After a few big victories on Saturday, many were quick to praise the Pac-10 for its outstanding Saturday. With Arizona, and UCLA each picking up wins over ranked teams, Stanford throttling an ACC team, USC defeating a Big 10 team, Oregon St. taking down a Big East team and Oregon winning big again, it makes sense to call the weekend a win for the conference. Let's not go too far, though.
Even with the wins (some of which were against poor BCS conference teams), Washington was embarrassed at home, Washington St. continues to bring up the rear, Cal looked like it didn't belong on the field with Nevada and Arizona St. still lost despite an inspired performance. More often than not, a conference is judged by its top teams and there were things for the Pac-10 to be proud of on Saturday, but let's keep it mind that the weekend had its handful of poor moments as well.
Player of the Week: Andrew Luck, Stanford- Coming into the season, two Pac-10 quarterbacks were being touted as top 2011 NFL Draft picks and while Jake Locker looks nothing of the sort, Andrew Luck is having no problems. In Stanford's 68-24 mauling of Wake Forest, Luck was 17-23 for over 200 yards and four touchdowns through the air. He added a 52 yard touchdown run for good measure and through three games he already has 11 touchdowns.
Stat of the Week: 4- Leading by a score as time wound down against #9 Iowa, Arizona needed one stop to seal up a major statement win. After listening to everyone talk about how great the Iowa defensive line was all week, Arizona's defensive front decided to show that they could play too, sacking Hawkeye QB Ricky Stanzi on four straight plays to send the red crowd into a frenzy.
Game of the Week: Oregon St. at Boise St., 5:00 pm, ABC- In their season opener, Oregon St. battled one top-five team, TCU, tough. The Beavers stuck around all game in Texas and had a few chances late to get even with TCU, but they fell just short. On Saturday, Oregon St. will get another chance at upsetting a top-five team when they head to Boise St. for a prime time showdown on the blue turf. After a heart-stopping win to open the season, Boise has dominated overmatched opponents, but now they have to deal with the Rodgers' brothers. Jacquizz got off to a slow start this season, but busted out last weekend against Louisville and will have to be on top of his game for the Beavers to leave Idaho with a win.
Pac-10 Power Poll (First Place Votes in Parentheses)
1) Oregon Ducks, 3-0 (8)- Like their 72-0 demolition of New Mexico in the first weekend of the season, there is only so much you can take from an Oregon victory over a terrible team. This week it was Portland St. who felt the wrath of the Ducks, 69-0. LaMichael James ran for 227 yards on just 14 carries and by the end of four quarters, the Ducks had racked up 668 total yards. With Stanford emerging as a major threat to the Ducks' Pac-10 title, Oregon could get caught looking ahead to that match-up in two weeks, which would spell doom for the Ducks on the road against Arizona St. this weekend. Last Week: 1
2) Arizona Wildcats, 3-0 (1)- Questions about whether or not Arizona really could compete for the Pac-10 title were answered when they took down Iowa Saturday night at Arizona Stadium. While they may not get it done, there are very few people left who don't think Arizona will at least be in the mix for a Rose Bowl berth now. The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead and despite their best attempts, managed to hang on for the win. Nick Foles threw for over 300 yards, but it was a bruising Wildcat defense that really gives Arizona hope that they can take the next step and that starts when the Pac-10 slate gets underway against Cal this week. Last Week: 2
3) Stanford Cardinal, 3-0- Wake Forest may not be the cream of the ACC like they were a few years ago, but they're not a team any team would just roll over. Led by Andrew Luck's four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown, that's exactly what Stanford did to Wake Forest as they routed the Demon Deacons, 68-24. Questions remain about Stanford's defense and whether it's good enough for them to win the conference, but the Toby Gerhart-less offense looks to be up to the task. A nationally televised trip to Notre Dame will give the rest of the country to see the Cardinal on Saturday. Last Week: 3
4) Oregon St. Beavers, 1-1- After a week off, the Beavers started out their home opener a bit sluggish and were tied at 14 with Louisville in the second quarter. Three consecutive touchdowns later and the Beavers were comfortably ahead, but they took their foot off of the pedal and let the Cardinals get back within a touchdown to make things interesting before Oregon St. held on for a 35-0 win. Jacquizz Rodgers snapped out of his funk with 132 yards and two touchdowns, while Ryan Katz was efficient. They'll need that again and some more on Saturday when they head to Boise. Last Week: T3
5) USC Trojans, 3-0- Another win is in the books for USC, but they're still not impressing. The Trojans struggled to pull away from the Big 10's worst team, Minnesota, and while they are 3-0, Hawaii, Virginia and Minnesota is hardly murderer's row. After a bad game against Virginia, Matt Barkley threw a pair of picks against the Golden Gophers and it was actually Allen Bradford, with 131 yards on 12 carries, who led the way for SC. Washington St. on Saturday is likely to go just like the first three games of the season, but SC needs to find another gear for the rest of their games. Last Week: 7
6) California Golden Bears, 2-1- Dominating wins over UC Davis and Colorado had the Cal faithful on a high, but that was before they got a look at the pistol. The Bears walked into a snake pit in Reno and Nevada's pistol ran around and through the Cal defense all day for an embarrassing 52-31 Bears loss. Now, Cal was playing without the injured Mik Mohamed and losing arguably the best defensive player in the Pac-10 will hurt, but the Golden Bears had more problems than just that. Shane Vereen was unstoppable, running for 198 yards and three touchdowns, but it was him vs. the entire Nevada offense and that was never going to end well for the Bears. Last Week: T3
7) Arizona St. Sun Devils, 2-1- It's rare to jump with a loss, but Arizona St. does that after losing a heartbreaker in Madison to #11 Wisconsin. The heartbreaking part isn't just that the Sun Devils lost by a mere point on the road to a highly regarded team, but that they had so many chances to win the game. Missed field goal? Check. Dropped TD pass? Check. Tripping over a teammates foot on a sure TD run? Check. Having a game tying extra point blocked late? Check. Arizona St. had all those chances, but let them slip through their hands. Nevertheless, they hung with and outplayed a good Wisconsin team on the road with an expected strong defense, but an improved offense headed by Steve Threet. Last Week: 9
8) UCLA Bruins, 1-2- A brutal opening schedule and rough two opening games had some fans thinking an 0-4 start to the season was in the cards. It didn't take long for UCLA to put those thoughts to rest against a top-25 team, Houston, on Saturday night, though. After falling behind 3-0, the Bruins scored 31 straight points in a thorough beatdown of the Cougars. It wasn't a perfect performance and UCLA will have to be better on Saturday when they play at Texas if they want to get to 2-2, but after the week that followed a humiliating loss to Stanford, UCLA's 31-13 win was just what the doctor ordered. Last Week: 8
9) Washington Huskies, 1-2- Losing to the #8 Nebraska Cornhuskers is nothing to be ashamed of, but to get them at home and be completely run off of the field despite having a quarterback that has been touted as a Heisman candidate is something to be ashamed of. Washington never looked like it belonged on the same field as Nebraska, surrendering 383 rushing yards while Jake Locker went 4-20 for 71 yards including a couple interceptions. The result was a 56-21 scoreline that flattered the Huskies. Now they get an extra week to think it over with this Saturday off before a trip to USC. Last Week: 6
10) Washington St. Cougars, 1-2- Last season, SMU was the only team that Washington St. beat, but that was in Pullman. This season, the Cougars had to hit the road for their match-up with SMU and while they were tied at the half, they spent the entire second half chasing the Mustangs. Jeff Tuel has a solid game for Wazzu, completing 18 of 33 passes for 284 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he got no help from a rushing attack that mustered just 2.4 yards per carry. A visit from USC awaits. Last Week: 10