I wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving. These are trying times for Bruins fans, but we still have many things to be thankful for other than sports. So have yourselves some delightful turkey and enjoy this special Thanksgiving edition of the power poll
Player of the Week: Matt Barkley, Southern Cal - Cheatey's bestest pal QB threw for 323 yards and 4 TDs against Oregon in Autzen, an impressive outing that brings the Trogan QB into the Heisman discussion.
Stat of the Week: 1-4 - ASU is 1-4 since starting the season 5-1 and being the runaway pick for division champ, another epic meltdown for Dennis Erick son's squad. Also, UCLA's 5 victories is the most ever for Rick Neuheisel...yikes.
Game of the Week: UCLA vs. Southern Cal, 7:00 pm PT, ABC - it is indeed the most "meaningful" game in this rivalry in nearly the last decade or so. A win gives UCLA the outright South division title, while Southern Cal will try to be the spoiler and lay its own claim on the title.
On to the poll, and things to be thankful for.
1. Stanford (6), 8-1: Thank you for showing us a tough, disciplined and fun to watch brand of football. Thank you Andrew Luck for being an exemplary student-athlete, and thank you David Shaw for speaking your mind against the BCS. Stanford beat Cal in the Big Game, in Luck's final game at home. The Cardinal still have a shot at the national championship, but
travel to hosts Notre Dame to take on a tougher squad than most people think.
2. Southern Cal (2), 6-2: Thank you for beating Oregon...reluctantly. I know you've had the upper hand in the football rivalry...but still, thank you for being Trogans and always providing some comedy material. It's our 13th game against Southern Cal since our 8 game winning streak...sadly we've only won once in that span...but 13 is a lucky number...right? Oh yeah, sorry Trogans, but bragging rights don't get you to bowl games this year.
3. Oregon (2), 7-1: Thank you for taking a dose of humility at home. Thank you especially for not trotting out absolutely horrendous ugly uniforms this year. The Ducks killed their chances at another shot at the national championship by losing at home for the first time in 22 games. The trouble is, unless Stanford somehow ends up in the championship, the Pac-12 likely loses a chance to have two teams in BCS games. The Civil War is next
4. Utah, 4-4: Thank you for reminding us that we should never play in Utah again. So...you have a new OC with a new offense, your starting QB gets hurt, your offensive line is in shambles...and yet you sit at 7-4 with a shot at the division title. How'd you do it?! Where are the excuses? Colorado now visits for the first installment of the Powder Rivalry...bragging rights for the best snow.
5. UCLA, 5-3: Thank you for showing us how this team should have played all season. It's pretty indicative of the conference when UCLA sits at 5th in the power poll. It's time to put up or shut up against Southern Cal this week. Closing gaps is for losers. Beating Trogans is what being a Bruin is all about.
6. Washington, 4-4: Thank you for showing us why we would never want Sarkisian as a coach for UCLA football. The Dawgs lost up in Corvallis, another epic underachievement for Sark's bunch and Holt's crappy defense. The Apple Cup awaits, against a Wazzu squad that is tougher than in years past.
7. Arizona State, 4-4: Thank you for the most recent edition of the Sun Devil meltdown, which sadly gives the Neubs a 4th life. ASU lost to Arizona in its rivalry game, this time at home. The crash is nearly complete for Erickson's gang of personal foul magnets. A loss against Cal this week would conclude a really disappointing season, but unfortunately it would likely put another team out in the market for a new coach.
8. California, 3-5: Thank you for showing us that a UC can indeed spend money on a coach and on facilities. Since we already "stole" your fight song, I wouldn't mind also stealing your new training center. It wasn't the best year for Cal as they played away from home, but beating ASU could set the Bears up for a good year next year in their new stadium.
9. Arizona, 2-7: Thank you for showing us that even a program with a modest football history can go out and make a splashy hire. We don't know how Rich Rodriguez will do in Tucson, but he is a big name coach and the Arizona AD went out and got him, after asking Urban Meyer first. Dan Guerrero like sprinkled donuts, in the meantime. The Mildcats finish the season against LA-Lafayette. Why, I don't know.
10. Oregon St., 3-5: Thank you for playing us early in the Pac-12 season. The Beavers, as is customary under Riley, have improved every season and will be good next year, if their defense improves a bit. They are set at QB for a while, and need a RB to step up, but Riley is still coaching them up. Will they catch Oregon napping, now that their motivation has taken a hit? I'll be rooting for them.
11. Washington State, 2-6: Thank you in advance for beating Washington this week. Sorry, I couldn't think of anything else. A 5-7 season may not be enough to save their coach, but the Cougars have also been pretty unlucky with their QBs this year...still, all three QBs used this year have been pretty darn good! Tough to do well in Pullman, but maybe Mike Price will be brought back?
12. Colorado, 1-7: Thank you for sending off our seniors on a high note in their last game at the Rose Bowl. It was a tough first year for the Buffs in their inaugural Pac-12 season, and injuries didn't help. Embree may not be the answer at coach, but this year was probably not a good indication. Thanks in advance for the fun road trip to Boulder next year...and here's hoping you stick it to Utah!