessed with the golden arm completed 16 of 20 passes for 235 yards in a perfect exhibition of how to throw the intermediate routes. Most impressive though was his running, specifically a 58-yard scamper in the first quarter than included him running over a Cal safety. In a rivalry game, Luck was at his best and earned the axe on behalf on the Cardinal.
Stat of the Week: 71- Cal punter Brian Anger unleashed a 71 yard punt against Stanford and was the lone bright spot for the Bears. Yeah, it was a slow weekend.
Game of the Week: Arizona at Oregon, 4:00 pm PST Friday, ESPN- While you're trying to figure out how to get off the couch stuffed with the previous day's Thanksgiving goodness and all those delicious leftovers, Arizona will be up at Oregon trying to become the first team to upend the Ducks. Arizona spent most of the season hanging around the top of the Pac-10, but losses to Stanford and USC knocked them down a peg. A win over the Ducks can move them right back up in the eyes of many and also crush the national title dreams of Oregon fans all over the state.
Pac-10 Power Poll (First Place Votes in Parentheses)
1) Oregon Ducks, 10-0 (10)- When the Ducks played Cal two weeks ago, they were completely shut down. The once unstoppable offense looked mortal and the Bear may have written the gameplan on how to beat the Ducks. Unfortunately for the rest of their opponents, Oregon got a bye week after that game and the chance to pour over the tape and figure out what the Bears did to them. Chip Kelly is one of the preeminent offensive minds in the country and giving him a week to figure out what went wrong likely ensures it won't happen again. Arizona will have to hope that's not the case this weekend though as they head to Autzen Stadium. Last Week: 1
2) Stanford Cardinal, 10-1- You never, ever hear the Cardinal mentioned among national title game contenders, but should they? I mean, we're talking about a team that has made a habit of beating down on teams all season and are perfect save for one game. That one game was the one they lost, on the road to the nation's number one team in which they weren't embarrassed, just beat. Should Auburn fall and the discussion heats up about a one-loss team making the national title game, why not Stanford? Maybe it's time to throw their name in there, especially after Andrew Luck torched Cal in The Big Game and the Cardinal defense made Cal look terrible. A big home win over Oregon St. this weekend might do the trick. Last Week: 2
3) Arizona Wildcats, 7-3- Being blown out by Stanford and playing from behind the entire game against USC took the luster off of the Wildcats, but they'll look shiny and stupendous if they can go to Autzen Stadium and beat Oregon on Friday. Nick Foles will have to be on his game because points will be required to take the Ducks down and he'll have to be sharp because the Oregon defense is opportunistic, but the fate of the game lies in the defense. Once menacing looking, Arizona's defense has tailed off some, but they can make a statement by taking it to the Ducks, although that's not something overly likely to happen. Last Week: 4
4) Oregon St. Beavers, 5-5- If there was ever a schizophrenic team in the Pac-10, this is it. Oregon St. seems to be a completely different team each week they play. After consecutive losses, the most recent of which was at home to lowly Washington St., Oregon St. welcomed a USC team to Reser Stadium that was playing well. Well, they were until they had to play the Beavers and the home team did whatever they wanted to the Trojans. It was 23-0 before USC finally got on the scoreboard and the game finished 36-7, a lopsided score that accurately depicts how the game went. So, who is this Oregon St. team? Who knows, but it's always fun to check out and see who they are that week and they'll have to be the very good one on Saturday at Stanford. Last Week: 9
5) USC Trojans, 7-4- Wins over the Arizona schools had the Trojans riding high, but Corvallis has been their kryptonite in recent years and it did them in again. USC was never in the game against Oregon St., not even a little bit. It was complete domination by the Beavers and after not being able to get anything going offensively with Matt Barkley, they had to play without him when he went down with an ankle injury. Now USC looks very shaky and despite Notre Dame being downright horrible, it is still a rivalry game and one that the Domers will show up for, but will USC. They better because in a year without a bowl game, these rivalry games are their biggest ones and if they play like they did against Oregon St. even Notre Dame can beat them. Last Week: 3
6) Arizona St. Sun Devils, 4-6- Is there any doubt that Arizona St. is the best 4-6 team in the country? In fact, they're one loss away from being eliminated from bowl contention and if that's the case, they will probably be the best team not to make a bowl game. Their defense is downright filthy and whenever Steven Threet throws the ball to the guys in the right color jerseys, the Sun Devils are awfully tough to beat. A day after Thanksgiving game against UCLA give the Sun Devils a chance to get a rivalry game against Arizona for bowl eligibility. Last Week: 6
7) California Golden Bears, 5-6- When Cal fans envisioned their season, they did not think that they would need to win their last game to get bowl eligible, which is the case. They also did not think that Stanford would walk into Memorial Stadium and completely embarrass their Golden Bears, but that's exactly what happened. The final score might have been 48-14, but it wasn't even that close as the Cardinal had their way with the Golden Bears an led 45-0 at one point. Having their safety trucked by Andrew Luck in the first quarter set the tone for a game in which Cal was gashed for 232 yards on the ground and now they need to beat Washington this weekend if they're to play in a bowl game. Last Week: 5
8) Washington St. Cougars, 2-9- Their strange two-week bye continue this weekend as they hang out some more while the rest of the conference hammers each other, but the Cougars remain two spots from the bottom after they took down Oregon St. on the road two weeks ago. As depressing as the season may have looked at some points this year for Wazzu, they have undoubtedly made significant strides and going 3-9 with an Apple Cup win is a season that many Coug fans would be happy with. Now they just need to sit out another week and get that win over Washington in two weeks. Last Week: 8
9) Washington Huskies, 4-6- At least when Washington fans head to Husky Stadium next season, they will have fond memories of their last game at the old stadium on the water after the Huskies took down UCLA in their final home games last week with a strong finish. Despite being the better team for most of the game, Washington let the Bruins hang around, but in the fourth quarter with the Bruins down to their third and fourth string quarterbacks, the Huskies finally put UCLA away. A 24-7 win moved the Huskies to 4-6 and keeps their bowl hopes alive, but wins at Cal and Washington St. will be needed to accomplish that goal so there's still some work to do. Last Week: 10
10) UCLA Bruins, 4-6- The excuse of it all going downhill once you're forced to go to your third and fourth string quarterbacks after injuries to your top two is a legitimate one, but only if you were putting points on the board with either of your first two quarterbacks. That wasn't the case for UCLA and after a win over Oregon St. made getting into a bowl game look like a real possibility, the Bruins laid an egg in Seattle. Washington took the Bruins out, 24-7 and despite most of the points coming late, the final score still does tell an accurate tale of the game. The Bruins just weren't good enough, plain and simple, making any dreams of them being good enough in their last two games to get bowl eligible tough to believe. Last Week: 7